How to disable the new window with "Extract here" in Ubuntu

At some point between Ubuntu 7.04 and 8.10, it seems that the file-roller "Extract here" context-menu item in Nautilus (Ubuntu's file explorer) began opening a new window for the folder that had just been extracted.

I personally find this exceptionally annoying, and have finally looked up how to disable it. It only takes a few simple steps; I have only verified these in 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron), though.

  1. Open gconf-editor (Applications > System Tools > Configuration Editor); you can also run it from the terminal as gconf-editor.
  2. Navigate to the /apps/file-roller/dialogs/extract/recreate_folders section.
  3. Untick the view_destination_folder box, and close gconf-editor.

Ubuntu Karmic/9.10 install issues on ThinkPad T42 (T41, T40, etc.)

I recently had a very frustrating experience trying to install Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) on my old-but-sturdy ThinkPad T42p, and having found no other reports online, I thought I'd write it up.

The CD would boot fine, but (with either the Live CD or the "alternate" CD) when I tried to install, it briefly flashed up something like Starting syslog daemon..., and then the screen went blank, with not even a cursor or TTY, leaving the machine appearing to have crashed.

At first I thought it was a bad disc, or an iffy CD drive (these models are known for it), but after seeing the same result from a few more discs I decided it was more likely to be a video issue. The built-in F1 help was actually useful, and the upshot is that it all worked fine once I pressed F6 and added this to the boot line:


A simple enter then had everything running as expected.

I also wondered whether this apparent hang/crash might have had something to do with the kernel modesetting introduced recently, but passing nomodeset to the boot line made no difference.

(Also curious to note, my admin section tells me that "Cottleston Pie has been active for 3 years, 3 months and 3 days". "In existence" might be fairer to say than "active".)

Behaviour-driven development (BDD) frameworks

Behaviour-driven development (BDD) is an agile development technique, and is a subtle reworking of test-driven development (TDD). Learning about it finally made the concept of TDD "click" for me. People often use the term "test-infected" or "bitten by the testing bug" to describe the feeling that comes from appreciating the power of BDD/TDD, and I'd certainly say that I'm a "sufferer".

The purpose of this post is to compile a list of BDD and TDD frameworks that I've come across, covering several different programming languages. I hope to write up some simple examples of using a few of the frameworks at a later date.

I've heard it said that if you're doing TDD right, then you're already practising BDD, and this made a lot of sense once I understood the reasoning behind BDD. I'll leave further explanation of the differences to the experts.

Without further ado, here's the list:


  • PHPSpec, a fledgling BDD framework for PHP5.2+. The manual is well-organised, and gives a good overview of writing BDD specifications. Its development seems to have stalled at present, unfortunately.
  • Marcus Baker's SimpleTest (TDD). This is the framework for PHP that I have most experience with, and it seems to be the most popular at present. It has a plethora of features, including strong support for mock objects. The manual gives a good overview of the major features.
  • PHPUnit (TDD). I have no experience with this one, but it's one of the most established PHP testing frameworks, and it still seems to be popular. Like SimpleTest, it has plenty of features, and the manual appears to be very thorough.



  • Cgreen (TDD), which is by the same author as SimpleTest. It has a five-minute example of test-driven development with the framework. It was heavily influenced by...
  • The Check framework (TDD), which has a fairly friendly manual. I know even less about this one than Cgreen, sadly.

Both of these projects seem to have been dormant since 2006. The Check manual lists a number of similar projects, but I've not even glanced at those, as I'm still a C newbie.


  • PySpec is the only BDD Python framework I could find, and while it appears to have a good amount of features, development is slow. It has a decent one-page usage guide, a reasonable tutorial, and a code reference with examples.
  • Doctests. I absolutely love these little things. The Python manual section on them is pretty comprehensive. They have a very low barrier to entry, and virtually no learning curve. The advanced features of independent testing frameworks aren't present, however.
  • nose (TDD), as I understand it, wraps Python's included unittest module to provide an interface similar to py.test, which I have no experience with. nose has a mini-manual on its homepage, and a wiki on its Google Code project site.


  • RSpec. I don't really do Ruby (yet), but judging by what I've seen of RSpec, I seriously doubt whether anything else is even worth considering. The Rubyists really seem to get BDD.

SitePoint giveaway

SitePoint are having another book-giveaway, and this time it's The Art & Science of CSS, which I've not read yet -- so this is a good excuse!

The giveaway is valid for 14 days, so grab it while you can if you're interested.

LOLst In Space

I have (hopefully) something more substantial and technology-oriented coming up, but in the meantime, I feel geekily obliged to draw your attention to the fantabulous Bas Astronomy Blog by Phil Plait, Ph.D., and in particular, this recent post regarding black LOLs.

The nerdy jokes in the comments had me on the floor in tears. "Epic win", as I believe the kiddies say these days. ;)

The Python-learning is coming along swimmingly (and at a surprising rate), so that should make more of an appearance in the near future.

 1 2 3 4 Next →


I'm a web developer with a passion for standards, and a strong belief in quality-over-quantity and using the right tool for the job.