6. About the GNOME Desktop

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The GNOME desktop (GNOME stands for GNU Network Object Model Environment) is GNU (open source) software that can be run on a number of Linux distributions; it also runs on some UNIX implementations. GNOME is a desktop environment that provides the GUI that you see and use as you work in NLD.

GNOME was created and is updated by the GNOME Project. The GNOME community of developers is one of the first free software groups to create human interface guidelines for the GNOME desktop, which are also suggested guidelines for programmers creating applications for Linux-based systems.

Web Resource


See this website for more information about GNOME and the GNOME project.

The actual graphical display system that allows you to use GNOME and other desktop environments such as KDE on a Linux system (such as NLD) is the X Window System. The X Window System contains the programming code that allows the system to display items in a graphical format (rather than text only).

Key Term

X Window System The graphical display system used by many Linux implementations including NLD.

When you configure items such as your monitor, graphics card, and display resolution, you are actually configuring the X Window System. Because the NLD installation process automatically configures most X Window System settings for you, you can work in GNOME without worrying too much about what the X Window System is up to (although when you do change display settings, you are configuring the X Window System). Because it is GNOME that we actually interface with (rather than the X Window system), we should take a closer look at GNOME's geography.

GNOME provides a desktop workspace that contains a set of default desktop icons, a top and bottom panel, and a menu system in the top panel. Let's break out and define the various areas of the GNOME desktop for clarity:

  • Desktop icons A set of default icons resides on the NLD desktop: Computer, Home, floppy (if one exists on the computer), CD or DVD (depending on the type of drive installed), and Trash. The Computer icon provides access to the computer's removable media drives (floppy and CD for example), the file system (folders on the computer), and the Network (this icon allows you to browse the local area network). The Trash icon provides quick access to the Trash folder, which holds all recently deleted files and folders.

  • Top panel The top panel provides access to the NLD menus (Program, System, Help) and quickstart icons for the Mozilla Firefox browser, Novell Evolution, and OpenOffice.org Write. Two additional quickstart icons, Network Connection and Updates, also appear on the top panel as does the Volume Control and current date/time.

  • Bottom panel The bottom panel contains the Show Desktop icon (which is used to clear the desktop by minimizing all currently open windows) and the Workspace Switcher. The Workspace Switcher allows you to work on multiple virtual desktops. Each of these separate workspaces can contain open windows and running applications.

Key Term

Virtual desktop A separate workspace that can be used to run applications. Each workspace shows the GNOME desktop, but each workspace is a discrete operating space, which allows you to keep the actual desktop (within each virtual desktop) less crowded (with application windows).

As with similar graphical user interfaces (such as Windows or the Mac OS), windows on the desktop can be maximized, minimized, and dragged to new locations on the desktop. Desktop icons require a double-click to open, whereas quickstart icons on the top panel require only a single click.

The GNOME desktop provides the user environment for NLD applications and tools.

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    Novell Linux Desktop 9. User's Handbook
    Novell Linux Desktop 9 Users Handbook
    ISBN: 0672327295
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 244
    Authors: Joe Habraken

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