Best of Tech Support

Our experts answer your technical questions.
Die Process, Die, Die

Recently, several attempts to run vi /etc/filename resulted in vi freezing and Telnet/SSH not responding to break commands (Ctrl-C, Ctrl-B, Ctrl-D). I logged in to the server again and tried to kill the process. The man pages said that if kill didn't work, it was probably a result of the kill command being a part of the shell. So I tried /bin/kill <pid>, /usr/bin/skill <pid>, /usr/bin/killall vi with 9, 15 and several other signals. Running top and killing the process via top didn't work either. It has been a couple of days and about a dozen vi processes are still running. I need a license to kill!

—Peter D'Souza,

If a process is stuck in kernel state due to a kernel or network problem, you will not be able to kill it, even with kill -9. In that state, you can usually only reboot to get rid of the process.

—Marc Merlin,

I Have No Valid Modes and I Must startx

Why can I not get startx to work on a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600 that uses a Trident CyberBladeXP video card? I am running Red Hat 7.2., and I get the following error:

Fatal server error:
No Valid modes found.


There is one update from Red Hat's site that mentions solving a problem with your video card. Please try to upgrade the necessary packages and try again. You can find more information about it at

—Mario Bittencourt Neto,

DragonLinux almost Boots

When I run DragonLinux everything loads perfectly until Space Freed:. Then it says:

Warning:Unable to open an initial console
Kernel Panic:no init found.
Try passing init= option to kernel.

—Alok Bhatt,

You may have corrupted the root filesystem after you finished installing. I suggest that you reinstall Linux and make sure that you make a filesystem on all Linux partitions. If you experience the same problem again, then you need to contact the DragonLinux people.

—Usman Ansari,

Teaching Red Hat Japanese

I thought I'd take the opportunity to e-mail you about configuring Red Hat 7.0 to be able to use Japanese. I have a 109-key Japanese keyboard and am using a Japanese 106 keymap that works okay, despite being unable to use the Japanese-English switch key. I enabled deadkeys and installed all the Japanese language packets during installation. These packets, WNN and Kanna packets, among others, start up on boot but don't activate for some reason. Any help would be appreciated. I think I could solve it by getting the right keyboard map. Japanese characters will appear on most software in KDE and GNOME, but getting output from the keyboard is the problem.

—Graeme Jensen,

I recommend you use a distribution that has been widely tested with Japanese. You'll have better odds with those things working out of the box. I have to admit I'm not sure which is the Japanese distribution of choice today, but you may want to give Turbolinux a try.

—Marc Merlin,