Linux Blog

Changing Window Manager on Fedora

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software,Quick Linux Tutorials — at 8:34 am on Monday, August 18, 2008 was intended to be a blog where I could log my thoughts, findings and generally keep track of how to do stuff. Since it was started this is still the goal. Ultimately I’d like to refer to TheLinuxBlog on how to do something just as much as I refer to google for everything else. That being said, one thing that recently came up for me was “How do I change my desktop on Fedora”.

I had done this before but I couldn’t remember the command to do so. Well, since this blog is as much for me as it is for the reader I figure I can post the how to here and kill two birds out with one blog post, I mean stone.

The program I use to change my window manager on Fedora is: switchdesk.

Switchdesk can be installed by Yum or if you installed Fedora from DVD or CD and didn’t fine tune your packages then you probably have it already. All you have to do to run it is type:


Now, if you are in an X session you will get a nice graphical dialog that will help you change your desktop manager. If your at the terminal it will exit and ask you nicely to type either gnome, kde, xfce or any other window manager you may have installed.

Don’t ask me why every distribution has a different named command and interface to achieve the same thing thats just the way it is. Maybe one day I’ll get a list of all of the commands and post them. Alternatively if anyone wants to start a list feel free to post them in comments or by e-mail.

My Problems with Fedora 9

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — at 10:29 pm on Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Now, I know that Fedora is a community based operating system that Redhat just so happens to sponsor but I think there are some major problems with the release. Although I have been called “Bleeding Edge” I don’t think that I am quite there and actually I think I’m far from “Cutting Edge.”
I downloaded Fedora 9 on the day of its release to check it out. I started off by installing it onto a virtual machine. First time around the install failed for no reason, some Python error that I did not feel like debugging. I rebooted the VM , gave it another shot and it worked. The install process was pretty much the same as Fedora 8. I saw some minor differences but nothing that I can remember now. Once installed I fired it up and to say the least performance was not very good. I wanted to check out the KDE4, so I switched over. Nothing, the graphics support for the VMWare Toolbox driver is not good enough to really play with KDE4.

After toying with the Virtual Machine I decided to upgrade a test virtual machine from Fedora 8 to Fedora 9. The process to my surprise went smoothly. This was a vanilla Fedora 8 install with not too many bells and whistles. I administer a number of Fedora boxes and thought that I’d upgrade one that actually had software installed. The upgrade did not work, it failed and gave me an obnoxious error which had nothing to do with the task at hand. When I figure out exactly what the cause of the problem was, or if it is just a hardware issue I’ll report my findings here.

Despite feeling like I had not achieved too much I burned a copy of the DVD and installed it on my Desktop at the office. Its not the fastest machine on the planet but its no creeper. 1GB Ram, NVIDIA graphics and I think the upwards of 2GHz. The install went fine and gnome works great. I did not opt to install my window manager of choice (XFCE) since I was really wanting to play with KDE4. KDE4 installed fine and after switching desktops KDE worked. What’s the first thing I tried? You probably guessed it the Desktop effects. So, I try to enable them. No dice. So “I’ll just install the graphics card driver”
I thought since I know that it didn’t come bundled. This is where my troubles really began. The NVIDIA graphics will not compile on Fedora 9. Fedora 9 uses a version of XORG that has been stable for a while but NVIDIA has decided not to support yet. Thats exactly what you get when a vendor has control over source. Oh well.

I put up with the laggy graphics for a little while and tried to customize KDE. KDE4 to me seemed awfully buggy to be included as the only option for running KDE as a desktop. I happen to use KDE when not using XFCE and am quite happy with the 3.5 tree. My next problem apart was with Firefox. They include Firefox Beta 3, which I am undecided on. It crashed a number of times on me whist browsing since I hadn’t set anything up to do any real work on. I know that we would have to wait for Fedora 10 come out to see KDE4 and Firefox 3 if they were not included now but I didn’t see the legacy versions on the installer. For me Fedora 9 is not quite ready to use in a production environment.

For now I’m going to stick to Fedora 8 whilst providing feedback for 9. The moment that KDE, Firefox and XORG get patched I’m 100% there.

Fedora is not for every one but has any one else had any problems with Fedora 9 or interesting stories to share?

General Linux Kill Process

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software,Quick Linux Tutorials — at 6:38 am on Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Killing a process with Linux is an easy task. As always there is more than one way to do it. There are graphical process managers that can be used to aid in killing a process on Linux. The first method I’ll demonstrate may work depending on your window manager. Either way you can set it up to work the same way if you like it.

The name of the program is xkill. My XFCE has a shortcut of CTRL+ALT+ESC but this may not be the case for every version of XFCE. Basically you press this keyboard shortcut and you get a skull and crossbones. Once you get that you can click on the window of the process you’d like to kill and it kills it.

