Volume 44 September, 2010

Volume 44 September, 2010
Volume 44
September, 2010
LXDE: An Overview
LXDE: The Control Center
LXDE: Autostart Apps
With .desktop Files
Installing PCLinuxOS-LXDE
on the IBM Thinkpad 600e
Educational Linux!
OpenOffice 3.2 Part 4: Impress
Command Line
Interface Intro: Part 12
Game Zone: Battle For Wesnoth
Ladies of PCLinuxOS: Meemaw
Alternate OS: Syllable, Part 1
Repo Spotlight:
Repository Speed Test
Forum Foibles & ms_meme's Nook
Google Wave Waves Goodbye
And more inside!
Table Of
Of Contents
Welcome From The Chief Editor
OpenOffice 3.2 Part 4: Impress
LXDE: An Overview
Screenshot Showcase
Double Take & Mark's Quick Gimp Tip
Screenshot Showcase
Ladies Of PCLinuxOS: Meemaw
LXDE: The Control Center
Screenshot Showcase
Does Linux Market Share Matter? What Matters?
Sing & Shout
Screenshot Showcase
Alternate OS: Syllable, Part 1
LXDE: Autostart Apps With .desktop Files
Screenshot Showcase
Beginner's Guide To Gimp: Part 3
Forum Foibles: A Rose By Any Other Name ...
Screenshot Showcase
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
Screenshot Showcase
Educational Linux!
Game Zone: Battle For Wesnoth
Screenshot Showcase
Installing PCLinuxOS­LXDE On An IBM Thinkpad 600e
Repo Spotlight: Repository Speed Test
Computer Languages A to Z: Octave
Google Wave Waves Goodbye
Screenshot Showcase
ms_meme's Nook: Download The Distro
More Screenshot Showcase
by Paul Arnote (parnote)
The holidays have finally come and gone, the
packages have all been unwrapped, the Christmas
tree and other holiday decorations are coming down,
and a new year is upon us. Texstar and the
The PCLinuxOS name, logo and colors are the trademark
Packaging Crew are busy putting the
of Texstar.
new tool chain to good use, working on getting the
2010 release
to completion.
is a monthly
It is with
roll out at an amazing
primarily for
the PCLinuxOS
of members
new andof updated
community. The Magazine staff is comprised of volunteers
every week.
from the PCLinuxOS
us online at
cover features snow covered
photos from ms_meme. On the inside, the contents
This release was made possible by the following volunteers:
are hot enough to melt that snow. To start off, we
a Editor:
look back
at notable
news of 2009, and all
Paul Arnote
has happened
with computing,
Editors: Andrew
Strick (Stricktoo),
Archie Peter
Tim Robinson
and FOSS.
continues his
Artwork: Sproggy, Timeth
Line Interface Intro column, with part
Gary L.ms_meme
Ratliff, Sr.
Magazine Layout: Paul Arnote,
his march
through the alphabet of
HTML Layout:
Galen Seaman
computer languages, taking a look at Guile in his
Languages A to Z series. Hootiegibbon
Neal Brooks
in the Behind The
Galen Seaman
Mark Szorady
to get to know
Patrick Horneker
Macedonio Fernandez
who work so diligently
behind the scenes to
L. Ratliff,
Sr. that it is.
the quality
Peter Kelly
Darrel Johnston
take a look at the recent
e­book explosion,
many of the e­book readers out on the market
on Linux, in the Book Worms
Unite: An E­Book
Ryan Smith You may be surprised
Dan Malewski
at just how much
free e­book content you can find out in the digital
realm, if you just look for it.
The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative
Commons Attribution­NonCommercial­Share­Alike 3.0
Unported license.
Some rights Sproggy's
are reserved. Glass Panel
has transcribed
Tutorial video for the PCLinuxOS Magazine,
Welcome From
From The
The Chief
Chief Editor
Can you believe that it's September already? Just
think of it ... summer is waning in the northern
hemisphere, the hours of daylight are getting
shorter, school has started up again, and fall will
soon be here, with leaves of deciduous trees putting
on their glorious annual display of color. Oh, and T6
just recently made his 10,000th forum post,
revealing a heretofore unknown forum user level of
"Super Villain." Congratulations, T6. You certainly do
help keep us entertained.
Change continues to come to PCLinuxOS, and the
rest of the computing world. KDE 4.5.0 was recently
released, and 4.5.1 is literally right around the
corner. Texstar, true to form, has KDE 4.5.0
released, and is working on KDE 4.5.1 (according to
the Twitter posts). Novell is looking to sell out, after
battling a foe (SCO) that just wouldn't die. Google
grabbed up some of the spotlight as they reneged
on their commitment to net neutrality, presumably as
a part of their new­found partnership with Verizon
Wireless (who has been opposed to net neutrality all
along). Meanwhile, Chile has joined the rank of
countries officially supporting net neutrality.
This month, The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine starts
a series of articles covering the LXDE desktop
environment. Just as we did with KDE 4 and Xfce
4.6.2, we'll take a look at LXDE over the next few
months. To kick it off, I've written three LXDE articles
for this issue, and start is off with my LXDE: An
Overview article. I continue taking a look at LXDE,
with my LXDE: The Control Center article. To round
out the LXDE articles for this month, I tackle a more
advance topic, with my LXDE: Autostart Apps With
.desktop Files article. As a bonus, Hootiegibbon
walks us through his efforts to resurrect an older
laptop that many of us wouldn't give a second
thought to, in his Installing PCLinuxOS­LXDE On
An IBM Thinkpad 600e article.
Meemaw continues her series on OpenOffice 3.2,
with her OpenOffice 3.2, Part 4: Impress article.
With the resumption of school, she also takes a look
a the use of Linux in education, with her
Educational Linux! article. Darrel Johnston takes a
look at another alternate operating system, with his
Alternate OS: Syllable, Part 1 article. He also
spotlights one of the more recent additions from our
talented developers to the repository, with his Repo
Spotlight: Repository Speed Test article.
Muungwana examines the value of Linux's market
share, with his Does Linux Market Share Matter?
What Matters? article.
Pete Kelly wraps up his article series on the
command line this month, with his Command Line
Interface Intro: Part 12 article. Ryan Smith joins us
again this month to review another game, in his
Game Zone: Battle For Wesnoth article. Gary
Ratliff continues his alphabetical march through
computer programming languages, with his
Computer Languages A to Z: Octave article. Dan
Malewski returns with a third installment in his article
series, Beginner's Guide To Gimp: Part 3. And,
ms_meme is back with three entertaining columns
this month, as well as Mark Szorady's Double Take
& Mark's Quick Gimp Tip.
To round out this issue, I take a look at one of
Google's recent announcements to pull the plug on
Google Wave, with my Google Wave Waves
Goodbye article. We also start a special, bi­monthly
series of articles that take a look at some of the
Ladies Of PCLinuxOS. To start it off, we get to
learn more about Meemaw.
That's quite a bit. Hopefully, it will give you plenty to
read over the next month. So, until next month, I
wish each and every one of you peace, happiness,
serenity and tranquility.
Open Office
Office 3.2
3.2 Part
Part 4:
4: Impress
by Meemaw
Presentations are good to use if you have to give a
speech and need visual aids. You can also use a
presentation as a slideshow of pictures you want
people to see. For that, you need OpenOffice
This screen is probably the one
you will use most. The section
at left will show a list of slide
thumbnails, much like many of
the pdf readers which have
page thumbnails.
This will be a very basic overview of
Impress, but it should be enough to
get you started.
When you first open Impress, you
will get several screens asking you
how you want your presentation set
Screen 1 asks whether you want to
start with a 'blank' presentation,
open a template or open one that
you already have. I chose blank.
Screen 2 asks you to select a
background for your slides, and
also designate how it is to be
Screen 3 asks you to select the
transition effect for your slideshow
presentation, and also how you
want the transitions to take place.
(I think the defaults are as shown).
From here you should click 'Create'
and you will be presented with the
standard Impress window, with your
presentation already started for
You'll notice
that right now
there is only
one slide.
That's fine,
because you can
add them at any
time with the Add
Slide button on the
Also, in the left­
hand column, you
can right­click and
choose 'Add Slide"
from the menu that
appears, or you can click Insert > Slide in the menu
The center section displays the slide you are
working on, with your background in place. The right
section has most of the useful items you are going to
need to design your presentation.
At the top of the center section, you will see tabs for
Normal (View), Outline, Notes, Handout and Slide
Sorter. Normal is the page that opened first, where
Open Office 3.2 Part 4: Impress
you design each page of your presentation, putting
in the text and illustrations for each slide.
In the Outline tab, you can type the text you want to
appear on your slide. It is generally put in a text box
at the top of the slide. However, you can also type
information into your slide from Normal view, to
make sure it goes into the text box you desire.
In the Handout tab, you can choose a
layout for an arrangement of slides on
paper which you can then give to your
audience for their later reference. I
have attended workshops where
these handouts were used. I usually
take extra notes on them so all the
notes are together.
In the Notes tab, you can add any other pertinent
information you want to tell your audience. This
would be side comments that are not included in the
slide layout. The notes can be printed out separately
for you to use as reference. Each slide will be on a
page, with the notes at the bottom, which you can
use as reference while you give your speech.
The final tab says Slide Sorter. If, in the
middle of your presentation, you decide that
slide 7 should really be slide 8, you can click
and drag the slides to the order you want.
Being the wonderful program it is, Impress
will re­number them for you.
Open Office 3.2 Part 4: Impress
content, the layout pages
have them already set up
that way, and they are
already spaced similarly,
so the slide heading
doesn't jump around
during the presentation.
Besides, with pre­
designed layouts, that's
less work for you!
Moving slide 7 to the end
On the right side you will see a list of formatting aids:
Master Pages, Layouts, Table Design, Custom
Animation, and Slide Transition.
Master Pages are the backgrounds available to use
on your presentation, just in case you changed your
mind when you set it up in the beginning.
Layouts are pre­designed templates for your slide.
These are great if you have a certain form in mind
and want each slide to be similar or exactly like each
of the others. Each page of your presentation can
have a heading or title at the top, graphic on the left
side and explanation text on the right, or any other
design you choose. Depending on your
presentation, you may have a different layout on
each page. But if each page needs a heading plus
Custom Animation
The next tab is Table
Design. You will see
several grid thumbnails.
When you click on one,
the tables toolbar will
open so you can
configure your table the
way it needs to be
(number of rows, number
of columns and so on.)
Custom Animation ­ Here is where
you can add an effect to a certain
object in your slideshow. In your slides
panel, select the object on which you
want the effect. (I chose to have my
title appear and expand to start my
slideshow. I chose slide 1 and
selected the title). In Custom
Animation, you click Add, then choose
the animation desired from the box. (I
chose Expand). Then you configure
how you want it to start, and how fast
you want it to go. Clicking the 'Play'
button plays a sample, so if you don't
like it, you can try something else.
Open Office 3.2 Part 4: Impress
As tempting as it may be to use lots of different
animations in your presentation, you'll be much
better off to resist the temptation. While the custom
animations are all very cool and you'll want to use
them all, doing so may make your presentation look
amateurish. At the very least, it may make your
presentation appear to lack direction, and may
distract from the message you are attempting to
deliver. The better practice is to limit yourself to one
or two custom animations. Three should be the
absolute limit, and may be pushing things, at that.
mouse click (maybe to practice your speech) or
change the interval you want between slides.
Just as with the custom animations, it's best to limit
yourself to one or two slide transitions, and use them
throughout your presentation. Again, using too many
types of slide transitions can make your presentation
appear amateurish, or may distract from the
message you are trying to deliver.
It's especially important to consider the nature of
your message. If your message is
a serious one, or one you wish to
be taken seriously, it's best to
consider more modest, simple
transitions and animations.
Whimsical and "fun" transitions and
animations will detract from the
seriousness of your topic. This may
cause your audience to not take
your message seriously, make
them discount the seriousness of
your message, or cause your
audience to question the validity of
your message altogether.
Slide Transition ­ Even though you set your
preferred transition when you were setting up your
presentation, you still need to configure the
transitions. You can change back to transitioning on
display here.
At the bottom of the window, you
will find the Drawing toolbar, along
with some of the other formatting
aids we've already seen, Gallery,
Fontwork Gallery and Insert from
File. Layer, alignment and rotation
tools are also available and will
It's easier than e=mc2
It's elemental
It's light years ahead
It's a wise choice
It's Radically Simple
It's ...
While this presentation only has eight slides, your
presentation can be as long as you wish. Have fun
making your own!
An Overview
by Paul Arnote (parnote)
One thing Linux users have become accustomed to
is choice. And choices abound for almost anything
and everything, including desktop environments.
Previously, we've covered KDE 4 and Xfce 4.6.2.
Now, it's time to take a look at the LXDE desktop.
Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment ("LXDE") is
one of the newest desktop environments. It began in
2006 when Hong Yen Jee of Taiwan, better known
by his nickname "PCMan", introduced the PCMan
File Manager, or PCManFM. Today, the LXDE
project is an international collaboration of
developers, designers, and contributors from all
around the world. Similar to the Xfce and Gnome
desktop environments, LXDE is built with the Gtk+
2.0 libraries.
Living up to the first word in its name, LXDE truly is a
lightweight desktop
LXDE thrives on
older hardware. On
my computer (IBM
Thinkpad T23,
Pentium III, 1.13
GHz, 512 MB
RAM), LXDE uses
only 115 MB RAM
when it's fully
booted, and
running a handful
of panel plugins,
checkgmail, and
Conky. LXDE is
even capable of
running on a
Pentium II with only
128 MB RAM.
My LXDE desktop, with some degree of customization of the panel and running Conky.
The "newness" of
LXDE shines
through, however.
Probably the first
thing to hit you is
the lack of configuration options that are available
via a graphical user interface. If you are expecting to
find oodles of configuration options, as you would
find in KDE or Xfce, you will be disappointed. That
doesn't mean that you can't configure LXDE as you
might like. It just means that you will have to find the
configuration files and edit them by hand. For this
reason, the LXDE desktop environment isn't
necessarily for new users or the faint­of­heart. It's
geared more towards intermediate to advanced
users who don't mind digging deep into the
configuration files and getting their hands dirty.
Once you figure out how to manipulate and mold
LXDE's configuration however, you will be treated to
a desktop environment that lives up to its name.
LXDE is fast, even on older hardware. Your older
computers will feel as if they have been re­
invigorated with new life. Many users compare the
LXDE desktop appearance to KDE 3.5.x. It does
have a lot of similarities in appearance. LXDE
adheres to the desktop standards laid out by
LXDE is only a desktop environment, and officially
relies on the OpenBox window manager to handle
the windows on your computer. So, many of the
things we'll talk about for LXDE will also apply to the
OpenBox version of PCLinuxOS.
Overall, you will probably like LXDE, but you will
most likely fall in love with its simplicity and speed.
LXDE: An Overview
By digging into the configuration files stuffed deep
into sub­directories of sub­directories of sub­
directories scattered across your hard drive, you
may also learn a lot that will transfer to other
desktop environments. We will take a look at the
basic configuration options, then some more
advanced options. We'll attempt to demystify some
of LXDE's intricacies, thus improving your ability to
tailor LXDE to be what you want it to be.
