Sunday, 18 March 2007

How to Manually Force a Program to Close

Yes, programs in Linux can crash.

If you need to force a program to close, but are wondering what the heck Kubuntu folks use instead of Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL), try using the terminal instead.

(I suspect there is a GUI like Task Manager kicking around somewhere that you can install, but that would require installing it or finding it. You already have a terminal).

What you need to do is find the Process ID of the program that is running, and then kill that process. First: open a Konsole window. In the window, type
ps -e | grep NameOfProgramYouWantToKill
ps aux | grep NameOfProgramYouWantToKill
Sometimes the name of the program not obvious or not what you expect it to be. In that case, you can just do
ps -e
ps aux
and scroll through the list to find it. Once you find it, you'll notice a number beside it, on the left. Type:
kill number
And hopefully you've shut the right program down. The program should disappear from the taskbar. As always, if you are consistently starting to experience problems with hanging programs, you should try rebooting the computer. If you still experience problems, Google for bugs or an update or patch for the software.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Getting International and Accented Characters in Kubuntu/Linux

I've been practicing my French again. One of my local friends grew up in Québec virtually all his life, and one of my local friends is studying French in Québec for a year. When I chat to them, I like to type the French words as they're meant to be written, which includes the accents.

Anyway, I had fun finding where to switch my keyboard so I could use the layout. In Windows, you do it by switching to an American English International Keyboard layout (Control Panel -> Regional and Language Settings, I believe... not in Control Panel -> Keyboard like you'd expect).

I found where to change it. There are lots of options. In addition to the language settings, there are variants in the language settings (dvorak, international...)

In Kubuntu with KDE, I found it in:
System Settings -> Regional & Accessibility -> Keyboard Layout
For reference:
Ubuntu U.S. International Characters Chart
I'm a Canadian with a normal American keyboard (Microsoft RT2300). I've added several keyboard layouts in the list as I want to mess around to see which one I'm the most comfortable with. I seem to be using U.S. English layout with the variant "international".

You can set up other options by using the tabs in the top (Switching Options Tab with "Show indicator for single layout" checked gives you the list in your taskbar so you can easily switch back and forth between keyboard layouts.

The only difference I notice from Windows is the cedilla. The comma key does NOT give the cedilla. You have to use the RIGHT ALT key, and then type comma. This gives you "ç"

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Sometimes no audio in Firefox pages with Flash

After having my system up and running for a while, I noticed that if I use Amarok and then open Firefox, videos in YouTube would have no sound. I figured this was just a wonky Kubuntu feature until I decided to actually research the problem.

This problem was solved if I would reboot the system and open Firefox and watch videos first (before playing music). The problem still was recurring, though.

Apparently this is more than an ALSA sound driver fight between Firefox and Amarok. It's actually a bug (see link).

How to fix your Firefox audio: open a terminal/console, and type
cd /tmp
mkdir /tmp/.esd
ln -s /tmp/.esd-1000/socket /tmp/.esd/socket