Hack 4 Speak Different Languages

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One of the advantages of Linux is its native language support. Knoppix is provided in English and German versions, but other languages are supported .

Knoppix's popularity has spanned the globe, and as a result, it comes bundled with support for many different languages. While versions exist that default to German or English, Knoppix can easily boot into many different languages through the use of cheat codes. This hack covers the following language cheat codes:

Cheat code


  knoppix lang=cndedaesfritnl plrusktrtwus  

Specify language/keyboard

  knoppix keyboard=us  

Use different console keyboard

  Knoppix xkeyboard=us  

Use a different X keyboard

When changing language options, the lang cheat code is the main cheat code to use. To change the default language to Spanish, for instance, simply pass the cheat code at the boot : prompt:


This cheat code takes care of all of the locale options, so that all menus , prompts, the desktop environment, and the keyboard are set to the specified language.

Many beta Knoppix CDs come only in German versions. The differences in the German and English keyboard layouts make themselves apparent when you try to enter the lang=us cheat code. The = key on the German keyboard can be entered with Shift-0, the / key is located at Shift-7, and the _ key can be typed with Shift-/. If you want to enter the keyboard or xkeyboard cheat code, keep in mind that the Z and Y keys on the German keyboard are swapped.

To change the keyboard mapping separately from the default locale, use the keyboard and xkeyboard cheat codes. These options change the keyboard language used on the console and graphical desktop respectively.

If you have forgotten to set the lang cheat code before booting up and find that your German is a bit rusty, you can change the language settings from the desktop without rebooting. The first step is to change KDE's language settings:

  1. Click on the German flag at the bottom right of the desktop to the left of the clock. Each click will cycle through a list of flags corresponding to languages.

  2. Click K Menu Einstellungen Kontrollzentrum to launch the KDE Control Center.

  3. From the KDE Control Center, click on Regionaleinstellungen & Zugangshilfen Land/Region & Sprache.

    1. Click on Tastaturlayout in the Control Center sidebar.

    2. Pick the appropriate language from the drop-down menu labeled Verfugbare Belegungen.

    3. Click Hinzufugen to move that language to the list of active languages.

    4. Click Anwenden to apply the changes. Changes to the language settings apply only to new programs, so anything that is currently open must be restarted if you want the menus to change.

    This still does not change the language of any icons on the desktop. To do this, you must completely restart the desktop environment, so either click K Menu KNOPPIX Utilities Choose/Restart KNOPPIX Desktop, or type this command in a shell to drop down to text mode:

     knoppix@ttyp0[knoppix]$  sudo init 2  

    Then bring the desktop back up by typing this command:

     root@tty1[/]#  init 5  

    Some applications, such as Mozilla, still must have their language changed manually even after restarting the desktop. To change the Mozilla menus:

    1. Click on Bearbeiten Einstellungen to bring up the Mozilla settings.

    2. Select Erscheinungsbild Sprachen/Inhalt.

    3. Restart Mozilla for the changes to take effect.

    If you need to change many programs, it is simpler and faster to just reboot and use the correct cheat code.

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Knoppix Hacks. 100 Tips and Tricks
Knoppix Hacks. 100 Tips and Tricks
Year: 2004
Pages: 166

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