Screenshot Showcase
I am sure of one thing: this old Pentium III Thinkpad
T23 has never run so fast. I doubt your results will
differ much from mine.
A magazine just isn't a magazine
without articles to fill the pages.
If you have article ideas, or if you
would like to contribute articles to the
PCLinuxOS Magazine,
send an email to:
[email protected]
We are interested in general articles
about Linux, and (of course), articles
specific to PCLinuxOS.
Posted by AndrzejL, August 21, 2010, running KDE 4.
Find at least seven differences between cartoons.
Mark's Quick Gimp Tip
When using the Gimp to edit one of my
cartoons, the background of the image is
usually white. The padding (or background
fill of Gimp), however, by default, is usually
set to a light gray or white (or follows the
KDE color theme.) If it's white or gray, it
becomes hard to distinguish where the
cartoon ends and the padding of the Gimp
begins. The solution is to change the
padding color. A quick way to change the
padding color is to select View>Padding
Color and then make your selection from
©2010 Mark Szorady. Distributed by georgetoon.com
by Mark Szorady
Double Take
Double Take
Take &
& Mark's
Mark's Quick
Quick Gimp
Gimp Tip
Answers on Page 13.
the pop out
menu. You can
even select a
custom color of
your own
making. In the example at
right, I've made the padding
color a light blue. Setting the
padding color to something
distinctive helps to define the
boundaries of the image you're
editing and lets you see the
exact size of the canvas you're
working on.
­Mark Szorady is a nationally syndicated cartoonist with georgetoon.com. He blogs at georgetoon.com/blog. Email Mark at [email protected]
Screenshot Showcase
Posted by JohnW, August 2, 2010, running KDE 4.
Ladies Of
Of PCLinuxOS:
PCLinuxOS: Meemaw
Editor's Note: Starting this month, we're starting a new
bi­monthly feature in The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine,
taking a look at some of the "Ladies of PCLinuxOS." To
kick it off, we'll first "meet" and learn more about our
own Meemaw, one of the PCLinuxOS Magazine assistant
editors. If you know a female user of PCLinuxOS and
would like to "nominate" them to be highlighted here,
drop us a note at [email protected]
how to do something. (I did an instruction sheet on
Mail Merge for all of them several years ago.)
What drew you to Linux?
One of my computers had WinME on it. The second
time it crashed, my wonderful older brother was
visiting and tried to recover it, but it was not
recoverable. (I ended up paying to have it
reinstalled.) During our conversations, he asked if I
had ever heard of Linux (no) and told me that it was
an alternative system to Win or Mac. He was using
Fedora at the time and had about 5 computers at his
house. He suggested I do loads of research and try
several live CD's to learn about it. Thus started my
Linux journey. This was in 2003.
Can you start off by introducing yourself, and
telling us a little bit about yourself? (Real name,
where you live, marital status,
children/grandchildren, hobbies/interests, etc).
My real name is Pam, and I live in eastern Kansas.
My wonderful husband and I just celebrated our 39th
wedding anniversary. We have two beautiful
daughters and three grandchildren (two girls and a
boy), and as you can tell by the amount of time I
seem to be in the forums, one of my main interests
is computers and Linux, specifically PCLinuxOS. I
also love to spend time with my family and read.
(Actually, family is first.)
How did you get started in computers?
My first career was teaching. In the 80's and 90's,
schools were just starting to use computers, and I
was entranced with how they could do the things
they did. I knew a tiny bit about computers from
taking a class in programing in college (Fortran), but
I quickly found out that programming wasn't my
'thing.' Of course, that was also when computers
were huge and the program was put into the
What was the first Linux distro that you used?
computer with punchcards! Using computers in my
job was different, and I found that I loved computers.
I got my own first computer in 1996, and had a friend
who already had a computer. My computer came
with Win 3.1, but hers had DOS. I spent many
evenings learning how to do things on my computer,
and when she was over, she taught me a great deal
about DOS and the command line. I found over the
years that I could figure out how to use most
programs, and even help other people with problems
that they had. Since then, I have gotten out of
teaching and work as a secretary. At this point, I am
the one that some of the other secretaries call if they
are having trouble with something or want to know
I downloaded a dozen or more live CD's while I was
researching. My first two were Mandriva Move and
Knoppix. Each one had its own merits, but I quickly
narrowed it down to Kubuntu, Mandriva, Mepis or
PCLinuxOS. Each time I would boot up the
computer and try new things with whatever CD I was
using. I quickly discovered that the printer I was
using would not work in Linux, no matter which disk I
used, so I decided not to install yet, but to wait a little
bit and just keep exploring. Amazingly enough, the
printer died within the next 6 months and I replaced
it with one that works wonderfully in Linux (still). I
installed Kubuntu first. My reasoning was that I was
a noob, and since my wonderful brother had recently
switched to Ubuntu, he could help me if I had any
Ladies Of PCLinuxOS: Meemaw
problems. For a while I dual­booted Kubuntu and
PCLinuxOS, but that was not for me, either. Not too
long after that, though, I repartitioned and installed
PCLinuxOS only. That's what I've used ever since.
When did you first start using PCLinuxOS? What
attracted you?
I installed it in about 2005. It seemed a little more
user friendly to me. While I was dual­booting, I found
myself using PCLinuxOS more than Kubuntu, and
pretty soon not using Kubuntu at all. Also, the
PCLinuxOS forums were just so much more friendly!
With Linux having a reputation of being a realm
predominately populated by males, do you feel
that your being a woman has an impact on your
treatment by the rest of the community? If so, in
what way?
I can't recall a time when I thought I was treated
differently because I was a woman, so I feel very
lucky! I think that is because our community is so
great. I think the computer industry as a whole is
predominantly male, but I could be wrong.
because they've never heard of Linux.) The IT guys
in the company I work for seemed very shocked that
I knew anything at all about Linux! My husband and
daughters just shook their heads when I first started
mentioning it, but not any more. My younger
daughter decided last year that she HAD to have a
change of OS, and asked me to install it to her
computer. So she uses PCLinuxOS now.
International Community
PCLinuxOS Sites
How do you feel you contribute to the
PCLinuxOS community?
While I should donate money to this wonderful
distro, I haven't been able to yet. My contribution is
to help publish the magazine every month, and I
always hope everyone gets something they can use
out of every issue.
Answers to Mark Szorady's Double Take:
(1) Hair different; (2) Cloud moved; (3) Arm shorter;
(4) Hand missing from chair back; (5) Shirt stripe
different; (6) Footstool lower; (7) Word balloon
Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the
reactions you receive from your computer peers
or family? If so, how?
Want to keep up on the latest that's
going on with PCLinuxOS?
Oh, yes. Any time I mention to someone that I use
Linux rather than Windows, they nearly always look
at me like I'm crazy. (But sometimes I think it's
Follow PCLinuxOS on Twitter!
The Control
Control Center
by Paul Arnote (parnote)
default setting is 1 MB (1024 KB), meaning files
larger than 1 MB will not display as a thumbnail
image. Finally, you can turn on or off the display of
supported image file formats as thumbnails. Simply
click on the check box to check or uncheck the
Probably one of the first places you will want to go,
once you have installed PCLinuxOS­LXDE, is the
LXDE Control Center. Among LXDE users, it's more
commonly referred to simply as lxdecc. It is here that
you will make or change some of the basic settings
for LXDE, allowing you to tailor your LXDE desktop
to work the way
you want it to,
and to better suit
your tastes. After
all, Linux is all
about choice.
When you first
open the LXDE
Control Center,
you will see the
above window
appear on your
desktop, divided
into the various
categories of
settings. Let's
explore those
categories, and
what can be
Under the first
category, Set
Wallpaper, you
will be directed to
this configuration dialog box, which is the actually
the PCManFM Settings dialog box. Under LXDE, the
wallpaper and the desktop are under the control of
PCManFM by default. So our discussion of these
settings will also apply to the PCManFM Settings
section of the LXDE Control Center.
The first section of the first tab, General, allows you
to set options for "Display." These include the size of
"big icons" and "small icons" on your system. Under
"Behavior," you can choose to open files with a
single click. By default, this setting is checked. Click
on the check box (clearing the check mark) if you
are more accustomed to opening files with a double
click of the mouse or pointing device. You can also
select if you want bookmarks opened in a new tab,
in the current tab, or in a new window.
The next setting allows you to set the maximum file
size of files to display as thumbnail images. The
Under the second tab, Interface, you can change
some settings that dictate a few aspects of the
LXDE interface. By default in PCLinuxOS­LXDE, all
of these settings are unchecked. "Always show the
tab bar" allows for the tab bar in PCManFM to
always be displayed, even when you have only one
tab open. Personally, I set this to be "on," since, for
me, it serves as a reminder that I can have multiple
tabs opened. The other options should be fairly self­
explanatory, and will do no permanent harm if you
wish to play with them. You can, after all, reverse the
LXDE: The Control Center
setting simply by opening up this tab and clicking on
the setting again and revert it back to the way it was.
So, feel free to play with the settings here
In the "General" section, you can have the menu
provided by the window manager displayed when
you right click on the desktop. With PCLinuxOS­
LXDE, as well as most LXDE desktops, OpenBox is
the window manager employed. This option is
selected by default, allowing you easy access to the
OpenBox settings simply by right­clicking on the
In the "Wallpaper" section, you can select the
graphic file to use as the wallpaper for your desktop.
You can also choose the "mode" by which to display
your graphic file. First, you can select to stretch the
graphic file to fill the entire screen, which is probably
the most common setting. Your other choices are
stretch to fit the screen, center on the screen, or tile
the image to fill the screen.
Finally, under the "Colors" section, you can select
the colors to use for the background, text, and
shadow colors.
Under the third tab, Desktop, you can control
various aspect of your LXDE desktop. At the top is
the "Manage the desktop and show file icons"
setting. This is selected by default, to allow
PCManFM to control the desktop. This means that
PCManFM will control the display of your wallpaper.
Under this scheme, there is a "My Documents"
folder placed on your desktop. When selected, it
automatically opens up PCManFM, with your /home
directory displayed. If you dislike having icons on
your desktop, you may not be a fan of this. Due to a
"glitch" in the PCManFM code, this icon cannot be
removed without taking away PCManFM's ability to
manage the desktop.
For the next section of Control Center, Change Your
Cursor Theme, you can select which cursor theme
you want to use as your default setting. After you
click OK, LXDE logout will open. It is necessary to
log out and back in for the new cursor theme to be
Under the fourth tab, Advanced, you can set the
character set to use for file names. UTF­8 is the
default setting. You can also select which terminal
program you want to be used by default.
LXDE: The Control Center
For LXDE Control Center's next section, GTK &
Icon Theme, you can use the first tab, "Window," to
select the theme to use to display your windows.
Similarly, the second tab, "Icons," allows you to
select the icon theme to use with PCLXDE.
selection under the Appearance Settings tab of the
LXDE Control Center is to Refresh Panel. You may
need to do this manually after changing some of the
appearance settings.
Under the third tab, "Other," you can select which
toolbar style you want to use. The default setting is
to display "text besides icons." Your other choices
are icons only, text only and text below icons.
Under the Screensaver Settings section of the
LXDE Control Center (graphic top of next column),
you can make all of the settings for your screen
saver. XScreenSaver is the default program for
controlling your screen saver's behavior under
The next selection under the LXDE Control Center is
the PCManFM Settings, which we already covered
when we talked about Set Wallpaper. The last
The System tab of the
LXDE Control Center
contains some settings
that require root access. In
fact, the first four
categories require you to
acquire root access.
Under the first tab of GDM
Settings, "General," you
can choose to hide visual
feedback for entry of the
GDM login password. You
can also disable multiple
logins for the same user
(the default setting), select
the default session for the
GDM (default is "Run
XClient Script), specify a default GtkRC file to use
(default is none) or to specify whether or not to use a
24 hour clock (default is set to "auto").
The second tab, "Local", allows you to set several
options for the display of the GDM (Gnome Display
Manager). First, you can set the "style." The default
is "themed with face browser." Your other choices
are plain, plain with face browser and themed.
Under the "theme" option, you can select whether to
LXDE: The Control Center
"configure menu item" or the "hostname chooser
menu item." In the last section of the "Local" tab, you
can choose the welcome message to display.
Under the "Remote" tab (not shown), you can
choose whether to disable remote login (the default),
or to inherit the setting from the local user, or to use
a plain interface with face browser.
display random, selected GDM themes, or only one
selected GDM theme. The default is "random from
selected." Since only one is selected, PCLXDE­
GDM, only that one will be displayed with either
The background color tells GDM what color to use
for the background of the GDM theme. Under "Menu
Bar," you can choose whether or not to display the
actions menu, or if you choose to include a
The fourth tab, "Accessibility," allows you to set
accessibility options for your GDM theme. First, you
can choose whether or not to enable accessible
login. The default is for this setting to be turned off.
Under the "themes" section, you can choose
whether or not to allow users to change the font and
colors used in the plain greeter. By default, this
setting is checked and activated. Under "sounds,"
you can specify sound files to be played when the
login screen is ready, when the login is successful,
or when the login is unsuccessful. By default, only
the first option is activated. In the above screen shot,
I've customized the sound file to be played, and
activated all three options.
At the top of the "Security" tab, you can determine if
you want automatic login for a specified user. While
this may be alright for a computer that only has one
user, you will be sacrificing some security of your
files. Alternatively, the second choice allows for
automatic login for the specified user after a set time
delay (default is 30 seconds). This gives any other
user a chance to login, but if no other user is chosen
after 30 seconds, then the specified user is
automatically logged in. Again, you will be sacrificing
LXDE: The Control Center
the security of the specified user's files. The rest of
the options under the "Security" tab should be fairly
PCManFM window, just below the toolbar, serving as
a reminder of the elevated privilege. Synaptic and
PCC behave normally when selected.
Under the "User" tab (not shown), you can set
options for which users to display in the GDM login
screen, the picture to use for that user, and the
directory where the user "face" graphics are
acceleration of your mouse, as well as the
sensitivity. If you are a left handed user, you can
swap the mouse buttons by checking the box.
Switching to the "Keyboard" tab gives you options to
set the repeat delay, as well as the repeat interval for
your keyboard. A test area is included in the middle
of the window, where you can test your settings
before committing to using them. Near the bottom of
the window, you can select whether or not there is a
"beep" produced when there is a keyboard input
error. The default is to have the beep turned on.
When you select the "Mouse & Keyboard" button in
LXDE Control Center, you will first have access to
the "Mouse" tab. Here, you can control the
The next three buttons under the "System" tab of the
LXDE Control Center offer short cuts to "File
Manager Superuser Mode," Synaptic for installing
software and system settings under PCLinuxOS
Control Center, or PCC. When you select the "File
Manager Superuser Mode" button, you will first be
prompted for the root password, and if properly
supplied, PCManFM will open (as above). Notice
that when you open PCManFM with root privileges,
there will be a blue banner at the top of the
For the next LXDE Control Center button, "Session
Settings," you can select which applications are
automatically started when LXDE is started. We will
cover this aspect of LXDE's behavior more in­depth
in a separate article, but you can choose which
available applications you want to be started
automatically at LXDE's boot by checking or clearing
the check box next to each item.
