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Old 06-08-2006, 10:22 PM   #1
risheda
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Differences between X Windows, Windows Manager, and Desktop Environmenet


I am new to Linux so I am confused about the function of X Windows, Windows Manager, and Desktop Environment. I suppose I am a confused because I am a MS Windows girl so there one type of GUI. If all three are GUI's why have all three installed? Is X Windows more like a low end GUI, and Windows Manager more advanced to enhance GUI features?

Last edited by risheda; 06-08-2006 at 10:35 PM.
 
Old 06-08-2006, 10:41 PM   #2
jens
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X (either X.org or XFree86) is a very powerful graphical server and client. X is what gives you display. Since it's ultra minimalistic for desktop use, people use a window manager(fluxbox, icewm, enlightenment,...) on top of it. A window manager just helps you handling windows and other basic GUI stuff while a desktop(GNOME, KDE, XFCE,...) is more complete and comes with its own desktop apps(including toolkits to have its own look).
 
Old 06-08-2006, 10:44 PM   #3
slackhack
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X Windows (more properly the X Window System) is like the "engine" that runs the GUI. you need that installed (or something similar) to run any of the desktop environments or window managers. you can use X Windows without any DE or WM, but the apps and configurability are slightly primitive compared to the DEs or WMs.

a desktop environment is a complete suite of GUI apps that are integrated into that particular environment, with characteristic "look and feel," etc. examples are KDE and Gnome.

a window manager is just that: an application that allows you to manage the windows you have open and the desktop. examples are fluxbox, windowmaker, and icewm. typically the window managers don't have their own applications, but you can run any of the programs from the desktop environments in a window manager if you have the associated libraries installed (a notable exception is XFCE4, which is like a "hybrid" between a desktop environment and a window manager and has some of its own apps). the reason to have more than one installed is so you can have a choice.

hope that helps, and didn't confuse you more.
 
Old 06-08-2006, 10:46 PM   #4
lotusjps46
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X is the name of the software that makes pictures available for the screen. Without X all you have is a black screen with text; the infamous Linux command line. Good for servers, but not much fun to surf the Net with (though you can, using programs called links and lynx but without pictures). X is made in two parts: one is the X server that gets information from the rest of the OS. Then there is the X client, which displays images on the screen. In MS Windows the server and client are all built into the kernal so when the display locks up you use Control-Alt-Delete to restart the computer. In Linux, if the screen gets stuck you can use Control-Alt-Backspace to just restart X.

X also handles the mouse and keyboard interface to the rest of the OS when X is running. With only X running, though, there are no "windows", just a colored screen.

To get a useful graphical system you need a window manager. X comes with one by default, called TWM. If you don't have any other window manager installed, when the X client starts you get a colored screen with one window in it (TWM, the Terminal Window Manager). That window is a shell, or x-terminal. Type the name of a graphical program into it and hit Enter, and the program starts (if it is installed). There is no menu or other fancy stuff, but it works. Other window managers are called Blackbox, Fluxbox, IceWM, JWM, Enlightenment, etc, etc. In MS Windows you only get one window manager, but Linux has many. You can have several installed on your system, and switch between them.

KDE and Gnome contain their own window managers, or they can use other window managers, but KDE and Gnome do much more than just window managment. They are integrated desktop environments with interconnected applications similar to what MS makes. They are big and crufty, but you don't have to use them. Most any program that will run in KDE or Gnome will run in the other window managers.

You have got to try Knoppix: it runs on your MS Windows machine without installing anything. When it first boots up, it pauses at a command line with the word "Boot:" displayed. Hit the F2 and F3 keys to see how to start with other window managers. Some of us think window managers are fun.

Good luck.

C
 
Old 06-08-2006, 11:32 PM   #5
risheda
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Thank you

Thank you guys soooo much I understand now
 
Old 06-09-2006, 04:14 AM   #6
Peter C
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Desktop

KDE reminds me of MS windows layout

Gnome is like a Mac in layout

For a simpler layout try Fluxbox. By right clicking on the mouse, the menu's comes up and you can select and use the same programs as KDE or Gnome.

Fluxbox is also ideal for slower machines because it takes up less resources to run than KDE or Gnome.

Trying different windows managers is part of the fun of Linux.
 
Old 07-02-2006, 04:20 PM   #7
Spamdrew
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how do I go about installing fluxbox after Ive downloaded it? Do I have to be in root? Im new to linux first install was today so im a little lost. I have Slackware 10.2 im using KDE 3.4 that came on the CD

Last edited by Spamdrew; 07-02-2006 at 04:22 PM.
 
Old 07-04-2006, 04:15 PM   #8
lotusjps46
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Spamdrew, it is probably best to start a new question in a new thread, rather than hijacking this one. But to answer your question, you might have Fluxbox installed already. When you are about to enter your name and password to log in, there is a button for "Sessions". That will let you select different window managers.

If it is not there, use the package manager that comes with Slackware, and install all the Fluxbox packages you find. Flux is on the install cdroms, so you should be able to find it. I don't remember exactly where the package manager is, but it is in the Menu somewhere (Systems? Utilities?).

For what it is worth, I used Slackware 10.2 for a few weeks and found it took too much time and effort to make stuff work. I have been doing desktop Linux for more than 6 years, and I just gave up and went to Suse. If you are new, try Ubuntu (works with Flux too, with some work).

Good luck.

C
 
Old 07-05-2006, 03:02 AM   #9
jens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spamdrew
how do I go about installing fluxbox after Ive downloaded it? Do I have to be in root? Im new to linux first install was today so im a little lost. I have Slackware 10.2 im using KDE 3.4 that came on the CD
For just flux (meaning nothing else you like installed), place fluxbox in /home/user/.xintrc and don't hijack other peoples threads again
If you use a login manager(gdm, kdm xdm), just select what you want. To make something default in Slack, just type xwmconfig and select what you want.

Last edited by jens; 07-05-2006 at 03:08 AM.
 
  


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