by March 15, 2002 0 comments

How can I move an open window from one virtual desktop to another?

How can I create desktop shortcuts?

Where can I get help if I get stuck somewhere?

How can I give my desktop a familiar Windows look?

How can you create a boot disk on Linux?

How do I add applications to my KPanel and
KMenu?

How do I close hung applications?

How can I play audio CDs?

How do I change my audio settings?

How do I change my screen savers, desktop themes and wallpapers?

How can I change the display resolution?

How can I change the display resolution?

How can I set the date and time?

How can I set the date and time?

How do I install/uninstall or upgrade Linux apps?

Installing a Linux application

Upgrading an application

Uninstalling an application

How do I shutdown and restart my Linux machine?

What is an RPM?

What are SRPMs?

How do I install from sources?

How can I move an open window from one virtual desktop to another?
By default, Linux gives four virtual desktops to open different applications/windows. If you want to send an open window from one desktop to another, right-click on the window’s title bar. This opens a drop-down menu. Select To Desktop and choose the desktop you want to send it to. 

How can I create desktop shortcuts?
Right-click on the desktop and go to Create new>Link to application. In the window that pops up, in the ‘General’ tab, specify a name for the shortcut. Click on the wheel icon on the left to select a different icon for the shortcut. In the Execute tab, click on browse and select the application you want to run. Most applications will be in usr/bin directory (/bin for root user). There are a number of other parameters you can specify here, which can be ignored for the moment. Your shortcut will now appear on the desktop. This way, you can create shortcuts only for applications. 

Another quick way of creating shortcuts is to go to the file or directory you what the shortcut for in file manager, and drag it with the mouse to the location where you want the shortcut. When you release the mouse, a menu opens up with three options–Copy here, Move here and Link here. Select Link here to create the shortcut. This way, you can create shortcuts to any file or directory, anywhere.

Where can I get help if I get stuck somewhere?
If you happen to get stuck somewhere, don’t worry. There are a number of ways to get help. The first of these is KDE’s own help files. Clicking on your KMenu and choosing Help can access these. Here you can search for the things you are specifically looking for. 

The next place is under the Documentation tab in your KMenu. Here you’ll find the Linux HOW-TO articles, and lots of other useful guides. 

On PCQLinux 7.1, on the desktop you will find three icons–PCQuest Linux Articles, Linux@IBM, Indian Linux Community. Clicking on any of these will open up a corresponding website, where you can search for what you are looking for, and also browse through the articles that are already available there.

If you get stuck with any command while working in the Terminal, (the Linux command line), then you can use the man command to get help.

The syntax of the man command is: man command_name
where command_name is the command for which you need help, for example man ls gives you help on the ls command. 

How can I give my desktop a familiar Windows look?
There are a number of things you can do in Linux to make your desktop look and act more like the Windows desktop that you are used to. The first of these is to change the complete look and feel of your application windows. To do this, right-click anywhere on the title bar of any open window. This will open up a drop-down menu, in which you choose Decoration, and then Win 2K. If you are used to say, Solaris and not Windows, then you can choose RISC OS here. 

To make changes to your KPanel (similar to the Windows taskbar), right-click on anywhere on your KPanel where there is empty space, that is, not on the application icons or desktop numbers. Choose ‘Setting’ from the menu that comes up. Under the General tab, change the Panel size to Small, and enable the Automatic hide option. As an extra, you can also specify the time after which your panel will hide itself. 

You can also add volume control on your K Panel, just like in Windows or the MacOS. To do this right-click on your KPanel, select Add/Applet, and choose KMix Applet. 

You can also change your desktop wallpaper to any graphic you want (if it is a BMP, you will have to convert it to TIF or JPEG first). Now right-click anywhere on your desktop and select Configure Background. Click on the Wallpaper tab and browse to the location of the image file that you want to use as your Wallpaper. Like in Windows, you can choose between various wallpapers modes such as tiled, centered etc. Click Apply and you’re done.

