Changing the desktop

From the Control Center window, you can change the Background, Launch Feedback, Panel, Screensaver, Theme Selector, or Window Manager for your GNOME desktop. After you open the Control Center window, select one of those categories. Here are the preferences that you can change from each:

Background — From the Background preferences, you can choose a single solid color, a two-color gradient (shading from top to bottom or left to right), or a pixmap image to use as wallpaper. If you choose a single solid color, click the color box under Primary Color, choose a color from the palette, and select OK. To have the color fade into another color, click Vertical or Horizontal Gradient, and then select the second color. Choosing Vertical has the colors transform from top to bottom, while Horizontal causes the colors to change from left to right.

To use wallpaper for your background, click Browse. You can choose from a variety of images in the /usr/share/nautilus directory. Then, choose to have the image tiled, centered, scaled (in proportion), or scaled (using any proportion to fill the screen).

Launch Feedback — From the Launch Feedback preferences, you can indicate the kind of behavior the GNOME exhibits while an application is being launched. While an application is being launched from the desktop, you can enable feedback in a tasklist, have an hourglass appear for the mouse cursor, have a splash screen displayed while the application launches, or have an animated star displayed.

Panel — From the Panel section, you can change global behavior of the panels on your desktop. These selections are described earlier in the Using the GNOME Panel section.

Screensaver — You can choose dozens of screensavers from the Screen Saver preferences window. Select Random Screensaver to have your screen saver chosen randomly, or select one that you like from the list. Next, choose how long your screen must be idle before the screen saver starts (default is 20 minutes). You can also choose to require a password or to enable power management to shut down your monitor after a set number of minutes.

Theme Selector — You can choose to have an entire theme of elements be used on your desktop. A desktop theme affects not only the background, but also the way that many buttons and menu selections appear. There are about a dozen themes available with the Red Hat Linux distribution. See the sidebar "Finding Desktop Themes" for information on how to get additional desktop themes.

Finding Desktop Themes

New desktop themes for GNOME/Sawfish are available from the Web site. To select and download a Sawfish desktop theme, do the following:

Make sure that the Sawfish themes directory is available for downloading the themes. You can use either of the following two directories:

/usr/share/sawfish/themes or $HOME/.sawfish/themes.

Use the first directory if you want any user on your Red Hat Linux system to be able to use the theme. Use the second directory if you want the theme available only for your own use.

Go to the following Web site:

(To search for themes other than the ones listed on the main Sawfish themes page, go to the Sawfish themes search page. Click the Themes link from the main page or go directly to

Click any theme that looks interesting from those available at You can select from a list of themes that were most downloaded today and those that have been downloaded most over time. You can also choose themes that have recently been added.

On the page that appears describing the theme, select the Download link. You will be prompted again to download the theme.

Click Download. You are asked to select a location to which to download the file.

Type the path to either of the Sawfish themes directories noted in Step 1. The theme file is downloaded to that directory. (You can close the browser for the moment.)

Go to the Sawfish themes directory and unzip the file. For example, to unzip a theme called Whatever.tar.gz, you would type the following from a Terminal window: cd /usr/share/sawfish/themes and then tar xvfz Whatever.tar.gz.

At this point, the desktop theme is ready to be used.

Window Manager — The list of available window managers appears when you select Window Manager from the Control Center. Currently, sawfish is the default window manager with GNOME. If you want to try other window managers, however, here are a few that are compatible with


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  • Frida Trevisani
    How to add a desktop background to redhat linux?
    2 years ago
  • brad
    How to change the default background ,themes,screensavers on Red Hat linux os?
    1 year ago

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