LXDE: The Control Center
Despite its relative youth, the LXDE Control Center
provides quite a few configuration options. Some
more advanced configurations options will be
covered in more depth in separate articles. But, via
the LXDE Control Center, you can make significant
inroads to tailoring LXDE to your liking.
Screenshot Showcase
Under the "Advanced Options" tab, you are best
advised to heed the warning about NOT touching or
altering this setting, unless you know exactly what
you are doing. Any changes you do make here will
take effect on the next login to LXDE.
The last selection in the LXDE Control Center's
"System" tab is "Monitor Settings." Here, you can
change the resolution of your monitor, as well as the
refresh rate.
Posted by Crow, August 21, 2010, running KDE 4.
Does Linux
Linux Market
Market Share
Share Matter?
Matter? What
What Matters?
by Muungwana
Each year is declared the “year of Linux” or “the year
of the penguin,” and every year ends with a
disappointment because Linux market share fails to
increase significantly in that
year. As a matter of fact, Linux
market share has been
hovering around 1% for a
really long time, with no sign
of a major breakthrough
anytime soon. Is Linux a
player in the desktop space
with the market share it has?
How much market share
should Linux have to begin to
Linux doesn't need to have a
large market share in order to matter. Large market
share will actually do Linux more harm than good,
since it will have to compromise on ideas and
principles that carried it this far, in order to
accommodate new users who have no idea or
interest in knowing these ideas. OS X has had the
same small market share for the same reasons.
Apple chose to stick to its guns, taking a hit on
market share, because it wants its users to know
what Apple stands for, and only accommodate those
who agree with their ideas of how a desktop
computer is to be presented and used.
Mac OS X has around 4% world wide, and around
7% in the US in desktop operating systems market
share. However, OS X plays a critical part in shaping
the present and future of desktop computing. Market
share is important, but not that important. What is
important is mind share. OS X has a mind share
much much larger than the market share, and that is
what makes the industry pay attention to what it is
Linux, as an operating system, will not benefit that
much from increased market share. It will, however,
benefit much more from an increase in mind share of
ideas that brought it up and propels it forward, and
these ideas are working. The industry is starting to
pay attention, and use them as it runs around trying
to maximize its shareholder's pockets. Most web
browsers today are built around these ideas, and
web technologies are moving towards these ideas.
Android and WebOS, two of the hottest operating
systems powering smart phones today, stand on the
shoulders of these ideas. The next generation office
file formats are structured around these ideas. The
net neutrality debate has some elements of the
same ideas. .Net makes up a core of current and
future versions of Windows, and core parts of its
specifications are released to the masses to
“appease” advocates of these ideas. Microsoft, a
heavyweight in the computing world, is starting to
cave in to the ideas.
There most likely will never be a 30­second Linux
commercial during the
Super Bowl, but these ideas
are taking hold and gaining
strength, sneaking in from
the bottom of the corporate
world, and going upwards.
These ideas are what will
shape the future of
computing for decades to
come, and Linux market
share will increase as a side
effect of these ideas taking
hold. Most likely, Linux will
never reach a currently
unknown market share upper limit, if it is to stay true
to itself, as it should. It will do more harm than good
if Linux compromises on these ideas for a few points
in market share.
What will be the optimal market share desktop Linux
should aim for to keep those who care about it
happy? Should it matter?
Your Community Projects Forum
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I got a system about it there's no doubt
Now gather round hear me SING and SHOUT
PCLOS is the only way to go
PCLOS is for those in the know
PCLOS will make your screen glow
Get the best and go with the flow
I got a system I'm going to tell you about
I got a system it never will wear out
I got a system about it there's no doubt
Now gather round help me SING and SHOUT
Boot up your 'puter and see how it will shine
Boot up your 'puter oh everything is fine
Boot up your 'puter so quickly you're on line
PCLOS is all I'll have on mine
I got a system I'm going to tell you about
I got a system it never will wear out
I got a system about it there's no doubt
Now gather round let's all SING and SHOUT
Going to the forum my favorite gathering place
Going to the forum of Windows there's no trace
Going to the forum where everyone's an ace
PCLOS is our saving grace
We got a system we're going to tell you about
We got a system it never will wear out
We got a system about it there's no doubt
Now gather round hear us SING and SHOUT
Screenshot Showcase
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Scribus 1.3.7
Reach Us On The Web
PCLinuxOS Magazine Mailing List:
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Posted by Meemaw, August 13, 2010, running Phoenix.
PCLinuxOS Magazine Forum:
Main PCLinuxOS Forum:
MyPCLinuxOS Forum:
Alternate OS:
OS: Syllable,
Syllable, Part
Part 1
by Darrel Johnston (djohnston)
This month's article is on SyllableOS. It is a little
different than either ReactOS or Haiku, in that
Syllable didn't have to "re­invent the wheel," so to
speak. Quoted from Syllable's main site,
"Syllable Desktop is an original, modern operating
system design, in the tradition of the Amiga and
BeOS, but built using many parts from the GNU
project and Linux. It is designed and optimized for
your desktop PC, making it exceptionally fast and
responsive and easy to use. It is under
development, so it is interesting and even exciting to
try out, but you have to decide for yourself whether it
fits your needs already. Syllable Desktop runs on
industry­standard Personal Computers with a
minimum of a Pentium compatible processor and 32
MB of memory. It can make a new computer
extremely fast and an old computer usable again."
What that short description doesn't tell you is that
they started from an existing base, AtheOS. The
original site, (now defunct), can be found here:
http://www.atheos.cx/ . From the site:
"AtheOS is a free desktop operating system under
the GPL license. AtheOS currently run on Intel, AMD
and other compatible processors and support the
Intel Multi Processor architecture. I have seen quite
a few anouncements of "promising" OSes with
"great potential" during the development of AtheOS.
The problem is that when I follow the links I normally
find a description of the concept, a floppy­bootloader
written in assembly, and not much else. AtheOS is a
bit more mature, and is already running quite a lot of
software. This server for example is running
AtheOS. The HTTP server is a AtheOS port of
Apache, and most of the content is generated by the
AtheOS port of PHP3 and perl.The native AtheOS
file system is 64­bit and journaled.
AtheOS is not meant to be a new Unix clone (like
Linux and *BSD) but a new clean desktop OS. It
does support large parts of the POSIX standard and
hence are able to run most of the UNIX CLI tools
and it comes with a standard UNIX shell (BASH) but
this does not compromise anything in AtheOS as a
desktop OS. AtheOS have a integrated GUI that
works in conjunction with the kernel and various
other components to create a complete and
consistent system. The GUI is server/client like X11
but communicate through the native messaging
system and the protocol is private to the server and
client library and entirely hidden from the
applications. Both the client library and the server is
heavily multithreaded. The fine­
grained multithreading and the low
latency messaging system make the
GUI much more responsive than
Other screenshots can be found at
Syllable is available from their website at
http://web.syllable.org/pages/index.html. Click on the
Try Syllable link at the top of the page, and you have
a choice of Premium CD, Live CD, Basic CD,
Emulate, or Upgrade. The premium CD is a paid
version. The live CD is for hardware compatibility
testing. The basic CD is an installable version
without the extra frills of the premium one. The
emulate version is said to be for VMware, QEMU,
Virtual PC or VirtualBox, but only a VMware image is
offered. The upgrade CD is to upgrade an existing
Although I am installing this in VirtualBox, I chose to
download the basic CD, and install from that.
The operating system was written
and published on the web sometime
in 2000 by Kurt Skauen. Unlike other
operating systems of the time, it had
support for ATA disk drives, but no
support for CDs. The TCP/IP stack
was slightly limited. The original
operating system can still be
downloaded from Syllable's mirror
site at:
http://atheos.syllable.org/index.html .
Here is a screenshot of an AtheOS
Alternate OS: Syllable, Part 1
Booting from the CD, we see a familiar GRUB boot
menu. There are many choices available, and ours
is obvious.
Then you
come to the
screen (right).
Press "i" to
Next, you are given partitioning instructions (below).
You will then select
the hard drive to be
is the CD drive (right).
I selected the entire disk space and chose Syllable's
partition type (below).
The next screen
gives you
instructions and
selection (next
Alternate OS: Syllable, Part 1
I chose to install the bootloader in the master boot
record of the disk (below).
Now that the base
system filecopy has
completed, I pressed
ENTER to continue
The network device was later changed to PCnet­PCI
II (NAT) as shown below.
After the
installation, I
re­booted the
machine from
the hard disk
instead of the
CD (right).
Alternate OS: Syllable, Part 1
The password for the root user is "root".
The Syllable menu (below).
Next month, we will look at creating a new user,
resizing and customizing the desktop,
capabilities of the operating system, and what
programs are included with the basic CD.
First login to the
default desktop as
root user.
Choices available
by selecting Quit
from the menu
LXDE: Autostart
Autostart Apps
Apps With
With .desktop
.desktop Files
by Paul Arnote (parnote)
Under almost every other major desktop
environment, it's a relatively simple task to set up
applications to automatically start whenever you
start the desktop. However, this is not necessarily so
under LXDE. In fact, LXDE does not natively have
an autostart directory, by default. Thanks to Neal
Brooks, author of the PCLinuxOS­LXDE remaster,
PCLinuxOS users of LXDE do have this feature
already set up for them.
autostart directory. But that is not going to work.
Nope. Only actual .desktop files work to
automatically start the selected applications when
LXDE is started. And no, you cannot create a link to
the .desktop files. It has to be an actual, bona fide
.desktop file.
Of course, the easiest way to obtain the proper
.desktop file is to, (as root), copy the appropriate
.desktop file from /usr/share/applications to the
/$HOME/.config/autostart directory. But what if the
application you want to automatically start doesn't
have a corresponding .desktop file? Read on.
Uses for the .desktop file
Before we discuss how to create the .desktop file for
the application(s) you wish to automatically start, it's
important to understand how .desktop files are used
on your system. Obviously, one such use is the main
topic of this article: automatically starting
applications when you start LXDE. But probably one
of the primary uses of .desktop files is to display
items in your LXDE menu.
Hidden in the user's home directory, is the .config
folder. Under the .config folder, you will find a folder
named autostart. Just as with KDE, items placed in
the autostart directory will be automatically started
when LXDE starts.
You might think it to be as easy as placing a link –
either a symbolic link or a hard link – to the
application you want to automatically start in the
All items displayed in the LXDE menu have a
corresponding .desktop file in
/usr/share/applications. So much of the information
here can also be utilized to customize your LXDE
menu. In this aspect, LXDE is not all that unlike
Xfce, and the information in the Xfce 4.6.2:
Customize Your Xfce Menu article (June 2010
issue of The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine) will also
apply to your efforts to customize your LXDE menu.
Fortunately, LXDE follows the standards for the
.desktop file set forth by freedesktop.org. This link
will take you to the page that explains all the
recognized "keys" in a compliant .desktop file, as
well as specifying whether each key is required or
optional. While not an "official" standards
organization, the "guidelines" set forth by
Freedesktop.org have become defacto standards.
Creating the .desktop file
Just as with many things in Linux, there is more than
one way to create a .desktop file for the application
you wish to automatically start when LXDE starts. A
.desktop file is, as many files in Linux are, a simple
text file. Using the .desktop file for AlsaMixer GUI as
an example, here is the basic format for that
.desktop file:
[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Advanced Linux Sound
Architecture (ALSA) graphical mixer
The lines should be fairly self­explanatory, but here's
a brief rundown on each. The "Name" entry is, as
you might expect, the name displayed for the
application. The "Comment" entry contains the
information that is supplied when a user hovers their
mouse over the entry in the LXDE menu. The "Exec"
LXDE: Autostart Apps With .desktop Files
entry specifies the application to launch. Although
most of the executable files on your computer are
stored in the /usr/bin folder, it would be wise to
specify the full path to the application. If your
application, indeed, has its executable file stored in
/usr/bin, you can get away with specifying only the
application's executable name, because /usr/bin is in
your path. Otherwise, you will need to specify the full
path to the application's executable file.
The "Icon" entry specifies the icon to display for the
specified application. The "Terminal" entry specifies
if the application should be opened in a terminal
session. The "Type" entry most likely doesn't need
an explanation. Finally, the "Categories" entry
specifies, first, the categories that the application
should be classified as, and second, where to place
the application's icon in the LXDE menu. In our
example above, that would be under the LXDE >
Multimedia > Sound menu.
So now that you have a basic understanding of what
a .desktop file does, and how it's constructed, it's
time to discover how to create our .desktop file. The
first choice, and probably the most obvious one, is to
simply create the file by hand, in a basic text editor
such as Leafpad. To prevent the program from
appearing in the LXDE menu, refrain from saving the
.desktop file to your /usr/share/applications directory.
Conversely, if you want the program to appear in
your LXDE menu, be sure to save the .desktop file
(or a copy of it) in your /usr/share/applications
directory. You will need root privileges to save the file
there. For setting up an application to automatically
start when you start LXDE, be sure to save the
.desktop file (or a copy of it) to your
/$HOME/.config/autostart directory.
The second choice is to take an existing .desktop file
on your system and modify it for your needs. Open
up an existing .desktop file, make the changes to the
listed keys, and resave it with the same name as
your application, but with the .desktop extension.
The third choice is to follow the steps outlined in the
Xfce 4.6.2: Customize Your Xfce Menu article (June,
2010 issue of The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine) by
running the exo­desktop­item­edit command to
create your .desktop file with a GUI.
Regardless of the method you choose to use, don't
forget to save the resulting .desktop file (or a copy of
it) in your $HOME/.config/autostart folder for those
applications you want to automatically start when
you start LXDE.
Advanced: A Workaround (Easier) Shortcut
Now, I'm calling this "advanced," but don't interpret
advanced as meaning difficult. Actually, this
workaround is easier. I call it "advanced" for two
reasons. First, it involves making a simple bash
script. This fact alone may keep some of you from
attempting it. Second, it's a different way of looking
at the problem, and offers a different solution that is
more flexible.
This method started off as a "proof of concept" idea
in my head. I don't know if anyone has tried this
before. If so, great. If not, I wonder why. So let me
walk you through this method, step­by­step.
Step One: Create a simple bash script, similar to the
sleep 10
dropbox &
conky &
aumix &
leafpad &
pcmanfm &
checkgmail &
pcc &
All I've done here is simply list all the the
applications I want to automatically start when LXDE
starts. The first line causes a 10 second delay in the
execution of the rest of the script. This delay allows
the desktop to finish loading before I start launching
applications. Notice that each application name is
followed by a space, then the ampersand sign. The
ampersand tells bash to execute the application in
the background, and move on to the next line.
Without the ampersand, the script would first launch
dropbox, wait for it to finish and exit, and once
finished, launch conky. Once conky was finished
executing and exits, then aumix would launch.
Things would proceed in this manner until all the
applications listed had been executed, one at a time.
