An Overview of Gnome Features

Figure 6.7 shows a typical GNOME desktop. This desktop has many of the same components as a KDE desktop (see Figure 6.2), but some details differ

Figure 6.7 shows a typical GNOME desktop. This desktop has many of the same components as a KDE desktop (see Figure 6.2), but some details differ

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Figure 6.7: The GNOME desktop provides all the familiar features of modern

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Figure 6.7: The GNOME desktop provides all the familiar features of modern computer desktop environments.

Important GNOME components include the following:

Nautilus File Manager GNOME uses a program called Nautilus as its file manager. Unlike KDE's Konqueror, Nautilus doesn't double as a web browser, but it's similar to Konqueror and other file managers in general operating principles.

Desktop Icons GNOME desktop icons open Nautilus windows on specific directories or launch programs, sometimes with specific configurations. You can create new icons by right-clicking on the desktop and picking an appropriate option, such as New Launcher to create a new program-launching icon.

Panels GNOME uses two Panels by default, compared to KDE's one: a Menu Panel, which appears at the top of the screen; and an Edge Panel, which appears at the bottom. Subsequent components in this list appear in one of these two Panels. (Red Hat's default GNOME configuration uses only the Edge Panel, which takes over some of the duties of the Menu Panel.)

Menus Menus usually appear in the Menu Panel, and they provide access to many user programs, including all the GNOME programs installed on the system. The Applications menu provides access to most programs, and the Actions menu causes GNOME to perform certain actions, such as running a program, taking a screen shot, or logging out.

Launchers These enable you to directly launch programs without using an intervening menu. A default GNOME installation typically provides a handful of launchers for common tools.

Drawer A Drawer acts as an extension to a Panel; click it and a sub-Panel appears at right angles to the first. Drawers can be handy if you run out of space on a Panel.

Applets These are mini-applications that use space in the Panel as their primary presence on your desktop. Figure 6.6 shows a CPU use meter, a volume control tool, and a clock.

Task Lists Two task lists exist in a default GNOME installation. In the far right of the Menu Panel is a small icon that changes to reflect the currently active application. Click it to obtain a list of all programs running on all virtual desktops. You can then switch to the desired application. Much of the Edge Panel is consumed by a set of buttons you can click to bring applications on the current virtual desktop to the front.

Pager The Pager enables you to switch between virtual desktops, just like the equivalent tool in KDE. GNOME'S pager shows a tiny representation of the windows that are open in each desktop, which may help you remember in which desktop critical applications are running.

GNOME'S basic features are the same as those of KDE. The two environments differ from one another in fairly subtle details. Your best hope of learning which you prefer is to try both. Use one for a few days, then try the other for a few days.

Note Since version 8.0, Red Hat Linux has created themes for GNOME and KDE to make both environments look and work as much alike as possible. Thus, if you're using Red Hat, the surface differences between these two environments will be particularly slim. Configuration tools, such as those for modifying styles and mouse actions, still differ between these two environments, though.

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