GNU/Linux / Desktop

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GNU/Linux / Desktop  edit   (Category  edit)

Aliases: GNU/Linux / Desktop environment, GNU/Linux / X Windowing System, GNU/Linux / Graphical environment,

This information will be about Ubuntu and GNOME unless specified otherwise.


Keyboard shortcuts Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

One of the reasons that I prefer using Vim to a word processor or GUI application is that my hands rarely need to leave the keyboard. I can do all my copying and pasting using Vim keybindings. When it comes to my window manager, I try to do the same thing -- work with tools that let me use the keyboard to navigate as much as possible without having to use the mouse. [...] ...

Context Function Default My preference Easiest way to change
Global Opens a Run Application window... Alt+F2 F1 GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts app
Global Show the panel menu ("start menu") Alt+F1 (in Windows this was Ctrl+Esc or Windows key) Alt+F1 GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts app
Global Open a terminal window (disabled) SuperR GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts app
Global Home folder (opens Nautilus to ~) (disabled) The "Files" button on my Logitech keyboard (0xc6) GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts app
Global Switch to workspace on the left Ctrl+Alt+Left GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts app
Many apps, including Firefox, gnome-terminal Toggle full-screen mode (disabled) Alt+Enter GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts app
Global Minimize all windows and focus the desktop Ctrl+Alt+D Super+D gconf-editor: /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/show_desktop = <Super>d
gnome-terminal Paste from primary clipboard Ctrl+Shift+V (Ctrl+V is simply sent on to the terminal) Ctrl+Shift+V gnome-terminal: menu: Edit -> Keyboard Shortcuts
Global Paste from selection clipboard - Ctrl+Shift+V (See section on this page)
Most apps Copy to primary clipboard Ctrl+C LeftSuper (See section on this page)
Most apps Paste from primary clipboard Ctrl+V CapsLock (See section on this page)

Firefox / Keyboard shortcuts

Firefox / Keyboard shortcuts edit

Start a search on the current page /

How I mapped Ctrl+Shift+V to be middle button (paste from selection clipboard)

Attempt 1: simulating a middle button click using xmacroplay Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.


I like to use a keyboard shortcut (for example, Ctrl+Shift+V) instead of middle_mouse_button in X to paste the selected text. How to bind it? In the terminal window like rxvt i can use Shift+Insert, but it doesn't work in Mozilla address bar. Ctrl+V inserts the text from clipboard but how to place the text selected in rxvt into clipboard?

Dances With Crows,

xbindkeys -k
(press Ctrl-Shift-V, the following is displayed in your konsole
  m:0x5 + c:55
  Control+Shift + v, in your ~/.xbindkeysrc , add the lines

"echo -e 'ButtonPress 2\nButtonRelease 2' | xmacroplay :0 &"
  m:0x5 + c:55

....and the command that starts with 'echo' above will be executed whenever you press Ctrl-Shift-V. This simulates a button 2 event, which is what I think you want here.

This is what I ended up putting in my ~/.xbindkeysrc:

"echo -e 'ButtonPress 2\nButtonRelease 2' | xmacroplay :0 &"
    control+shift + v

Problem: This behaves erratically

I had selected this text in some other window:

Line 1
Line 2

When I pressed Ctrl+Shift+V to paste it, though, this is what was output (notice the extra > characters and the extra newline):

> Line 1
> Line 2

What's even more strange is that sometimes it won't even paste the text at the insertion point/cursor; instead it will move some seemingly random number of lines/characters up or down (usually about 5 lines) and paste there! Weird!

But when I simply use Middle click (which is precisely what this keyboard shortcut should be perfectly emulating) it behaves normally, sanely, intuitively, as-expected-ly.

What's making the difference??

I'm guessing part of it (the part where it moves to a "random" place on the page before pasting) might be simply that the ButtonPress event happens when the mouse is positioned in the "wrong spot". (And I certainly don't know how to generate a MotionNotify event that moves it to just the right place.) Still, how does that explain the mysterious insertion of ">" characters??

