rpmdb issues

Today on a RedHat server at work, I ran into an issue trying to clear the yum cache. The upshot of the error I got was that the RPM database was corrupted. Here’s how to fix it.

# cd /var/lib/rpm
# mkdir backup
# mv __db* backup/
# rpm --quiet -qa
# rpm --rebuilddb
# yum clean all

Thanks to this blog post for the solution.

GRUB and Windows

I keep my Windows installation around for a few reasons, and today I finally bothered to add it to my GRUB menu for convenience. I ran into a couple of gotchas, so here is the process on an Arch-based system.

The first thing to do is run os-prober. This should return the Windows installation like so:

sudo os-prober
/dev/nvme0n1p1@/efi/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi:Windows Boot Manager:Windows:efi

Next, a step that’s missing from many guides: /etc/default/grub needs the following line:


You may already have this line set to “true,” so just set it to “false” in that case.

Finally, run grub-mkconfig and the item should be added to the grub menu. Out on the internet, you’ll see references to grub-update. This is just a wrapper for grub-mkconfig and does not exist on Arch.

Additionally, I loaded up grub-customizer to remove extraneous entries. This is optional, but it’s an easy way to edit grub and keep the menu clean. You can do other stuff with this tool such as changing the background image, so have fun with that.

pacman -S grub-customizer

EDIT: This thread is where I found the “missing” step.

EDIT 9/24/2022: As a result of some issues following the great Arch/grub debacle of 2022, I have stopped using grub-customizer at all and no longer recommend it.

Fixing web video issues

When all of my web browsers suddenly stopped playing YouTube videos properly, I actually got so frustrated that I flipped back to Windows for a while. Windows, in turn, frustrated me enough to work on the problem some more.

The issue was that videos would work upon opening the browser, but eventually would not play at all. I could force the issue to present itself by trying to play a video in private browsing; videos would not play in this mode, and after attempting it, would not play in normal mode either. I tried other browsers and nothing worked, so I knew it was a system problem.

Oddly enough, the cause turned out to be PulseAudio. I found several Reddit posts (including this one) that suggested replacing it with PipeWire would fix it. At first I wrote this off as ridiculous, but I tried it anyway, and everything went back to normal.

On Arch-based distros:

pacman -S pipewire-pulse

You might need to work through some conflicts with your package manager.

PipeWire is supposedly better than PulseAudio anyway, so don’t be afraid to try this. I have had no issues with audio since doing this.

Cinnamon System Sounds

My sound has been working perfectly fine on EndeavourOS, except for the lack of Cinnamon system sounds. After a couple of failed attempts to find the answer to this problem, I finally located it in the ArchWiki.

All I had to do was:

yay -S mint-artwork

Note: There was a conflict with lightdm packages, but lightdm appears to still work fine. I had a problem with the webkit greeter theme I was trying to load (glorious), but that may not be related. I use sddm anyway, and that was unaffected.

Restart Cinnamon

I spent way too long looking for this shortcut today. Lots of people suggest Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, the traditional X restart combination, but it doesn’t work for me in Cinnamon. Others suggest CLI methods, which is fine, but not what I was after. I knew there was a shortcut that reloaded the desktop without interrupting anything running.

Ctrl+Alt+Esc is the one that does this.

Thanks to a downvoted answer on this thread.

Customizing Cinnamon window buttons

I decided to daily-drive Cinnamon for a while. It’s been good to me so far, but I was missing one option that I was used to from other environments.

Apparently, Cinnamon used to have options for customizing window buttons in the settings, but it was removed in Linux Mint 19.3 (theoretically for the reason of simplifying the options). So we can change whether the buttons are on the left or right side, but we can’t add or remove individual buttons.

I personally like to remove the maximize button. I’ll have to install dconf-editor to do it. Should I keep explaining how to install stuff? Is anyone reading these?


pacman -S dconf-editor

If you’re using Mint (or another Debian-based distro):

sudo apt install dconf-editor

Once installed and launched, the path in dconf-editor is:
org / cinnamon / desktop / wm / preferences / button-layout

Click on that and go down to the bottom. Untoggle “Use default value” and set the “Custom value.” Think of the colon as the title in the center. In my case, the text to use was “:minimize,close” because screw the menu button as well.

Thanks to this thread in the Mint forums.

Fixing Qt apps in Xfce

In environments besides KDE, Qt apps stick out like a sore thumb as they don’t respect your theme. I spent some time trying to fix this with Kvantum but it didn’t seem to work. After what I declared to be a long enough time putting up with it, today I finally found this page that explains qt5ct is the solution.

To summarize, first get Kvantum and qt5ct. For Arch-based distros like mine:

sudo pacman -S kvantum-qt5 qt5ct

Then you can apply a theme in Kvantum Manager. It’s worth noting that you can likely download a theme that matches what you’re using for GTK if there isn’t one built-in.

It’s also worth noting that this doesn’t work yet. Open up qt5ct (itself a Qt app; note the style of the window) and change the “Style” dropdown to “kvantum” and hit “Apply.” Wait a moment and you’ll see the qt5ct window change before your very eyes! Now you can open Qt apps without blinding yourself.

Customizing GNOME

As someone who prefers a traditional taskbar to whatever you call GNOME’s default experience, heavy customization is in order.

First, we need the component that makes extensions work, as explained here. I’m on EndeavourOS, so the AUR comes in handy.

yay -S chrome-gnome-shell

Now we can go to extensions.gnome.org and add the browser extension. Once that’s done, we can enable all the extensions we want. “Dash to Panel” gives us the taskbar. I find “ArcMenu” essential as well. If you also hate the overview showing up every time you log in, “No overview at start-up” is for you.

There, job done! But we can do a lot more with extensions. Grab the “User Themes” extension and continue.

I’m using this theme. I installed it by cloning the git repo and running the install script. There are other ways to get themes installed, but basically they need to end up in ~/.themes so the extension can load them.

Get gnome-tweaks installed. This one is in the official repo for me, but I still use yay. You can do what you like.

yay -S gnome-tweaks

Then open up Tweaks and choose “Appearance.” Mainly “Applications” and “Shell” need to be changed here. If you got matching icons or cursors, you can set them here as well.

More extensions? How about “OpenWeather” and “Blur my Shell?” I also like “Dash to Dock” if you’re more into a macOS style dock.

With all that done, I can finally use GNOME without getting a headache.


Here is my conky config.


It’s based on this one.

It doesn’t do anything fancy, but it sure does display a lot of useless information in one handy place.

I got the Blade Runner font from dafont.com. The others came from 1001fonts.com.

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