LinuxQuestions.org
Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Software
User Name
Password
Linux - Software This forum is for Software issues.
Having a problem installing a new program? Want to know which application is best for the job? Post your question in this forum.

Notices



Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 07-09-2004, 11:13 AM   #1
Cheechi
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Azeroth
Distribution: SuSE since 7.0
Posts: 73

Rep: Reputation: 15
Desktop Environments


I occasionally use Mandrake 10.0 (slowly transitioning to dual boot and perhaps eventually completely off windows) and i am wondering a few things about the way the GUI/desktop environment works.
  • when i installed MDK 10, i chose KDE. can i change this without reinstalling the OS?
  • does the environment determine the programs you can use, install, or how they work?
  • is there a way i can set up a dialog box upon startup to choose between KDE, GNOME, and whatever other GUI i may want?
  • do any of these GUIs affect performance more than any other?
  • are there specific limitations associated with different GUIs?

personal statements of 'well i use gnome because...' are helpful, but not exactly what i'm looking for. i want to try as many as i can to decide for myself, but do not want to render functions/programs useless or permanently break them when switching GUIs. i also realize there are some different commands when using different GUIs, are the paths different as well?

right now on my XP Pro partition i have Litestep, WindowBlinds, classic (2k) style, and default XP style on different users, as well i have a neat little program that can open a virtual desktop with a different shell (MSVDM's 4 desktops + LiteStep's 3 make 7 total desktops, plus i can make unlimited more with the shell program... that's freakin sweet!) something like that would be ideal for Linux where i can switch between KDE and GNOME without even as much as a soft reset.

i don't know how easy or feasable (or even possible) this setup would be but since i have not found any similar questions/articles like this, i thought i'd post it.
 
Old 07-09-2004, 12:04 PM   #2
hoopyfrood
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: SuSE 9.1
Posts: 113

Rep: Reputation: 15
Hey Cheechi,

Quote:
when i installed MDK 10, i chose KDE. can i change this without reinstalling the OS?
Sure. Uninstalling KDE might prove a little tricky, but you can install GNOME, Blackbox, XFCE-4, etc., via the Mandrake Control Centre. All of these desktops environments will happily coexist on your system.

Quote:
does the environment determine the programs you can use, install, or how they work?
Not at all! The biggest difference is between KDE, which uses the QT framework, and GNOME, which is based on GTK (these are the two major desktop environs/toolkits). However, since KDE can run any GTK/GNOME application, and GNOME can run any KDE/QT application, you can run really run any program in either environment, provided all the neccessary libraries and components are installed (Mandrake will do this for you anyway.)

Quote:
is there a way i can set up a dialog box upon startup to choose between KDE, GNOME, and whatever other GUI i may want?
Mandrake's login manager will allow you to do this. You may want to switch the logon manager to "KDM" or "GDM" in the Control Centre, as the default logon manager is a bit of crud. With KDM or GDM, you can chose to launch a session of whatever desktop environ you have installed when you logon. You can even log into (eg) KDE in one terminal (ie, CTRL+ALT+F7) and GNOME in the other (CTRL+ALT+f8)

Quote:
do any of these GUIs affect performance more than any other?
KDE is generally considered the be the biggest "resource hog". But even KDE will run a lot faster than WinXP with Windows Blinds and a a virtual desktop manager, etc (these components are built into KDE by default, and therefore take less memory up.) GNOME is considered a bit faster than KDE. Then there are ultra-lightweight desktop managers like Blackbox, XFCE-4, etc. They are extremely fast, low on resources, but a bit too Spartan for my liking

Quote:
are there specific limitations associated with different GUIs?
Not really. Other than the deliberately basic GUIs like Blackbox and XFCE-4, most Linux GUIs (like KDE and GNOME) will do everything and anything you ask. You'll probably find they do more than your standard Windows desktop.

