Linux+: Linux X Window 08 – GNOME Configuration

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Jarret W. Buse

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Linux+: Linux X Window 08 – GNOME Configuration

With any desktop environment, there can be many components which can be configured. By configuring the environment, the look and feel can be manipulated to improve the user experience.
To configure the GNOME environment, the GNOME Control Center will need to be installed if it is not already present. To determine if it is installed, go to a terminal and enter: “gnome-control-center”. If an error is returned that the “gnome-control-center” is not installed, then you should continue with the next step to install the package.
To install the “gnome-control-center”, open a terminal and enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-control-center

Once done, you can then type “gnome-control-center” at the terminal prompt to start the control center. A window, similar to Figure 1, should appear.

Figure 8-1.jpg

FIGURE 1

Here, you can see the control center split into three sections.

1. Personal
2. Hardware
3. System

The Personal settings are for settings which are set more for your personal tastes. The Hardware section is for items which control and configure the system hardware. The System section manages the configuration for the Operating System.

The Personal section contains four icons:

1. Appearance
2. Brightness and Lock
3. Keyboard Layout
4. Online Account

The Appearance setting allows you to set the Desktop Background as well as the Desktop Theme. The background is the wallpaper which appears behind the desktop icons and any open windows. The theme is a collection of settings for the look and feel of the desktop as a whole. The theme can include wallpaper, colors, fonts, mouse cursors, etc. The theme usually works together as a whole to create a cohesive feel.

The brightness and Lock setting lets you configure the brightness of the screen which can allow your system to conserver battery power, if it relies on a battery. A screen lock can also be enabled to cause the screen to lock after a set time and also specify that the password is required when the screen comes back on. The screen locks when the mouse and keyboard have not been used in the specified amount of time.

The Keyboard Layout is used to set the Language which is used to be displayed on the screen. Regional defaults can be set such as date order for the month, day and year. Settings for the currency symbol for your region and more can be set. The Window layout for your Operating System can be configured to your personal taste.

The Online Accounts section can be used to configure automatic login to Windows Live, Facebook and Google.

The Hardware section is made up of ten items. The ten items are:

1. Bluetooth
2. Color
3. Displays
4. Keyboard
5. Mouse and Touchpad
6. Network
7. Power
8. Printers
9. Sound
10. Wacom Graphics Tablet

The Bluetooth icon opens a window to allow for the configuration of Bluetooth hardware if any Bluetooth adapters are found.

The Color settings are used to set Color Profiles for better viewing quality on your monitor.

The Displays icon shows a window to allow you to set the screen resolution for your monitor. If multiple monitors exist, they can all be set here. The screen rotation can also be set.

The Keyboard section is used to configure the keyboard. Settings such as key repeat time and cursor blink rate can be configured. Keyboard shortcuts can also be specified to allow special key and key combinations to be set to perform special functions. The special functions can be to launch an application, manage the desktop workspaces and many other functions.

The Mouse and Touchpad settings are used to configure the input device whether, it be a mouse or touchpad. The device can be configured as right or left-handed. Settings can be managed for the cursor speed, drag-and-drop threshold and the Double-click Timeout. The Touchpad settings include disabling the touchpad when typing, enable mouse clicks with touchpad, scrolling ability with touchpad, the pointer speed and sensitivity.

The Network icon displays a window to allow you to configure a Wired and Wireless network.

The Power section is used to manage the system resources and how they are handled when the system is using AC power or is operating on a battery. This section is important for mobile systems which can operate on a battery.

The Printer's settings show printers which have been configured to be used for printing.

The Sound settings provide an interface to manage the system sounds for both output and input. Configuring the sound adapter is also done here. Alert sounds can be enabled and selected.

The Wacom Graphics Tablet can also be configured if one is detected.

The System section is made up of four items:

1. Date and Time
2. Details
3. Universal Access
4. User Accounts

The Date and Time icon starts a window to let the user configure the time zone, whether to use a 12 or 24-hour clock and set the date and time.

The Details section is used to see an overview of the system itself. The default applications can also be configured. For example, the default web browser can be set. The options of what happens when removable devices are detected can be configured.

The Universal Access section controls the system for use by anyone with visual or hearing impairments.
User Accounts allow a user to manage the system accounts. Items for an account which can be modified are the Account type, Language for the user, password and the automatic login.

Similar in nature to the KDE Configuration Tool, it would be best to try the tool and get to know it. Make sure you are running GNOME when you use it to be able to see the system changes occur when you make them.
 

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