As an extra, you can choose multiple wall papers here and cycle through them at fixed intervals that you set up. Also, each virtual desktop can have a different wallpaper.

How can you create a boot disk on Linux?
A boot disk for Linux serves two primary purposes. First, if your computer is unable to boot from the installation CD (some older computers face this problem), you can create a boot disk and start your installation using that. Second, in case you ever inadvertently erase or overwrite your MBR (a windows install will do this), a boot disk can help you boot into Linux and restore
lilo.

To create a boot disk in DOS, insert your Linux CD and shift to the dosutils directory. Next, use the rawrite utility to copy the boot image to a floppy disk.

D:\> cd dosutils
D:\dosutils> rawrite
Enter disk image source file name: \images\boot.img
Enter target diskette drive: a:\
Put a formatted diskette into drive A: and press —ENTER- :

And wait for the write to be complete to get your boot disk.

How do I add applications to my KPanel and KMenu?
The KPanel is a convenient place from where you can quickly launch frequently used applications. It is very similar to the taskbar in Windows. To add applications to it, right-click on your KPanel, select Panel Menu/Add and then Button. This will open a menu similar to your KMenu, from which you can choose the application for which you want to create the shortcut button. Also under the Add Tab, you’ll find an option called Applet. This lets you add various applets like a news ticker, clock or volume control to your KPanel. To remove a particular shortcut from the KPanel, simply right-click on it and select Remove. 

To add or remove applications to your KMenu, right-click on your KPanel, select Panel Menu and then Menu Editor. This opens up the KDE Menu Editor, which shows your KMenu on the left. 

You can now click on each program group such as Games or Utilities and see the applications under them. Simply right-click and select Delete on the application you want to remove. To add an application, select the group under which you want it to reside, by clicking on it. You can also create your very own group by clicking on the New Submenu icon on the top toolbar. Now click on the New Item icon in the toolbar, and give your item a name. You’ll also have to give the full path to where the executable of the corresponding application lies. In most cases you’re
likely to find your executable files in the /bin or /usr/bin folder. 

How do I close hung applications?
Windows has the famous Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination to shutdown applications or programs that have crashed. What this does is send a ‘kill’ signal to the process and all its threads so as to terminate them and thus free up system resources. Win NT, 2000 and XP users would be familiar with the Task Manager from where you can do this. KDE provides a similar application called the KDE System Guard. 

Press ‘Ctrl+Esc’ to invoke the KDE System guard. You can also invoke the System guard from the KMenu, from the System menu item.

The System guard gives comprehensive information about the running or sleeping processes and the amount of system resources they are using. Each running process also has a unique identifier called the PID (Process ID). A better way of understanding this is to switch to ‘Tree’ view in KDE System guard. Select the erring process name and right click on it.

Choose ‘Select all child processes’ and hit the ‘Kill’ button in the lower part of the System guard window. And you are done.

How can I play audio CDs?
The CD player in KDE is located under Multimedia in your K Menu. It has most of the features which other software CD players have, and getting used to it shouldn’t be a problem. It also has a configuration window, which lets you change things like LCD color, background color, docking options and more. This can be accessed by clicking on the small icon showing a hammer and a screwdriver.

Once you insert the CD and close the tray, bring up the CD player and start it off. If you want it to play the CD automatically, then, click on the hammer and screwdriver icon (kscd configuratio) icon, select the kscd options tab in the window that opens, and enable the ‘play on tray close option’. 

You need to have the CD player application running when the tray is closed, for this to work.

How do I change my audio settings?
Your audio settings can be adjusted using a simple utility called Sound Mixer. You will find it under the Multimedia tab of your KMenu. This will open up a small window, which shows you the current level of your Main volume, Microhone, Line-In, CD Audio etc., which can all be adjusted easily by simply holding and dragging. If you want a small volume icon next to your clock, click on settings and choose configure
KMix.

Now put a tick next to Dock into Panel. 

