Monthly Archives: February 2012

Git Hosting is Overpriced: DIY on the Cheap

GitHub is great, and has basically surpassed any other project community. I get why it’s popular, and I use it myself for open source projects, but the fact is, it’s way too expensive for non-public projects.

I looked into a bunch of other Git hosting solutions, and they all have the same crappy bottom line: $8/month. BitBucket has a free plan for a small number of collaborators, but that’s a bother, as you still have some strange licensing restrictions. The fact is, for a few bucks more, you can solve your own problems and get much bigger bang for your buck.

You’ve got a few options, but they all boil down to the same point: Get a cloud server for ~$10 a month. I’ve used Rackspace Cloud before with no problems, but I imagine they’re all more or less the same. If you’re a Linux newbie, there’s tons of tutorials for Ubuntu configurations that will show you how to set up almost any git server in very little time without learning too many Linux internals.

There’s a ton of benefits to getting a cheap cloud server:

  • You’re paying only a few bucks more than dedicated repository hosting
  • No restrictions on the number of users, repositories, or anything like that
  • Full control of anything you want on the server
  • You can always install something with a pretty web GUI, if you’re into that.
  • Most cloud server providers have cheap automated backup, so you don’t have to worry about an accidental rm -rf
  • Split the $10 a month cost with your buddies, and let them use it for whatever the heck they want too.

Of course, if you’re into setting up some hardware, pretty soon $35 will take care of all of your file hosting needs forever, provided your ISP is keen on that sort of thing.

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The Switch: XFCE from GNOME 3

I never really hated GNOME 3. I can’t say I was ever overly thrilled with it, but I feel like it gets innovation right to some level.  I was willing to put up with Alt-`, no taskbar, and wonky dual monitor support  in the name of “innovation,” but there was one thing I could never get used to: temporary notifications. If you happen to miss a notification, you can lose track of an IM conversation for quite a while.

I eventually got frustrated enough with Empathy (the XMPP support is really lacking, and the whole thing felt buggy to me) to switch to Psi, which led me to another realization: tray icon notifications were now completely useless, and I’d be stuck with Empathy forever, as it seems to be the only one to support the (frustrating) GNOME 3 notifications.

Well, I’ve had enough. I decided to cut the cord two days ago and it’s been smooth sailing since. I’d share some screenshots, but I’ll make it easier for you: it looks exactly like GNOME 2.

While I eventually got frustrated with GNOME 3, it did have some features I liked. Luckily, most of those were easily replaced:

  • Kupfer (http://kaizer.se/wiki/kupfer/) is in the AUR, and is a welcome Gnome-Do/Quicksilver/whatever clone (since GNOME-Do is conspicuously absent in all Arch repositories)
  • xfwm4-tiling (https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=40030) or the patch linked from that package provide the “aero-snap” functionality that Windows 7 Aero and GNOME 3 provide
  • Panels can be tweaked on each monitor to show only open windows (think UltraMon on Windows)
  • I actually tweaked the virtual desktops to match GNOME 3 style, since it interferes with the -tiling patch otherwise
Both XFCE and GNOME 3 aren’t perfect, but it’s actually nice to have a bit of freedom outside of the GNOME 3 workflow-box for the first time in a while. Sure, there’s still some bugs (why do my desktop icons only fit on space common to both monitors?), and sure it looks a tad bit dated (it’s as close to a GNOME 2 ripoff as you can get), but for the first time in a few months, I don’t feel like my desktop environment is choking me.
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