Install Xfce

To install Xfce from the command line interface, you could install any or all of the Xfce packages available from the Hardy Heron repositories. But the implicit objective is not to install a standard GUI desktop, but to install a GUI with a fairly minimal number of packages.

The apt-cache search xfce command reveals 108 packages. As Xfce is built from the same toolkit as GNOME, GNOME-based GUI administrative tools can also be installed on that desktop environment. Be aware, several described throughout the book are based on GNOME. You could install all 108 packages, and you can even install additional desktop applications such as the OpenOffice.org suite. For the purposes of this chapter, examine what happens when you install just those packages needed for administrative purposes. Specifically, install the basic Xfce desktop meta-package (which automatically installs others required for the GUI) and the associated command line terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-terminal xauth xorg

I've included the xorg meta-package for the X server and the xauth package for authentication. Based on the aforementioned conditions, this command calls a number of dependencies, installing close to 200 packages, including those associated with the default X server. As this requires a download of more than 50MB, it can take some time. Of course, you might also want to install any desired GUI administrative packages, some of which are described throughout the book.

A graphical login manager is not required, unless you're actually running the GUI locally. If you are, the default used from the Xubuntu system is the GNOME display manager, available from the gdm package. However, the Xubuntu login screen has a different appearance.

One advantage of gdm is its support for remote graphical logins, described later in this chapter. If you're administering this system remotely using graphical tools, you may also want to install the update-manager and synaptic packages described in Chapter 8, along with the packages associated with other GUI administrative tools as described throughout the book. If successful, you should be able to start the GUI with the startx command, which leads to the desktop shown in Figure 13-1.

Alternatively, if you wanted to install a complete Xfce desktop environment, run the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

The xubuntu-desktop package is a meta-package that configures much more than a minimal environment. It installs around 600 packages and requires about a gigabyte of additional space—along with the features most GUI users expect, such as a word processor, a graphics editor, multimedia applications, and so on.

While most GUIs start with a login screen; in many cases, administrators will connect remotely. I've already described this process using the ssh command in Chapter 7.

Install GNOME

To install the GNOME desktop environment from the command line interface, you could install any or all of the GNOME packages available from the Hardy Heron repositories. But the implicit objective is not to install a standard GUI desktop, but to install a GUI with a fairly minimal number of packages.

The apt-cache search gnome command reveals nearly 1400 packages. This incorporates GNOME-based GUI administrative tools, including several described in different chapters. You could install all 1400 packages, and you can even install additional desktop applications such as the GIMP. For the purpose of this chapter, I show you how to install just those packages needed for administrative purposes. Specifically, this includes the simplified GNOME desktop meta-package, gnome-core (which automatically installs others required for the GUI), and the associated command line terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-core gnome-terminal xauth xorg

I've included the xorg package for the X server and the xauth package for authentication. This command calls a number of dependencies, installing close to 200 packages, including those associated with the default X server. As this requires a download of more than 50MB, it can take some time. You can abort the download by entering n at the following prompt:

Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

If you proceed, and the downloand/installation is successful, you should be able to start the GUI with the startx command, which leads to the desktop shown in Figure 13-2.

A graphical login manager is not required, unless you're actually running the GUI locally. If you are, the default Ubuntu login manager is the GNOME display manager. If you're administering this system remotely using graphical tools, you may also want to install the update-manager and synaptic packages described in Chapter 8.

Alternatively, if you wanted to install a complete GNOME desktop environment, run the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

The ubuntu-desktop package is a meta-package that configures much more than a minimal environment. It installs around 600 packages and requires about 1.5 gigabytes of additional space—along with the applications most GUI users expect, such as the OpenOffice.org suite.

If you prefer GNOME, you can proceed with this installation. Just be aware of the extra demands on system resources relative to Xfce.

Install KDE

To install the KDE desktop environment from the command line interface, you could install any or all of the KDE-related packages available from the Hardy Heron repositories. But the implicit objective is not to install a standard GUI desktop, but to install a GUI with a fairly minimal number of packages.

The apt-cache search kde command reveals around 1600 packages. This incorporates KDE-based GUI administrative tools. I've described GNOME-based tools throughout the book, as GNOME is the default for Ubuntu, and these tools are more compatible with the Xfce desktop. However, excellent equivalent KDE tools are available.

You could install all 1600 KDE-related packages, and you can install additional desktop applications such as Kopete Instant Messenger or even KDE's office suite, KOffice. For the purpose of this chapter, examine what happens when you try to install just those packages needed for administrative purposes. Specifically, run the following installation command for the basic KDE desktop meta-package (which automatically installs others required for the GUI) and the associated command line terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install kde-core konsole xauth xorg

I've included the xorg package for the X server and the xauth package for authentication. Based on the aforementioned conditions, this command calls a number of dependencies, installing around 150 packages, including those associated with the default X server. As this requires a download of more than 50MB, it can take some time. You can abort the download by entering n at the following prompt:

Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

A graphical login manager is not required, unless you're actually running the GUI locally. If you are, KDE has its own login manager, which is part of the kdm package. If you're administering this system remotely using graphical tools, you may also want to install the update-manager and synaptic packages described in Chapter 8, along with the packages associated with other GUI administrative tools as described throughout the book.

Alternatively, if you wanted to install a complete KDE desktop environment, run the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

The kubuntu-desktop package is a meta-package that configures much more than a minimal environment. It installs around 600 packages and requires about 1.5 gigabytes of additional space. If successful, the first time you log into a KDE desktop environment, you'll be asked to create a group of settings, starting with the screen shown in Figure 13-3.

These steps ask you to select the following:

▼ The local country and language

■ System behavior for mouse clicks and the keyboard

■ CPU allocation for graphical effects

▲ The thematic look and feel of the desktop

Figure 13-3. Setting up the Ubuntu Hardy Heron KDE desktop environment

Once complete, you should see a KDE desktop environment screen. If you selected the defaults, it should appear similar to that shown in Figure 13-4. What you see might be quite different, depending on selected settings.

The next time you want to start the GUI, run the startx command. Of course, if you prefer a graphical login screen, make sure to install the kdm package. If you prefer KDE, you could proceed with this installation. Just be aware of the extra demands on system resources relative to Xfce.

Figure 13-4. The Ubuntu Hardy Heron KDE desktop environment screen

Continue reading here: Configure The Xfce Desktop Environment

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