This list assumes, of course, that I want to launch
DropBox, Conky, Aumix, Leafpad, PCManFM,
CheckGmail and PCC every time I start my
computer. I am certain that I do not want all of these
applications automatically started when I start LXDE,
as a matter of fact. But I list them here to prove that
this technique works, validating my proof of concept.
LXDE: Autostart Apps With .desktop Files
You can just as easily list other applications here
that you may want to automatically launch whenever
LXDE starts.
Step Two: Save your new bash script. I called mine
autostart­lxde.sh. Sure, you can call it whatever you
like. But I have this thing about making the names
mean something that makes sense to me six months
or a year down the line. I saved my bash script in my
$HOME directory.
Step Three: Right click on your new bash script, and
select "Properties" from the context menu.
directory. The /usr/bin directory is most desirable,
since it is in your $PATH. When you paste a copy of
your script in the /usr/bin directory, root will become
the owner and group of the script. An added benefit
is that the list of applications to automatically start
when LXDE starts can only be changed or edited by
a user with root privileges.
If you want to make it possible for any user to edit
the script (or easier for YOU to edit the script), you
can save it to some other directory of your choice. If
you choose this route, you will have to provide the
entire path to the script in the .desktop file that you
create in the next step.
Step Five: Create a .desktop file for your script. It
should look something like the following:
Click on the "Permissions" tab, and check all the
boxes that are labeled "Execute." This will allow not
only the file owner to run the script, but also all
members of the specified group, as well as all other
users on the system.
Step Four: Right click on your script, and select
"Copy" from the context menu. Open up the /usr/bin
directory (as root), and paste your script into that
[Desktop Entry]
Name=LXDE Autostart
Comment=Automatically start listed
applications when LXDE starts.
Save the file to your $HOME/.config/autostart
directory. There is no need to save this .desktop file
to your /usr/share/applications directory, since its
sole purpose is to automatically launch your
selected applications when LXDE starts. In fact, I
don't have all the proper parameters set up in the
example .desktop file above for the script to even
appear in your LXDE menu.
Now, when you start LXDE, all the applications listed
in your script will be launched automatically. To test
it, log out of your current LXDE session, and then
log back in. If you've followed all the directions
accurately, all the applications listed in your script
should automatically start when you start LXDE.
Remember that I said this method is easier and is
more flexible? It certainly cleans up your
$HOME/.config/autostart directory. Instead of having
a lot of .desktop files filling up the autostart directory,
you now only have one (or two, since DropBox
places one there automatically for us) that replaces
them all. It also saves space on your hard drive.
Instead of having multiple copies of the .desktop
files repeated in your autostart directory, there's only
one. Finally, it's more flexible. You can automatically
start any application on your system with this
method, regardless if it has a .desktop file or not.
Also, even though I haven't tried it extensively, this
method should work equally well on just about any
other desktop environment. As long as it has a
provision for automatically starting applications when
the desktop environment starts, there should be no
problem, since .desktop files are generally seen as
being executable files.
Can the script be improved upon? I'm certain of it,
since my scripting skills are very, very basic. But as
it exists in its current state, it's very functional. It just
works. I'm sure that for someone (hint, hint) who is
good with creating scripts with a GUI interface
(either via Zenity or Gtkdialog), it would be a fairly
simple proposition to create a GUI script to help
create the autostart­lxde.sh script and .desktop file.
This would give PCLinuxOS­LXDE users something
LXDE: Autostart Apps With .desktop Files
that no other users of LXDE on other Linux distros
have: a graphical way to manage the applications to
automatically start when LXDE starts.
Screenshot Showcase
Posted by travisn000, August 20, 2010, running KDE 4.
Beginner's Guide
Guide To
To Gimp:
Gimp: Part
Part 3
by Dan Malewski (Blndsyd)
As I sit thinking about this series on Gimp and a
beginner’s perspective, I realize in my past articles I
may have “jumped the gun” a bit. I will be stepping
back a bit and starting from what I believe is more of
a beginning to The Gimp.
This one will select a rectangle for many different
needs. One would be to fill in some color. Let’s try it.
Open a new file and select the rectangle tool. Pick a
spot, left click and drag. You should see something
like this.
What is the first thing that happens when we open
Gimp? Right off the bat, three “windows” open up.
The left one is the Tool panel. The middle is where
your images and editing will be. The right is the
Layer, Channel, Paths, Undo, Brushes, Patterns and
Gradients panel.
This time around, I will be focusing on the “Tools”
window. I will look at what some of those wonderful
buttons do. I’m going to let you play with the ones
that I don’t talk about. The best way to learn, I found,
was just going and doing.
The first one I will look at is the “Rectangle
Select Tool” found in the top left position.
Next time, I will go through more of those buttons on
the Tool Panel.
Thanks and enjoy the Gimp.
This will lead us to another one of the buttons on the
tool window. The fill button. Gimp calls it a
“Bucket Fill Tool” and it looks like a bucket of
paint. Select it, point inside the rectangle you
just made, and left click. Now it has filled the
You will also be able to cut things out with the
rectangle tool. All you would need to do is make your
rectangle > right click>select Edit> then select Cut.
Want To
To Help?
Would you like to help with the PCLinuxOS
Magazine? Opportunities abound. So get
You can write articles, help edit articles, serve
as a "technical advisor" to insure articles are
correct, create artwork, or help with the
magazine's layout.
Join us on our Google Group mailing list.
Forum Foibles:
Foibles: A
A Rose
Rose By
By Any
Any Other
Other Name
Name ...
UncleV started a topic in the forum that was fun
About our user names from where did they come
The response was epic so many willin' to share
Creativeness ran rampant each had a special flare
PCLinuxOS users are surely a special breed
Extraordinary people with that we're all agreed
So here are our stories for everyone to see
They will be in the magazine for all eternity
I see intriguing nicknames here in the forum.
So what do our nicknames mean or why did
we choose them? uncleV
"V" because my real name starts with it."uncle"
because I thought here, like in almost every other
forum, I would be one of the oldest... uncleV
My nickname = My First name + First letter of my
last name. AndrzejL
My name is my name. Neal
As for the nick, raven was our high school mascot,
cuervo is one of my favorite beverages, y los
cuervos son mis hermanos. Other stuff, too, and the
longer I have kept the nick the more fond of it I've
become. ElCuervo
Mine nickname came from the first email address I
setup for college. I had been given an email for
doing some work for a friend who ran an ISP from
his home and my wife (now ex) was jealous. So my
sister and I setup an email through the university I
was attending and choose amoeba (a single­cell
organism that only thinks of food and sex). Then
years later when I started working for the same
university, that was still linked to my name and was
made into my 'career account'. amoeba
Wayne is my name and 1932 is the year I was born.
Simple. wayne1932
Mine's easy too.....
Meemaw. MeeMaw
my grandchildren call me
ath are my initials and ­aki was just something I
tacked on that sounded cool to me. athaki
Mine came from some of the antics I did while racing
as a youngster! Wildman
When I first moved out and got my own internet
connection, I had to pick my email address. Every
nickname I have in real life was taken. Since I had
just got married, I went with Marriedman. Funny
thing is, no one ever seems to have that name
anywhere I go. Never on IRC or any email places.
my nickname is a play on punctuation. jaydot
JohnW is John + William, my birth names (in
English). My real name in Dutch see in my profile.
Using JohnW_57 on IRC and mailing lists (57 is
year of birth). JohnW
I was born a chimp and raised by penguins that
called me JOE. joechimp
I ain't nuthin' but a hounddog so I'm called
hounddog. hounddog
Since there are four different ways to spell my first
name, Eliot, OneL is something I have been saying
to people for most of my life. It also happens to be
my apartment number. OneL
Mine is a semi­futurist rendering of my first name,
Ryan(Xyon), which was then partially latinized by
inflicting the name with the gender denoting suffix '­
us' and removing the '­on'.It's a bit more complicated
than that, but that's the summary. Xyus
No mystery here.g = first letter of my first name r =
first letter of my middle name nich = first few letters
of my last name grnich
Andy is my first name. And as far as Axnot is
concerned, don't ask! Andy Axnot
When my kids aged 4 (or 5) I had to sign in on a
game site to play against them (I lost)
The kids forced me to a nick, in there eyes I am
(was) the Boss of the puter so it should be The
Boss, in Dutch, De Baas. Since then DeBaas it is.
when i was young i required a nickname, maybe for
a game so i wanted something simple and fast to
write T6 was my choice it has no relation with my
real name, age or anything else, it serves very well
its purpose keeps me anonymous but recognizable
My nickname is obvious to car folks..the car of my
life, purchased used way back in the 70s. Together
we have both aged well...even if we creak and leak
a bit. MGBguy
Forum Foibles: A Rose By Any Other Name ...
Mark is my middle name (and what everyone calls
me) and 342 is a semi­random number that was
chosen because of the pattern it makes on the
keyboard when entering it in. keyboard layout:
1234567890, start at 3 go right one go back to three
and go left one. Yeah, its really lame. Mark342
Mine means 'No Angel' (zero being the mathematical
equivalent of 'none'). When I was a kid, I used to
play a video game called Armored Core, where you
get to design a combat robot and use it to battle
other combat robots in mission scenarios ­­ you
could have 3 in your garage and give them their own
names, paint schemes and part loadouts (like
generators, FCS, leg parts, arm parts, weapons
systems, etc). I made one which was optimized for
attacking from the air and called it Zero Angel. I liked
the name and it stuck with me. Zero Angel
'Padma' is based on the character Padma the
Outbond, from Gordon Dickson's Childe Cycle series
of stories. Gordie chose his name to reflect Padma
Sambhava, an 8th­century Buddhist monk. The
connotation intended is 'wise old man'. (Yeah, I
know, at 55 I'm merely in the middle of the pack,
here. ) I started using it nearly a decade ago when I
joined the Civilization Fanatics Center (see sig), and
correctly assumed that I would be one of the older
ones there. In combination with my Basset Hound
avatar, it makes me "anonymous, but recognizable".
i got my nick from my sweet finnish mother­in­law...
she is unable to pronounce my real (and very
simple) name. luikki
I always figured if I can ­ YouCanToo YouCanToo
Well, mine's nothing special. First letter is also the
first letter of my first name. The rest is my last name.
Not very imaginative. djohnston
Mine isn't very exciting or interesting. The first 3
letters are also the first 3 letters of my wife's first
name. The next 3 letters are the first 3 letters of my
first name. And here you most likely concluded that it
had something to do with Martial Arts. It also has
nothing to do with my avatar. Ramchu
My birthright name is Sammuel (Sam will do). I am
a pieces, the two fish facing in opposite directions.
The "K" is in honor of KDE, and "Storm" is a partial
anagram of my real name KStorm
I like wolves. I like the concept of the "lone wolf"
whether based in fact or not. There was also a
movie by that name I thought was fairly decent.
That should be "Wolfen" for the movie. weirdwolf
Short explanation: Dubigrasu was the name of my
dog. dubigrasu
I have five brothers. I was third. ThirdOfSix
taelti is a mix of my first name and my cousins'
name. Taelti
My nickname is a reference to my favorite hobby
and pastime, a form of percussive dance called
clogging. Clogging and Tap are sibling forms, the
former being older and a true American folk dance.
When clogging "went Broadway" it came to be
known as Tap. Clogging remains a folk dance,
blending native Appalachian, English, Dutch, and
Irish dance. Imagine what "Hillbilly Riverdance"
would look like, and that's pretty much an accurate
picture. From square dance and reels to smooth and
precision line (my specialty), clogging encompasses
them all. Dixiedancer
Mine changes with every passing season or perhaps
a full moon, much to the bewilderment and probable
(yet unintended) annoyance of the community
members. Google can give you an answer as to the
what... Google nor I however, can give an
explanation as to why. Just pity the nursing staff who
will have to manage me once I get too old to care for
myself. Chuck Chunder
well ­ longtom comes from a common translation
error we Germans are famous for.
"Lang" in
German means "tall" in English. Most Germans not
as fluent in the English language would readily
translate "land" as "long". Since I am a pretty tall
person I reckon long*** would be fine. It also mixed
better than "tall". Now where does the ***tom came
from. Dunno ­ just sounded good, I guess.. longtom
Mine is due to the fact that I'm a postal mechanic for
the last 20 years and I work on LLV's, postal trucks,
and 63 is the year of my birth ... not real exciting huh
... LLVMech_63
Mine is my name.Since I don't really worry about ID
theft (you don't want to be Me) and I am sure I am
already on "lists", I am not concerned. I have used
the same since I got a computer in 2003. Peter
Clayton Osmar. pcosmar
Ruel = first name 24 = Jeff Gordon NASCAR baby!!!
Forum Foibles: A Rose By Any Other Name ...
Mine is work related, I am a 25 year veteran of the
fire service for a small city in eastern Kentucky. ff for
firefighter and 103 is my badge number. ff103
A former controller where I worked (~20 years ago)
called me this, and it's kind of stuck, since. Yet, it's
unique to this forum. For some bizarre reason, I
choose different handles on different boards. pags
i got that name Sproggy from my dad introducing to
people as his Sprog (child) and it has stuck all my
life. Sproggy
My wife should probably to blame why I started to
get interested in computers and especially Linux in
the first place. So I guess it's quite natural that my
forum name is formed from my first name, my wife's
first name and my last name. anlem
I always liked programming and ever wanted to
make my own company. When I was about 14 I first
though of BigSoft, but somebody could have
copyrathed that alreadt, so I though, nobody can
copyright my name, that's where BP are from.
software exlpaines itself. Since then I always use
those where no anonimity is needed. BPsoftware
Mine is my name and the year I graduated High
School. I think my brother copied me cause I'm just
that cool. Lee2010
My nickname comes from my punkband could
Kellerleichen. This
mother...Music can you listen under my signature.
I spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy, the last 15 as a
Chief Petty Officer or Senior Chief Petty Officer, and
I was called "Chief" during all that time, plus, as
MacLeod remarked in Highlander, "There can only
be one," so "TheChief." Pretty self explanatory. I
also use it almost everywhere. I only wish I could
have put a space in it. Didn't think of an underscore,
at the time. TheChief
here, I have nothing to hide. I know ... not the most
original ... but it serves its purpose, and that's me to
a tee ... utilitarian: as long as it works. parnote
My nick comes from the Latin, and English means
unbreakable, strong. Infragilis
OK I wasn't going to post in this thread. But then I
thought " What the heck". I'll state the obvious. My
name is Terry and my Last Name begins with a H.
Mine is so people know how to pronounce my name
correctly. GuypronouncedGuynotGuy
As very young teenagers in the 1950's we all had
nicknames, nobby, meggsy, mine was crritter ­ I
don't remember why but it stuck. I'm in my 60's now
and still known by a few as critter. critter
pull a pint. One of my favorite things to do after a
long hard day at the office. Ah who am I kidding.
Any time of day is good. It's 5 O'clock somewhere!
I almost hate to post this because it pales in
comparison to some of the other stories but...My last
name is Bounds. I've had several friends over the
years call me Boundzy ­ some of the other names
I've been called wouldn't make it past the censor.
boundzy was the first nickname I could think of when
I joined my first forum and it's just stuck. At 43 years
old, this is probably the only forum I've ever joined
and lowered the average age of its members!
