Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Using Your Linux Desktop

Filed under
Linux

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

Thanks For Making Games Faster: Top 10 Quotes from the Linux Kernel Developer Panel

Linux gamers owe a debt of gratitude to kernel developer Andy Lutomirski for his recent work getting 32-bit programs to run faster on a 64-bit kernel, said Greg Kroah-Hartman during the Linux kernel panel today at LinuxCon and CloudOpen North America. “A lot of people thought, who cares? It turned out Valve cares,” Kroah-Hartman, a Linux kernel developer and Linux Foundation Fellow, said. All of their games are still 32-bit applications but Valve wanted them to run on the 64-bit architecture, he said. “You just sped up all the gamers,” Kroah-Hartman said on stage to enthusiastic applause. “You made their machines run faster without realizing it. Thank you.” “You're welcome,” said Lutomirski, a relative newcomer to kernel development. Kroah-Hartman, who moderated the panel discussion, was joined on stage by Linux Creator Linus Torvalds as well as kernel developers Andrew Morton from Google, Shuah Khan from Samsung, and Lutomirski, a co-founder of AMA Capital Management. Their discussion covered a range of topics from the top challenges facing the kernel community, to the toughest bugs they've fixed and everything in between. Here are some of the highlights of the discussion, below. The full session will be available soon on the Linux Foundation YouTube channel. Read more

The Many Things You Can Build With A Raspberry Pi

Ruth Suehle and Tom Callaway are presenting at LinuxCon 2014 Chicago tomorrow about many different Raspberry Pi hacks and other Linux capabilities of these low-cost, low-performance single board computers. The two Fedora contributors cover the back-story of the Raspberry Pi for anyone that's been sleeping under a rock, how to go about getting parts for the RPi, and the process to get Linux running on the ~$35 ARMv6 system. With Linux running on the Raspberry Pi, the possibilities are nearly endless for this low-cost development-friendly board. Read more

Today in Techrights

Raspberry Pi Devices Spread in Schools, Help Teach Programming

According to a new DigiTimes report, sales of credit-card sized Raspberry Pi devices, which run Linux, remain very strong. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that 3.5 million units have sold worldwide, with demand from China and Taiwan staying strong. The devices are helping to teach children basic programming skills and are arriving in educational systems all around the world. Read more