How do I change my screen savers, desktop themes and wallpapers?
The Control Center is a central place from where you can carry out all the above functions. Fire up the Control Center from your KPanel (the fourth icon in your KPanel). Click on the Look and Feel Tab. In the sub-menu that opens up, locate Background. Here you can change your background color, and select a wallpaper. 

Next click on the Screen saver tab. This opens up a list of screen savers, from which you can choose the one you want. You can also set the time after which the screen saver will run, and also specify a password, which will be required to get out of a screen saver. 

Similarly for themes, click on the Theme Manager Tab, and choose from the list of themes. If you click on the Contents tab of a particular theme, them you can specify particular areas like icons, wallpaper which you don’t want to change after the new theme takes over. Many sites (like
www.kde-look.org) also let you download additional themes. These files will usually have a .ktheme extension. Once downloaded you can add it by clicking on the Add button in the Theme Manager itself. You’ll have to browse to the location where you have downloaded it. 

Note: Windows themes will not work on Linux.

How can I change the display resolution?
The resolutions that will be available to you, can be specified during your Linux installation. When your display card is being configured, choose multiple resolutions and color depths from the select video modes menu (ensure that all of them are supported, by testing them). Alternatively, you may type ‘Xconfigurator’ in a terminal window after installation and choose more resolutions. 

Once this is done, to switch resolutions, use the ‘Ctrl+Alt’ key combination with + or — (for increasing and decreasing resolution) from the numeric keypad. 

Note however that switching to a higher resolution will increase the overall screen size rather than ‘squeezing’ the desktop into the available screen area. This appears more like ‘zooming’ your desktop, and you move to areas of the desktop outside your
monitor using the mouse. 

How can I set the date and time?
When you login and start KDE, your clock will be at the right-hand bottom corner of your screen, in the same position where it is found in Windows, on the KPanel (similar to the task bar). If you have too many items on the panel, you may have to scroll the panel to the right to see the clock. KDE allows you not only to change your date and time, but also to choose from different styles of clocks and display formats. Right-click on your clock. This will open up a menu with five options. 

Let’s take a quick look at what all you can do here. The first option is type, which lets you choose between digital, analog and a fuzzy clock. The fuzzy clock shows the time in words for example as in ten past nine. The next option is preferences. This lets you make finer adjustments to the clock you have chosen. You can change its color, the fonts and choose to show the date as well. The third option ‘Adjust date and time’ is where you get to actually change your time and choose your time zone. For example, in India, then you would choose Asia/Calcutta (you would have already done that during installation). The next option lets you change the format in which your time and date is displayed. And finally, the last option lets you copy the present date and time to the clipboard from where it can be pasted into other applications like
KWord. 

How do I install/uninstall or upgrade Linux apps?
Once you have a Linux system running, you will sooner or later want to install more software. In Windows these tasks are performed by the Windows installer, which can be accessed through the Add/Remove Programs applet in Control Panel. Linux applications are bundled into something called RPM (RedHat Package Manager) packages and then installed, upgraded or deleted through the KDE Package Manager. 

Installing a Linux application
To install a Linux application you first need to find (download) a RedHat RPM for the same. From the Konqueror File Manager, click on the downloaded RPM file. This will launch the Package manager and show you a window titled ‘kpackage’. The left frame of the window, titled ‘PACKAGES’ shows the application name, which will be installed. Clicking on the Install button will install the RPM package. Errors, if any, during installing the RPM are showed in the right frame. You might frequently come across something called a ‘Dependency Problem’ while installing a RPM. This means the application you are trying to install requires some other applications to be preinstalled on the system. This is similar to games on Windows requiring DirectX to be preinstalled. In case of such errors you must first install the RPM of the latter application. 
If the application has been successfully installed, a dialog box with the application name along with its version will pop up. Press on the ‘OK’ button in the dialog box to continue. The dialog box, which pops up after the RPM has been installed, may be titled as ‘Error …’. However, the application will be installed successfully. So just ignore this bug.