I'm share a kinship with djohnston ... my forum
"name" is simply my first initial, followed by my last
name. But I suppose you already knew that, if you
read The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine. Like others
My first name is Sixth,, and my last name is Wheel,
but you can call me Pete. sixthwheel
Chose mine when I decided in the year 2000 that
KDE would be my desktop of choice and was the
year kde 2 was released. kde2k
Well, "marno" is an old email name and I wanted to
add a linux­sounding name to the end of it. marnux
My nickname comes from a 1991 Ford Explorer I
used to have. Me and my Wife always called the
explorer an exploder. In reality the exploder was the
most in­destructible vehicle I have ever owned.
When I was trying to think of a nickname I got to
thinking about a friend on a hardware forum that had
passed away. My friend went by rangeral, his name
was Al and he had a Ford Ranger. I put these
thoughts together and chose "exploder" for my
nickname. exploder
g = first initial (Galen) seaman = last name No
surprise. I try to keep my comments safe for anyone
to see, so I don't need anonymity. As long as we talk
about computers and software, it's no problem. The
sandbox can be a bit of a minefield, though.
Forum Foibles: A Rose By Any Other Name ...
I used to race mountain bikes where I was known to
my teammates as Davey Sprocket, "King of the Wild
Front Gear" an obvious takeoff on Davey Crockett,
King of the Wild Frontier, and yes, they sang it. The
"brew" part comes from my active homebrewing
hobby. The name of my brewery (yes, there is a
brewery in the house), is Davey Sprocket's Brewery
(complete with my own custom labels). So combine
them, and there you have it. daveysprocketbrew
My nick is fairly obvious. I was extremely skinny
when I was a kid. All my clothes were too big for me
because most of them came from a cousin who was
much bigger than me. My alcoholic father thought I
looked like Gandhi and started calling me
Gandy(pronounced like Randy). He continued to call
me that til he eventually drank himself to death. I
needed to change my email address because I was
getting spammed to death. I use web mail so it was
hard to pick one that wasn't in use by someone. I
decided to use gandy as the first part and my last
name as the last part. My avatar is Captain Kirk(I
believe he's screaming Khaaaaaannnnnn!) my hero,
along with James Bond, when I was a teenager.
I have two younger brothers, one is only a few years
younger and as kids we were great friends. When
we watched "The Andy Griffith Show" together we
used to love when Barny would call Andy "Andge".
When learned that we had another brother on the
way at about 6 and 8 we were freaked! Except for
one thing. Our younger brother was born with Spina
Bifida. What does that mean to an 8 year old?
NOTHING. All it meant was that we didn't get to
meat our new brother because he was in the
hospital for the first 3 years of his life. We knew we
had a brother but we had never seen him. All we
knew about him was that his name was Andy. Um I
mean, Randy. Our mistake for 3 years! Randy turned
out to be quite a funny guy and we joked with him
about our mistake and started calling him "Randge"
in dedication to the nickname that Barney gave to
Andy because we had mistakenly called him that for
3 years! My real name is Russell, and so "Randge"
started calling me "Rudge" in loving return. At birth
the doctors that delivered "Randge" suggested to my
mom that she let him starve to death as he would
never live. He has had countless major surgeries
and spent the first 10 years of his life in body casts.
He is and always has been my best friend. He is
now almost 40 years old and lives a happy life as a
popular trivia host at local bars and restaurants. The
name Rudge means a lot to me and I have chatted,
and created email accounts with it all my life.
I never use my real nicknames online, the ones my
Mum gave me are too cutesy and the ones that I got
elsewhere would be rather inappropriate. So I came
up with my own. I took inspiration from the
Psycho/Gothabilly band The Nekromantix and the
demented American cousin of Gothrock: Deathrock.
And in internet meme fashion I fused the two
together and used the Combichrist band logo as my
avatar. deathromantik
All the contents of the NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine are only
for general information and/or use. Such contents do not
constitute advice and should not be relied upon in making (or
refraining from making) any decision. Any specific advice or
replies to queries in any part of the magazine is/are the
person opinion of such experts/consultants/persons and are
not subscribed to by the NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine.
The information in the NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine is
provided on an "AS IS" basis, and all warranties, expressed
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The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine and its associates shall not
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to, without limitation, damages of any kind) arising in contract,
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magazine, or any of its contents, or from any action taken (or
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or any such contents or for any failure of performance, error,
omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or
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made as to the accuracy, adequacy, reliability, completeness,
suitability, or applicability of the information to a particular
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servers maintained by third parties over whom the NEW
PCLinuxOS Magazine has no control or connection, business
or otherwise. These sites are external to the NEW
PCLinuxOS Magazine and by visiting these, you are doing so
of your own accord and assume all responsibility and liability
for such action.
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A majority of sections in the magazine contain materials submitted by
users. The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine accepts no responsibility for
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Entire Agreement
These terms constitute the entire agreement between the parties with
respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes and replaces all
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oral, regarding such subject matter.
Screenshot Showcase
It's easier than E=mc2
It's elemental
It's light years ahead
It's a wise choice
It's Radically Simple
It's ...
Uploaded by Sproggy, August 2, 2010, running Phoenix.
Command Line
Line Interface
Interface Intro:
Intro: Part
Part 12
by Peter Kelly (critter)
The vi editor
I'll be honest. I don't like vi. The newer vim (vi –
improved) is well named, being an improvement,
but none the less, still vi. I find that the commands
are not intuitive and, unless you use it regularly,
difficult to remember.
The main reason to learn vi is that you must do it if
you are going to use the command line in any sort of
a serious way. Also, it is sometimes the only editor
available, but it invariably will be available. Some
system commands, such as cron, rely on vi, and it
will drop you straight into vi when editing crontab.
The sudo command insists that you use a special
version of vi named visudo to edit its configuration
file /etc/sudoers, although it is not really necessary
to do so. Many other system utilities base their
commands on this editor.
Although I personally don't like vi, I have to admit
that it is a very powerful editor. And, once you are
familiar with vi, it can be a very fast way of editing
text files. There is a lot of documentation available
for vi and vim, if you want to learn how to use it as a
professional. Here, I will show you the basics that
can be learned in just a few minutes, and will enable
you to do most of the editing that you need to do to
get out of a sticky situation, when vi(m) is the only
editor available.
You start the application by typing vi, followed by a
file name. If the file doesn't exist, then it will be
created when you save your changes. You may also
open a file at a particular line number by typing a
plus sign (+), followed by a number, or at the first
occurrence of a pattern of characters with a +, then
a forward slash (/) and the pattern to be matched.
This is useful when editing a script and trying to get
a particular section working correctly. Try vi
+/$USER /etc/passwd to open that file at your entry
in it. If working as an ordinary user, the file will open,
but as you don't have write permissions, it will be in
read­only mode. This fact will be displayed at the
bottom of the screen.
The first thing that most new users fail to do is to get
out of the application, as there is no easy "quit" or
"exit" command. Let's get this out of the way right
now. vi is bi­modal. This means that it has two
different modes of operation: command mode and
insert mode. When you open a file, you are placed in
command mode, with the text of the file on screen,
which you can move around in but not edit directly.
To edit the file, you need to issue a command that
will put you into insert mode. But you cannot exit the
application from here, and that is mostly what
confuses new users. To exit insert mode, you press
the escape key. If you forget which mode you are in,
or just feel lost, then press the escape key and you
will always be put back to command mode.
Once in command mode, you can exit the program.
To do this, type a colon, which will appear at the
bottom left of the screen. vi then waits for you to
type a command. The command to quit is q. If there
have been no edits, then the application exits and
returns you to the command line. If the text of the file
has changed, you will get an error warning stating
"no write since last change". Now you can do one of
two things.
the w writes out the changes then quits
the exclamation point tells vi to discard
the changes and then quit.
In summary, to exit the file, press escape, then type
Moving around in the file can be done with the
cursor keys, but was traditionally done by using the
h j k l keys to move left, down, up or right
respectively (l to go right?). To move one full word
forward press w and then b to move back a word,
and 0 and $ to move to the beginning or end of a
line. Ctrl­f and Ctrl­b moves forward or backward a
screen at a time. Ctrl­d or Ctrl­u moves up or down
half a screen at a time.
In command mode, you can use the following
c change
d delete
y yank which means copy
p put or place the yanked text at the cursor
When you issue the c or d commands, the text is
removed from the screen and placed in a buffer
known as the cut, or yank, buffer. The y command
places a copy of the text into the buffer, leaving the
screen unchanged. You can then re­position the
cursor and press p to "put" the contents of the buffer
at that position. The stored text can be re­used as
many times as required, until it is replaced by
another operation.
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
What you change, delete or yank are objects,
including words, lines, sentences, paragraphs or
sections. But for our simple editing needs, I will limit
it to words and lines. You can also specify how many
objects you want the command to operate on. To
make the whole line the object, you repeat the
command cc dd or yy.
change the next 5 words. this deletes the next
five words and allows you type in some new
delete 3 lines starting with the current line.
copy the next 2 words starting at the cursor,
not necessarily at the beginning of the word.
copy the current line and the next 3 lines
Insert mode is entered by typing one of the following
commands: a, A, c, C, i, I, o, O, R, s or S. You will
then see ­ ­ INSERT ­ ­ at the bottom left of the
screen. These commands allow you to append,
change, insert, replace or substitute text or open up
a new line to type in some text. When users had to
make do with a rather unforgiving dumb terminal,
most of these options would have been welcomed.
Today's desktop computer keyboard interface is
rather more sophisticated and standardized.
With the movement keys outlined above, we can
quickly move to the part of the text that we need to
modify, and press i to enter insert mode. We can
now begin typing new text. Press the insert key on
the keyboard to toggle overwrite mode. You will
notice the "­ ­ INSERT ­ ­" at the bottom changes to
"­ ­ REPLACE ­ ­", or use the delete key to remove
If you are using the more advanced vim, which I
would recommend if you have a choice (and
PCLinuxOS users do have this choice), you can
activate a visual highlighting mode, which can be
character­wise, line­wise or block­wise. Press the
escape key to get into command mode, and press v.
You are now in character­wise visual mode, and text
under the cursor is highlighted as you move around.
Uppercase V puts you in line­wise mode and full
lines only can be highlighted. Ctrl­v enters block­
wise mode. Here a rectangle of text is highlighted as
you move across and up or down. A simple
experiment in each of the three modes will
demonstrate this much more easily than I could
describe the effects.
With the text highlighted, you can issue the c, d or y
commands, with the c command automatically
putting you in insert mode to type in the replacement
This brief introduction to vi will allow you to perform
almost all of the editing that you will ever need to do
on the command line. Obviously, if you learn some
more of the available commands, then your editing
will become even more efficient. But this is enough
to get you out of trouble when things aren't going so
well, or to enable you to edit files like crontab or
Midnight Commander
One of the most useful utilities for the command line
user is Midnight Commander. For those of you who
aren't familiar with it, I'll explain. Midnight
Commander is a two panel file manager, very similar
to KDE's Krusader. The main difference is that it is
entirely text based and used from a terminal. It
provides a graphical interface to most file system
management tasks, using elements from the
ncurses and S­lang libraries to provide the text
drawn graphics. The application is extremely
customizable, and it is installed by default in most
full variants of PCLinuxOS. It will also be found in
most other Linux distributions. Mouse interaction is
supported and works fine in a terminal emulator
under a windowing system. But for use in a 'true'
terminal, as you will get by typing Ctrl­Alt­F2, you will
need to install the gpm mouse server from the
repositories. Midnight Commander includes a text
file viewer and an excellent editor, and can be used
over remote connections. Midnight Commander will
also let you look inside compressed files and rpm
packages by simply pressing enter when the file is
Midnight Commander (hereafter referred to as MC)
can be started from the command line by simply
typing mc. It is intuitive enough to be used
immediately by even the newest Linux user. You
may be wondering why I have not introduced such a
wonderful time saving utility before now, and why
you have had to jump through hoops in an unfriendly
and often unforgiving environment to achieve even
the simplest file system commands, such as copying
and moving files. Quite simply, you have now seen
the interior workings of the Linux system and are
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
more able to take full advantage of it, and to
understand the many advanced features, which
many users do not comprehend or miss completely.
By default you will start with a screen like this:
Anything that you type in MC is examined to check
whether it is a MC command. If it's not, it is passed
to the shell to be dealt with. There are a lot of
commands in MC and shortcuts to them are shown
in the drop down menus like this:
hold down control and press u ­ this one
swaps the panels over
Ctrl­x c hold down control, press x, release both
and type c ­ brings up the chmod dialog
Meta­? hold down the meta key, more usually
known as the Alt key, and type ? bring up the find file
Basic configuration is done through a menu found
under options on the top menu bar. Drop this menu
down and press Enter on the configuration entry.
You will get a dialog like this:
The top line is a drop down menu bar, accessible
with the mouse or by pressing F9 and then the arrow
keys. Directly below are the two panels that are split
vertically by default, but can be changed to
horizontal from the configuration menu. Then left
and right on the top line will read above and below
. At the bottom of each panel is a status bar, which
displays some file information and file system usage
(default). Next down is the command line. Anything
entered from the keyboard that is not interpreted as
a command to MC goes here, and enter sends it to
the shell for processing. The bottom line is a set of
buttons corresponding to the Function keys, but they
are also mouse clickable. The panels are overlaid on
the output screen, and can be toggled on or off by
pressing Ctrl­o (that's letter o, not zero). You may
want to do this to see, for example, the output of a
command executed from the command line window.
Use the arrow keys to move around, and press the
space bar to add or remove an option, or hold down
the Alt key and press the letter in blue. Most of the
options can safely be left at their default settings. I
prefer to not show hidden files unless necessary,
as they are hidden for good reason. I also
recommend checking Lynx­like motion. Lynx is a
text only web browser which uses the arrow keys for
navigation through links, and this option allows you
to move up or down through highlighted directories
by using the left and right arrow keys. The shell
Patterns option, when checked, uses search
patterns such as wild cards, as you would use in
shell 'globbing.' Unchecked, it uses the full power of
regular expressions, which makes it an extremely
powerful tool. If you need more help on the other
options, F1 will bring up a fairly comprehensive help
For most operations, you will want to have the two
panels showing the contents of two different
directories, perhaps source and destination
directories for copy and move operations. Switch
between panels with the tab key, and select files by
tagging them with Ctrl­t or the insert key. F5 copies
selected files from the active panel to the other
panel by default, but pops up a dialog box to allow
you to change this. F6 moves them across, with the
option to rename the file, and F8 deletes them.
While a file is highlighted (not tagged), pressing F3
displays the contents where practical, and F4 opens
it in the editor, although you must have write
permission to save any edits to the file.
If you find that you need to frequently drill down
down to a directory buried deep within the file
system, you can add it to the hot­list dialog. type
Ctrl­\ and select add current (Alt­a). You will be
prompted for a name for the entry. The full path­
name will already be there if you want to use it. Want
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
to go home? Type cd, (the letters go into the
command line box as you type), then press Enter
and the active panel will show your home directory.
The listing can be sorted in any way you like as
shown below.
