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 Laughing 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:

Flock Browser button for easy mode

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:

mkdir ~/bin

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:

cd ~/bin/flock
mv plugins plugins.old
ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins plugins

Let's launch Flock to check the plugins are available. Type:

./flock

..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"
icon="flock.png"
selected_icon="flock_hi.png">
<name lang="en">Flock</name>
</parcel>

 

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!

References:
http://wiki.eeeuser.com/howto:customizeeasymode
http://wiki.eeeuser.com/howto:customizeeasymodeicons
http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=2773
http://www.flock.com/faq/show/30#q_9069

* ** 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:
cd /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/
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. 

 

 

 

AttachmentSize
flock-eee-files.tgz98.07 KB

Comments

when you say

` Extract the contents of this archive so that you end up with a directory called 'flock' under the 'bin' directory you created earlier.’

Do you do that just by clicking on the file or is something else involved?

Hi Stuart,

You can extract the contents of the flock archive by right clicking on the file in File Manager and selecting "Extract all". You should then get a new directory called "flock" which you should move into the "bin" directory you created earlier.

Hope this helps!

Liam

ok - nearly there! had to type sudo /usr/bin/XandrosFileManager -caption File\ Manager into console in order to be able to edit the xml file and copy the images tho - not sure why i don't have root permission when i enter file manager normally.

anyway - images are in the right place and xml edited ok - reboot, but no image in the internet tab. hmmm. are you sure the file locations set in the xml are right? does

icon="flock.png"

need to be

icon="/opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/flock.png"

??

The system constructs the file names, you'll notice that the entry for the highlighted file name (the file containing "_hi") is not complete, that is because the system seems to work out what the file name should be, so you don't need the full path. You have to be root to edit or add files to the /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/ directory, so sometimes it is easier to do this from a shell (Ctrl+Alt+T) and use 'sudo' at the start of a command, which means "act as root". Did you also copy the flock.desktop file to /home/user/bin/flock/ ?

Thanks for the info, but I get a seg fault:

/home/user/bin/flock> ./flock
./run-mozilla.sh: line 131: 14601 Segmentation fault "$prog" ${1+"$@"}

The area round line 131 is:
moz_run_program()
{
prog=$MOZ_PROGRAM

And just to be sure...

/home/user/bin/flock> sudo apt-get install libstdc++5
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
libstdc++5 is already the newest version.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 90 not upgraded.

I'm a relative linux newbie - any ideas what might cause this?
PS - I was in advanced mode, but switched to basic mode, but still got this.

Hi Jonathan,

I haven't come across this myself, but Paul Freeman who linked to this article in his blog did have a problem and solved it. Check out his notes at: http://protocol80.net/?p=11. He recommends running Flock with:
GTK_IM_MODULE=xim ./flock

(you should be in the same directory as the flock browser before running the above).

It seems this disables SCIM, which is a utility to help input a diverse range of characters found in many different languages on a keyboard. More details are here: http://www.scim-im.org/wiki/faq/gtk_gnome/why_firefox_mozilla_acrobat_re...

If that works, try adding a line to run_mozilla.sh after MOZ_PROGRAM="" (at about line 44) that says:
GTK_IM_MODULE=xim

You should then be able to use Flock normally.