Hack 81 Gnoppix Gnome Gnirvana

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Like Knoppix but dislike KDE? Before you remaster Knoppix, try Gnoppix, a Knoppix-based distribution that replaces the default KDE desktop with a Gnome desktop .

One of the great things about open source software is that it generally encourages choice. Indeed, even on Knoppix, you are given different choices for web browsers, email clients , text editors, and window managers.

But sometimes choice breeds contention . There are a few ongoing holy wars in the open source community. Some, like VI versus Emacs and GPL versus BSDL, have been going on for decades. Some, like KDE versus Gnome, are still relatively fresh. Without adding any fuel to the fire, it is sufficient to say that some people prefer the Gnome desktop to the KDE desktop. If you are one of these people, Gnoppix (http://www.gnoppix.org) is for you.

As the name indicates, the Gnoppix project's focus is to provide a Knoppix-like live CD with a complete Gnome desktop in place of KDE. From the moment you boot Gnoppix, you can see quite a difference from the default Knoppix desktop (see Figure 8-1). You even start programs differently. In Knoppix, icons on the desktop are single-clicked to run; in Gnoppix, they are double-clicked. In Knoppix, the application menu (K Menu) is located on the bottom panel; in Gnoppix, it is along the top panel.

For basically every KDE/QT application that Knoppix includes, Gnoppix offers the Gnome/GTK alternative. The following table illustrates some of the primary applications that Gnoppix offers as alternatives:







File Management






Address book



Programming IDE



Boy, that's a lot of Ks and Gs. Really, even with all of the differences that a Gnome desktop and a KDE desktop have, Gnoppix and Knoppix share a lot of the same applications. Both offer Mozilla (Gnoppix defaults to it); both use OpenOffice.org; and both have the Gimp, Xchat, and Gaim.

Figure 8-1. Default Gnoppix desktop

What might attract you to use Gnoppix, especially if you are a fan of Gnome, is the almost exclusive use of Gnome alternatives on the CD. This results in a desktop environment that is more tightly integrated, particularly in look and feel, because all major applications use the GTK toolkit for widgets.

The use of only Gnome alternatives also results in a desktop that is easier to use in many respects. In areas where only the Gnome alternatives are offered , the applications are given functional labels instead of program names . For instance, Mozilla is labeled Web Browser, Evolution is labeled eMail, and GnomeCard is labeled Address Book. For a user that is new to Linux who doesn't know one application from another, this kind of labeling might make it easier to identify which program to use for which function.

Gnoppix also offers the option to install the CD directly to a hard drive, which makes this distribution a great choice if you want to quickly and easily install Debian with Gnome. In short, if you are looking for a great live CD, but have avoided Knoppix due to the KDE desktop, give Gnoppix a try.

8.3.1 See Also

  • The official Gnoppix home page at http://www.gnoppix.org.

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Knoppix Hacks. 100 Tips and Tricks
Knoppix Hacks. 100 Tips and Tricks
Year: 2004
Pages: 166

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