Installing Flock onto the Asus EEE PC
Once you get yours hands on an Asus EEE PC (I've just taken delivery of a black one btw and am using it to write this!) you'll probably find it an incredibly useful tool for keeping up with your work, email and favourite websites. The web however is changing, a set of technologies known as Web 2.0 are changing the web forever, turning it from something that was almost a broadcast medium to a place where everyone can network, share knowledge, opinions, photographs, music, video, ideas, memories and build vibrant communities.
So what would put your EEE at the heart of this changing world? What would improve your experience of Web2.0? A button like ths would:
Most web browsers haven't yet evolved to fully adapted to this emerging new order, but Flock is the exception. Described as a social web browser, it contains tools to integrate with popular Web 2.0 websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and makes a great addition to your EEE. The only problem is that it isn't there as standard and no package is available for it (although there is one for Ubuntu). So for now we have to install it manually and make some changes to the system files ourselves. Now here I will add a disclaimer, be very careful, backup any system files mentioned here, and you try this at your own risk.
The aim here is to install Flock, get it to use the plugins already on the system provided for Mozilla Firefox and add an icon to the easy mode menu. I've provided some files in the archive attached to this post to help you get this set up so download these and extract them to your home directory for later use.
The first thing to do is to make a new directory called 'bin' in your home. Open a terminal and type:
Now we need to make sure that a library that Flock needs to work is installed, the library is called 'libstdc++5' and you can install it with:
sudo apt-get install libstdc++5
If you already have this installed, don't worry, the system will tell you and you can proceed. Next, grab yourself a copy of Flock from their website: http://flock.com/, you should end up with a file named something like 'flock-1.0.5.en-US.linux-i686.tar.gz'. Extract the contents of this archive so that you end up with a directory called 'flock' under the 'bin' directory you created earlier. Flock doesn't need to be compiled, it is ready to run from the install, but needs changing slightly to play nicely with the EEE. Now we need to get Flock to use the Mozilla Firefox plugins provided. We will do that by redirecting Flock's plugins directory entry to point at the Mozilla plugins directory. To achieve this type the following:
mv plugins plugins.old
ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins plugins
Let's launch Flock to check the plugins are available. Type:
..to launch Flock and enter 'about:plugins' into the address bar. You should now see a list of plugins to handle various media formats Java and Flash. Close Flock and now we can work on the menu entry. If you want to add a shortcut to the menu in Advanced Mode you can do this with the KDE menu editor, right click over the "Launch" button to activate it. Easy mode is ironically tricker to set up.
In the archive file attached to this post is a file named flock.desktop, copy this to your flock directory. The other five files are all icon files and need to be copied into /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher, for the system to be able to use them, we must set up the permissions correctly, do this by typing:
sudo chmod 644 /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/*flock*.png
Well we are nearly there, the next step is to tell the system to render our new entry in the Easy Mode menu. The file that controls this is an XML file at: /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/simpleui.rc. I would recommend that you backup this file before modifying it as it can be corrupted leaving your Easy Mode broken.
Add the new icon by making a new entry before the last line ('</simpleui>'), copy this into your file:
<parcel simplecat="Internet" shortcut="/home/user/bin/flock/flock.desktop"
This makes an entry for Flock under the 'Internet' tab. Save the file and then you will need to restart your desktop to see it. You can either reboot or use Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. Now your EEE should be equipped with the latest Web2.0 browser!
* ** UPDATE ***
After using the Add/Remove software button on the Settings panel to update recently, I found that my custom icons disappeared from the Easy Mode menu. This was easily rectified though, on investigation I found that the icon files were still there, but the simpleui.rc file been replaced. The old one had been saved to simpleui.rc.bkup so all I did was restore the old version. Hasn't caused any problems so far. So here is what you do to get your icons back:
sudo mv simpleui.rc simpleui.rc.backup
sudo mv simpleui.rc.bkup simpleui.rc
Then press Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to restart the Easy Mode.
*** ANOTHER UPDATE ***
You might find that Flock can take up a lot of disk space for its cache. You can reduce the maximum amount of disk space that it will use by going to Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network, under that you will see an entry marked "Cache" where you can enter a new figure. Keeping this to 50MB might be a good idea.