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FE System


an old retired guy
who has a hard time keeping up with email

(and web page updates, and birthdays, and anniversaries,
and paperwork, and home maintenance, and car maintenance, and ...)

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FE Home page > This FE Contact page

! Note ! The contact info (and the operating system info)
here may be added to or revised occasionally--- until
the old retired guy passes away.
(Passing away is one more reason to make this an open system
--- with code and liberty and justice available to all.)

The FE system CONTACT person (brief bio) :

The components of the FE (Freedom Environment) system have been developed and used in the 2006 to 2016-plus timeframe by a guy retired from over 30 years of programmer/analyst work in three different manufacturing industries. The last 22 of those years were spent doing installation and support of mechanical engineering software systems in 2 manufacturing industries --- farm equipment and ship building.

Since his usage of the evolving FE system components was on his home Linux PC's (and he did not seriously migrate to do most of his computer work on Linux until 2009), he did not try to get the software into a well-organized form that was suitable for relatively efficient maintenance and update --- and suitable for release to the public --- until 2010.

He also needed to devise a simple install technique --- which he did in 2010. He wanted to provide an install procedure that was simply a click (on an executable) --- like clicking on a Linux Package Manager GUI, or using a Macroshaft Windoze self-installing executable. NOT a series of 'configure' and 'make' commands done at the command line.

Although this author loves having the option of a powerful command line, that configure-make stuff sounds like something out of the 1960's, when they still used punched cards as input to computers. (He was there!)

In 2010 (and beyond), the author is assembling the FE components into releasable form --- in a staged, subsystem-by-subsystem fashion. And he has devised a method of making self-extracting install scripts, to make installation as easy as on Macroborg Windohs, Mac OS Ten-point-Leopard and other OSes. FE installations are basically done with a 'setup.exe' file --- or 'setup.sh' might be a better nickname for the shell script.

    (Actually, the name of the install scripts is longer than 'setup.sh'. A subsystem name and release date are put into the name of the install scripts.)

On Operating Systems :

Please note that I have no plans to port (and test) any of the FE subsystems to another OS, like a Mac or Microsoft OS. And I have no plans to internationalize the text in these subsystems. I leave that to others.

    Since the Mac OS X operating system is based on a Unix/Linux-like system (FreeBSD), the shell scripts and Tcl-Tk scripts of the 'xpg', 'feAppMenus', and 'tkGooies' systems --- and even the 'feNautilusScripts' system --- will probably run on Mac OS X with very little change required, if any. But I do not have a Mac computer to try installing the four subsystems on Mac OS X. If I find that someone has installed any of these subsystems successfully on their Mac system, I will make a note of that here.

In my remaining years, I will have plenty to do just adding to and enhancing these subsystems. And since Linux is now my main OS, all my development will be on that OS --- and probably on Ubuntu Linux releases, for the forseeable future (unless Ubuntu or Gnome really screw up, like Mandriva and KDE did --- and release a lot of poorly-tested, brain-damaged, resource-hogging code).

    2011Apr UPDATE: Well, it looks like Ubuntu has screwed up, as far as I'm concerned. (And Gnome may have partially screwed up with Gnome 3.)

    I like a good desktop environment, since that is where I do most of my app development. Also, I do most of my checking of email on my desktop machine ... and I do a lot of my info-gathering via a web browser on my desktop machine. But Ubuntu (Canonical Inc.) has decided to make the 'desktop' look like the navigation-by-icons layout on an iPhone or an iPad.

    I need to use a precision pointing device, like a mouse --- NOT a blunt, oily pointing device, like the ends of my fingers. For example, I need to precisely select points in images in the 'mtpaint' image editor program.

    And I am constantly dealing with directories containing close to 100 files or more. I cannot be waiting for hundreds of icons to show up, representing those files. And I cannot waste time trying to pick out, from a closely-packed list of filenames, a filename using my relatively-large, blunt, oily finger on my computer screen.