Attempt 1.5

"echo -n 'String '`xclip -o` | xmacroplay :0 &"
    control+shift + v

Attempt 2: using xclip to read the clipboard and xmacroplay to replay those characters using the keyboard only (no mouse simulation)


# Paste from "selection clipboard"
    control+shift + v

# Some applications already have Ctrl+Shift+V mapped as a shortcut for something else, so we're not able to use that for pasting from selection buffer without
# conflicting with that shortcut. That is why I have defined an alternate shortcut (Super+V) to access the same command. Apps that already use Ctrl+Shift+V:
# * gnome-terminal maps it to "paste from primary [the other kind of] clipboard"
# * thunderbird maps it to "paste from primary clipboard as quotation"
    Mod2+Mod4 + v

The scripts used were this:


echo -n 'String '
xclip -o


sleep 0.2
~/public/x_windows/bin/simulate_typing_contents_of_middle_click_buffer_2 | xmacroplay :0

At first, while I was testing, I actually had this command mapped to Super+A and I got a wide variety of different results, one of them correct but most of them not. Here are all the different outputs I got after selecting the text abc and then pressing Super+A:


Now that I've thought about it, though, this seems reasonable. Here's my best guess at an explanation: When I press Super+a, it invokes my script, which simulates the pressing of the keys a,b, and c, pressed in fairly rapid succession, but with, I believe, some delay between each one. The only problem with this is, if I'm still holding down the Super key at the instant that it simulates an 'a' keypress, the resulting key combination will actually be Super+a again, which explains why some of the time I got repeated characters (and since the two processes were running independently at the same time, I can see how letters could get out of order, like 'abacbc' instead of simply 'abcabc' (which is what you'd get if you output 'abc' followed by 'abc' sequentially rather than simultaneously)).

Now to explain why some of the time letters were missing: if I was still holding down Super by the time it got to a letter other than a, such as b, then it will actually be pressing Super+B. And since there is no keyboard shortcut assigned to Super+B, the normal behavior of that is to output nothing at all.

So it only output the expected 'abc' if I released Super at the exact right time (as immediately after pressing Super+A as possible). Once I figured that out, I was able to consciously do that and able to get the desired behavior with some consistency. Still, that was very much less than ideal.

So that was just a side-effect of using a modifier key. If I map it to a "normal" key, like F1, that shouldn't happen.

What about if I map it to Ctrl+Shift+v like I said I was going to do?

Well, that suffers from the same problem that Super+a did: if I don't release Ctrl and Shift immediately, it will inadvertently cause Ctrl+Shift+(some arbitrary character) to be pressed instead of simply (some arbitrary character). Since Ctrl+Shift+(some arbitrary character) could very easily be mapped to some command in whatever program we're using (in gnome-terminal, for example Ctrl+Shift+T opens a new tab), this is a dangerous mapping / keyboard shortcut to use.

But, it's also the most intuitive to me, so I want to use it.

What workaround could we use?

How about putting in a delay, to give the user time to release any modifier keys (like Ctrl, Shift, or Super)?

sleep 0.2 seems to do the trick for me.


sleep 0.2
~/public/x_windows/bin/simulate_typing_contents_of_middle_click_buffer_2 | xmacroplay :0

The next problem was that it didn't work for text longer than 1024 characters or with multiple lines. Those need to be broken up into chunks.

Here is my final version:


sleep 0.2
~/public/x_windows/bin/simulate_typing_contents_of_middle_click_buffer_2 | xmacroplay :0


#!/usr/bin/env ruby

max_per_line = 10

contents = `xclip -o`
contents.each_line do |line|
  while (chunk = line.slice!(0..max_per_line)) != '' do
    puts "String #{chunk}"
  puts "KeyStrPress Return"
  puts "KeyStrRelease Return"

This is working great for me.

My only complaint is that it is kind of slow at typing everything out, since there is a delay between each keypress. It's not like middle-clicking, which pastes everything instantly. It's a slower process, that replays the keystrokes very quickly -- faster than I can type -- but slow enough that you can see the words and lines being "typed" out. On the plus side, it's kind of fun to watch your computer "type" things for you...

How I mapped the left Super key to be Ctrl+C


How to prevent the original key from passing through

For example, if you want to map Ctrl+Shift+Q to be some command of your choosing but gnome-terminal already has that mapped to Quit, then how do you make it so Ctrl+Shift+Q will only run your new command and will not quit the terminal when it has the focus?

