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Unblocking F-keys (e.g. F9 for htop) in Guake 0.5.0

I noticed that I couldn't kill a process in htop today, F9 did not seem to be working, actualy most of the F-keys did not. The reason turnout out to be that Guake 0.5.0 takes over keys F1 to F10 for direct access to tabs 1 to 10. That may work for most terminal applications, but for htop it's a killer. So how can I prevent Guake from taking F9 over? The preferences dialog allows me to assign a different key, but not no key. Really? There is no context menu, backspace and delete didn't help. For now I assume it's not possible. So I fire up the gconf-editor, menu > Edit > Find... > "guake" — there it is. However, upon "Edit key..." gconf-editor says to me:

Currently pairs and schemas can't be edited. This will be changed in a later version.

Very nice. In the end what did work was to run

gconftool-2 --set /schemas/apps/guake/keybindings/local/switch_tab9 \
    --type string ''

and to restart Guake. I just opened a bug for this. If you like, you can follow it at .

Designer wanted: Western pieces for Chinese chess


Chinese chess is a lot easer to get into for non-Chinese people if a horse looks like ♞/♘ rather than 馬/傌, for the first few games. Publicly available piece set graphics seem to all have one or more of the following shortcomings:

  • Raster but vector images
  • Unclear or troublesome licensing
  • Poor aesthetics ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6])
  • Lack of elephant, cannon/catapult, advisor pieces


Simplified, what I am looking for is

The resulting graphics will be published with CC0 Public Domain Dedication licensing (or Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY) if you prefer) for use to everyone. Particular use cases are use with xiangqi- setup, XBoard/WinBoard, Wikipedia, future books (by others) and stickers for Chinese chess hardware.

In more detail

  • Seven pieces per party: chariot/rook, horse, elephant, advisor, king, cannon/catapult, pawn/soldier
  • Use black "ink" only: Black pieces should be all black with parts cut out, "white"/"red" pieces should be black outlines with body cut out (example here)
  • No two pieces should be hard to distinguish, in particular not:
    • Pawns/soldiers, advisors and king
    • Elephants and horses
    • Cannons and chariots
  • Advisors should not look similar to queens in western chess
  • Flat 2D is fine. If some pieces imitate 3D, all of them should (so no flat and pseudo 3D in the same set, please)
  • Needs to work at small sizes. So either two sets for small and regular display or one set that works at any size.
  • Pieces should not have a circle for a background (unlike this)
  • Not too arty, not too fancy, specific rather than abstract. Clean and simple but appealing, please.
  • Chinese culture elements welcome, if you know how to use them well.

Are you interested in working on this project? Please get in touch!

LaTeX xq: Bugs in 0.3 fixed with 0.4 / My first contribution to CTAN

Hi! When writing about Xiangqi (Chinese chess) in LaTeX, it's tempting to use package xq. When Wolfgang Reher and I used it for a while, we ran into bugs with it: some bad enough, I can only ask you to upgrade to 0.4 asap and not render anything with 0.3 any more. For details, there is a document bugs-0-3.pdf, demonstrating what you could run into with 0.3 without even knowing. It took us quite a while to see, too. And there is a change log, of course. On a final note, when starting fresh I would currently recommend embedding PDFs made from xiangqi-setup SVG output (hint: Inkscape in command line mode!) over using LaTeX xq, personally. Reasons include:

  • Free scalability (rather than two sizes)
  • Completely drawn lines inside the palace
  • A selection of themes, both board and pieces

Also, maybe re-invent xq's \move command (which is doing the listings) if you consider moving to text floating around images (wrap-figures), later. By the way, Package xq is looking a new maintainer. Interested?