Follow Techotopia on Twitter

On-line Guides
All Guides
eBook Store
iOS / Android
Linux for Beginners
Office Productivity
Linux Installation
Linux Security
Linux Utilities
Linux Virtualization
Linux Kernel
System/Network Admin
Scripting Languages
Development Tools
Web Development
GUI Toolkits/Desktop
Mail Systems
Eclipse Documentation

How To Guides
General System Admin
Linux Security
Linux Filesystems
Web Servers
Graphics & Desktop
PC Hardware
Problem Solutions
Privacy Policy




SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED 10) GNOME User Guide
Previous Page Home Next Page

1.3 Desktop Basics

As with other common desktop products, the main components of the GNOME desktop are icons that link to files, folders, or programs, as well as the panel at the bottom of the screen (similar to the Task Bar in Windows). Double-click an icon to start its associated program. Right-click an icon to access additional menus and options. You can also right-click any empty space on the desktop to access additional menus for configuring or managing the desktop itself.

By default, the desktop features two key icons: your personal Home folder, and a trash can for deleted items. Other icons representing devices on your computer, such as CD drives, might also be present on the desktop. If you double-click your Home folder, the Nautilus file manager starts and displays the contents of your home directory. For more information about using Nautilus, see Managing Folders and Files with Nautilus File Manager.

Right-clicking an icon displays a menu offering file operations, like copying, cutting, or renaming. Selecting Properties from the menu displays a configuration dialog. The title of an icon as well as the icon itself can be changed with Select Custom Icon. The Emblems tab lets you add graphical descriptive symbols to the icon. The Permissions tab lets you set access permissions for the selected files. The Notes tab lets you manage comments. The menu for the trash can additionally features the Empty Trash option, which deletes its contents.

A link is a special type of file that points to another file or folder. When you perform an action on a link, the action is performed on the file or folder the link points to. When you delete a link, you delete only the link file, not the file that the link points to.

To create a link on the desktop to a folder or a file, access the object in question in File Manager by right-clicking the object and then clicking Make Link. Drag the link from the File Manager window and drop it onto the desktop.

1.3.1 Default Desktop Icons

To remove an icon from the desktop, simply drag it onto the trash can. However, be careful with this option—if you move folder or file icons to the trash can, the actual data is deleted. If the icons only represent links to a file or to a directory, only the links are deleted.

NOTE:You cannot move the Home icon to the trash.

1.3.2 Desktop Menu

Right-clicking an empty spot on the desktop displays a menu with various options. Click Create Folder to create a new folder. Create a launcher icon for an application with Create Launcher. Provide the name of the application and the command for starting it, then select an icon to represent it. You can also change the desktop background and align desktop icons.

1.3.3 Bottom Panel

The desktop includes a panel across the bottom of the screen. The bottom panel contains the Computer menu (similar to the Start menu in Windows) and the icons of all applications currently running. You can also add applications and applets to the panel for easy access. If you click the name of a program in the taskbar, the program's window is moved to the foreground. If the program is already in the foreground, a mouse click minimizes it. Clicking a minimized application reopens the respective window.

Figure 1-1 GNOME Bottom Panel

The Show Desktop icon is on the right side of the bottom panel. This icon minimizes all program windows and displays the desktop. Or, if all windows are already minimized, it opens them up again.

If you right-click an empty spot in the panel, a menu opens, offering the options listed in the following table:

Table 1-1 Panel Menu Options



Add to Panel

Opens a menu list of applications and applets that can be added to the panel.


Modifies the properties for this panel.

Delete This Panel

Removes the panel from the desktop. All of the panel settings are lost.

Allow Panel to be Moved

Locks the panel in its current position (so that it can’t be moved to another location on the desktop, and unlocks the panel (so it can be moved).

To move the panel to another location, middle-click and hold on any vacant space on the panel, and then drag the panel to the location you want.

New Panel

Creates a new panel and adds it to the desktop.


Opens the Help Center.

About Panels

Opens information about the panel application.

1.3.4 Adding Applets and Applications to the Panel

You can add applications and applets to the bottom panel for quick access. An applet is a small program, while an application is usually a more robust stand-alone program. Adding an applet puts useful utilities where you can easily access them.

The GNOME desktop comes with many applets. You can see a complete list by right-clicking the bottom panel and selecting Add to Panel. Some useful applets include the following:

Table 1-2 Some Useful Applets



Command Line

Enter commands in a small entry field.

Dictionary Lookup

Look up a word in an online dictionary.

Force Quit

Terminate an application. This is especially useful if you want to terminate an application that is no longer responding.

Search for Files

Find files, folders, and documents on the computer.

Sticky Notes

Create, display, and manage sticky notes on your desktop.

Stock Ticker

Display continuously updated stock quotes.

Traditional Main Menu

Access programs from a menu like the one in previous versions of GNOME. This is especially useful for people who are used to earlier versions of GNOME.

Volume Control

Increase or decrease the sound volume.

Weather Report

Display current weather information for a specified city.

Workspace Switcher

Access additional work areas, called workspaces, through virtual desktops. For example, you can open applications in different workspaces and use them on their own desktops without the clutter from other applications.

1.3.5 Main Menu

Open the main menu by clicking Computer on the far left of the bottom panel. Commonly used applications appear in the main menu. A search field lets you quickly search for applications and files. Access additional applications, listed in categories, by clicking More Applications.

Figure 1-2 Main Menu

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED 10) GNOME User Guide
Previous Page Home Next Page

  Published Courtesy of Novell, Inc. Design by Interspire