Ask Shadowman

June 2004

June. Pearls, roses and solstitial reposes. The longest day, shortest night, Father's Day and Lindberg's Night. Time too, for he with but one name like Alphonse or Cain, he is... the Shadowman. And he's as timely as your phone bill.

Got a question that you'd like Shadowman to answer? Ask him.

Mark S. didn't want to guess:
Hi Shadowman,

Running Gnome, I can easily move application or shell windows to different virtual desktops by using the rightclick pulldown on the window itself, or dragging and dropping within the virtual desktop icon on the task bar.

My question is; is there a way to open an application or shell window, and target a particular virtual desktop? I would like to start applications X, Y and Z in a script, and have them automatically go to virtual desktops 0, 1 and 2.

Shadowman says:
Shadowman knows there's probably a dozen very clever and crafty ways to script this. And Shadowman is very clever and very crafty but more importantly, really lazy. Shadowman assumes that this is on your own system, so what you should do is launch all of the applications you want, move them to the appropriate workspaces and log out, saving your current session.

Next time you log-in, or reboot (Shadowman hasn't rebooted in like a year, but some folks like to), your applications will re-launch on the same workspaces.

Preston from Houston had a question:
Im a 16 year old highschool student and im getting really into computers I am interested in starting to program and crack computer applications. Right now I am running windows xp but I am getting equally interested in the unix based system linux. My question is which linux os is comparable to that of windows xp

Shadowman says:
Shadowman is sure you can find a Linux distro crappy enough to make a fair comparison to Windows, but he is equally sure you don't really want to devolve.

Shadowman is no corporate lackey, but he would be remiss to point out the Red Hat Desktop or Fedora Core 2 (the free as in speech and beer community version) Not because Red Hat is near to his heart and on his head, but because either is a fabulous alternative to XP. Shadowman says that because he assumes you aren't locked into any Windows only app that doesn't have a Linux friendly port or alternative.

You get a browser, Outlook-looking e-mail, chat, office suite, Flash, and Acrobat Reader with the desktop. And you can get any number of apps on the web. Check out for PC game support.

There's a review here: of the desktop, and a review of Fedora here:

Check out to see how folks rate and categorize the other various distros.

Some distros, like Knoppix, are a "live CD" which means you can put in the CD and boot up to a Linux environment, look around a little, and install if you want to.

In other words, Preston, there's a distro to suit whatever purpose you have in mind. You feel that feeling? It's freedom. It's choice. Get used to it, because there's more where that came from.