It seems like you'd need some way to not only intercept the keystroke event before any other applications receive it but also a way to remove it from the event queue, to block/prevent it from being sent to other apps.

How to remap keys / Change keyboard shortcuts

Master Your Linux Keyboard (And Fix Caps Lock Forever): XBindKeys For Launching Applications ( Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

KDE and GNOME, window managers like IceWM and Fluxbox, and many applications come with their own set of prefab keybindings. You should investigate these before going on a customization spree, or you run the risk of creating conflicts. We're going to learn how to use XBindKeys. XBindKeys is not dependent on any particular desktop or window manager, and should run on pretty much any Linux or Unix system." Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

I live and die by xbindkeys and xautomation. They allow me to easily map and remap the 9 extra buttons on my mouse, something that I couldn't figure out how to do in Windows. I'm almost always using my laptop while in bed, so I like to be able to do everything with one hand. I even have profiles saved and automatically change depending on the situation, so click-wheel left and right scroll through tabs in Firefox and Konqueror, change the page in KPDF and skip -/+ 10 seconds in VLC. Very useful stuff.

How to remap keys with xmodmap




First, you need to map the keys to X keysyms. There are in-depth instructions on the linux-thinkpad mailing list, but all you need to do is add these two lines to ~/.Xmodmap:

keycode 234 = F19
keycode 233 = F20


Fire up your favorite text editor and open the content/browser/browser.xul file.


<key id="goBackKb"  keycode="VK_F19"
<key id="goForwardKb"  keycode="VK_F20"
     command="Browser:Forward"/> Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

To get the windows key to be interpreted as one key, do this: Make a task that starts with the session (I don't know how you do this in GNOME) by creating a new link to application in your ~/.kde/Autostart directory. Make it so that it runs the following command: xmodmap ~/.xmodmap Now we need to create a plain text file in your home folder called .xmodmap and make sure it says the following in it:

keycode 115 = F13 keycode 116 = F14

The second line is only needed if your keyboard has two windows keys. Essentially, this maps these keys to the two imaginary keys F13 and F14, so you don't need to worry about the Win + something problem anymore. 115 and 116 are the keycodes that I've seen most, if not all, keyboards give for the winkeys. Check by running xev if it is the same for you. I got this from somewhere else long ago, so don't give the credit to me for it.

I don't think that's actually necessary (any more?). Using Ubuntu's "Keyboard Shortcuts" app, I was able to map "Super R" (the right Linux key) to a desired command, without doing all that stuff e mentioned.

How to make a keyboard shortcut for an arbitrary command


gconf-editor Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

It took a bit of digging to figure how to add keyboard shortcuts to run arbitrary commands. Here are the steps in case someone else needs them:

  • start the GConf Editor: Applications / System Tools / Configuration Editor
  • go to /apps/metacity/keybinding_commands
  • edit command_1, set it to some command, like kdocker -f
  • go to /apps/metacity/global_keybindings
  • edit run_command_1, set it to a key combination, like <Super>z or <Shift>F1

You can accomplish that with xbindkeys also. I prefer that way, because you can keep the same shortcuts between desktop environments/window managers. You just have to be sure that xbindkeys is running on startup.

$ echo 'String echo hello world' | xmacroplay :0 >/dev/null 2>/dev/null; echo
echo hello world
$ echo hello world


I've found you can get yourself in trouble if you leave an old instance of xbindkeys running and then try to start another one.

This should be the first thing you check if, for instance, you find that you're unable to remove a particular mapping. If you've removed it from ~/.xbindkeysrc and then started xbindkeys but it still seems to be mapped, then you may have an old instance of xbindkeys still running.

This is the command line I use to restart xbindkeys:

pkill xbindkeys; xbindkeys; ps ux|grep xbindkeys

Somebody please let me know if there is a better way.

