Linux Kill Command

Occasionally, a Linux Kill command is what you need to terminate an application. This happened to me last night. I was trying to re-run Firefox 3.0 after it had crashed. I was getting an unusual error which I’ve never witnessed before. I wished I had taken a screenshot of the error since I can’t remember it vis-a-vis. It said something like this, “Firefox is still running, please close the application before running another one.”

It was very unusual error since I could not find a trace of Firefox running on my desktop. There were no minimized windows, no instances of Firefox running whatsoever in the current panel I was in or in any other panel (Ubuntu has multiple panels). Zilch. Absolutely nothing, but my system still thinks Firefox is running.

Force Quit

One way of killing an application is to use Force Quit. You can add a force quit icon to your Top Panel by right clicking your Top Panel and selecting `Add To Panel.` Look for the `Force Quit` icon (it’s the broken window icon) and click Add. You should see a `Force Quit` icon on your Top Panel similar to the snapshot I’ve taken below. It’s the last icon to the right, the one that looks like a broken window.

Kill Command

In my case, I could not use Force Quit. There were no traces of Firefox running on my desktop. Well, it is time for the Kill command. So, I thought about writing a tutorial for Linux newbies on how to terminate an application that will not start because another instance of it is running in the background.

The Fix

First things first, check if there is a process running in the background. Substitute the name of the offending application in place of Firefox. From the Terminal, type:

# ps -ef | grep firefox

The PS command gives you a snapshot of the current processes running on your system. I’m using the GREP command to display Firefox processes only. You should get a reply similar to the one below.

In this example, we are seeing one process with Firefox running. It has a process ID or PID of 4694. The second process is the GREP command we just issued. Just ignore this one. Based on the PS command, we’ve now determined the PID of the application that we need to KILL.

Going For The Kill

Now, for the fun part. Let’s kill this application. From the terminal, type:

# kill 4694

You can try it with -9 to ensure execution.

# kill -9 4694

That’s it. This application is now dead. You should be able to restart the application. To learn more about Linux commands, check out the following Man pages:

Sourceforge.net 2008 Community Choice Awards

The open-source community have spoken. The winners of the Sourceforge.net 2008 Community Awards were announced and OpenOffice.org and phpMyAdmin grabbed more than one category. This year’s nomination were left open to any project or repository. 17 of the finalists were hosted outside of Sourceforge.net. The winners are:

2008 Community Choice Awards Winners

  • Best Project – OpenOffice.org
  • Best Project for the Enterprise – OpenOffice.org
  • Best Project for Educators - OpenOffice.org
  • Most Likely to Be the Next $1B Acquisition – phpMyAdmin
  • Best Project for Multimedia - VLC
  • Best Project for GamersXBMC
  • Most Likely to Change the World – Linux
  • Best New ProjectMagento
  • Most Likely to Be Ambiguously and Baselessly Accused of Patent Violation – Wine Is Not an Emulator
  • Most Likely to Get Users Sued by Anachronistic Industry Associations Defending Dead Business ModelseMule
  • Best Tool or Utility for SysAdmins – phpMyAdmin
  • Best Tool or Utility for DevelopersNotepad++

CherryPal

Yesterday, CherryPal introduced a low cost cloud computer called CherryPal, powered by open-source Debian Linux. The unit sells for $249 available at the end of July. The unit is about the size of a paperback and only weighs 10.5 ounces. It’s perfect for people who just want to browse the web, check for email or perform some light document work. The coolest thing it is green to the environment. It only consumes 2 watts of power compared to 114 watts on average for an traditional PC.

Hardware

The main reason for the low power consumption is the unit contains no moving parts. It comes with 256MB of RAM, 4GB of solid state storage and runs on a 400-MHz Freescale MPC5121e processor. It’s the same processor Apple used before switching over to Intel. CherryPal expects the unit to survive in 10 years or more. The unit can power up in about 20 seconds or less.

In addition, the Cherrypal has two USB ports where you can attach a keyboard, a mouse or an external hard drive. A VGA port is also available where you can easily attach an LCD monitor for external viewing. The screen resolution is set to 1024 x 768. The unit also comes with an ethernet jack and has built-in wifi support, a cool feature giving you the ability to drag it anywhere around the house. Printing is also possible. See cloud computing below.

Specifications:

  • Freescale’s MPC5121e mobileGT processor, 800 MIPS (400 MHz) of processing
  • 256 MB of DDR2 DRAM
  • 4GB NAND Flash-based solid state drive
  • WiFi 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • One 10/100 Ethernet with RJ-45 jack
  • One VGA DB-15 display out jack
  • Headphone level stereo audio out 3.5mm jack
  • 9vDC 2.5mm 10 watt AC-DC adapter power supply
  • Weighs 10 ounces
  • 1.3” high, 5.8” x 4.2” wide

Software:

In terms of software, the unit comes with Firefox web browser, and OpenOffice productivity suite, so you should be able to create and save word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents. The unit also comes with iTunes for music playback and music management. In addition, CherryPal comes with its own CherryPal-branded media player giving you the ability to play popular media formats. It also has a messaging client. However, there is no webcam support. CherryPal is still working on webcam support at the moment. Since the unit does not come with a DVD drive, you will not be able to watch movies, but you can still watch streaming videos from an external source such as a media center, USB hard drive or from the internet. You can even edit pictures using a photo editor called Picnik which fully integrates with your online photo galleries on Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, Photobucket, MySpace, and Webshots. For more questions, visit CherryPal’s FAQ.

