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On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How to Get Started with Linux, Part VII

Some Linux Tips

A View to a Kill
Sometimes, an application program may simply lock up because of a bug - it will not respond to the mouse or keyboard. In such a situation, the only thing you can do is kill the program.

Under Linux, pressing Ctrl-Alt-Esc (that is to say, holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys simultaneously and pressing Esc) will change the mouse pointer to a little skull and crossbones. Move the pointer to the application window that you want to kill and click the mouse. The program dies. Needless to say, you must be VERY CAREFUL with this!

Alternatively, you can press Ctrl-Esc to bring up the Task Manager window, which lists all the running processes on your computer. This is a more arcane method, as you must locate the process associated with your application, select it and press the "Kill" button.

Dressed to Kill
One of the very nice things about the KDE desktop is that it is "themable" - that is to say, you can personalize its appearance. For example, you can change the "window decorations" to satisfy your taste (window decorations include the minimize and maximize buttons, the close button, etc.).

Open the Control Center and click on "Appearance & Themes." Here, you can customize the desktop to your heart's content. One note of caution: If you like the SUSE lizard wallpaper, note that it is only available with the "SUSE_Default" theme. So, if you change themes with the Theme Manager, this particular wallpaper will no longer be available. If you just want to play with window decorations, I recommend doing this individually by clicking on "Window Decorations."

You can also change the power management settings for your monitor by clicking on "Peripherals," and then "Display," and then on the "Power Control" tab. This can be done in conjunction with your Screen Saver settings.

Licence to Kill
Although viruses are not yet a major problem for Linux, you may want to get a head start on virus protection. Download AVG Free for Linux from here and save it, say, to your Home folder. Then from Konqueror, click on the RPM file and click on "Install Package with YaST." The installed program will be found under Utilities->More Programs.

Kill Bill
For those who don't like either Firefox or Konqueror, there is another browser that I find quite interesting. It's called Opera and you can download it from here. Using Konqueror, click on the RPM file and "Install Package with YaST." (Opera is also available for Mac OS X and Windows. I hope this hurts Bill Gates, who's intent on Internet domination with IE.)


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