2.3. Using the
The long gray bars across the top and bottom of the screen are
The top Panel contains both the
Applications and Actions menus. It also contains application
launchers, the notification area, and the time and date.
Figure 2-8. The Top Panel
The bottom Panel contains the
Workspace Switcher and the Taskbar.
Figure 2-9. The Bottom Panel
Both can contain applets - small
applications that generally run only on the panel. Applets handle
simple tasks like controlling sound volume and displaying the
status of your system.
The Panels are independently
configurable. To alter the default settings, right-click in an
unused area of the Panel you wish to
alter and select Configure Panel. This
allows you to change the color, size, and position of the Panel. You may also choose to hide the Panel automatically or manually. If you choose to
hide the Panel, it does not appear on
the desktop until your mouse pointer hovers over the Panel area.
Application launchers may be moved between the Panel and the Desktop.
Dragging and dropping application launchers from the Desktop to the Panel
(or from the Panel to the Desktop) creates a copy of the launcher in the
new location rather than moving it. In general, applets may not be
copied from the Panel to the Desktop.
There are a few applets that run on the panels by default. These
important applets are covered in the following sections.
Figure 2-10. The Workspace Switcher
The graphical desktop allows for the use of multiple workspaces. Workspaces are virtual desktops —
each workspace has the same background, panel, and desktop
shortcuts. Using the workspaces allows you to separate your
applications and avoid a cluttered desktop area. Using workspaces
can also organize your work flow. For example, some users will
choose one workspace for potential distractions like email and
instant messagers and choose another workspace for their office
applications. This allows them to ignore the distractions until
they are ready for a break.
The Workspace Switcher represents the
workspaces as small squares and shows the applications running on
each. Clicking on one of the squares moves you to that desktop. By
right-clicking on the Workspace Switcher
and choosing , you can
configure your workspaces. You can have up to thirty-six, although
few people use that many. You may also want to name your
workspaces. Double-click on any of the Workspace names and type in the new name. Click the
OK button to save your changes and
Next to the Workspace Switcher is the
Taskbar. The Taskbar is an applet that shows you the titles of
running applications on any one virtual desktop. This is helpful if
you decide to minimize an application, as it seems to disappear
from the desktop. Once it disappears, you can bring it back by
clicking on its title in the Taskbar.
If you cannot see any of the notification icons, then the
notification area was removed from the desktop panel. To add it
back to your panel, right-click on the panel and choose When the new window opens, select
- Red Hat Network Alert Notification
Part of the Notification Area, the
Red Hat Network Alert Notification Tool
provides you with an easy way to make sure your system is
up-to-date with current errata and security updates from Red Hat
Network. The applet displays different icons to indicate whether
your system is fully updated: a red exclamation point indicates
that there are updates available, and a green check mark indicates
that your system is up-to-date. Double-click on either icon to
launch the Red Hat Update Agent. If you
are not registered with Red Hat Network, the registration component
launches. Right-click on the applet icon for a list of options from
which to choose.
If the icon is missing from the Notification Area, open the Applications menu and select => .
- The Authentication Icon
The key icon that is sometimes displayed in the Notification Area is a security notification. It
is displayed whenever you have gained root authentication for your
system (such as running a graphical system configuration tool). It
disappears when the authentication times out.
- Printer Notification Icon
The Printer Notification Icon allows you
to manage your print jobs. Click on the icon to view running print
jobs, and cancel jobs by right-clicking on the job and selecting
Cancel. The Printer
Notification Icon only appears during an active print job. If
the print job you have is small, you may not see the icon
Applets and Application Launchers
Figure 2-12. A list of applets and applications for the
You may add more applets and launcher icons to either Panel in order to suit your needs. Right-click in
an unused area of a Panel and select
. This opens a window that
allows you to choose either an applet or an application launcher.
Clicking once on an icon navigates through the list of
applications, and double-clicking adds an application to the panel.
shows the Panel with the Weather Report added to show the current local
weather and temperature.
Figure 2-13. The Weather Report Applet on the Panel
Individual applets may also be configured. By right-clicking on
any applet icon on the Panel, you are
given a short menu that includes . These preferences are different for
You can hide the panel automatically or manually, place it on
any edge of your desktop, change its size and color, and change the
way it behaves. To alter the default panel settings, right-click in
an unused area of the panel and select . If you choose to hide the panel, it
does not appear on the desktop until you move your mouse pointer
over the panel area.
Figure 2-14. Configuration Dialog for the Panel
Figure 2-15. The Desktop with two additional Panels
It may at times be convenient to have additional Panels. It is easy to add as many panels to your
desktop as fits on the screen. Right-click on an unused area of the
existing panel and choose . A
blank panel is placed on the Desktop.
Once it has been created, the steps above allow you to configure it
and to place on it whatever applets and applications you like.