To use Linux to kill a process from the command line, you can use one of two commands that are pretty standard throughout all Linux Distros the kill, and killall commands. The only real hard part is figuring out what process to kill. To figure out what process I want to kill I use the following command:

 owen@linux-blog:~$ ps ax

then to use kill and killall on Linux I use:

 owen@linux-blog:~$ kill [processid]
owen@linux-blog:~$ killall [processname]

This is pretty straight forward but if you have say multiple FireFoxes open, you may want to just kill the process by using the kill [processid] command, otherwise all of your FireFox windows will probably close since killall kills all processes that match the name, regardless of if they actually are crashed or not.

If the process won’t die, you can use the following to kill it. Be aware that this is not the best thing to do but it will kill the process.

owen@linux-blog:~$ kill -9 [processid]
owen@linux-blog:~$ killall -9 [processname]

Basically instead of killing gracefully you send a SIGKILL to the process which is basically tells it to commit suicide no matter what its currently doing. I’ve listed all of the signals you can send to kill a process at the end of this post.

Another method to kill a process is by using top. Top is an interface that shows you what processes are doing what. You can kill a process (once your in top) by pressing the k key. It then asks you what PID (Process ID) you want to kill. You can figure this out from the list. It then asks what type of signal you want to use. You can use the default first, and then if the process just wont die, you can use 9. Top is useful for killing a bunch of processes in a small amount of time.

List of all signals that you can send:

owen@linux-blog:~$ kill -l
1) SIGHUP       2) SIGINT       3) SIGQUIT      4) SIGILL
5) SIGTRAP      6) SIGABRT      7) SIGBUS       8) SIGFPE
9) SIGKILL     10) SIGUSR1     11) SIGSEGV     12) SIGUSR2
13) SIGPIPE     14) SIGALRM     15) SIGTERM     16) SIGSTKFLT
17) SIGCHLD     18) SIGCONT     19) SIGSTOP     20) SIGTSTP
21) SIGTTIN     22) SIGTTOU     23) SIGURG      24) SIGXCPU
29) SIGIO       30) SIGPWR      31) SIGSYS      34) SIGRTMIN

Slackware-Current Xfce 4.4.2 Updates

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — at 1:33 pm on Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Slackware 12 - Current, Firefox, Xfce 4.4.2 Screenshot.I upgraded my Slackware Box to Slackware-Current yesterday and there are many updated packages. Here is the Slackware Current Changelog.

Included is Xfce 4.4.2, this is the newest Xfce and has many bug fixes and a minor security bug fix in terminal. For the entire list you can look at the Xfce – 4.4.2 changelog

Firefox is in this release which is good because sometimes the current repository contains older versions of Firefox.

The screenshot is just a screenshot of the GetFireFox page. Also, you will notice the nice transparencies feature of Xfce. Click it for the larger version.

Introduction to CHMOD – Octal Format

Filed under: General Linux,Quick Linux Tutorials — at 1:25 pm on Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CHMOD is used to change permissions on a file. There are three types of permissions read, write, execute and there are three types that permissions can be set for owner, group and other.
It can be used with a symbolic representation or with an octal number that represents the bits. This blog post features on just the octal format. CHMOD works on most Linux file systems. It is also used on other operating systems such as BSD. Web designers and developers may be familiar with CHMOD as they have to set permissions when uploading files via FTP.

The octal notation can seem quite confusing but is actually very simple.
To figure out the octal format take the following table:

  Owner Group Other
Read 4 4 4
Write 2 2 2
Execute 1 1 1

To figure out the octal method just add up the sum of what you want to set the permissions to.
If you would like to set the permissions for the owner to read, write execute and the group/other to read and execute you would do the following:

  Owner Group Other
Read 4 4 4
Write 2 2 2
Execute 1 1 1
Add: 7 5 5

Its that simple. The way I remember the numbers to the corresponding permission is to remember that the number starts with 4 and is divided by two and then I repeat the following:
“For Read, Two Write, Execute”
meaning that 4 is read, 2 is write and the last (1) is execute.

There are graphical utilities that set permissions such as Thunar in XFCE and Konqeuror for KDE, but they normally do not allow you to change the permissions on multiple files at once.

If you have a whole directory full of files that you would like to change permissions on, you can simply do:

chmod 755 *

* is a wild card or regex and tells chmod to change permissions on all files.

If you would like chmod to go into directories and change permissions on files, the -R option is used.

chmod 755 -R *

will change permissions on all files and dive into the folders also.

chmod is an absolute must for system administrators and is good to know for home Linux users. If your experimenting with chmod be careful and do not use the -R option unless your absolutly sure you need to. I have accidentally used chmod to recursivly change permissions on a whole drive before. Lets leave it at this was not what I call a fun time since I had changed them to a very open 777.

Take that as your warning.