How to make a keyboard shortcut invoke another keyboard shortcut (key combination) Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

This is my .xbindkeysrc:

# Backward and Forward buttons
# "xvkbd -text "\A\[Left]"" # freezes firefox and makes mouse cursor jump
"echo -e 'KeyStrPress Alt_L\nKeyStrPress Left\nKeyStrRelease Left\nKeyStrRelease Alt_L' | xmacroplay :0 &" #better
  m:0x10 + b:8"
#"xvkbd -text "\A\[Right]""
"echo -e 'KeyStrPress Alt_L\nKeyStrPress Right\nKeyStrRelease Right\nKeyStrRelease Alt_L' | xmacroplay :0 &"
  m:0x10 + b:9

See more at #xmacroplay


In Windows, the API provides the SendKeys function, which many scripting/automation/macro techniques take advantage. Would would the equivalent be in GNU/Linux/X?

Looks like it would be xmacroplay! Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

It sends events to the whole server, not a specific app, so you'd need to do something to force focus. Possible wmctrl or something like it could help. Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

$ sudo apt-get install xmacro
$ xmacrorec2 > my.macro
{Press [Scroll Lock] key. Type your keystrokes and do your optional
mouse events that you want to record. Press [Scroll Lock] key again to
stop the recording.}
$ vi my.macro
{Edit this file and remove out any lines that you don't want or need.}
$ cat my.macro | xmacroplay ":0.0" Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

Want to get rid of the evil caps lock key without mutilating your keyboard? Want to give those silly Windows keys useful jobs, or put all those extra multi-media keys to work? Want to become a powerhouse keyboarding commando? Then come along and join the fun, because Linux has all kinds of good tools for taming wayward keyboards and increasing your efficiency. In this two-part series we're going to use xmodmap, XBindKeys, and KeyTouch to create custom keybindings for launching applications and running commands. The placement of the caps lock key is a demonstration of malicious cunning. It's above the shift key and it's usually oversized, so it's way too easy to hit it when you don't want to, which for me is all the time. On a case-sensitive operating system it's not all that useful anyway. Unhappy users often resort to remedies like prying it off entirely or covering it with duct tape. You can do this if you're careful, but elite geeks resort to more sophisticated measures that do not mangle their nice keyboards. It's not the fault of the keyboards that manufacturers have giant Windows-sized blind spots, and as always, Linux makes lemonade out of lemons and provides useful alternatives.

System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts

It looks like the equivalent in gconf-editor is /apps/metacity/global_keybindings.

The "Windows"/Super keys

... is the "super" key in Linux. Or, I suppose, the "Linux" key.

How to use combinations involving the Super key in .xbindkeysrc

$ xbindkeys -k
[I pressed Super+V]
    m:0x50 + c:60
    Mod2+Mod4 + v

How to use the Super keys as modifier keys rather than stand-alone keys

When I try click on an action in the Keyboard Shortcuts window and then press, say, Super+D as my new keyboard shortcut for that action, it stops as soon as I've pressed Super and says "Super L".

How do I get around that?

Maybe edit those settings directly using "gconf-editor" and put "<Super>d" as the shortcut key for that action...? Yes, I have confirmed that that works!

How to disable the capslock key (keep it from toggling the capslock state of your keyboard) Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

Kill capslock I hate the capslock I never use the Caps Lock button. Never. The only time I "use" it is when I accidently press it and start typing things in UPPERCASE. To disable it in Linux all you have to do is enter this on the command line:

$ xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"

To set this permanently, just stick the above line in your ~/.bashrc file (or /etc/bash.bashrc if you're root) so that it looks something like this:

if [ "$PS1" ]; then
# Disables the bloody CapsLock button
xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"

Question: Can you still use the capslock key for other things once you've "disabled" it? (I think so...)


Selecting text copies it to the middle-click buffer

[Differences from Windows (category)]

I like!

At first I didn't think I liked this, having two different clipboard buffers... But I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks here: It is so convenient to be able to select text and have it automatically copied to the clipboard and then be able to paste to another application with only a single click, without ever touching the keyboard!.

I used to have it set up to be almost as convenient on Windows: I just had to select the text, press the Windows key (mapped to copy), switch to the other app, and press CapsLock (paste).

Question: Paste via keyboard shortcut?

On the other hand, ... I'm more of a keyboard-lover than a mouse-lover, and I don't know of any way to access the middle-click buffer from the keyboard. Does anyone else know a way?

