The Linux BricsCAD pages, part 4: Tuning Linux

Optimizing your Linux CAD environment. A proper work space means increased speed and optimized working pleasure…


All related parts: 1: Introduction 2: Linux base install 3: More user software 4: Tuning Linux 5: Tuning your software 6: Getting BricsCAD working 7: Publishing your drawings


Position and size taskbar

I think Microsoft did a good job putting it down. Every movement of your head up is a burden on your neck vertebrae, it is more than silly. So you may consider and act:

RMB Panel > Panel Prefs > unlock
LMB move (on handle, edge)
RMB Panel > Panel Prefs > lock

For large monitors, the taskbar is a bit small. Solution:
RMB > Panel Preferences > Tab Display > Row size > 36

Status notifier

The status bar, the most right panel with indicators…

RMB > Panel > Add New Items > Action Buttons, Keyboard Layouts, Screenshot, Show Desktop, Workspace Switcher > Add button > ...

Ordering icons: RMB > Move

Keyboard layouts

Now that you have a panel entry for keyboard layouts, configuration is needed. This depends on where you live. I have an “English (US)” layout and want to add an “English US international with dead keys” layout. For switching I want to use the keys left-ctrl+left-shift – like in Windows. However, if you do that, your ctrl-key becomes corrupted so don’t. Instead, use the win key. So or:

RMB keyboard icon > Keyboard settings


Menu > Settings > Keyboard


Tab Layout > Use system defaults: Off > Add, "English (US, int., with dead keys)" > OK > Change layout option: Left Win > Compose key: Right Win > Close

While stil configuring the keyboard…


The xkill command is great for closing programs that ar not responding. start xkill, Alt-tab to the application and click. However, opening a term, entering xkill, closing term is not handy. Solution:

Keyboard settings > Application shortcuts > + Add > Command: xkill > type keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-Alt-Minus for example).

Tick tock

Optionally change time area Clock:

RMB > Properties: format field > %A, %d-%m-%Y, %T

Font DPI settings

Menu > Settings > Appearance > Tab Fonts > DPI

Have some windows open and play with settings. For example, my 40″ 4k screen is set to 130 dpi. BricsCAD deals reasonably good with it.


Really? Okay, just a bit then, before we discuss things like “ugly”.

Active window themes

A coloured window title bar shows what window has focus. Out of the box, only “Daloa”, “Kokodi” and “Moheli” offer that. See:

Menu > Settings > Window Manager > Tab Style


In general, lots of settings are scattered but can be found under Whisker > Settings. For example, dpi is one but you may want to increase font sizes too – a tab under Appearance. Play around… If you want less fancy, more functionality, contrast:

Menu > Settings > Appearance > Tab Style > Adwaita (dark?)

Icons… Very personal, but functionality is also important. For example, I often work with LibreOffice master documents and “Humanity” has different icons for .odm files. “elementary Xfce dark” is also very distinctive. It is important that buttons are distinctive. Quick visual recognition of actions benefits productivity.

Menu > Settings > Appearance > Tab Icons > elementary Xfce dark


SMB Linux client example

  • Everything as root.
  • Install:
    apt install cifs-utils
  • Obtain the IP number of the server with the name of the share.
    For example,, sharename is “projects” in this example.
  • Create a local directory /data/servername/sharename, for example
    mkdir -p /data/projects
  • Change the rights of sharename to 2770 and owner and group to username. For example
    cd /data/
    chown JanJansen:JanJansen projects/
    chmod 2770 projects/
  • Add the following line to /etc/fstab:
    nano /etc/fstab
    Then, add this line at bottom:
    // /data/projects cifs uid = 1000,gid = 1000,credentials=/etc/samba/user,noexec 0 0
    then ctrl-s and ctrl-x.
    • Using systemd, this link contains this, which may be interesting for laptop use, travellers:
      //host/share /net/share cifs noauto,nofail,x-systemd.automount,,x-systemd.device-timeout=10,workgroup=workgroup,credentials=/foo/credentials 0 0
  • Put data in file /etc/samba/user:
    nano /etc/samba/user
    add this

    then ctrl-s and ctrl-x.


Where Samba is based on SMB technology, reverse engineered Windows server stuff, NFS is for Unix networks.

Tip: Read this for a comprehensive hands-on.

If you don’t need SMB, go for NFS. There are times we go “off grid”. Packed with a data copy we work in a far away country without internet and our (NedCAD) workstations utilize only NFS where one Linux workstation exports the data copy to other Linux clients. Back home, we rsync everything to the main server.

Interesting for military and all other kinds of off grid operations too, but that is outside the scope of this post. If you want to implement it, read for example this post.


Screensavers, power management

Needs probably some testingBold is done in 22.04, italic is NOT done… It may be smart to start with $ xset (see below, turn DPMS off) and then continue with this.

In 19.10 it became a bit confusing. However, it seems safe to state that if you apply settings in “Screensaver”, it overrules the rest of the other – possibly conflicting – settings. So start with the first item below:

Menu > Settings > Screensaver > ...
(Disable Screensaver and Lock Screen)

This leaves you with a system that blanks the screen without locking is (move mouse or press a key to activate).

Menu > Settings > Session and Startup > ... (General > []Prompt on logout > []Lock screen | Appl. Autostart > []Screensaver
Menu > Settings > Power Manager > ... (System > []Lock screen... | Display > []Display power management)
Marker done

But… This does not always work (20.04) and using your search engine gives tons of often useless results. So read on about xset and LightDM…


Command xset is a user preference utility for X-Windows. An overview of current settings can be retrieved with: xset q. So xset s off -dpms turns the screen saver function off and disables Energy Star DPMS features. See man xset for more…


LightDM is the display manager… LightDM starts the X servers, user sessions and greeter (login screen).

What kind of problems can be solved here? Quoted from the TOC:

  • Disabling Guest Login
  • Hiding the User List
  • Allow Manual Login
  • Setting an Automatic Login
  • Changing the Default Session
  • Changing the Greeter
  • Adding System Hooks
  • Changing the Wallpaper
  • Help, I can’t see my Desktop!

More information can be found on the Ubuntu LightDM page.

Dual monitor support

Running into trouble with dual monitor configs, example with two Full HD monitors? Create an executable .sh shell script file, you can add a link to it in “Session and Startup” and or create a launcher (RMB panel). It can contain something like this, tune to your needs, don’t just copy:

xrandr --output VGA-0 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 1920x0 --rotate normal --output DVI-0 --off --output HDMI-0 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal

These kind of scripts come in handy when you change monitor layouts often, laptop with additional monitor and beamer for example.


Continue with part 5: Tuning your software

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