    Ever since Ubuntu announced this fingertip-favoring direction in 2010, the hits for the 'distro' Linux Mint on DistroWatch.com have been rising to the level of Ubuntu. Linux Mint is a close number 2 to multi-year number 1 Ubuntu, on the early 2011 DistroWatch hit lists.

    The Linux Mint releases for 2007 to 2010 have been based on Ubuntu releases, but, apparently, there are many in the Linux Mint community and in the Ubuntu community who are concerned about this 'finger-oriented-interface-for-everyone' direction of Canonical Inc. and its overlord (a generic title name since his exact title may change), Mark Shuttleworth.

    Credit goes to 'Clem', the main developer of Linux Mint, for choosing to stay with Gnome 2.x for the time being, rather than leap onto the recent first-time releases of alternative desktop environments --- Ubunutu 'Unity' and Gnome 3.0.

    'Clem' (Clement Lefebvre) is working on a Linux Mint version still based on Ubuntu 11.04 (= 2011-April) --- the netbook/iPad/iPhone-oriented Ubuntu release using 'Unity', BUT ...

    'Clem' plans to NOT use the new Ubuntu 'Unity' interface --- and reportedly plans to avoid the similar, new 'Gnome Shell' interface of Gnome 3. He plans to stay with Gnome 2.x for the time being.

    AND ... some Linux Mint worker bees, working under the direction of 'Clem', have created a 'Linux Mint Debian Edition' (LMDE) distro, circa 2011 Jan, based directly on Debian rather than on Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu is based on Debian. LMDE is a Linux Mint distro that now cuts out the Ubuntu middle-man while adding user-friendly components to Debian (not adhering to the draconian Debian philosophy of not allowing a single shred of non-open software in the Debian distro).

    The recent release of Debian 6 (about 2 years after Debian 5) also is staying with Gnome 2.x for the time being (presumably, at least 2 more years --- 2011 to 2013).

    I will probably be migrating to Debian or LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) or some other Nautilus-script-capable distro --- non-Unity and non-Gnome3 --- preferably using the Debian application package manager (which leaves out RedHat-based distros like CentOS) --- preferably a distro with an approach similar to that of 'Clem', developer of Linux Mint:

    • a user-friendly operating system (OS)

    • an OS that has a nice mix of GUI apps and utilities --- including a GUI utility that makes network connection (and dis-connection) easy and fast

    • an OS having a powerful command line (that is, shell and Tcl-Tk script development) capability

    • an OS with Nautilus or some other file manager that has the 'select-files-and-right-click-to-pick-a-script-to- apply-to-the-files' capability.

      Unfortunately, CentOS uses RPM packages rather than DEB packages, which I prefer. (And CentOS seems oriented more toward servers than desktops.) I prefer a Debian-based distro, because Debian does a good job of building packages for thousands of handy apps and utilities.

      I will not even consider Fedora, another RPM-based and RedHat-related Linux 'distro'. Fedora developers were responsible for the terribly poorly implemented 'Linpus Linux' that was provided with Acer netbooks. That version of Linux, along with other poor netbook Linux implementations (such as a Xandros Linux offshoot on Asus or other netbook brands), led to the downfall of Linux on netbooks. That left a bad taste in my mouth for Fedora.

      Linux Mint looks like my best choice for an Ubuntu replacement. But the Linux Mint forum is not staffed by the same quality of support people as the Ubuntu forums. And if 'Clem' gets hit by a bus, I fear for what follows. He does not have a very deep staff of super-capable Linux developers to back him up.

      So I may end up going to a Debian release next, rather than LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition).

    In addition to concerns about the direction of Ubuntu, I have concerns about the direction of Gnome 3 compared to Gnome 2. (Gnome 3 is getting an iPhone/iPad look, like Ubuntu with Unity.) In particular, what is going to happen to Nautilus and the rather unique (and very POWERFUL) Nautilus Scripts capability??

    For example, after much Googling, I still (even after the recent release of Gnome 3) can't find if I am going to have to switch my Nautilus scripts from a


    directory for Gnome 2 to a


    directory for Gnome 3.