Not only is a keyboard shortcut necessary for those of us who simply don't want to use the mouse much in general; it also has a specific advantage sometimes for mouse users too: With the mouse middle button, you have to actually aim the pointer where you want the text to go -- even if the insertion point in your text editor is already at the right place! This seems silly and like a waste of effort. If there were a keyboard shortcut, you would not only be able to cut out the clicking (middle button) in this case, but you'd also be able to cut out the (error-prone, tedious) step of aiming the mouse pointer to the right coordinates corresponding to the insertion point that's already at the right place...

[I've sort of found an answer to this, described elsewhere on this page. But it's still not ideal.]

Problem: Can't select and then paste or it will wipe out what you meant to paste

This is a common (frequent!) scenario for me: I select some source text, copy it to the clipboard. Then I select some text in a target document and (want to) either delete it, paste over top of it, or drag-and-drop it to somewhere else out of the way.

But with the existing behavior, just selecting the text in the target document wipes out your source text.

In other words, using the middle-click buffer, it's apparently impossible to paste "over top of" (replace) another selection. You would have to delete the text from target document first, then select the source text from source document, then paste into target document.

Workaround: Use the other (Ctrl-C, not middle-click) clipboard buffer.

Annoyances / Open problems

Double-click/alt-arrow-key word selection is unintelligent and unintuitive

Double-clicking whitespace selects the word to the right of the whitespace

On Windows, it only selected the whitespace, which is what I'm used to and which is the behavior I like better now that I've experienced both.

Can we fix this??

Also, double-clicking a word that is beside some punctuation marks (-, =, ", . -- anything I've tried) also selects the punctuation marks -- which is not what I want.

Example: Double-clicking on there in "Hi there." causes there." to be selected.

Even if you have an XML tag or something following or preceding a word--that will get picked up and selected too.

Can we fix this??

(Alt-Left and Alt-Right apparently use the same word-selection behavior/code.)

[Firefox (category)]: Drag and drop of the address bar only gives URL

[Differences from Windows (category)]

When you drag the address bar (or the icon beside it) to another app (a textarea in another browser window), I'm used to having it insert the URL as well as the title. In X / Gnome, it looks like it only inserts the URL. (Oh well. At least it's usually pretty easy to copy and paste the title of the page using the middle button...)

Somewhat advanced stuff

How do you disable certain keystrokes in X?

For example, if you want to create a kiosk app so that users can only use a certain app and not be able to switch out if it...

[1] explains how to disable Ctrl+Alt+Fn and Ctrl+Alt+Backspace:

"man xorg.conf", the DontZap and DontVTSwitch options.

But there are bound to be other things you'd want to lock down if you wanted to create a truly robust (well, "locked down") kiosk.

Changing what gets started when X starts up

System -> Preferences -> Sessions

This gives you a GUI frontend to add applications that should always be started...

You can also remove programs from the list or simply disable them.

Startup scripts

[Open problems/questions (category)] How do you start a GUI app from the command line without making it dependent on the terminal process

What I mean is, I don't want this to happen:

  • I type update-manager (or xbindkeys-config, or pretty much any other app) in the terminal
  • The update-manager window comes up
  • I close the terminal
  • The update-manager window closes

Yes, I know I can type command& to start the app in the background so that I can keep typing. But that doesn't solve this problem.

The problem appears to be that the new process is a child process of my CLI shell (bash), which is a child process of my terminal emulator (gnome-terminal):

> ps uxf
tyler    18976  0.0  1.1  82772 36600 ?        Sl   14:29   0:02 gnome-terminal
tyler    18979  0.0  0.0   2660   744 ?        S    14:29   0:00  \_ gnome-pty-helper
tyler    18980  0.0  0.1   6056  3532 pts/1    Ss+  14:29   0:00  \_ bash
tyler    23640  0.0  0.1   5904  3352 pts/0    Ss   16:00   0:00  \_ bash
tyler    24567  0.0  0.0   5216  2884 pts/0    S+   16:19   0:00  |   \_ xbindkeys-config
tyler    26851  0.0  0.1   5904  3324 pts/2    Ss+  17:18   0:00  \_ bash
tyler    28540  0.8  0.1   5904  3320 pts/3    Ss   18:00   0:00  \_ bash
tyler    28556 29.4  2.4 109940 74256 pts/3    S    18:00   0:02      \_ /usr/bin/python2.5 /usr/bin/update-manager
tyler    28576  0.0  0.0   2600   980 pts/3    R+   18:00   0:00      \_ ps uf uxf

So when I exit that gnome-terminal window, it exits the bash process (28540), which causes all child processes (28556: update-manager) to be killed as well.


