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openSUSE 11.1 GNOME User Guide
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2.5 System

In the following sections, find examples of how to configure some system aspects of your GNOME desktop, like language settings, power management, preferred applications, session and session sharing preferences, Beagle search options, and audio preferences.

2.5.1 Configuring Streaming Audio and Video

With GNOME Control Center, you can configure which audio and video plug-ins you want to use for streaming multimedia. To open this application, click Computer > Control Center > System > GStreamer Properties.

In most cases, you should use the default selections. However, if you want to select other plug-ins, select the plug-in you want from the menus. The Audio tab lists the plug-ins for audio input and output. The Video tab lists the video plug-ins.

Click Close when you are finished. The system is immediately configured to use the selected plug-ins.

2.5.2 Configuring Language Settings

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop can be configured to use any of many languages. The language setting determines the language of dialogs and menus, and can also determine the keyboard and clock layout.

You can set the following language settings:

  • Primary language

  • Whether the keyboard language setting should depend on the primary language

  • Whether the time zone should depend on the primary language

  • Secondary languages

To configure your language settings:

  1. Click Computer > Control Center > System > Language.

  2. Enter the root password.

    If you do not know the root password, contact your system administrator. You cannot continue without the root password.

  3. Specify the primary language, whether you want to adapt the keyboard layout or time zone to the primary language, and any secondary languages you need to support on the computer.

  4. Click Accept.

    The language configuration settings are written to several configuration files. This process can take a few minutes. The new settings take effect immediately after they are written to the configuration files.

2.5.3 Configuring Network Proxies

The Network Proxy Configuration tool lets you configure how your system connects to the Internet. You can configure the desktop to connect to a proxy server and specify the details of the server. A proxy server is a server that intercepts requests to another server and fulfills the request itself, if it can. You can specify the Domain Name Service (DNS) name or the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the proxy server. A DNS name is a unique alphabetic identifier for a computer on a network. An IP address is a unique numeric identifier for a computer on a network.

Click Computer > Control Center > System > Network Proxies.

Figure 2-19 Network Proxy Configuration Dialog

For more information on the individual options, click Help.

2.5.4 Configuring Power Management

The Power Management module lets you manage your system’s power-saving options. It is especially useful for extending the life of a laptop’s battery charge. However, several options also help to save electricity when you are using a computer that is plugged in to an electricity source.

Sleep mode shuts down the computer when it is unused for a specified amount of time. Whether you are using battery or AC power, you can specify the amount of time that the computer remains unused before it is put to sleep. You can also put the computer’s display to sleep without shutting down the computer, saving the power required by the display.

Sleep mode is especially important when the computer is operating under battery power. Both the screen and the computer draw power from the battery, so you can save a significant amount of battery power by shutting down one or both. It is common to put the display to sleep after a shorter period of time. Then, if the computer remains unused for an additional amount of time, it is also put to sleep.

There are several sleep modes or actions you can set in the Power Management module:

Do nothing

The computer does not shut down or automatically go into any kind of power-saving mode. If you have a laptop, the laptop continues to run normally when the lid is closed.

Blank screen

The screen is blanked, reducing power consumption.


Suspend mode turns off power-consuming computer components such as the display and the hard drive without saving the contents of RAM. Any unsaved data is lost.


The computer saves the contents of RAM to the hard disk, then shuts down. When you turn the computer on again, the saved data is put back into RAM, restoring your computer to the state it was in before it shut off. Hibernate requires an amount of free hard disk space equal to the amount of RAM installed on the computer.

To open the Power Management module, click Computer > Control Center > System > Power Management.

Specifying Your Computer’s Sleep Settings

  1. Click the tab for the type of power you are using: if your computer uses AC power, click Running on AC. If your computer runs on battery power, click Running on Battery. If your computer operates on both AC and battery power, you can configure the settings on both tabs.

    The settings you choose are in effect no matter which power source you use.

  2. Use the sliders to set the amount of inactive time that passes before the display and computer go into sleep mode.

    When the display is in sleep mode, the computer continues to run. When the computer is in sleep mode, power to the display and hard disk is shut off and the computer uses only the power needed to maintain the contents of RAM.

  3. If the computer is a laptop, set the actions you want taken when the laptop lid is closed.

  4. If you configure how a laptop manages battery power, configure the action you want taken if battery power reaches a critical level.

    Choose the option you prefer by selecting it from the menu. If you have sufficient free disk space, Hibernate is the best choice.