The Cloud

Cherrypal has an added feature called the Cloud computing where an additional 50GB of online storage is available for free. Cloud Computing also means applications are kept on the Internet and managed by CherryPal. They take care of all the technical details, like upgrading or installing software, virus checking, operating system maintenance and upgrades. Turning on a CherryPal computer is an experience likened to turning on your TV, you can control all of the functions and applications of the CherryPal through the browser. There is no need to go into the operating system to fix settings, configure your system or locate files. CherryPal’s online administrators do all of the system maintenance. Data backups happen automatically, so you’ll never lose a file.

The Verdict

Overall, CherryPal is a promising unit. It has its own limitations, but powerful in its own right. You have to constantly remind yourself it’s not a full fledge PC since this pint size unit can do so many things. If you do some light work on the computer like browsing, email, etc, this unit might be the one for you. For a measly $249, it’s actually a bargain. Think of all the power savings. Not only that, it’s good for the environment.

Dell Upgrade PCs to Ubuntu 8.04

Dell recently started selling Linux laptops and desktops. I can’t understand why it took a better of four months to upgrade to the latest Ubuntu 8.04 release also known as Hardy Heron. Ubuntu 8.04 was released back in April 2008 by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. Dell is now making the latest release available on several systems: two laptops, the XPS M1330N and the Inspiron 1525N notebooks, and a desktop sytem, the Inspiron 530N. That’s a good four months later. I’m not privy why it took so much time to upgrade to 8.04. Were there issues? I guess we could expect Dell to be always behind after each Ubuntu release. Four months seems like eternity. The next Ubuntu release 8.10 will be in October 2008.

ProFTP and MySQL on Fedora 9

I came across an article documenting how to install a ProFTP server that uses MySQL virtual users instead of real system users allowing up to thousands of FTP users on a single machine. The instructions include the installation of ProFTP, MySQL and PHPMyAdmin, the latter is a web administration tool for the MySQL database. It’s an interesting concept which simplifies administration of FTP users if you have thousands of ProFTP users on a single system. However, the tutorial does not include the fine tuning of ProFTP, which in my opinion, is necessary.

Adeona Service

Adeona is a Roman goddess of safe returns. It’s appropriate that a new open software service under GPLv2 is named after it. Adeona is an Open Source system for tracking the location of lost or stolen laptops. It does not require a proprietary or central service, but rather a free one.

The system is privacy-preserving meaning that no one besides the owner has access to Adeona for tracking a stolen system. Unlike other systems, Adeona users state-of-the-art cryptographic mechanisms to assure users their laptop information is secure.

Adeona uses a remote community storage facility to store a system’s information. Adeona client software is available in three platforms: Windows, Mac OS and Linux. The Mac OS version is capable of capturing iSight pictures accessible only to the laptop’s owner – for later access if recovered.

Give it a try. It’s a free service.

XBox 360 and Netflix

I just saw this announcement today regarding a deal between Microsoft and Netflix. In the very near future, Netflix subscribers will be able to view Netflix Watch Now streaming movies from their Xbox 360 systems. This service is not available with the current Xbox 360 now, but will be included in the upcoming XBox system upgrade. Netflix membership is of course required, as well as an XBox Live 360 Gold membership for $5 a month.

Another feature with the upcoming Xbox 360 upgrade is the ability to view and share streaming movies with up to seven friends, a feature not possible with any browser based system. Users can also fast-forward, rewind, and pause videos using the controller or a compatible media remote. Microsoft says the streaming movies should be able to start in 30 seconds or less.

I am curious as to how well this service will be welcomed by Xbox users. Aside from playing countless hours playing FIFA 08 online, I ocassionally watch DVD movies from the Xbox 360 console. I do have Netflix membership and Xbox Live Gold membership, so I am all set for this new home theater experience. I’ll certainly will give it a try. Now, I’m just waiting for the Xbox 360 system upgrade.

Sage Theme: Seeing Red

Sage is a lightweight RSS and Atom feed reader extension for Mozilla Firefox.

List of Features:

  • Reads RSS (2.0, 1.0, 0.9x) and Atom feeds
  • Newspaper feed rendering customizable via style sheets
  • Feed Discovery
  • Integrates with Firefox’s bookmark system
  • Imports and exports OPML feed lists
  • Support for a number of locales: Argentine Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish
  • Simple, one step install / uninstall

If you use Sage, try a new theme I just released called Seeing Red.

Download

Black Green Theme

Introducing my latest WordPress theme called Black Green. It’s simple, ultra-minimal and uses an Ajax Accordion script. The theme is a spin of the Black-Letterhead theme, but it’s more elegant and simpler. See the Accordion script in action by clicking between the Articles and Archives links. For support, please visit the Support Forum.

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