Upgrading an application
To upgrade an application, follow the same steps as for ‘Installing a Linux Application’. By default the ‘Upgrade’ check box is marked so the application will be automatically upgraded if an earlier version is installed. Upgrading an RPM is nothing but removing the old RPM and installing the new application. 

Uninstalling an application
Launch ‘Package Manager’ from K>System> Package Manager. Click on File>Find Package. Enter the name of the package you want to uninstall. When you press on ‘Find’, the application you want to uninstall will be highlighted among the list of all the packages. Click on the ‘Uninstall’ button in the right frame. This will pop up another window with the name of the application you want to uninstall. Clicking on the ‘Uninstall’ button in this window will remove the application from your system. Note that if some another applications on the system depend upon the application you want to uninstall then you will get an error message in the right frame. In such case, it is not a good idea to uninstall the application since the depending application will not work. 

How do I shutdown and restart my Linux machine?
You can shutdown and restart your Linux machine from pretty much the same place as in Windows. Click on your KMenu button and select Logout. This can also be used to switch between users, in case multiple people use that same machine. You can now choose to either log in again as a different user, shutdown your machine, restart your machine or go into the command line mode. The last option is similar to restart in DOS mode option in Windows. 

Another option you get here is to restart the X Server. If you face problems with your GUI, like it not refreshing properly, then you need to restart your X Server.

What is an RPM?
How is an application developed? First the code for the application is written. Then the code is compiled which results in the binary application files. These binary application files are then copied on to the machine on which the application is intended to run, in the right directories. RPM technology accomplishes this last task. RPM is a scheme developed for packaging binary application files and copying them into appropriate locations on a Linux system for deployment. This is similar to the Windows Installer in Windows. RPM files have a .rpm extension. 

A Linux distribution–on which RPM applications can be installed–is called an RPM-based distribution like PCQLinux 7.1, RedHat, SuSE or Caldera. An RPM database of installed applications is also maintained on the system. This database keeps a track of the installed RPM applications, description of the application, the location of files in each package etc. This is used to check what all applications are installed in the system and to uninstall them–remove all the files belonging to the application. 

RPMs can be platform specific, distribution specific and version specific within a distribution. That is, an RPM for SuSE Linux may not work on RedHat Linux. And RPM for RedHat 6.0 may not work on RedHat 7.1. This is because of the following reason. An RPM for RedHat 7.1 will contain binary files, which have been obtained by compiling the application sources on a Linux machine having the same version of header files, library files and compilers as in RedHat 7.1. 

Hence these applications will not work on an older, or newer (if the libraries are not backward compatible) version of RedHat or SuSE Linux, which will have different versions of library files. Similarly an RPM that has been built on a machine running an Intel processor will not run on a machine using Motorola’s PowerPC. 

Also different distributions have slightly different locations for placing the files in the RPM. PCQLinux 7.1 is based on RedHat 7.1 for Intel. So, for this one, the bottom line is, install only the RPMs which are for RedHat Linux 7.1 and the Intel platform. Generally such RPM files will have a ‘rh71’ (for RedHat 7.1) and i386,i586 or i686 (‘i’ stands for Intel platform) as part of their name. 

Alternatively, the description of the RPM file (shown by KDE Package Manager) may tell you about the same. 

What are SRPMs?
When hunting for software to install, you will also come across SRPM files. An SRPM bundles the source of the application instead of the binaries. So you need to compile the SRPMs on your system, which would in turn produce an RPM file. SRPMs have a .srpm extension. 

How do I install from sources?
In place of RPMs or SRPMs you may also get the source code of the applications as compressed archives, having .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2 extensions. For installing such applications, we must first uncompress the archive. This can be done by right clicking on the file in Konqueror File Manager and selecting ‘Archiver’. This will launch KDE Archiver, similar to Winzip on Windows. Selecting Action>Extract will prompt you for the directory where to extract the files in the archive. Once done, you can check out the documentation of the application to how to compile and install it. Generally a README file in the archive will outline the procedure.

Sachin Makhija and Shekhar Govindarajan

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