  5. If you want power management to prefer power savings over performance, select the check box for that option.

    If the check box is selected, the performance of some power-consuming features, such as the display, is reduced slightly to reduce power consumption.

  6. On the General tab, you can set further options, for example the action to take when the power button is pressed, or the sleep type to use when the computer is inactive. The options available there depend on the type of computer you use (laptop or other computer).

  7. You can also define when and how to display the power icon in the notification area.

  8. When all options are set according to your wishes, click Close. The options you selected go into effect immediately.

2.5.5 Setting Preferred Applications

The Preferred Applications module allows you change the default application for various common tasks such as browsing the internet, sending mails or transferring data with FTP.

Figure 2-20 Preferred Applications

  1. Click Computer > Control Center > System > Preferred Applications.

  2. Click the tab for the type of application you want to set.

  3. Select one of the available from the applications from the Select menu or enter the command used to start the application.

  4. Click Close.

The changes take effect immediately.

2.5.6 Setting Session Sharing Preferences

The Remote Desktop Preference dialog box lets you share a GNOME desktop session between multiple users and set session-sharing preferences.

IMPORTANT: Sharing Desktop Sessions Affects System Security

Be aware that sharing desktop sessions can be a security risk. Use the restriction options available. If you need to adjust the options to a lower security level, do not forget to switch back to a higher security level as soon as possible.

  1. Click Computer > Control Center > System > Remote Desktop.

    Remote Desktop Preferences dialog box
  2. To share your desktop session with other users, activate Allow other users to view your desktop. All keyboard, pointer, and clipboard events from the remote user are ignored.

  3. If you want or need to allow other users to access and control your session from a remote location, activate Allow other users to control your desktop. Click the highlighted text below to send the system address by e-mail to a remote user.

  4. Make use of the security options available: if Ask you for confirmation is activated, remote users require your confirmation before they can connect to your session. To achieve a higher security level, activate Require the user to enter this password (if authentication is used).

2.5.7 Configuring Search with Beagle Settings

Beagle is the search engine used on the GNOME desktop. By default, Beagle is configured to start automatically and index your home directory. If you want to change these settings, specify the number of results displayed after a search or change the Beagle privacy settings, click Computer > Control Center > System > Search & Indexing.

Figure 2-21 Search Preferences

For more information, see Section 4.4, Setting Search Preferences and Section 4.6, Preventing Files and Directories from Being Indexed.

2.5.8 Managing Sessions

This module lets you manage your sessions. A session occurs between the time that you log in to the desktop environment and the time that you log out. You can set session preferences and specify which applications to start when you begin a session. You can configure sessions to save the state of applications and then restore the state when you start another session.

You can also use this preference tool to manage multiple sessions. For example, you might have a mobile session which starts applications you use most frequently when traveling, a demo session that starts applications used to present a demonstration or slide show to a customer, and a work session that uses a different set of applications when you are working in the office.

Click Computer > Control Center > System > Sessions.

Figure 2-22 Sessions Dialog—Session Options Page

Setting Session Preferences

  1. Use the Session Options tab to manage multiple sessions and set preferences for the current session.

    For example, to manage multiple sessions, click Add and enter a session name to create a new session. When you log in to GDM, you can then choose which of the multiple session to use.

  2. On the Current Session tab, you can modify options for your current session. For more information on the individual options, click Help.

  3. On the Startup Programs tab you can add programs to start automatically when beginning a session. Click Add and specify the command that runs this application. If you specify more than one startup application, use the Order box to specify the startup order of the each application. The commands are executed automatically when you log in.

    You can also Delete a startup application or temporarily Disable a startup application.

2.5.9 Setting Sound Preferences

The Sound Preferences tool lets you control when the sound server starts. You can also specify which sounds to play when particular events occur.

Click Computer > Control Center > System > Sound to open the Sound Preferences tool.

Figure 2-23 Sound Preferences Dialog

Use the Sounds tab to specify when to launch the sound server. You can also enable sound event functions.

Click Enable software sound mixing (ESD) to start the sound server when you start a session. When the sound server is active, the desktop can play sounds.

Click Play system sounds to play sounds when particular events occur in the desktop.

Finally, select the sound to play at each of the specified events.

Some applications play a beep sound to indicate a keyboard input error. Use the System Beep tab to set preferences for the system beep.

2.5.10 Configuring Administrative Settings with YaST

For your convenience, YaST is available from the Control Panel as well as the Applications menu. For information about using YaST, refer to Section I, Installation and Setup, (↑ Start-Up ).

openSUSE 11.1 GNOME User Guide
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