2008-04-01

When it comes to rebooting a frozen Linux system, qwerty keyboard users have it easy; spell “busier” backwards or simply raise some elephants.

Typing reisub gets a little trickier on alternative keyboard layouts, however. While the graphical environment is aware of the unusual key arrangement, in the kernel these command keys remain forever mapped to their original qwerty locations. What used to be reisub becomes p.cogx on Dvorak, and pfurlb on Colemak. I use a custom variant of Colemak with a few keys switched around to my personal preference. On this layout, reisub becomes gfuslb.

Stepping back, though, is it really wise to immediately reboot? When I realize I’ve done something bad enough to take down the whole system, I prefer to power it down and reflect upon what went wrong. Given a moment to think about next steps, I might decide, for example, that I need to catch grub during its three-second timeout to change a boot option. So instead of reisub, I really prefer to turn off the system with reisuo, or on my keyboard layout, gfusly.

That’s really hard to remember; it’s not even pronounceable. What’s needed here is a good mnemonic device, so I asked around and got the following suggestions:

That last one stuck best, and I’ve since used it several times to shut down frozen systems.