GNOME Preferences

Fedora provides several tools for configuring your GNOME desktop. These are listed in the System | Preferences menu. Configuration preference tools are organized into several submenus: Personal, Look and Feel, Internet and Network, Hardware, and System. Those that do not fall into any category are listed directly. The GNOME preferences are listed in Table 3-1. Several are discussed in different sections in this and other chapters. The Help button on each preference window will display detailed descriptions and examples. Some of the more important tools are discussed here.


About Me

Personal information like image, addresses, and password (see About Me later in this chapter).

Assistive Technology Preferences

Enables features like screen reader, keboard display, and magnifier.

File Managment

Default methods for file and director displays.

Input Method

Specify custom input methods.

Keyboard Accessibility

Set features like repeating, slow, and sticking, and mouse keys.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Configure keys for special tasks, like multimedia operations.

Preferred Applications

Set default Web browser, Mail application, and Terminal window.


Manage your session with start up programs and save options (see Sessions later in this chapter).

Volume Control

Sound Mixer for setting volume control.

Look and Feel

Desktop Background

Choose a desktop background; you can choose your own image.

Desktop Effects

Choose to use a 3d window manager like


Change fonts and font sizes for different components on your desktop (see Desktop Font Sizes later in this chapter).

Main Menu

Add or remove categories and menu items for the Applications and System menus.

Menus and Toolbar

Simple menu and toolbar preferences; display icons in menus and enable detachable toolbars.


Select a theme to use for your desktop.


Select and manage your screen saver.


Enable certain window capabilities like roll up on title bar, movement key, window selection.

Internet and Network

Bluetooth Preferences

Bluetooth notification icon display options.

Table 3-1 GNOME Desktop Preferences (continued)

Internet and Network

Internet Proxy

Specify proxy configuration if needed: manual or automatic.

Personal File Sharing

Permit sharing public files on network; may require password.

Remote Desktop

Allow remote users to view or control your desktop; can control access with password.


Default Printer

Choose a default printer if more than one.


Configure your keyboard: selecting options, models, and typing breaks.


Mouse configuration: select hand orientation, mouse image, and motion.

Removable Drives and Media

Set removable drives and media preferences (see Using Removable Devices and Media later in this chapter).

Screen Resolution

Change your screen resolution, refresh rate, and screen orientation.


Select the sound driver for events, video and music, and conferencing; also select sounds to use for desktop events.


Power Managment

Power managment options for battery use and sleep options.

Search and Indexing

Set search and indexing preferences for Desktop searches.

Table 3-1 GNOME Desktop Preferences

Table 3-1 GNOME Desktop Preferences

The keyboard shortcuts configuration (Personal | Keyboard Shortcuts) lets you map keys to certain tasks, like mapping multimedia keys on a keyboard to media tasks like play and pause. Just select the task and then press the key. There are tasks for the desktop, multimedia, and window management. With window management you can also map keys to perform workspace switching. Keys that are already assigned will be shown.

The File Management configuration (Personal | File Managment) lets you determine the way files and directories are displayed along with added information to show in icon captions or list views. You can also specify double click behavior and files that can be previewed.

The Windows configuration (Look and Feel | Windows) is where you can enable features like window roll up, window movement key, and mouse window selection.

The Mouse and Keyboard preferences are the primary tools for configuring your mouse and keyboard (Hardware | Keyboard and Hardware | Mouse). The Mouse preferences let you choose a mouse image, configure its motion, and hand orientation. The Keyboard preferences window shows several panels for selecting your keyboard mdoel (layout), configuring keys (Layout Options), repeat delay (Keyboard), and even enforcing breaks from power typing as a health precaution.

There are three sound configuration tools to keep track up, each with very different tasks. To set the actual volume control and mixing for different sound sources like CD,

GNOME Applets

GNOME applets are small programs that operate off your panel. It is very easy to add applets. Right-click the panel and select the Add entry. This lists all available applets. Some helpful applets are dictionary lookup, the current weather, the system monitor, which shows your CPU usage, the CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor for Cool and Quiet processors, and Search, which searches your system for files, as well as Lock, Shutdown, and Logout buttons. Some of these, including find, lock, and logout, are already on the Places menu. You could drag these directly from the menu to the panel to add the applet. Figure 3-3 shows some of the more common applets. Following the Web browser and e-mail icons, you have, from left to right: Search for files, dictionary lookup, Tomboy note taker, Network connection monitor, CPU scaling monitor, System monitor, Weather report, Eyes that follow your mouse around, User switcher, logout, shutdown, and lock screen buttons.

The K Desktop Environment (KDE) displays a panel at the bottom of the screen that looks very similar to one displayed on the top of the GNOME desktop. The file manager appears slightly different but operates much the same way as the GNOME file manager. There is a Control Center entry in the main menu that opens the KDE control center, from which you can configure every aspect of the KDE environment, such as themes, panels, peripherals like printers and keyboards (already handled by Fedora system tools), even the KDE file manager's Web browsing capabilities.

speakers, microphone, and video, you use the GNOME Volume Control tool (Personal | Volume Control). You can also invoke it with the Volume Control applet on your panel.

To select a sound driver to use for different tasks, as well as specify the sounds to use for desktop events, you use the Hardware Sound configuration tool (Hardware | Sound). On the Devices panel you can select the sound driver to use, if more than one, for the Sound Events, Music and Videos, and conferencing. Defaults will already be choosen. On the Sounds panel you can enable software sound mixing letting you choose the sound you want for different desktop events. The System Beep panel lets you turn off the system beep sound and use visual beep instead like flashing window title bar.

The Sound entry in the Administration menu just detects sound devices and makes sure they are working (System | Administration | Sound Card Detection). Use this to detect new sound cards, or select a sound device should you have more than one.

NOTE The XFce4 desktop is a new lightweight desktop designed to run fast without the kind of overhead seen in full-featured desktops like KDE and GNOME. It includes its own file manager and panel, but the emphasis is on modularity and simplicity. The desktop consists of a collection of modules, including the xffm file manager, the xfce4-panel panel, and the xfwm4 window manager. In keeping with its focus on simplicity, its small scale makes it appropriate for laptops or dedicated systems that have no need for the complex overhead found in other desktops.

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Figure 3-3 GNOME applets

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