A Blank Desktop in Ubuntu

A few days ago, when I decided that my 5GB partition for Ubuntu is getting a bit too crowded with all kinds of applications, I uninstalled a bunch of software through synaptic. Well, one of them is Evolution. I freed about 1GB of hard drive space. However, disaster stroke, everything disappeared from my desktop. I saw nothing on my desktop, no menus, no icons, no panels and not even my beloved desktop background but a smooth orange background. I freaked out. After several restarts, things did not help at all.

I needed to get online for some help, and the only way to do that was to open Firefox. So I opened terminal -> Ctrl+Shift+T (Thank god for the shortcut, otherwise I’m dead). Typed in firefox, it opened firefox! nice. Now, this guy had a similar problem, and the solution seemed very simple. I posted it here.

Problem

After uninstalling several packages in Synaptic, the desktop just goes blank and there is nothing, not even icons or panels.

Solution

We need to reinstall ubuntu-desktop, this will reinstall all the default packages.

  1. Hold down Ctrl+Alt+F1
  2. Login
  3. Enter

    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

  4. After you are done, return to x-server by Alt+F7 or just restart.

Interestingly enough, if you would like to have packages installed in Kbuntu or other distribution, there you can do so with a similar process as above. The only thing different is it would be Kbuntu-desktop (or else) instead of Ubuntu-desktop. Check Synaptic.

Ok, that is it.

A Useful Handbook for Linux Commands

To continue my quest on learning more about basic linux commands, I stumbled over this page called The One Page Linux Manual that provides a pdf file of basic commands and explations that I really need to know. Check it out. I post this here mostly for personal reference in the future.

Linux Commands

I have been scouting around for some sort of tutorial on how to work with Linux Commands in terminal. I’m sure some of you guys are doing the same thing. I found this tutorial on LinuxCommand.org. A very simple and straight forward tutorial to learn Shells in Linux, navigations, and more. It’s not overwhelming for those who never touch Linux before (but do realize that it’s a steep learning curve.)

Learning the Shell

That is it for this post. Enjoy the tutorial.

Anchors

I sometimes need to use anchers in my posts so it’s eaier for everyone to navigate around. I know most people already know this, as for me, I usually have to look back at posts that I added anchors to remember how to do it.

Anchors

Anchors come in pairs.

On the same page

  1. From: <a href=”#anything”>Whatever</a>
  2. To: <a name=”anything”>Destination</a>

On a different page

  1. From page A: <a href=”pageB.html#anything”>Whatever</a>
  2. To page B: <a name=”anything”>Destination</a>

There. I got the instruction partially from http://www.hypergurl.com/anchors.html

Stop!!

When you execute something that you did not want to happen, the output just keeps going like crazy and you really want to stop it. For example, I enter locate a, the command will search for everything with the letter a, which means millions. I need to interrupt and stop the execution.

Stop an execution

To interrupt whatever is going on, use

Ctrl+c

This will stop everything. Use this command wisely, you don’t want to interrupt an installation as it will mess your files and directories up.

Who am I? Where am I? and Where are you?

I usually get lost when using the terminal. Because there is no address bar, I have no idea what directory I am in. To make matter worse, I use zsh shell and all it shows for what suppose to be something like /Desktop is only a %. So, I need to know where I am.

Who am I?

Just in case you get so lost in the terminal that you forget who you are, the command below will let you know the user is in control of the session, effective user id, hence, you. So, if you forget who you are (I hope not) enter:

whoami

So there you go, linux just tells you who you are!

Where am I?

So I have been cruising around in the terminal, then I forget where I am, which directory I’m in, so to find out where I am in linux, I would enter in the terminal.

pwd

I learned this from a friend, it means “Print Working Directory”, the output looks something like this

/home/ma65p

That is my current/working directory, that is where I am!

Where are you?

What if I need to locate a file in Ubuntu? For example, I need to find a file named “you.” I would use either one of the two command below

whereis <what>
locate <what>

So, If I want to know where “you” is, I would enter in the terminal

whereis you
or
locate you

This would tell me where “you” is.
Have fun messing around, you never know what you can find with these two commands.

Get Some Help With Linux Commands

There are two things (that I know of) you can do in Linux to get some help with the commands in the terminal.

Use man command

This gives you a manual page for your command. The syntax is

man <command>

For example, if I want to see the manual for cd command, I would enter

man cd

The out put would be everything I need to know about cd, what it is what it does, its options, who made it…

Once you are done with reading the manual, and you want to quit, hit

Esc or q

Use –help

When you try to execute a command in the wrong way, Linux usually suggest you to try –help. Do that, sometimes it works and what it gives you is similar to what the man command would give you. For example

sudo --help

The input above will give you all options available for sudo command without any explanation or lengthly credits and copy right statements. The output looks like this, short and to the point.

ma65p@ma65p-laptop:~$ sudo –help
sudo: please use single character options
usage: sudo -h | -K | -k | -L | -l | -V | -v
usage: sudo [-bEHPS] [-p prompt] [-u username|#uid] [VAR=value]
{-i | -s | }
usage: sudo -e [-S] [-p prompt] [-u username|#uid] file …

But if you enter

man sudo

then the output looks like this

SUDO() MAINTENANCE COMMANDS SUDO()

NAME
sudo, sudoedit – execute a command as another user

SYNOPSIS
sudo -h | -K | -k | -L | -l | -V | -v

sudo [-bEHPS] [-a auth_type] [-c class|-] [-p prompt] [-u username|#uid] [VAR=value] {-i | -s | command}

sudoedit [-S] [-a auth_type] [-c class|-] [-p prompt] [-u username|#uid] file …

DESCRIPTION
sudo allows a permitted user to execute a command as the superuser or another user, as specified in the sudoers file. The real and effective uid and gid are set to match those of the target user as specified in the passwd file and the group vector is initialized based on the group file (unless the -P option was specified). If the invoking user is root or if the target user is the same as the invoking user, no password is required. Otherwise, sudo requires that users authenticate themselves with a password by default (NOTE: in the default configuration this is the user’s password, not the root password). Once a user has been authenticated, a timestamp is updated and the user may then use sudo without a password for a short period of time (15 minutes unless overridden in sudoers).

When invoked as sudoedit, the -e option (described below), is implied.
Manual page sudo() line 1

Last words

I’m sure some of you have been using one or two Linux command regularly. For me, I use top and cd the most. There are many commands in Linux that are fun and useful. For instance, some of you might have know the fortune command that gives you random fortune and jokes, some of which are not too bad. Using terminal and command could be painful sometimes because there is no way we know all those commands in Linux, there are hundreds of them, and each have a dozen different options, one of which could be fatal to our system (and ourselves). The key to avoid a disaster is to know what we are doing, and linux offers some great help. No, not the Ubuntu forum, you have to wait for someone to answer. No, not google, what if your internet is not working?. The commands above will help you sometimes in the future and it is a great tool to learn what you are doing.