The panels are not limited to displaying a directory
listing. By dropping down the left or right menus
You can set up a filter to show only files that match a
pattern. The rescan option, Ctrl­r, refreshes the
contents of the active panel if the contents have
changed since the directory was entered.
The ftp and shell link options are one of the
cleverest parts of MC. They allow you to display the
contents of a directory on a remote system, and let
you navigate around as though it was on your own
hard drive.
Try this:
you have the option to change the display in that
panel to the contents of the currently highlighted file
in the other panel, or to display a heap of information
about the file. It can also be set to display the file
system in a tree like structure. If you keep the
directory listing, the same menu will allow you to
select the amount of detail shown similar to the ­a,
and ­l options of the ls command. Or you can set up
a custom display to show exactly what you need.
Set the right panel to quick view.
Tab back to the left panel and drop down the left
Select ftp link ...
Enter ftp.nic.funet.fi in the dialog box that appears.
On the right hand panel are displayed the contents
of the highlighted file in the left panel. The files
shown in the left panel are on a file server in
Finland. Funet is the Finnish University and
Research Network. You can freely browse any
directories for which you have been granted access,
and you may read or copy documents to your own
home directory. It's a great research tool. Try
opening the pub/ directory. You can even add it to
your directory hotlist (ctrl­\), and give it a nicer name
for quick future access.
There are hundreds of free ftp sites that can be
accessed in this manner. If you want to download
software or a live cd image, I would recommend a
dedicated ftp client application, such as gFTP, or the
ftp capabilities of a decent web browser.
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
To use the shell link... option to connect to another
machine on the local network, make sure that the
/etc/hosts file contains a line with the IP address
and host name of the remote computer to allow
address translation. In the dialog that is presented
when you select shell link... from the menu, type in
something along the lines of [email protected] You may
then be asked for Jane's password before being
granted access to the machine as Jane.
When you enter a directory with lots of files and sub­
directories, you can home in rapidly with the quick
search function, Ctrl­s. Try navigating to the /etc
directory and type Ctrl­s fs. You will be taken
straight to the /etc/fstab file, where you can press
F3 to view the contents, or F4 to edit it.
Under the file menu are options to perform most of
the file handling commands that you would normally
carry out on the command line. For example, to
create a symbolic link in the right panel to a file in
the left panel, simply select Symlink, and a dialog is
shown with the defaults already filled in. Press Enter
to accept or change the symlinks name to your
At the bottom of the file menu are a group of
commands to tag a group of files according to a
pattern. As an example, if shell patterns are
disabled, then a pattern such as ^\.bash.* in your
home directory will tag all of your (hidden) bash
related files ready to be copied to a backup directory.
Pressing the F2 key brings up the user menu. What
this shows depends upon the contents of the file
~/.mc.menu, and you can edit the file to your hearts
content to customize the menu. Open up the default
menu, and you will see just how complex you can
make the menu commands. But simple commands
are also acceptable.
There is a simple find files dialog accessible from the
command drop down menu or by pressing M­? This
is pretty easy to use, with a space for the start
directory, which can be filled by selecting a directory
from the Tree option and spaces for the search
criteria, which may be either the file name or
content. Both can use either shell expansions or
regular expressions. When the list of files is
displayed, you have the option to 'panelize' them,
which means display them in the active panel for
further processing. To get back the previous
contents of the panel, use the refresh Ctrl­r
command. This is an excellent place to practice your
regular expression skills, with the Again option
taking you back to the pattern for modification or
refinement if the results are not what you expected.
If you need even more power, the External Panelize
command will provide it. This is activated from the
command drop down menu, or Crtl­x !. This
command allows you to execute an external
command, and to put the results into the active
panel. You can even save regularly used commands
under a friendly name.
Also available from the command drop down menu
is the directory tree command, which displays a
dialog showing the file system in a tree like structure,
and changes the function key definitions at the
bottom of the screen. F4 or Rescan refreshes the
tree display. F3 temporarily removes a directory from
the display. This useful when there are lots and lots
of sub­directories making navigation difficult. F4
toggles between static and dynamic tree
navigation. Play around with it and you'll see the
difference. Pressing the enter key on any directory
closes the dialog and switches the active panel to
that directory.
To compare the contents of two files that you have
been editing, select one file in the left panel, and the
other in the right. Then, from the command drop
down menu, select view diff files and a new, two
panel window will open, showing the contents of
both files, with the differences highlighted
If you need to keep two directories synchronized, the
Compare directories, or Ctrl­x d, is a boon. With
one of each of the directories in its own panel,
execute the command, and you will be prompted for
the type of comparison to make, and the files that
differ will be tagged on both sides. You can then
simply copy the tagged files across with the F5 key.
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
When you open a file in the editor or viewer, or
compare two files, a new screen is shown. MC can
have multiple screens open at any time, and you can
switch between them as you wish, using these
forward one screen
back one screen
list the open screens (that's the back
Unfortunately, you may only have one file listing
screen open at a time.
If you forget to close an open screen and try to
leave, MC will issue a warning.
If you think that I have done a comprehensive job of
covering the features in MC, then you are not even
close. I've only covered the features that I regularly
use. Read the help files and you will find a lot more
to play with.
When you are working in a text only terminal, either
because you are trying to achieve a command line
oriented goal, are simply locked out of your beloved
X windowing system temporarily, or just because
you want to, (sadly), you don't have to sit there in
monastic silence.
There is a widely available tool known as sox, which
is an incredibly powerful audio application with a
bewildering array of options. It recognizes most
audio formats, can play back or record, add effects,
split, combine and do just about anything that a
reasonable person would wish to do with, or to, an
audio file.
Open a virtual terminal with Ctrl­Alt­F2 and run the
script. Use Ctrl­Alt­F3 to open another terminal to
do your work. Enjoy!
If you are so inclined, then please, be my guest.
Read the manuals and produce your masterpiece.
Personally, I would much rather use a graphical
application, such as audacity, to perform such
sox can be called in one of three incarnations:
the full version
the play back part and
the recording function part.
Let's concentrate on play.
To simply have some music while you work, you can
call play ­v {number} {song}. The ­v option controls
the volume and number is a real number, the
default being 1. Enter 0.5 for playback at half
volume, 2 for double the default volume, or normal
volume and so forth. Be warned that entering too
high of a number may damage your hardware or
Here's a little script that will allow you to have your
favorite music playing while you work. It expects a
folder containing compatible music files on the
command line as a play list. This version looks for
mp3 files and plays them back at half volume. Edit it
to your own preferences.
Call it with a command like ~/play­it­sam.sh
/data/Music/The­Who/ (so, I like 60's pop, okay?).
The script could use a little more error checking, and
has the potential to provide more functions, such as
volume control. I'll leave that to you. If you make any
significant improvements, and I am sure that you
can, I would be interested in seeing them.
Where to next?
If you want to stop right here, that is fine, What I
have covered in this introduction is more than
enough to lift you out of the 'newbie' class, and will
almost certainly cover most of what the average user
needs to make efficient use of the command line.
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
Should you wish to delve a little deeper, there are
several ways to do this.
Almost all of the commands include some sort of
documentation as part of the installation. As a
minimum you can follow the command with ­ ­ help,
which will usually give you some idea of the usage,
along with the available options of the command.
When the man command fails to provide sufficient
information, use the info command. The content is
similar to the manual pages but often much more
detailed. Unfortunately, the info command's user
interface is terrible so remember this: type q to quit,
and type h for help.
Most commands are also documented in the man
pages, a special type of built in help system. The
manual pages are not always installed by default in
every distribution, but are almost certainly available
from the software repositories, and are well worth
installing. If a man page is not available from the
repository for a given command, try
http://linuxmanpages.com/. It's a great resource.
The manual pages are accessed by typing man
command, where command is the name of the
command you are interested in.
As a reference, they are invaluable. But they are not
very beginner friendly, although the information that
they contain is usually accurate. If you see a
reference to a man page, it is often followed by a
number. This is the section number. For
convenience, the manual pages are organized into
sections, but the number is optional. The sections
user commands
system calls
library functions
special files
file formats
conventions and miscellany
administration and privileged commands
That should get you by.
There is, of course, lots of information available on
the internet, but beware that some of it may be
inaccurate. The most reliable source is LDP ­ the
Linux documentation project (http://www.tldp.org).
Here you will find a wealth of information on all
things Linux, in a variety of formats and languages.
Another reliable online source is The Linux Gazette
(http://linuxgazette.net/), with all back issues
available in the archives. The Gazette has been
around since 1995.
If you prefer a good, old­fashioned book, then you
will be spoiled for choice, as there are literally
thousands of them available. Which to choose can
be a headache and a kind of lottery. My personal
experience is that you can't go far wrong with the
excellent O'reilly series of Linux reference titles.
They are usually well written, reliably factual, and
durable. I have a 10 year old copy of Linux in a
nutshell that shows little sign of wear despite the
years of rummaging through its 600 odd pages).
PCLinuxOS users are fortunate enough to have their
own magazine, which is an excellent source of
distribution­centric information. All previous issues
are available for free download.
Last, but not least, there is the PCLinuxOS forum. If
you can't find a solution to your problem, then ask
there and surely one or more of the friendly resident
experts will help. Even Texstar, the distribution's
main man, is a regular contributor there.
The only other thing you need to become more
proficient is practice. Only you can provide that. The
more that you use the methods outlined in this
introduction, the easier you will find them to use.
Reading about a command is fine. But to understand
it fully, you must use it regularly.
Editor's Note: This, the 12th installment of the Command
Line Interface Intro article series, is also the last. Critter,
a.k.a. Pete Kelly, has provided us, the PCLinuxOS
community, an outstanding tutorial on how to use the
command line. If you have followed along, I'm sure that
you have discovered just how powerful the Linux
command line truly is, and how easy it can be.
Critter is not, however, "going away." He has agreed to
stay on and write additional articles for The NEW
PCLinuxOS Magazine. You will be seeing more from him
in the coming months.
Meanwhile, we will be publishing a special edition of The
NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine, containing all of Pete's
excellent Command Line Interface Intro articles, in order
from the first article, up to and including this final article.
Command Line Interface Intro: Part 12
If you are (or get) serious about learning the Linux
command line, then the special edition would serve as an
excellent starting point, not to mention an excellent
reference resource. Watch for it, coming soon.
Thank you, Pete, for all of your hard work in producing
this outstanding tutorial series for The NEW PCLinuxOS
Screenshot Showcase
Paul Arnote, PCLinuxOS Magazine Chief Editor
Posted by bones113, August 19, 2010, running KDE 4.
Educational Linux!
By Meemaw
With the arrival of school enrollment, I have started
thinking about redoing an old computer I am not
using and giving it to my grandkids. I would like to
have all the educational software possible in order to
help them learn. They range in age from six to
eleven, so I need a varied assortment of programs
for them.
I started doing research, beginning in the
PCLinuxOS community project forum, as they have
been talking about a version of our wonderful distro
that concentrates on educational programs. I have
also read several articles that have appeared on
Linux Today. Linux Links does lists of the best
programs in many categories, so I read those as
well. From there, I saw an article titled "9 of the Best
Free Linux Educational Games." The author talked
about the best programs for education in Linux. The
programs are:
By clicking on the links, you are taken to the Linux
Links page for that project, which has each project's
respective home page. All the Tux programs
(TuxMath, TuxType, etc.) have been combined into
Tux4Kids, and the SchoolsPlay project is where
ChildsPlay is located.
different languages
Flash Card Trainer (KWordQuiz) ­ a general purpose
flash card program. It can be used for vocabulary
learning and many other subjects
Vocabulary Trainer (Parley) ­ a program to
help you memorize things
The KDE Education Project includes:
Letter Order Game (Kanagram) ­ mixes up the
letters of a word (creating an anagram), and you
have to guess what the
mixed up word is.
Hangman Game
(KHangMan) ­ the
classical hangman game.
The child should guess a
word letter by letter. At
each miss, the picture of a
hangman appears. After
10 tries, if the word is not
guessed, the game is over
and the answer is
Reference/Study Tool (Kiten)
Learn the Alphabet (KLettres) ­ aims to help to learn
the alphabet and then to read some syllables in
Graph Calculator (KAlgebra) ­ a
mathematical calculator based content
markup MathML language Nowadays it is
capable to make simple MathML
operations (arithmetic and logical) and
representate 2D and 3D graphs
Exercise Fractions (KBruch) ­ a small program to
practice calculating with fractions
Interactive Geometry (Kig) ­ a program for exploring
geometric constructions
Mathematical Function Plotter (KmPlot)
Educational Programming Environment (KTurtle) ­
an educational programming environment for the
KDE Desktop. KTurtle aims to make programming
as easy and touchable as possible, and therefore
can be used to teach kids the basics of math,
geometry and... programming
Periodic Table of the Elements (Kalzium) ­ an
application which will show you some information
about the periodic system of the elements
Blinken (blinken) ­ Classic Electronic Simon Game
Geography Trainer (KGeography) ­ a geography
learning program
Touch Typing Tutor (KTouch) ­ offers you an easy
way to learn to type quickly and correctly
Educational Linux!
Desktop Planetarium (KStars) ­ a Desktop
Planetarium for KDE. It provides an accurate
graphical simulation of the night sky, from any
location on Earth, at any date and time.
Desktop Globe (Marble) ­ a Virtual Globe and World
Atlas that you can use to learn more about Earth:
You can pan and zoom around and you can look up
places and roads
Interactive Physics simulator (Step) ­ place some
bodies on the scene, add some forces such as
gravity or springs, then click "Simulate" and Step
shows you how your scene will evolve according to
the laws of physics
The thread at mypclinuxos.com lists the following
additional educational software packages:
Educational Programs
O Gamine: For children starting 18 months. An
educative and interactive game for GNU/Linux
designed for 2 years old children who are not able to
use a keyboard.
O Pysycache: A program to teach children to use
the mouse. Very useful with children that have never
used a computer.
O TuxMathScrabble is a math version of the
popular board game. It is highly entertaining as well
as great educational value. The game challenges
young people to construct compound equations and
consider multiple abstract possibilities. There are
three skill­levels for practice from basic addition and
subtraction through to multiplication and division.
O OOo4Kids: OpenOffice.org for children.
Beautiful and easy to start with.
O TuxWordSmith: A multi­language word game
with obvious similarities to Scrabble. In developing
the game, the goal was not to copy Scrabble, but to
extend TuxMathScrabble. Historically,
TuxMathScrabble came first. Thanks to the
language resources provided by the xdxf project, it
has been possible to create this "sister application"
to TuxMathScrabble, which can be played in many
O Littlewizard: "development environment for
children. It is intended to be used by primary school
children to learn about the main elements of real
computer languages. Using only the mouse, children
can explore programming concepts such as
variables, expressions, loops, conditions, and logical
blocks." The latest version is almost 2 years old, and
is not available in Spanish.
O Scratch: Is a programming language that
makes it easy to create your own interactive stories,
animations, games, music, and art. Looks like a
good alternative to Microworlds.
O Etoys: From the project page: an educational
tool for teaching children powerful ideas in
compelling ways; a media­rich authoring
environment and visual programming system; a free
software program that works on almost all personal
computers. The latest version is from 24­Oct­2009.
