Monthly Archives: June 2016

Annoyances in Xubuntu 16.04 LTS

This week, I installed Xubuntu on a new work computer. I’d previously sworn off Ubuntu, but I admit, I’m crawling back now… the reality is that Ubuntu has smoothed out many of the rough edges that I’m simply not willing to deal with at work. Sigh.

Even as generally polished as Xubuntu is, I did encounter a few hiccups.

1) To adjust settings for the screen locking software, light-locker, I needed to make sure the light-locker-settings package was installed. Nothing happened when I selected “Light Locker Settings” from the whisker menu, though, because it was crashing. I ran “light-locker-settings” via a terminal, and saw some python error messages.

Python was trying to import a module from python-gobject, which wasn’t installed and wasn’t a prerequisite for light-locker-settings for some reason.

After that error went away, I got another one about a missing function. To fix it, you have to manually patch two lines in a python file, as described in this bug report. [NOTE: This has been fixed as of 7/20/2016, in version 1.5.0-0ubuntu1.1 of light-locker-settings]

2) Another light-locker quirk: the mouse pointer becomes invisible when I lock the screen by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del and then unlock it. To make it visible again, hit Ctrl-Alt-F1 to switch to a text console and then Ctrl-Alt-F7 to return to Xfce.

3) The “Greybird” theme is notorious for making it VERY difficult to resize windows by dragging the handles that appear when you mouse-over the window edges and bottom corners. The pointer has to be EXACTLY on an edge or corner; it won’t display the resize handle if you’re slightly off.

For reasons I don’t understand, the devs seem intent on not changing this. But enough users have complained that the Xubuntu blog even has a post about alternative ways to resize windows. The disregard for user experience here is simply mind-blowing.

I’ve grudgingly started using the Alt and right-click drag combo to resize windows.


4) Intermittent DNS problems: hostnames on our internal domain weren’t always resolving. This seems like a common problem on Ubuntu caused by dnsmasq. The solution is to disable it by commenting out the line “dns=dnsmasq” in /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf and rebooting.

“Proxy mode” added in refine_viaf 1.4

A refine_viaf user recently commented that she would like to get Library of Congress IDs for the name candidates in OpenRefine, instead of VIAF IDs.

It would be ideal if the name IDs for LC and other sources could be additional fields in the JSON data returned from refine_viaf, which you could then extract using some GREL code. Unfortunately, OpenRefine doesn’t allow you to access additional fields on name candidate objects.

So I’ve created a separate “proxy mode” that returns IDs used by source institutions themselves, rather than the VIAF IDs. To use proxy mode, add a reconciliation service in OpenRefine using this URL format instead of the usual URL:

One quirk is that OpenRefine will create broken hyperlinks for a few sources (at the moment, these are BNC, BNF, DBC, and NUKAT). This is due to the fact that the IDs in these URLs don’t match the name record IDs, which is a requirement for the hyperlinking mechanism to work properly.

In short, you can now use refine_viaf to reconcile “directly” against the name authority records of VIAF’s source institutions, which should be useful to many people.