    Or are the Gnome 3 developers going to use some other directory location? AND will they screw up the select-file(s)-and-


    capability of Nautilus?

    Some Gnome users have pointed out that some of the tasks they quite frequently perform will now take more clicks in Gnome 3. This is a very discouraging set of developments.

    Sheeeez!! It's getting to be like MS-Windows releases --- just moving things around (and hiding and eliminating very useful things) without adding any real improvements.

    If Gnome developers screw up the Nautilus-scripts capability of Nautilus in future releases (or abandon Nautilus for some other file manager without that capability), I will have to write my own file manager with that 'right-click-and-run-script-on-selected-files' capability --- using Tcl-Tk. (See 2011sep16 UPDATE note below.)

    Sheez! There are more important things than imitating Apple 'surface effects', ubuntu-and-gnome-developer-people. You don't seem to appreciate what you have in Nautilus. In all the articles describing Gnome 3, I have seen nary a word on Nautilus. That just stinks. It's just really sad what these developers --- and the Linux pundits --- value most highly.

    2011sep16 UPDATE:
    A file navigator-selector to 'run-script-on-selected-files' is RELEASED! --- in the new 'feHandyTools' subsystem. I can't say DONE (rather than RELEASED), because, in coming months, there may be a few tweaks to the GUI's --- and to the procedures --- of the 'select-file(s)-and-select-script-to-run-on-the-files' utility.

    Now I have an alternative if the Gnome-3 developers screw up Nautilus or abandon Nautilus as they concentrate on making the Gnome desktop fit their definition of pretty.

    2015dec28 UPDATE:
    The 'tkGooies' system is replacing the 'feHandyTools' system. A new, improved 'file-navigator-to-run-a-selected-script-on-selected-files' utility is available in the 'tkGooies' system --- in the 'FILEmanagers' toolchest.

    A description of this utility (composed of two main file-selector Tk GUI's) is provided at this 'tkScriptApplicator' description page.

    2012apr26 UPDATE: Now that the MATE desktop environment project has forked the Gnome 2.x system (the file manager, the image viewer, and several other utilities) --- and with its 1.2 release has worked out many of the initial bugs, here is the place you can move the 'feNautilusScripts' directories so that they will work with the 'Caja' file manager (which is their port of Nautilus):


    Just be sure to edit the file


    to put the caja-scripts directory name within that 'shell-include' file.

    Note that MATE is being released (in 2012) in multiple versions of Linux Mint, and there are forum threads related to installing MATE on various versions of Linux, including Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and others.

Email address :

The FE releases were just starting in late August 2010. In mid-October 2010, the author established an email account

    freedomenv gg mm aaA iiII llLLL DAUGHT cc ooo mmmm

for those who wish to give feedback --- or for those who wish to find out how to send small donations to support development of the subsystems --- for example, in a case where a user has a particular 'feature-want' that I could fulfill without too much labor.

    Some small donations (a few dollars) would also be useful to help maintain this web site. My host, 1and1.com, raised the rates, again, in early 2011 --- no doubt largely rationalized based on their costs in providing lots of web development utilities --- which I never use!! If they raise the rates again, at about a 20% annual rate, within the next year or two, I will probably have to look for another web host.

If this email account results in ridiculous amounts of spam --- nay, just moderate amounts of spam (which seem like a boatload to this spam-sensitized, spam-allergic person), I will switch to snail-mail and a Post Office box address.

    By the way, there may be some periods in which I do not check that email address for a couple of weeks (or months) --- or more. After all, I'm retired.

Cheers, from the East Coast of the United States.

Bottom of the FE System CONTACT page.

FE = Freedom Environment

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Thanks to the developers of 'glabels'. That application made
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Page was created 2010 Aug 23. Page was changed 2012 Apr 26.
Page was changed 2015 Dec 28. (Added notes on 'tkGooies' and 'tkScriptApplicator'.)
Page was changed 2017 Jan 05. (Updated 'business' card to add 'tkGooies'.)