O FreeMind: A premiere free mind­mapping
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map) software
written in Java. Very useful for organize ideas, make
presentations and manage discussions sessions.
O XMind: A mind mapping program. It doesn't
appear to have localizations for Spanish or French
O TuxPaint: a simple, easy­to­use drawing
program for children ages 2 and up. It provides a
fixed canvas size, one­click saving and thumbnail­
based browsing and loading. Large icons, simple
labels and prompts, and the ability to display only
uppercase characters and disable features like
printing, quitting, and certain prompts make it easy
for very young children and the disabled.
O MuseScore: a free cross platform WYSIWYG
music notation program, licenced under GNU GPL.
Some highlights: WYSIWYG, notes are entered on
a "virtual note sheet; unlimited number of staves; up
to four voices per staff; easy and fast note entry with
mouse, keyboard or MIDI; integrated sequencer and
FluidSynth software synthesizer; import and export
of MusicXML and Standard MIDI Files; available for
Windows, Mac and Linux; translated in 26
Teacher's Tools
O Clic: A Windows program to design activities for
children, it runs well under wine. Lots of activities in
the homepage.
O Jclic: Same as above, but the activities are not
compatible. Jclic is based in Java.
O Mnemosyne: You can visit the project home
page at http://www.mnemosyne­proj.org/. Built on
Python, it uses spaced repetition, which is
mentioned as being good for long­term
memorization of items. It is part of a research project
on long­term memory, and may voluntarily collect
data from its users. The current version is 1.2.2.
O Ignuit: a memorization aid based on the Leitner
flashcard system. Cards can include embedded
audio, images, and mathematical formulae (via
LaTeX). It can import and export several file formats,
including CSV, jMemorize, and Mnemosyne.
O In Repos
O Not In Repos
O It Works (in wine)
Educational Linux!
So would I just use one of these lists? Or make up
one of my own? What is needed for a complete set
of educational programs? My own list is as follows,
starting with twelve for elementary students:
KDE Education Project
Tux Typing
Tux Math Scrabble
Tux Word Smith
Foresight for Kids is based on Foresight. I have
looked at LinuxKidX and Edubuntu, (the live cd's
anyway), and each has many of the same programs
listed above. LinuxKidX's apperarance is geared
toward younger learners, but Edubuntu's initial
appearance is much like any of the other 'buntu's,
and can be altered very easily.
From this article, we see that Russian schools;
German Universities, the Phillipines; the Soviet state
of Georgia; The Indian State of Tamil Nadu;
Switzerland schools; Bolzano, Italy; Kerela, India;
OLPC; and in the US, Indiana schools are also using
Linux. I'm sure there are more that haven't been
listed, and from all the work being done on
educational distros, it seems natural that Linux
should find its way to most schools. I, for one, sure
hope it does.
As they get older and need more
advanced programs. OOo4Kids
can be replaced by OOo, and the
following can be added:
Dr. Geo
Piano Booster
This is only my opinion, however, and almost
anyone's list could contain different things.
A more recent article
3224.aspx) has the following five distros as best for
kids; Qimo for Kids, OLPC/Sugar, Edubuntu,
LinuxKidX and Foresight for Kids. Qimo and
Edubuntu are Ubuntu based, Sugar is based on
Fedora, LinuxKidX is Slackware based, and
Game Zone:
Zone: Battle
Battle For
For Wesnoth
by Ryan Smith (Xyus)
“General, I bring grievous news: Oulham and
Corkharbor have been sacked by Northerners, the
Knalgan war machines have pierced the front lines and
are rapidly advancing toward the fortress, and the
Necromancer Lords have gained full control over the east.
All is not lost, however; the Rebel leader has been slain in
battle and his forces scatter before our armies. How
should we proceed?”
Such is an average day for the players of the
popular open source strategy game, “The Battle for
Originally created by David White, and now
developed by a large group of volunteer
contributors, The Battle for Wesnoth is a fantasy
tactical strategy game with the design goal of being
easy to learn and having simple rules of play while
still being challenging for more experienced players.
The objective of the game is usually to “eliminate all
foes and be all that is left standing,” although this
depends on whether a campaign or skirmish map is
being played, with different campaign maps having
different goals.
Modes of Play
The game has several modes of play, including
Tutorial, Campaign, and Multiplayer modes.
Campaign mode is where the 'stories' of the game
takes place. In a campaign, you fulfill objectives in
order to advance a plot. The campaigns do not need
to be completed in any particular order; all
campaigns, from the easiest to the most difficult, are
available to play immediately from a clean install.
Campaigns are divided into several scenarios that
act as chapters of the campaign, with each scenario
taking place on its own map and having its own
winning and losing conditions.
Selecting a campaign from the campaign menu will
take you directly into the battle, while selecting a
multiplayer/skirmish game will take you to a setup
The units of the game are divided into several
factions. The faction you play determines which
basic units you will be able to recruit, and will
significantly affect your strategy. The factions of the
base game are the Loyalists, the Rebels, the
Northerners, the Undead, the Knalgan Alliance, and
the Drakes. Most campaigns choose your faction for
you, but in skirmish and multiplayer games,
choosing a faction will be the first strategic choice
you will make.
Multiplayer mode is where, as you may have
guessed, you can test your strategies against other
players. There are three types of multiplayer modes
available: Internet play, LAN, and Hotseat. You can
also play single player skirmishes here as well.
Game Zone: Battle For Wesnoth
The game is controlled completely by mouse. As
with most strategy games, you left click on units to
select them, then left click at a target location to
move or attack with them. The right mouse button is
used for things such as recruiting units and quickly
accessing the in­game encyclopedia.
The game itself takes place on a map composed of
a number hexagonal tiles. Each tile represents a
certain type of terrain, such as a desert or forest.
The terrain type of a tile affects how many tiles your
unit can move, as well as how much environmental
protection they receive. For example, it is more
difficult to attack an enemy who is in a forest than in
an open plain. Some tiles contain villages, which is
the source of gold in the game. Gold is used to
recruit units, and is the only resource you have to
manage in the game.
The most important unit in the game is your Leader.
The Leader starts out as a higher level unit and is
required to recruit units. If you lose your leader, you
lose the game. The most common victory condition
is destroying all enemy leaders. Aside from these
points, the Leader is a normal unit, and can attack
and move, with all the advantages and
disadvantages of any other unit of his type.
Your leader starts out in a fortress, which acts as
your headquarters or capital. Fortresses are
composed of a number of 'castle' tiles and a single
'Keep' tile, which can be distinguished from the
castle tiles by its unique graphic. The fortress
provides considerable defense to your units, and
plays a central part in the game. Recruiting new
units is only possible when your leader is standing in
the Keep tile in the center of a fortress, and is done
by right clicking on any space of the fortress and
selecting “recruit.” When you do this, a list of all units
available for recruitment opens, and from this list you
pick the unit you want to recruit.
abilities, and an amount of battle experience
required to advance in level. The tutorial covers
these in more detail.
Fighting in this game happens simply by moving one
of your units into a space occupied by an enemy
unit. The battle window opens, which shows several
statistics that may determine how the battle will turn
out, as well as a choice between the different attacks
the unit possesses.
The attacks you can use in a fight are as varied as
the units that use them. During a battle, after an
attack has been picked from the menu, units take
turns attacking each other. The amount of damage
an attack does depends on how many times a unit
will use his attack in this fight, how much damage
each hit does, and the chance that each hit will
connect. Again, these are described in detail in the
The units themselves are varied, with each unit
having a unique set of stats and skills. In addition to
having a certain amount of Hit Points (for non­
gamers, the amount of damage a unit can take
before it is killed) and Movement Points. Every unit
has at least one type of attack, weaknesses, and
strengths against certain types of attack, an
alignment that determines how much damage is
done during the night and day, possible bonus
Game Zone: Battle For Wesnoth
In addition to normal damage, attacks can also have
special abilities, like poisonous attacks that continue
to deal damage after a battle, or attacks that can be
used by certain Undead units that can turn enemies
into zombies under your control.
then available to play in skirmishes and multiplayer
After every battle, especially battles in which an
enemy is destroyed, your unit gains experience.
After a certain amount of experience is reached,
your unit will gain a level, which will cause the unit to
change into a more powerful type of unit, and will
have a higher amount of HP, and more powerful
The Battle for Wesnoth is highly moddable. As such,
the game has a strong and proficient modding
community. From the main menu, you can access
both the add­ons repository and a map editor.
The add­ons repository contains all mods available
for the version of the game you are using. In here,
you can find many interesting add­ons, including
new factions, complete with new units, which are
usually packaged into groups called 'Eras', new
campaigns, multiplayer scenarios and campaigns,
and maps for skirmishes and multiplayer games.
The map editor allows you to easily create your own
maps from within the game using the terrain tiles
and simple paintbrush style tools. These maps are
Although The Battle for Wesnoth is a relatively
simple strategy game, there are a few things worth
In addition to gold, villages have another extremely
useful property: Leaving a unit on a village and
ending the turn will heal that unit upon the start of
the next turn. One of the simplest strategies involves
having units switch between fighting and healing,
prolonging the average lifespan of your units.
That's about it for game play: Recruit units, capture
towns, and fight until you are the last one standing.
Hints and Tips
The Battle for Wesnoth is freely available for many
operating systems from the main site, but for
PCLinuxOS, you won't have to look far; it is in the
PCLOS repositories, under Games/Strategy.
The minimal system requirements are uncertain, but
from the FAQ on the site:
“For versions 1.1 and up we recommend a computer
with at least 1 GHz and 512 MB RAM if you run KDE
or Gnome as Windowmanager”
Synaptic should take care of all of library
Though I only mentioned it when I spoke about unit
skills, Alignment plays a significant role in battle.
Units can have an Alignment of Lawful, Neutral, or
Chaotic. Lawful units are stronger and are more
likely to hit during the day, but are weaker and less
likely to hit at night. Chaotic units are the exact
opposite, and neutral units are totally unaffected by
time of day. Use this to your advantage. You do not
want to lose your mighty Undead Legion by
launching your massive siege in the day.
Some important unit info is covered in the in­game
encyclopedia, including weakness and strength
against certain types of attacks, and the number of
movement points expended when passing over the
different terrain tiles. To view a unit's encyclopedia
page, right click the unit and select “description”.
Your high level units may be powerful, but they are
far from immortal. If things look tough, you should
pull your most valuable units from the fray, and let
them heal. Believe it or not, a level 0 can still defeat
a level 3 or 4 if it is sufficiently weakened. More than
Game Zone: Battle For Wesnoth
once, I have sent my most powerful unit to take on
more than it could handle, only to have it die in a
wave of weak units.
If you are stuck on any of the campaigns, the official
site has walk­throughs of all campaigns that come
with the game.
Screenshot Showcase
Conclusion/My Thoughts
My history with this game goes back a few years, so
I am a little biased. Having given that warning, I think
this game is very good. Though the setting and
campaign stories may not win many awards for
originality, that does not detract from the game. The
graphics are not bad, in my opinion. But, I get a thrill
from text­based games. Judge the graphics from the
screen shots. The music lends itself to the theme of
the game.
With only one type of resource, no diplomacy, no
micromanagement of things like cities, and no
research or espionage, the Battle for Wesnoth fulfills
its promise of simple game play, adding itself to the
“more complex than Chess, less than Civilizations”
Overall, I think strategy gamers, and modders, will
enjoy it very much. Others may or may not,
depending on their style of play, but I urge all to at
least play through the tutorial.
Posted by Leiche, August 25, 2010, running KDE 4.
Installing PCLinuxOS-LXDE On An IBM Thinkpad 600e
by Hootiegibbon
A couple of weeks ago, I was very fortunate to
acquire a Pentium II IBM ThinkPad. At the time, the
ThinkPad was in a poor state. The HDD was
missing, it had no hard drive caddy, and the hard
drive cover was missing. It was also missing the
charger. I also wondered if the 128megs of RAM
were going to be enough to get it up and running.
Despite all of these issues, I had fairly high
expectations for this machine. It was destined to run
The first thing I decided to do is search around all
the “computer junk” I had lying about, and managed
to locate a 64 MB stick of RAM that was suitable.
The ThinkPad itself, as
mentioned above, is a
Pentium II. The system
board came with 32 MB
of RAM clocked at 66
MHz. It also has two bays
for additional RAM to be
added, up to an “official”
figure of 288 megs of
RAM (32 MB of onboard
RAM, plus 2 sticks of 128
MB of RAM, clocked at
66mhz), but more on this
So I swapped out a 32
MB stick of RAM for the
64 MB sticks, giving 2 x
64 + 32 on board, for a
total of 160megs of RAM,
which is enough to run
I did have a problem,
though. I had no HDD.
Well, this was somewhat
incorrect, as I had an IBM
HDD from another
machine, but I had no caddy assembly or plastic
hard drive door. This removed the possibility of
having a swap partition to take the load off of the
I eventually found an “ugly” work around for not
having a HD caddy. If you take care, you can place
the HDD in position and set a screw directly into one
of the mounting threads in the HDD itself, holding it
securely into place.
So I grabbed a newly burned PCLinuxOS LXDE
2010.7 Live CD, put it in place and started up the
machine. I was then faced with an error “unable to
read memory size” and a Grub command prompt. I
had seen this before, but not in some time.
Now this brings me to a wonderful thing about
PCLinuxOS: the community, its peers and its
members. Thanks go out to two people who assisted
me a great deal with getting this far with this
ThinkPad (a 600e) up and running. The first is
AndrzejL (who has a similar machine), and the
second is parnote. Without their input, it would have
taken a lot longer for me to troubleshoot some of the
issues that happen as a consequence of having an
older machine.
Anyway, I digress. After being reminded that at the
command prompt to type LiveCD and enter, the
LiveCD booted up slowly, painfully slowly. It took
several minutes, but I was eventually able to get
online and have a chat on our IRC channels using
Xchat. Unfortunately, Firefox killed off the live
session for me. It was just too heavy for the
machine, and I realized would have to be thrifty with
the applications I choose.
Installing PCLinuxOS­LXDE On An IBM Thinkpad 600e
After a further reboot, I fired up the installer and
chose to repartition. The first thing I managed to do
is make a 1gig swap partition and formatted it. I then
made two further ext4 partitions, / and /home. After I
reformatted, I rebooted so that the swap could be
utilized, if needed .
provider is your friend when tweaking your install. It's
definitely worth your while looking for “Option” and
hardware tweaks.
On reboot, I restarted the installer, chose existing
partitions, and let it do its thing. Quite some time
later, I was met with the Grub installer. I set this to
the defaults, finished the install and rebooted.
CPU[Pentium II (Deschutes) clocked at
265.264 Mhz] Kernel[Linux­
pclos1.bfs (Deschutes)] Up[­1:50­]
Mem[­111.1/406.6MB­] HDD[­40GB
(6%used)­] Procs[­107­] Client[Shell]
The following are my specs for this machine now,
using “infobash” from the PCLinuxOS repo:
After it had prompted for user setup, I found myself
in a familiar LXDE environment, although, given the
RAM situation, it was on the slow side. After
speaking to others, I decided to switch from ACPI to
the older APM, due to the age of the laptop.
