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Any computer system that you might purchase will require some configuration. Whether it is a Windows system, Apple Macintosh, or Linux, you will still need to configure it so that it recognizes and uses your hardware. During the installation, most operating systems, including Linux, will detect and configure many types of hardware. However, you might still need to reconfigure certain settings at a later date. Reconfiguration can be required because you add new hardware, change your Internet connection, or simply want a different look to your interface. For this reason, knowing how to configure your system properly is critical.
This chapter will walk you through the essential configuration tasks you might need to perform in Linux. In this chapter you will learn to reconfigure your desktop settings, set up hardware, configure your network, connect to the Internet, and more.
This chapter will focus on using the graphical interface, KDE. If you followed the installation instructions in Chapter 2, “Installing Linux,” then your machine should boot up to KDE automatically. If you choose at some later date to use GNOME as your graphical interface, you will find most of the same features, only they may be in different locations. Also recall that we discussed what to do if your machine has KDE installed but is booting to GNOME or some other interface. Go to the Start menu (the large K or Red Hat symbol in the bottom-left corner of the screen) and log out. Once you are logged out, you will be at the login screen. Find the word System at the bottom of the screen and click on it. You can then choose which of the installed desktops you want to use.
Throughout this book, the graphical interface we will be concerned with is KDE. However, Chapter 7, “The GNOME Interface,” will give you a brief overview of the GNOME graphical interface.
Before we get too far into our exploration of KDE, perhaps a brief history lesson is in order. The KDE project, which is the primary graphical interface used in this book, was founded by Matthias Ettrich in 1996. KDE stands for K Desktop Environment. The first version was released in July 1998. The most recent version, 3.1.2, was released in May 2003. KDE is simply a modern, user-friendly, graphical desktop environment for Unix or Linux workstations. KDE seeks to fill the need for an easy-to-use desktop for Unix workstations, similar to the graphical interface PC users can find with Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh. You can find out more about KDE history and get the latest version of KDE at www.kde.org.
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