Possible solution: Custom wrapper script for each

It looks like this is how Firefox does it...

$ which firefox

$ file /usr/bin/firefox 
/usr/bin/firefox: symbolic link to `../lib/firefox/firefox'

$ file /usr/lib/firefox/firefox
/usr/lib/firefox/firefox: POSIX shell script text executable

$ cat /usr/lib/firefox/firefox
if [ $debugging = 1 ]
  echo $dist_bin/ $script_args $dist_bin/$MOZILLA_BIN "$@"
"$dist_bin/" $script_args "$dist_bin/$MOZILLA_BIN" "$@"

In my case, "$dist_bin/" $script_args "$dist_bin/$MOZILLA_BIN" "$@" evaluates to: /usr/lib/firefox/ -g /usr/lib/firefox/firefox-bin


if [ $moz_debug -eq 1 ]
    moz_debug_program ${1+"$@"}
    moz_run_program ${1+"$@"}

exit $exitcode

Possible solution: A command, sort of like gksu, that you can prefix any GUI app command with

Windows has the "start" command when on the command line. Don't tell me GNU/Linux has no analog!


man gksu:

       gksu - GTK+ frontend for su and sudo


       gksu [-u <user>] [options] <command>

       gksudo [-u <user>] [options] <command>

       gksu is a frontend to su and gksudo is a frontend to sudo.  Their primary purpose is to run graphical commands that need root without the need to run an X terminal
       emulator and using su directly.

       Notice that all the magic is done by the underlying library, libgksu. Also notice that the library will decide if it should use su or sudo  as  backend  using  the
       /apps/gksu/sudo-mode  gconf  key,  if  you  call the gksu command. You can force the backend by using the gksudo command, or by using the --sudo-mode and --su-mode

       If no command is given, the gksu program will display a small window that allows you to type in a command to be run, and to select what user the program should  be
       run as. The other options are disregarded, right now, in this mode. Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

For launching graphical applications with rootly powers, or as any other user, you need gksu or kdesu. Using one of these gives you a graphical login window, like Figure 2. gksu is a graphical front-end to both su and sudo. Just to add to the fun and confusion, so is gksudo. Making it even more fun is Ubuntu makes gksu behave like gksudo. So let's talk about this first. Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

Because Ubuntu makes gksu and gksudo both behave like sudo, how do you configure xbindkeys to run a command as "real" root? Use the -w switch, like this:

$ gksu -w kate

You can cancel the sudo timeout with this command:

$ sudo -k

This is helpful when you're testing your commands and they get stuck in sudo mode.

[Nautilus (category)]

Customizing the context menu





umask / default file permissions

Multiple desktops Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

I think you should use desktops more. You can group windows by activities - one desktop for messaging stuff, one for music, one for web browsing, use the pager or the window list (which is on the top right in a gnome setup) to move between desktops. I typically use six desktops, and there is no need for minimizing windows. The taskbar isn't needed anymore.

I've never understood the use of taskbars in a system with virtual desktops. It makes sense in the Other OS, but I've never seen the point in GNOME. My browser is always in desktop 3; my terminal is always in #1, my music is always in #4, etc. Having an omnipresent widget just to tell me which apps are open seems like a bad use of screen real estate; I know exactly where my apps are without even thinking about it. Learning to be consistent in which programs you open on which desktops really pays off. Then again, maybe it just works well for me since I am a web developer, and I have a predictable set of programs open at all time with little variance.


Trying to get the taskbar (window list) to take 2 rows instead of one

Sound and video


I used EasyUbuntu to get the codecs, but there are probably other ways.

Utilities Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

  1. XFree86 distribution contains a few useful command line utilities:
* Xnest, xgamma, xev, xwininfo, xprop, xlsclients, xlsatoms, xdpyinfo, xset, xrandr, xlsfonts, xkill
  1. Check out my GKrellM plugins:
* gkrellm-trayicons * gkrellm-xkb * gkrellm-gamma * gkrellm-fileread


Click a window to kill the process that owns that window.