To do this in practice is quite simple. In the Grub
boot stanza, you simply have to append the
following: acpi=off apm=on and set the system
services daemons (Via PCC > System > Services)
This left my machine a fair bit quicker and more
I also did a search of its graphics card, (driven by
the neomagic xserver), and located some useful
“Options” to add to Xorg.conf. Most options of this
type improve the performance of the card. If you
want to know what options are available for your
card then check online for the “man” page for the
xserver you are using. (I have previously, and
recently, posted in the Hints and Tips section on the
forum for older ATI/Radeon driven cards).
The applications I have chosen to use are as
Over the course of time that all the above took
place, (a few days), I was able to obtain some
additional hardware: an Atheros based wireless
PCMCIA card and some more RAM. In fact, I
managed to get a 256meg stick of ram. I wondered if
it would work, as the machine had a listed maximum
RAM of 288 (in the configuration above) .
After some research, I found out that some laptops
(including ThinkPads) lie in respect to some of the
specs they have, namely in the area of maximum
RAM. For the 600e, it appears that if you have a
compatible 256 stick and place it in the correct RAM
bay, along with stick of 128meRAM clocked at 66
MHz, then the laptop will see the full 415 MB of
RAM. This was according to the ThinkWiki pages on
the amount of “unofficial maximum ram.” This is
actually correct. Don't forget that your chosen search
Browser(s): Dillo, Epiphany and Midori
(although I have removed the Flash­Plugin)
Email: Sylpheed
Word Processer: Abiword
IRC: Xchat
Editor: Leafpad
Media Player: SMPlayer
Audio Mixer: AuMix
Music Player: LXplayer
PDF Viewer: epdf
As mentioned above, Flash was removed. I feel it's
too heavy for a machine of this age.
Well, there it is ­ a summary of how I managed to get
PCLinuxOS onto my Pentium based laptop. I am not
too sure if this is of any merit, but I hope it gets you
thinking about your older equipment, or that of
friends, gathering dust in the back of a closet, that
you could get up and running again.
Installing PCLinuxOS­LXDE On An IBM Thinkpad 600e
As for this 600e, I love it. It's a great, albeit aged,
machine. I hope you pick up that older laptop or
desktop and have an attempt of making it useful
After spending a few weeks with this resuscitated
computer, I'd like to update some of the information.
First, I have been able to determine that this
computer is actually a 600 with some 600e parts.
Although it's not an official 600e, it's pretty much the
same though.
After using
Thinkpad 600 for
a while, I decided
to follow up on
part of what I had
read on the
thinkwiki site, that
the 600 series
were capable of
using ACPI
Configuration &
Power Interface).
So I reinstalled the ACPI packages. I had previously
removed them to ensure that APM (Advanced Power
Management worked correctly. I then adjusted my
menu.lst in the grub boot menu so that ACPI
activated correctly for the machine. On most modern
laptops and computers this should happen
automagically, but with older machines, you some
times need to invoke the power of bootcodes (also
called cheatcodes by some ­ although personally I
think that term incorrect as what exactly are you
cheating on/with?).
For the thinkpad 600 model you need to use:
acpi=force acpi=noirq lapic
These are added to the boot line (as root, using your
favorite text editor). I placed them after the root
partition designation and before the vmalloc=256
entry. In my case, it looks something like this:
title linux
kernel (hd0,0)/boot/vmlinuz
BOOT_IMAGE=linux root=UUID=48fbf4f0­
e454­4845­91e2­db0bfbd17fe9 acpi=force
acpi=noirq lapic vmalloc=256M
a1a9de007876 vga=788
initrd (hd0,0)/boot/initrd.img
After booting with this, it activates ACPI, which you
can test using the 'acpi' command. I would suggest
that you use 'acpi ­V'. This will show the most
At this point, I also started to wonder about boot
times. Due to the fact that its a Pentium2, and even
with the RAM super boosted as above, the boot time
is still slow.
mkinitrd ­f /boot/initrd­name of your
kernel in use.img name of your kernel
in use
To find the name of your kernel, use the command
uname ­r. In my case, I used:
mkinitrd ­f /boot/initrd­
This command rewrites the initrd, based on the
modules 'in use' on your device. For me, it reduced
boot time by about 10­15 seconds.
For some further reading/reference about ACPI,
APM and Initrd, head on over to the Wikipedia
pages listed below:
After much research, I decided to explore rewriting
the initrd (initial ram disk). To do this (I advise
caution ­ you can do much damage if you get it
wrong) requires use of the following command:
Repo Spotlight:
Spotlight: Repository
Repository Speed
Speed Test
by Darrel Johnston (djohnston)
In the PCLinuxOS menu, under Applications »
Software Center, is the item Repository Speed Test.
This item is used to download a list of current official
repositories for PCLinuxOS, then test each
repository for both connectivity, and for the network
speed of each repository connection over the
internet. To begin the test, select the item from the
menu. Once started, the window below will be
The next window shows that you have a working
internet connection and that the repository list was
retrieved successfully.
Here you can select the number of days before an
update check by moving the slider.
Once the sync age in days question has been
answered, the speed test will begin. Do not be
alarmed if some of the listed repositories show a
status of FAILED.
After the speed test has finished, you will be asked
to select your preferred repository. As noted, please
DO NOT use ibiblio.org.
You can elect to keep all the repositories in the list
by moving the slider all the way to the right.
NOTE: If you already have a PASS account, and the
information is entered in your Synaptic repository
list, an extra window (not shown) will appear,
showing your PASS account information. You will be
asked if you wish to keep it in the repository list.
Once the speed test has completed, you will be
asked if you wish to overwrite your current
sources.list. The correct answer would normally be
"Yes", as answering "No" would defeat the purpose
of running the test.
After making your preferred repository selection, you
will be asked how many total repositories in the list.
The default number is five.
Repo Spotlight: Repository Speed Test
After answering, Synaptic will begin and ask for the
root password.
After closing Synaptic, you have the option of
keeping or deleting the speed test working directory.
After running the speed test, the working directory
really serves no purpose. You may, however, have a
reason to keep it. The default answer is "Yes".
That concludes the PCLinuxOS repository speed
After starting Synaptic, the current sources.list file
will be shown in its own window. If you wish to
change your preferred repository, you can do so
Visit Us
Us On
• Launch your favorite IRC Chat Client
software (xchat, pidgin, kopete, etc.)
• Go to freenode.net
• Type "/join #pclinuxos­mag"
(without the quotes)
Computer Languages
Languages A
A to
to Z:
Z: Octave
by Gary L. Ratliff Sr. (eronstuc)
Obtaining Octave
A Little Unfinished Business
Octave is available in the PCLinuxOS repositories.
However, I could not get the system to install on my
KDE version. The system wants to use Gnuplot,
which seems to come with the default install of the
Gnome version for producing graphs and plots. To
install, use Synaptic and search for octave. Select
octave, octave­doc and koctave3 for installing. The
system will most likely require you to also install
many other libraries with these items. So simply
approve of these additions, and click the apply icon.
In the last installment, I implied that I would be
covering Oberon­2, which like Pascal and Modula­2,
was created by Nicklas Wirth. However, on
investigation, I learned that Oberon, which he
named after one of the moons of Saturn, was
essentially a stripped down version of Modula­2.
Essentially, it removes any command which he
regarded as being able to be dangerous. Later,
some simple extensions to allow primitive OOP were
added to create Oberon­2.
the info package, if it is not already installed on your
Once installed, the system is launched by entering
the command “octave” at a command prompt in a
terminal session. Or, you may also click on the
Applications menu, select Programming and then
select the GNU Octave item displayed.
Most likely, the first order of business would be to
learn to use the product. So you would enter the
command “doc” to view the documentation, as
shown in the next screen:
The XDS package, which was released to the open
source community, is able to compile both Modula­2
and Oberon­2 files. If the file ends in “file.mod,” then
the Modula­2 compiler is used, while if the ending is
“file.ob2,” then the Oberon­2 compiler is used. The
system for Linux comes in two versions. One
compiles to ANSI C code, and could then be
compiled with a C compiler such as gcc. The other
version compiles to native code. Both are obtained
from the XDS site. A simple Google search for xds
will provide the info. The files would be extracted to
the users home directory using the command tar zxf
whatever.tar.gz, depending upon if you downloaded
the C version or the native version.
So now that we've tidies up our loose ends, let's
explore GNU Octave, a high­level language that is
primarily intended for numerical computations. It is
completely unrelated to Modula­2 or Oberon­2.
Here you see the Synaptic screen after we have
marked the items octave octave­doc and koctave3
for install. The system will also install many other
libraries which will be required to use this system.
One thing to note is that you will also need to install
Once the doc command has been processed, you
will see that there is quite a bit to learn, as you will
be shown from the following screen:
Computer Languages A to Z: Octave
available online at http://www.octave.org. However,
this currently covers version 2.9.12+, while the
version installed from the PCLinuxOS repositories is
version 3.2.2.
In the bottom left shot, the command doc has been
entered into the Graphical interface, and the
contents of your files are shown by also selecting
the browser window.
The problem of getting the system to install on
the KDE version was resolved by updating the
system. Now, there is a graphic interface to
the Octave system, called Koctave3. This
would install on the Gnome version, but would
crash after being opened. Because the KDE
version of PCLinuxOS has all the features of
KDE, and Koctave 3 is specifically a GUI
interface for the KDE desktop, I thought that I
would try and see if this worked or crashed on
the KDE version. Below is a screen shot of the
system using both of the windows provided by
the Koctave3 package:
Just as in APL, the main unit is the matrix.
Octave is very much like the commercial
Mathlab system. The main difference is that it is
free under the terms of the GPL license. As you
will see, it is able to perform differential
equations and integration of functions, which
you may have learned back in the days you
were sweating out your Calculus classes.
You have a vast language at your disposal, for
which you may design functions and explore
the world of advanced mathematical
In the above view, the browser window has been
closed and the contents presented after the doc
command has been run are shown. To view the item
presented in the doc file, just move the cursor down
to the item of interest and press the Enter key.
So, if you need to do some high powered math, or
perhaps your children need to verify their advanced
math course homework, you have a powerful tool.
There is also a 575 page manual for Octave,
Google Wave
Wave Waves
Waves Goodbye
by Paul Arnote (parnote)
Almost as quickly as it waved hello, it appears that
Google Wave will soon be waving goodbye.
Rolled out at last year's Google I/O in May,
developers cheered and applauded the
advancements and "different thinking" of Google
Wave. It promised to revolutionize web­based
communication, asking the question "what would
email be like if it were invented today?" Google
Wave envisioned an interweaving of email, photo
sharing, instant messaging, chat, and drag­and­drop
file sharing between users.
From the Official Google Blog on August 4, 2010:
But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave
has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We
don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone
product, but we will maintain the site at least through the
end of the year and extend the technology for use in other
Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as
the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s
innovations, like drag­and­drop and character­by­
character live typing, are already available as open
source, so customers and partners can continue the
innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools
so that users can easily “liberate” their content from
The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine covered the rollout
of Google Wave in the November, 2009 issue, back
when Google Wave was only available via invitation
from other Google Wave users. While the concept
was innovative and fresh, Google Wave may have
bitten off more than it could chew. Individual internet
applications – email, instant messaging, photo/file
sharing, chat, etc. – are so deeply entrenched in the
lives of computer users, it would be an exceptionally
difficult task to supplant them. Also, many users
don't use all of those applications on a regular basis,
so for them, Google Wave may have been overkill.
Once users develop certain patterns of usage and
habits, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get
users to shed or change those habits, the more
entrenched those habits become.
Had Google Wave made its debut 10 years ago, or
even five years ago, it may well have had a chance
to garner the number of users that Google
envisioned using Wave. But coming along so late in
the "game," when such a large number of users had
already developed a pattern of behavior with all the
functions and applications that Google Wave sought
to replace, the cards were definitely stacked against
widespread adoption of a new communication
Despite this, there is a movement under way to
Save Google Wave. They even have their own
Twitter page. Even though Google Wave hasn't
reached the level of usage that Google had envision,
it has garnered a very loyal group of niche users.
And these users come from all walks of society.
Judging from the comments on the web site, those
folks range from a theoretical physicist, to novelists,
to students and teachers, and everyone in between.
On Twitter, one user makes a very valid point: "I
don't understand do we need 5 billion users to keep
a product? Why can't it be the perfect tool for a small
Google Wave Waves Goodbye
On the web site, comments included this one from a
theoretical physicist, who makes a very valid point:
was envisioned by Google, in the short time that was
"I am a Theoretical Physicist and I use google wave for
collaborating with my colleagues who are in different
places around the world. Google wave has to be saved ...
it is such a brilliant tool ... unfortunately, badly advertised
(not at all ...). A lot of people would quickly realize its
potential and the way it can really change collaborative
working in a positive way."
So Google Wave may have rolled upon our shores,
but it leaves us gently, like a slow, low tide. We
applaud the innovation, relish in the advances that it
Did Google give Google Wave a fair chance? Given
the virtually insurmountable task of changing user
habits, a little more than a year is hardly what
anyone would declare a fair chance. Throw in a quite
limited start, where users were only allowed into the
Google Wave arena via invitation. Join this with a
lack of publicity (other than the hula­balloo when it
was launched), and you cut whatever chances it had
for succeeding by at least 90%. Folks can't use what
they don't know is available. Thus, users had no
chance to change their habits.
I know there are many out there who may be quite
happy to see any endeavor by Google fail. They
argue that Google is too large as it is, and they
despair about Google's questionable data collection
practices. In fact, some users are so concerned over
these issues, that they avoid using any Google
service at all. Honestly, their concerns are not
without validity and cause for concern, in a time
when personal privacy has diminished enormously
and is attacked at every turn. However, Google
Wave represented, in many ways, a cutting edge
implementation and integration of many services
that web users routinely use. It simply didn't have
the chance to gain the steam to become as large as
showed us was possible with web­based
applications, and are sad to see it close shop
(providing that the efforts to save it fail, as so many
other such efforts tend to do), leaving behind so
many unfulfilled promises.
Screenshot Showcase
Posted by pirate, August 7, 2010, running KDE 4.
ms_meme's Nook:
Nook: Download
Download The
The Distro
There's a forum what a forum
And there's no doubt
Download the distro
You will find the elite there
Many geeks you will meet there
There's carousing and a browsing
From many a thousand
When you see that penguin sway
You'll never go astray
Then Texstar he gives a mighty roar
He's the man we are cheering for
The Crew all take a bow
For what they've given us OH
2010 has finally come
Download the distro
Just be sure of your checksum
Burn the iso to a disk
There is very little risk
Now's the time
To download the distro
For 2010 is finally here
More Screenshot
Screenshot Showcase
Top Left: Posted by Lee2010,
August 26, 2010, running
KDE 4.
Top Right: Posted by
daveysprocketbrew, August 2,
2010, running Zen Mini.
Bottom Left: Posted by OrdiDoc,
August 22, 2010, running
Bottom Right: Posted by
escapingsummer, August 20,
2010, running KDE 4.
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