- Other Desktop Environments
- Window Managers
Some explanation of terms: 'X' is the graphical environment for Linux, a suite of programs. In contrast to operating system like MS Windows or Mac OS, it is not an integral part of the operating system itself, it's just an add-on.
To make sufficient use of X, you will need a window manager or a desktop environment like KDE or GNOME .
Desktop environments aren't window managers. They provide another layer between X and a window manager, e.g. for things like drag 'n' drop, a common look and feel etc. KDE uses its own default window manager, kwin, GNOME comes with Sawfish or Metacity.
You can use any other window manager on top of these environments as long as it is compatible with ('aware of') them. Or you can skip the extra layer and run a manager directly on 'X'.
KDE and GNOME come with their own set of programs. You can run these programs on every environment / manager, provided you have the basic libraries of the environment those apps were written for installed.
- Note: On a machine which is intended to be used only as a server you usually do not install X there in order to make it faster. The graphical environment has been developed for users on their home computers to make their lives easier.
Also referred to as XFree86, X11 or X Window System.
If you are looking for a quick way to make yourself unpopular with senior Linux users, call it 'X Windows' ;-).
- Note: Mandriva Linux 2006 uses . You should look here first.
- . Lots of current documentation and mailing list archives.
- The Usenet newsgroups , , and are a good place to receive help when it comes to X.
- Various online FAQs and HOWTOs:
- lists X apps for common tasks. It doesn't cover KDE or GNOME specific apps, though.
- Well, the title says it all ;-).
- The . Read it if you are interested in fonts and X.
- The documents some improvements to the pitiful font problem of X.
The 'Kool' Desktop Environment is the default desktop for the Mandrake Linux distribution.
- <Ctrl><Alt><Esc> … to kill a hanging program by clicking its window with the mouse
- <Ctrl><Esc> … to get a list of the running applications
- <Alt><Tab> … to change between application windows (<Shift> inverts the direction)
- <Ctrl><Alt><Del> … to shutdown and reboot the system
- <Ctrl><Alt><Backspace> … to log out from KDE
- lists all kinds of links to news, support resources, documentation etc. Make sure to check out .
- , a portal for KDE users. (Currently off-line, last checked 25 November 2005)
- is the central KDE news and discussion site.
- collects information about all programs written with KDE in mind. (Currently off-line, last checked 25 November 2005)
- is the central repository for KDE related artwork (themes, icons, backgrounds etc).
- Lots of cover almost every aspect of the huge KDE project. If you want to participate, subscribing to one of them is a good start.
- . Very well organized and with a decent search function.
- The Usenet newsgroup . German users might prefer
GNOME stands for 'GNU Network Object Model Environment'. It is 'the other' big free desktop environment for Unix systems.
- lists news, docs, software map etc.
- Latest GNOME news are posted to and discussed on .
- contains some eye candy.
- contains some GNOME related artwork (themes, backgrounds, icons etc).
- offers a desktop called , which is good for enterprise integration.
- and their respective - search-able - archives are available.
- If you are interested in the technology behind GNOME, have a look at , along with lots of other useful stuff for developers at .
- Mandrake Linux comes with the GNOME Users Guide. If you want to give GNOME a try, you most certainly want to install and read this one.
Other Desktop Environments
Apart from the big guys KDE and GNOME , there are other desktop environment projects. These projects usually have the advantage of using much less system resources than those two.
- uses the GTK+ widget set like GNOME . It builds the foundation for the 'XFwm' window manager and comes with utilities like the XFTree file manager or XFSamba, an SMB share browser. You can use the XFce Panel with other window managers. You can install XFce from your Mandrake Linux CD.
You can get ROX from the "contrib" section of Mandrakelinux. If you are using the download edition this may mean setting up a urpmi source for it. Make sure to read the excellent help files on the project website. The FAQ is a good place to start.
is possibly the most original desktop environment available for Linux. In contrast to KDE and GNOME , it does not try to emulate the concepts of the MS Windows graphical shell but concentrates on the file system. OS/2 and Mac OS users may find some similarities to their respective operating systems, but ROX is worth a shot for everyone who is interested in new ideas and different desktop concepts.
Without them, you won't be able to see anything on X. There are lots of them out there, some of them are compatible to either KDE or GNOME (or even both), some of them are not.
'Compatibility' here means that you can use these managers on top of GNOME or KDE. This doesn't affect your ability to run applications written with GNOME or KDE in mind. You can run those on every window manager.
Using a 'simple' manager instead of a full-blown 'environment' can save you quite a bit of system resources.
- . This site offers a comprehensive list of window managers along with screen shots, descriptions and links.
- contains everything to make your manager look even prettier. Some themes are perfect in slowing down X to a scrawl on older machines, though ...
Blackbox has spawned several other interesting window manager projects like (on your Mandrake Linux CD) and (requires compiling).
is designed for speed. Minimal KDE support, no GNOME support. Can be installed from your Mandrake Linux CD.
- . If you're a in it for the looks and an insane number of configuration possibilities, that's the one for you. Compatible with GNOME and KDE in newer releases. Can be installed from your Mandrake Linux CD.
- is the mother of all window managers ;-). Still to be configured via text-files, but arguably the most configurable window manager out there. Compatible with GNOME. Can be installed from your Mandrake Linux CD.
- http://www.troubleshooters.com/lpm/200209/200209.htm, http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_IceWM, http://icecc.sourceforge.net/, http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=7774&page=1, http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=110416 the goal of IceWM is speed, simplicity, and not getting in the user's way. Usable with GNOME and KDE environments. There's also a light version (icewm-light) with minimal features. Both can be installed from your Mandrake Linux CD. Some more links on IceWM:
- is a medium-sized, small, quite fast, easy configurable, KDE and GNOME compatible window manager. Window Maker is an offshoot of the and part of the project. Can be installed from your Mandrake Linux CD.
- . Arguably the smallest manager available: no icons, no extensible root menus, toolbars or reconfigurability. So, what's the use? Well, if you just need to start X to run some big app or game, wm2 will leave you with as much free memory as possible.
Revision / Modified: July 3, 2002
Author: Tom Berger Revised again November 25, 2005 by Dylan.
Legal: This page is covered by the. Standard disclaimers of warranty apply. Copyright LSTB and Mandrakesoft.
Version 1.18 last modified by mimosinnet on 22/05/2006 at 14:37