GNOME Launch Box

Source code:

Description: Launch Box is generally an application launcher. It's very influenced by Quicksilver for Mac.

Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameter url must be specified. Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

Currently supported modules are:

  • Application starting and launch
  • Evolution contacts lookup and mail to
  • Recent files lookup and open
  • Files in your desktop and open
  • Firefox bookmarks lookup and opening



Description: Tilda is a Linux terminal taking after the likeness of many classic terminals from first person shooter games, Quake, Doom and Half-Life to name a few, where the terminal has no border and is hidden from the desktop till a key or keys is hit.


Download from: sudo apt-get install xmacro


Download from: sudo apt-get install zenity


Source code:

Description: XOSD displays text on your screen, sounds simple right? The difference is it is unmanaged and shaped, so it appears transparent. This gives the effect of an On Screen Display, like your TV/VCR etc. It's excellent for notifications.

Authors: Philipp Matthias Hahn

I built/compiled the files, but it didn't appear to produce a binary / command-line program, so apparently it's just a library...?



Download from: sudo apt-get install xclip

$ xclip -help
Usage: xclip [OPTION] [FILE]...
Access an X server selection for reading or writing.

  -i, -in          read text into X selection from standard input or files
  -o, -out         prints the selection to standard out (generally for
                   piping to a file or program)
  -l, -loops       number of selection requests to wait for before exiting
  -d, -display     X display to connect to (eg localhost:0")
  -h, -help        usage information
      -selection   selection to access ("primary", "secondary", "clipboard" or "buffer-cut")
      -version     version information
      -silent      errors only, run in background (default)
      -quiet       run in foreground, show what's happening
      -verbose     running commentary
$ xclip -o -sel clipboard; echo   # copy/paste (ctrl+c) clipboard

$ xclip -o -sel primary; echo     # "selection" clipboard

$ xclip -o -sel secondary; echo

$ xclip -o -sel buffer-cut; echo Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

Here are some ideas for things you can do with xclip:

        Copy your uptime into the selection for pasting:
        uptime | xclip

        Copy your password file for pasting:
        xclip /etc/passwd

        Save some text you have Edit | Copied in a web browser:
        xclip -o -sel clip > webpage.txt

        Open a URL selected in an email client
        mozilla `xclip -o`

        xclip -o | xclip -sel clip

        In command mode in vim, select some lines of text, then press shift-:
        for an ex prompt, and use this command to copy the selected lines of
        text to the primary X selection:
        !xclip -f

devilspie (Devil's Pie)

Source code:
Download from: sudo apt-get install devilspie

Description: A window-matching utility, inspired by Sawfish's "Matched Windows" option and the lack of the functionality in Metacity. Metacity lacking window matching is not a bad thing — Metacity is a lean window manager, and window matching does not have to be a window manager task.



Download from: sudo apt-get install xnee

Description: GNU Xnee is a suite of programs that can record, replay and distribute user actions under the X11 environment. Think of it as a robot that can imitate the job you just did.

Xnee can be used to

  • Automate tests - e.g nightly automatic regression tests
  • Demonstrate programs - e.g record and replay a user interaction with your system
  • Distribute actions - e.g teacher's actions can be sent to all student's desktops
  • Record and replay 'macro' - e.g Tie a key modifier combination (e.g using xkeymouse) to replay a recorded session. The macro is WM- and program independent.
  • Retype a file - e.g When testing an editor, Xnee can type in the content of a file. This can be compared with the original.


Source code:

Description: Has nice colored bars to tell you how much disk space is used by a given directory.



As listed in other directories:

Readiness: Hmm, hasn't been updated since 2004-05-13?

Good GNU/Linux desktop software

Good GNU/Linux desktop software edit

media player: Amarok

A lot like iTunes.

To-do lists



When the system stops "working"

Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to kill X (does it restart it automatically?)

Ctrl-Alt-Delete to restart the system (will unmount your drives safely first)

When everything else fails: [2]

Raising Skinny Elephants Is Utterly Borin

  • Left Alt + SysRq (printscreen key) + r
  • Left Alt + SysRq + s
  • Left Alt + SysRq + e
  • Left Alt + SysRq + i
  • Left Alt + SysRq + u
  • Left Alt + SysRq + b
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