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I'm new to Linux and here are my stupid questions.As far as I know Linux is an OS that uses a kernel(it loads the programes to the memory and initializes them;it does more than that of course).there is a shell(different types).bash for example-a program that allows you to communicate to the kernel(like command.com in DOS).here comes the trouble-the window manager and the GUI.what is the X window manager?I've heard that it is one of the first(or the first)GUI used by UNIX.I'd like to ask if there is any relationship between the X window manager and Gnome or KDE.I've read that Gnome makes easier the use X;and what about KDE?
the window manager controls everthing on the screen-Ok,which are the win managers of the above mentioned;is it one or more?
and a ? about xfree86,it is a driver for my video card but what else is it?
Well, xfree86 is the program or whatever that controls the X windows system as we could say, it isn't an actual driver though. KDE and GNOME are different that just X windows, yes X controls all the background stuff happening, KDE is a desktop window manager though. Unlike GNOME which needs an actual Window Manager to rely on....like GNOME uses enlightenment or sawfish or any other almost. It can get real complicated and I even get confused myself at times.
On that note, I think its time to go read my XFREE86 book I got a few months back and haven't read yet.
Presuming you're a recent convert from Win (as I am):
The kernel is *the* basic system. Without it, nothing can or will work. You could say it's like 'command.com', but I wouldn't as:
Bash (or whatever you're using) is like 'command.com'. It allows direct interface between the user and the system. It is text-only (similar to the _old_ dos system) but can control things that are happening on the 'desktop'.
X windows (or X11,etc) is another type of interface, but for the programs, not the users. Almost everything (like KDE, Gnome, etc) use this. It appears to be both a set of 'drivers' and APIs (like under Win).
KDE/Gnome/etc: These are the point'n'clik user interfaces. Win uses 'explorer.exe' for it's interface, but this can be changed, for example, Litestep.
Obviously, this is only a very basic 'idea' of how the system works, but it stops me from getting a headache when thinking about it!
You could say that the GUI (Graphical user interface) in linux is built up in layers. Closest to your hardware lies the X server, this program handles the low level communication with your video card. The x server is specific to your video card, examples of servers are SVGA, ATI.
The x server takes input from your window manager, a client program that control the window properties. Examples are fvwm, window maker, kde, enlightment.
On top of this the user programs, called clients, run. This might be xmms playing mp3. Gnome is also a kind of client running on top of the window manager.