Quote:
i want to try as many as i can to decide for myself, but do not want to render functions/programs useless or permanently break them when switching GUIs. i also realize there are some different commands when using different GUIs, are the paths different as well?
You wont render programs useless through different GUIs. Unlike Windows, the GUIs in Linux are not hard coded into the OS itself. You can switch, change, install and remove GUIs without effecting programs (within reason.) Also, shell commands don't differ from GUI to GUI. The terminal is always consistant (the GUI really just sits on top of the terminal)

Quote:
right now on my XP Pro partition i have Litestep, WindowBlinds, classic (2k) style, and default XP style on different users, as well i have a neat little program that can open a virtual desktop with a different shell (MSVDM's 4 desktops + LiteStep's 3 make 7 total desktops, plus i can make unlimited more with the shell program... that's freakin sweet!) something like that would be ideal for Linux where i can switch between KDE and GNOME without even as much as a soft reset.
Linux users have been running these kinds of setups for ages, and without using memory hogging programs. I frequently flip between GNOME and KDE with the ALT+CTRL+F7/F8, and run the two GUIs simultaneiously on the single box.

Have fun with it,
Tim
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 07-09-2004, 12:22 PM   #3
Cheechi
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Azeroth
Distribution: SuSE since 7.0
Posts: 73

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
thank you so much, these are exactly the answers i wanted! now i think of another point to add to my original list;
are the GUIs like a shell (the difference between LiteStep and Explorer) or skins for the shell (like windowblinds?)

i've read everywhere on the web that people customize the [whatever] out of both, are there any good programs/tutorials/tools for doing this or is it just
1. fire up GIMP
2. make a theme
3. do some coding
4. see if it works

the reason i ask is i have always wanted to make themes for myself (Wincustomize and Stardock are the main reasons i don't hate to look at XP) as well as cursors, icon sets, etc. i can do all of these things via Stardock programs, but i doubt i could create a KDE style in StyleXP
 
Old 07-09-2004, 12:39 PM   #4
hcgernhardt
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 29

Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
1. fire up GIMP
2. make a theme
3. do some coding
4. see if it works
In the broadest sense, from what I understand, that's about it. GNOME and KDE will vary in their specifics. The nice thing about GNOME is that it uses XML, which makes things fairly standard and fairly simple.

FWIW: I use the stock GNOME 2.4 arrangement as shipped with Slackware 9.1. Not only can you customize the themes, but you can also change the number of taskbars you have, put your menu where you want it, etc. About the only thing I don't like about it is I have not yet discovered a way to make the start key (shows up as <Mod4>) pull down the Applications menu (equivalent to Start in my setup).

Anyone here know how to do that?

BTW: I've been working exclusively on my Linux box now for about a month or so. WinXP just doesn't cut it for me anymore.

Viel Glueck,

Henry
 
Old 07-09-2004, 02:29 PM   #5
Komakino
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Somerset, England
Distribution: Slackware 10.2, Slackware 10.0, Ubuntu 9.10
Posts: 1,938

Rep: Reputation: 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Cheechi

are the GUIs like a shell (the difference between LiteStep and Explorer) or skins for the shell (like windowblinds?)
I think the easiest way to explain it is first of all to say that unlike windows, the Xwindowing system in linux sits on top of the OS - i.e. it isn't integrated. It's perfectly feasible to run a commandline only linux setup. And many people do.

The organisation is thus:

Linux -> X Windows -> Window Manager/Desktop Environment

If you start up X in failsafe mode (should be an option on mandrake I think) you get what is JUST X with no window manager. If you now type:
twm &
in the little console that's in failsafe mode, you'll get the (very) basic window manager TWM. Click to get a menu. So you can see how the windowmanager sits atop the X Windowing System.

So....short answer, the different window managers are more like a shell because they're more than *just* different themes for an underlying system, although in the same sense they all use the same X Windowing System.
 
Old 07-09-2004, 02:52 PM   #6
Cheechi
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Azeroth
Distribution: SuSE since 7.0
Posts: 73

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
so far i'm with you, but now you bring to light another question: what exactly is X windows? i assume this is what Xfree86 and X.org are, but what layer are they? based on your description they're like a buffer between the OS and the GUI... sort of the go-between interpreting what the user does to the GUI and the output from the kernel. i know that in Linux the shell is not integrated to the kernel, hence the different GUIs and distros and such, but this is the only way i can visualize a system where the shell is not integrated to the lower levels of the system.


