Once an X server is running, X client applications can connect to
it and create a GUI for the user. A range of GUIs are possible with
Red Hat Enterprise Linux, from the rudimentary Tab Window Manager to
the highly developed and interactive GNOME desktop
environment that most Red Hat Enterprise Linux users are familiar with.
To create the latter, more advanced GUI, two main classes of X client
applications must connect to the X server: a desktop
environment and a window manager.
A desktop environment brings together assorted X clients which, when
used together, create a common graphical user environment and
Desktop environments have advanced features allowing X clients and
other running processes to communicate with one another, while also
allowing all applications written to work in that environment to
perform advanced tasks, such as drag and drop operations.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides two desktop environments:
Both GNOME and KDE have advanced productivity applications, such as
word processors, spreadsheets, and Web browsers, and provide tools to
customize the look and feel of the GUI. Additionally, if both the GTK+
2 and the Qt libraries are present, KDE applications can run in GNOME
and visa versa.
Window managers are X client programs which are
either part of a desktop environment or, in some cases,
standalone. Their primary purpose is to control the way graphical
windows are positioned, resized, or moved. Window managers also
control title bars, window focus behavior, and user-specified key and
mouse button bindings.
Four window managers are included with Red Hat Enterprise Linux:
kwin — The
KWin window manager is the default window
manager for KDE. It is an efficient window manager which supports
metacity — The
Metacity window manager is the default
window manager for GNOME. It is a simple
and efficient window manager which supports custom themes.
mwm — The
Motif window manager is a basic, standalone
window manager. Since it is designed to be a standalone window
manager, it should not be used in conjunction with GNOME or KDE.
twm — The minimalist Tab
Window Manager, which provides the most basic tool set
of any of the window managers and can be used either as a
standalone or with a desktop environment. It is installed as part
of the X11R6.8 release.
These window managers can be run without desktop environments to gain
a better sense of their differences. To do this, type the
is the location of the window manager binary file. The binary file can
be found by typing which
where <window-manager-name> is the
name of the window manager you are querying.