Microsoft Alternatives: Inside the Linux Desktop · Chapter 12 185
Install Both, Make One the Default
If disk space permits, install both Gnome and KDE.Then choose the desktop you want to use by default. Consequently, you can have access to both KDE and Gnome applications in either environment. Not every Gnome application is compatible in KDE, and vice versa. However, compatibility problems are increasingly rare.
Conduct research about additional desktop environments and how to choose them.This way, you will be empowered to choose and customize your desktop environment.
Alternative Window Managers
The Xfce desktop environment was designed to run on any UNIX system, including Linux. It is also designed to be compatible with both Gnome and KDE. One of the features special to Xfce is that it supports “drag-and-drop” ﬁle manage-ment more completely than its competitors do. For more information on Xfce, go to www.xfce.org.
Another alternative desktop environment is the Common Desktop Environment (CDE), which was developed by a team composed of employees from HP, Novell, Sun, and IBM. Sun Solaris systems have traditionally shipped with CDE. It is not a common window manager. For more information about CDE, go to wwws.sun.com/software/solaris/cde/.
The X Window
System and Window Managers
The X Window system was designed to provide a standards-based GUI environ-ment.Thus, a developer who wants to create an X Window server simply needs to read common standards. He or she can then create applications that conform to those standards.
The X environment was designed from the beginning to be network compat-ible, meaning that it is possible to run an X Window session over the network. Consequently, using the X Window environment, you can connect to a remote system’s X Window server to control it as if you were sitting directly in front of the remote system.
An X Window server is responsible for making sure that the GUI environment is available.This environment is most often made available to the local system, but it can also be made available to remote systems.Thus, whenever you log on to the
186 Chapter 12 · Microsoft Alternatives: Inside the Linux Desktop
Gnome or KDE environment, you are running an X Window session.The Gnome or KDE environment is simply a client to the local system.
Two primary implementations of the X Window environment exist:
X.org The X Window server used by the majority of Linux distributions, because it conforms to the GPL.
XFree86 Until roughly 2002, the default X Window server software for most platforms. However, XFree86 adopted a new license, dropping the GPL.As a result, many vendors and developers began supporting the X.org server.
Figure 12.3 shows the X.org Web site.
Figure 12.3 The X.org Web Site
X Window Servers versus Window Managers
A window manager mediates between the X server and the desktop environment. It is responsible for managing window toolbars and menus. It is also responsible for determining the position of applications as they are launched. Commonly used window managers include:
Metacity The default window manager for Gnome desktops, after version 8.0.
Sawﬁsh The default window manager for Gnome versions 8.0 and older.
Microsoft Alternatives: Inside the Linux Desktop · Chapter 12 187
KWin The default window manager for KDE.
Tab Window Manager (TWB) An older window manager designed to provide only the necessary elements for a desktop. Often used during remote X sessions to ensure maximum compatibility with systems that may not have more ambitious window managers installed.
Enlightenment At one time, Enlightenment was meant to be an upgrade to FVWM. For some time, however, it has been an independent project. You can learn more about Enlightenment at www.enlightenment.org.
FVWM The latest version of FVWM is FVWM2, available at www.fvwm.org.
AfterSTEP You can learn more about AfterSTEP at www.afterstep.org.
WindowMaker You can learn more about WindowMaker at www.win-dowmaker.org.
Blackbox Some support for KDE, but does not ofﬁcially support Gnome. You can obtain Blackbox at http://blackboxwm.sourceforge.net.
At least a dozen window managers exist. Choose a window manager that makes sense to you. If you expect a full KDE environment that most closely imitates Windows, then you will want to use KWin. If you want a simpler desktop, you could use WindowMaker or Blackbox. If you want a desktop that appears exactly like a Macintosh system, then choose Metacity. For more information about window managers, go to www.xwinman.org.
Tools & Traps…
Desktop Environment, X Window Server, Window Manager . . . What’s the Difference?
You may not understand the difference between desktop environments, X Window servers, and window managers. Here is a brief discussion of each.
A desktop environment such as Gnome is not the same thing as a window manager. A desktop environment includes many features, such as conﬁguration applications (for example, yast/yast2 for SUSE Linux, or draconf for Mandrake Linux) and default applications (for example, word processors, FTP applications, and calculators). A desktop environment includes a window manager. Without
188 Chapter 12 · Microsoft Alternatives: Inside the Linux Desktop
the desktop environment, you would have a “bare bones” graphical environment that would alienate most users accustomed to Windows.
An X Window server acts as the foundation of a Linux GUI. It is responsible for providing the fonts, and the networking capability. Without the X Window server, you would not be able to have a GUI.
A window manager is a client to the X Window server (for example, one from X.org, or from the XFree86 organization). It works behind the scenes, and is responsible for the look and feel of desktop windows, including the appear-ance of toolbars and menus. A window manager controls how menus appear on your desktop, too. If you can access a Linux system, begin an X Window session and then launch any application. Look at the title bar to the application. Notice how the application is launched into a certain portion of the screen (for example, in the center, or to the left). Use your mouse’s right and left buttons. These ele-ments are all controlled by your window manager. Without a window manager, the content served up by the X Window server would be incoherent, and would not have a common theme.
as Alternative Desktop Environments
You are not limited to Gnome, KDE, CDE, and XFCE.Alternatives to the Blackbox window manager are shown in Figure 12.4. Blackbox is quite different from both Gnome and KDE. For example, it does not have Windows-like menus or taskbars. In addition, Blackbox is a window manager, and not simply a desktop environment.
Figure 12.4 The Blackbox Environment
Microsoft Alternatives: Inside the Linux Desktop · Chapter 12 189
You simply right-click on the desktop to make the menu appear.You can then select the applications you want to run. One of the beneﬁts of an environment like Blackbox is that it is less resource intensive, and thus loads faster.We prefer speed in any case, mostly because we do not have the money to purchase a new system each time a Gnome or KDE developer introduces a new process-hungry GUI feature.
Notes from the Underground…
What Do You Want?
When migrating from Windows to Linux desktops, you need to consider the fol-lowing points:
1. Identify your needs. Determine the services that you want. Create a detailed list of your needs. Present your needs to a consultant and ask him or her to determine right away if an open-source alternative exists. If Linux is not part of that solution, do not let a consultant try to force-ﬁt Linux into your environment. If you do, you will end up a disgruntled customer.
2. Identify solutions. Make sure you ﬁnd a consultant who under-stands the open-source choices that exist. Be sure the consultant has knowledge about the latest solutions. Frequently visit sites such as Freshmeat (www.freshmeat.net), SourceForge (www.sourceforge.net), and even Slashdot (www.slashdot.org) to remain informed concerning the latest software developments.
3. Fulﬁll your needs. Meet with a consultant who uses Linux-based applications to create feasible, workable solutions that enable you to access the desired services and obtain the desired information with minimal retraining. Make sure that your consultant has run an exten-sive test deployment to ensure that a solution truly meets your needs. Another step includes conducting a ﬁnal acceptance test. You will want to have a “grace period” so that you can determine if a solution is working properly. Finally, make sure that you receive proper training from a consultant so that you understand the solution.
Even the most experienced consultants have failed to please their customers at one point or another. Avoid being disappointed by a consultant by making sure you follow the preceding three steps.
nguon tai.lieu . vn