Earth Hour

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Getting started with GNOME based OS (Linux)

Here is My Linux (Ubuntu9.04) Desktop's screenshot, to prove that theres nothing now which cannot be achieved in the world of Open-source. Linux now is no more limited to the community of computer geeks, but its increasingly becoming extremely user friendly proving it much suitable for the beginners as well. The time is gone when one needed to type long and cryptic commands in order to do anything they want on Linux & Unix systems. Though the command line alternatives are always there, leaving an entire world for the user to explore and learn! Everything is now offered in much more interactive and highly customizable GUI.
Thats the beauty of open-source- it can give you exactly what you want. Open-source products including Linux opens itself to change by anyone who uses it thereby giving the freedom and power to users. There are multiple Window Managers available for using with Linux. The most commonly used are -GNOME and KDE which generally comes integrated with most of the linux distributions.

Lets begin with our familiarisation with GNOME, Ubuntu9.04 Desktop ( but this might help you in other distros as well)
It displays a menu bar at the top containing menus for Application, Places and System on the left side of the bar along with the tray icons of the processes and a calendar, sound control and the Username being on the right side of the bar.
And a status bar at the bottom of the screen with the icon to Show the empty desktop minimizing all the currently opened windows, tabs of all the currently opened windows, a Desktop Switcher showing the available desktops and finally a Trash (where the deleted files reside giving option to restore back the accidently deleted files, until manually cleaned).

  • Application Menu: It contains Set of the applications installed and currently configured to be displayed in the menu format in different categories. It comes packed with a range of open-source applications preinstalled, like firefox for web browsing, Evolution as the email client, Pidgin as the chatting messenger, Totem and Rythmboxfor audio/video playing, GIMP ( my favourite!) for Image editing and a set of GNOME games!
  • Places Menu: It presents links to some of the predefined locations so as to reach there quickly.
  • System Menu: It presents the system specific tasks and configurations

Application and System menu can be manually altered by right clicking-> Edit Menu option.

Any system related information about the running processes or the present system memory and network usage etc. can be found anytime in System->Administration->System Monitor.

Ubuntu presents with an exhaustive list of open-source software for anyone to download from anywhere in the world from its central repository. This can be done in either of the following ways:
  • Applications->Add/Remove
  • System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager
  • using command line utilities like apt-get :
    • sudo apt-get install

Some of the other utilities in which you would be interested to install are:
  • Opera (a web browser)
  • Netbeans IDE ( for programming in JavaSE, JavaME, JavaEE, C, C++, Javascript etc )
  • openssh ( for enabling remote login into the machine)
  • Thunderbird ( another email client like Evolution)
  • Avant Window Navigator ( enables a cool looking, highly customizable docking feature much like MAC )
  • GVIM text editor ( a GUI based vim text editor, for the people who are addicted to the cool and simple, our beloved VIM ! )

Happy Linuxing!

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