Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Using Your Linux Desktop

Filed under

Sample Chapter 1: Logging In

Linux provides two basic types of interface for you to use when working with your computer: GUI (graphical user interface) and CLI (command-line interface). An overview of the interface types is provided in Chapter 5. In this chapter, the most common type of interface, a GUI called a desktop, is discussed in detail. The CLI is discussed in detail in Chapter 7.

Linux can start without a desktop, but most users prefer to have Linux start with a desktop. The installation instructions provided in Chapter 4 result in a desktop opening at startup. A desktop interface functions as the top of your desk, supplying an empty working surface and a set of tools.

Different distributions provide different desktops, but most provide KDE (K Desktop Environment) and/or GNOME (Gnu Network Object Model Environment)-the Big Two of Linux desktops. The default desktop differs by distribution. For instance, Fedora defaults to GNOME, and Mandrake/SuSE defaults to KDE. However, you can change the default once you decide which desktop you prefer.

KDE and GNOME are open source software, each developed in a project of its own. New versions are released independently of Linux releases or the release of any specific Linux distribution. As a result, different distributions include different KDE and/or GNOME versions. In addition, KDE and GNOME are very configurable. Almost everything about them can be changed. Consequently, KDE and GNOME don't look exactly the same in different distributions or versions of distributions.

When using this book, remember that your KDE or GNOME may not look exactly like the book. Most of the figures in the book are Fedora Core 2 (KDE 3.2/GNOME 2.6) or Mandrake 10 (KDE 3.2/GNOME 2.4). Your version may be older or newer. Because your KDE and GNOME may not always look and behave exactly as shown in the book, it's best to consider the instructions in this chapter as suggestions, rather than an exact map. It provides clues to the most likely places to find configuration tools, but not necessarily a detailed route.

This chapter describes the contents of your desktop and how to use them. Then, when you are comfortable with the default appearance and behavior of your Linux, you find out how to change everything.

Logging In

To access your desktop, you must log in using a Linux account. When you power on your computer, the process goes as follows:

  1. The computer boots up.
  2. The computer prompts you to log in.
  3. You log in to an account, typing your password.
  4. The desktop displays.

After the computer boots (Step 1), you see a login screen. The login screens for Fedora Core, Mandrake, and SuSE are shown in Figure 6-1.

Notice that Mandrake and SuSE give you a choice of accounts. In this case, only one account (janet) is available. If more accounts were installed, they would also be on the login screen. Accounts are discussed in Chapter 8.

Select an account by clicking it. In SuSE, the account name appears in the Login field. Type the password in the Password field and click Go! to log in. In Mandrake, a second screen appears, as shown in Figure 6-2.

Full Article with screenshots and many other sample chapters. (Actually it looks to me as if the whole book is available there online.) <shrugs>

More in Tux Machines

Lumina Desktop 1.1 Released

The BSD-focused, Qt-powered Lumina Desktop Environment is out with its version 1.1 update. The developers behind the Lumina Desktop Environment consider it a "significant update" with both new and reworked utilities, infrastructure improvements, and other enhancements. Lumina 1.1 adds a pure Qt5 calculator, text editor improvements, the file manager has been completely overhauled, system application list management is much improved, and there is a range of other improvements. Read more

Radeon vs. Nouveau Open-Source Drivers On Mesa Git + Linux 4.9

For your viewing pleasure this Friday are some open-source AMD vs. NVIDIA numbers when using the latest open-source code on each side. Linux 4.9-rc1 was used while Ubuntu 16.10 paired with the Padoka PPA led to Mesa Git as of earlier this week plus LLVM 4.0 SVN. As covered recently, there are no Nouveau driver changes for Linux 4.9 while we had hoped the boost patches would land. Thus the re-clocking is still quite poor for this open-source NVIDIA driver stack. For the Nouveau tests I manually re-clocked each graphics card to the highest performance state (0f) after first re-clocking the cards to the 0a performance state for helping some of the GPUs that otherwise fail with memory re-clocking at 0f, as Nouveau developers have expressed this is the preferred approach for testing. Read more

Ubuntu MATE, Not Just a Whim

I've stated for years how much I dislike Ubuntu's Unity interface. Yes, it's become more polished through the years, but it's just not an interface that thinks the same way I do. That's likely because I'm old and inflexible, but nevertheless, I've done everything I could to avoid using Unity, which usually means switching to Xubuntu. I actually really like Xubuntu, and the Xfce interface is close enough to the GNOME 2 look, that I hardly miss the way my laptop used to look before Unity. I wasn't alone in my disdain for Ubuntu's flagship desktop manager switch, and many folks either switched to Xubuntu or moved to another Debian/Ubuntu-based distro like Linux Mint. The MATE desktop started as a hack, in fact, because GNOME 3 and Unity were such drastic changes. I never really got into MATE, however, because I thought it was going to be nothing more than a hack and eventually would be unusable due to old GNOME 2 libraries phasing out and so forth. Read more

EU-Fossa project submits results of code audits

The European Commission’s ‘EU Free and Open Source Software Auditing’ project (EU-Fossa) has sent its code review results to the developers of Apache HTTP server target and KeePass. The audit results are not yet made public, however, no critical vulnerabilities were found. Read more