8.2. How to Edit System Configuration Files

8.2.1. How to Edit System Configuration Files with kwrite

It's often nice to be able to edit system configuration files, like with GRUB or bothersome videocard. For this purpose you need a tool, a text editor. We do not use things such as bold, underlining or fancy fonts in these files, so for this purpose we don't need a huge fancy application. There are already several such applications installed with your Skolelinux/Debian-edu system. Some of these are command line based, (vi, vim, nano), while others have a graphical interface, like kwrite


Everybody should learn how to use the command line based editor nano sooner or later, preferably sooner.

For starters, try using kwrite, you'll find it in K-menu->Editors->Text editor you could also just write "kwrite" in Run command ...

This is what kwrite looks like with the file /etc/modules opened

8.2.2. How to Edit System Configuration Files

The same file as in Section 8.2.1 opened with the textbased (commandline) editor nano, the command used is

nano /etc/modules

  GNU nano 1.2.4                                                      File: /etc/modules
# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file should contain the names of kernel modules that are
# to be loaded at boot time, one per line.  Comments begin with
# a "#", and everything on the line after them are ignored.


                            [ Read 11 lines ]
^G Get Help    ^O WriteOut     ^R Read File      ^Y Prev Page        ^K Cut Text        ^C Cur Pos
^X Exit        ^J Justify      ^W Where Is       ^V Next Page        ^U UnCut Txt       ^T To Spell 


What you should realize, is that you can always use nano, while kwrite needs a GUI to work.


If you need to edit a file on a different machine, say you sit on a thinclient, and want to edit some file on the fileserver (assuming you don't have a combi-server), then the following command, which involves ssh will do that. This will open the file in question on the fileserver as the user root:

ssh root@tjener.intern 'nano /etc/modules'

There is more about ssh in Section 9.3.