I do not mean to ask circular questions if it sounds like i am. i'm still looking at the OS from the standpoint of a 10 year Windows/Mac user.
 
Old 07-09-2004, 03:09 PM   #7
Komakino
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Somerset, England
Distribution: Slackware 10.2, Slackware 10.0, Ubuntu 9.10
Posts: 1,938

Rep: Reputation: 54
Hmmm, I'm not sure I can answer this one!

Well the X Windows System employs a client - server architecture. Client programs (including the window manager) connect to the x-server and request resources such as a space on the screen and the X server allocates it. It handles calls to create and remove windows but leaves the actual decoration and function up to the window manager. The X server also manages the keyboard and mouse and its client-server nature means that one server can distribute files to clients running on several machines.

Take a look at:
http://www.x.org/X11_clientdesign.html
which describes it much better than I can!
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 07-09-2004, 03:10 PM   #8
foo_bar_foo
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,553

Rep: Reputation: 51
This is all or part just opinion from experience on performance.
Performance is hard to explain in Linux but yes the GUIs use different level's of specifically RAM
but overall performance in Linux hinges on the kernel and the way it is built as well as how many processes
and services are you running...as wel as how things are compiled and put together.
Some distribution areLOT faster than others.
KDE uses some large libraries QT and KDE which is a wrapper on the QT GUI Library
Applications written for both Qt and KDE or GNOME or written using any other of many gui developement library will run under any Window manager or any other desktop on Linux.
you can even fudge around with KDE and get it using other than it's own window manager while within KDE evironment. Outside of KDE Sometimes kde apps may load very slowly because they have to load the big libraries. Prelinking kind of fixes that. Also KDE apps sometimes seem just a little thread unsafe outside of KDE particularly on shutdown and start.
GNOME - Gnu Network Object Model Environment
The gnome desktop is a bit younger and faster running than KDE because it is written in C rather than C++.
It uses lots and lots of smaller libraries to get the job done. Follows a model based on CORBA (M$ coopted name COM) and seems like fairly lowlevel code compared th KDE which is also why it runs better.
But Gnome has some response and repaint troubles that are not present in KDE.

The x server is just that a server that responds to client requests to use the display.
You can even change that if you want to. and it's settings obviously effect performance.

There are variouse display managers you can install to choose desktop environment when you log in
from a menu

The shell is the text dased commandline terminal interface and you can use a bunch different ones of those as well but that has nothing to do with GUI envoronment.

Last edited by foo_bar_foo; 07-09-2004 at 03:15 PM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 07-09-2004, 04:07 PM   #9
comp12345
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Posts: 467

Rep: Reputation: 30
Quote:
Originally posted by hcgernhardt
FWIW: I use the stock GNOME 2.4 arrangement as shipped with Slackware 9.1. Not only can you customize the themes, but you can also change the number of taskbars you have, put your menu where you want it, etc. About the only thing I don't like about it is I have not yet discovered a way to make the start key (shows up as <Mod4>) pull down the Applications menu (equivalent to Start in my setup).

Anyone here know how to do that?
Goto Applications->Desktop Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts.
Under Desktop, there is an entry called "Show the panel menu" or something similar. Click on it to use a new accelerator and press the windows key.
 
Old 07-10-2004, 01:49 PM   #10
hcgernhardt
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 29

Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Goto Applications->Desktop Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts.
Under Desktop, there is an entry called "Show the panel menu" or something similar. Click on it to use a new accelerator and press the windows key.
I did that. Unfortunately, there was no recognition of the key as an independant keystroke. For some reason, my system treats the start key as a shift key---specifically <Mod4>. The only way I can use it is as a shift key---i.e. <Mod4><s>.

Any further ideas?

Thanks,

Henry
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Desktop environments Surfmonkey Linux - Newbie 6 01-02-2005 07:49 PM
X and different desktop environments usr Linux - General 1 01-24-2004 10:09 AM
desktop environments moridin Slackware 2 12-02-2003 02:17 PM
Preferred Desktop Environments slinkyredfoot Linux - General 1 09-26-2003 02:50 PM
Desktop Environments new_user10 Linux - Newbie 1 06-23-2003 08:46 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:58 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration