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Use the Linux Desktop

SECTION 2

Use the Linux Desktop

This section gives an overview of two different graphical gr aphical user interfaces of SLES and explains how to access the command line.

Objectives

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1.

Overview of the Linux Desktop

2.

Use the KDE Desktop Environment

3. 4.

Use the Gnome Desktop Environment Access the Command Line Interface From the Desktop

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Introduction You cannot install Microsoft Windows without its graphical user interface (GUI). However, However, in Linux, the GUI is a normal application that you can choose whether or not to install. You can configure most services in Linux by editing an ASCII text file, so you do not need a GUI if you want your computer to act only as a server. While a GUI is convenient, not installing a GUI has the following advantages: ■

Stability. Every program contains errors that can make your Stability. Every system unstable. The fewer programs are installed, the more stable your system will be. A graphical user front end is a large program that might large number oflow. undiscovered programming errors,contain even ifathe error ratio is





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Performance. Every running program needs system resources. Fewer programs running on your computer means increased performance. Security. The points mentioned under Stability above are also Security. relevant from a security perspective. The fewer programs installed, the fewer the potential security vulnerabilities there are. You need not worry about the vulnerabilities of programs you have not installed on you system.

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Objective 1

Overview of the Linux Desktop The base of any GUI on Linux is the X Window System (simply called X or X11). It allows you to control the input and output of several applications in different windows of a graphical interface. You need to distinguish here between graphical gr aphical applications, which run in their own windows, and text-based applications, which are carried out in a terminal window. The X Window System was created in 1984 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology. The aim of the development was to be able to use graphical applications across a network, independent of hardware. The X Window System allows graphical applications to be displayed and operated on any monitor, without running the applications on the machines to which these monitors are connected. The basis for this is the separation into a server component (X server) and the application itself (client application). The X server and client application communicate with each other by way of various communication channels. ■

X server. The X server controls the graphical screen. This corresponds roughly to what would be called a graphics driver on other systems. In addition, it manages the input devices, such as keyboard and mouse, and transmits their actions to the X client. The X server, however, however, has nothing to do with the appearance of the window and the desktop; this is the task of the window manager. XFree86 3.3.x and its successor XFree86 4.x are free implementations of the X server server.. SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server defaults to using XFree86 4. x   x .

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Client application. The client application is a graphical application that uses the services of the X server to receive keyboard and mouse actions and to have its own output displayed on the screen.

As shown in the following figure, the X server is running ru nning on computer da5, while the X client applications are running on computers da1 and da2: Figure 2-1

The display of the client applications, however, however, is performed by the X server on the machine da5. All of these computers can be running different operating systems.

x

The communication between X server and X client uses the network protocol TCP/IP—even if the server and client run on the same computer computer..

Window managers are specialized client applications. A window Window manager works together with the X server and provides additional functionality.. The window manager functionality ■

2-4

Provides control elements

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Manages virtual desktops Provides functionality of window frames (for example, changing their size)

The X Window System is not linked to any specific window manager and thus it is not linked to any particular look and feel. The current version of SLES 9 has several window managers, including kwin (the KDE window manager), the GNOME window manager, and twm (Tab Window Manager). Desktop environments go far beyond the look and feel window managers provide for desktops and manipulating windows. The aim is to provide clients with a unified look and feel. KDE is the standard graphical desktop for SLES 9, but you can install the GNOME desktop instead.

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Objective 2

Use the KDE Desktop Environment One of the most frequently f requently used graphical desktop environments is KDE. This desktop environment is installed by default during the installation of SLES 9. The following explains how to use KDE on SLES 9: ■

How to Log In



How to Log Out



How to Shut Down and Reboot the Linux System



How to Identify KDE Desktop Components



How to Manage Icons in the KDE Environment



How to Use the Konqueror File Manager

How to Log In  If computer users want to work with a multiuser operating system, they must first identify themselves to the operating system. For this purpose, they need ■



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A login string or username A password  (usually  (usually assigned by the system administrator when a new user is added)

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When the computer is booted and ready for work, the following login dialog appears: Figure 2-2

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After entering a username and password, select Login Login.. If the login is successful, the following KDE desktop environment appears, as well as a welcome screen and some useful tips: Figure 2-3

You can read the information inform ation or just close the window by selecting the X button in the top right corner of the window: Figure 2-4

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How to Log Out  When you are ready to log out of the system, open the KDE menu by selecting the first (left) icon in the bottom panel: Figure 2-5

At the bottom of the KDE menu, select Logout Logout.. You can also right-click on the window background and select the same option from the popup menu. After selecting Logout, a confirmation dialog appears. If you select Logout again, you are logged out and the login screen reappears, allowing you or another person to log in.

How to Shut Down and Reboot the Linux System  If you are at the login screen, you can open the Menu  menu you Menu menu select from several choices, including the following:

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Session Type. You Type. You can choose a window manager other than KDE. In this manual, we cover only KDE (the default window manager). Restart X Server. You can restart the program that is responsible for the GUI. Remember, SLES 9 does not need a GUI to work. The GUI is clearly separated from the operating system. However, Howev er, in this course we work from the GUI interface.



Shutdown Type. If you select this option, you are asked if you want to shut down or restart your computer:

Figure 2-6

For security reasons, you have to enter the root password because only root is allowed to restart or shut down the computer. If you select Turn Off Computer and Computer and select OK OK,, Linux closes all the (system) programs currently running. Older computers that do not have power management and cannot switch themselves off can be switched off manually when the following message appears: Master Resource Control: runlevel 0 has been

reached

If you switch the machine off too soon, this could possibly lead to loss of data.

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You should s hould always shut down your computer before you turn it off.

How to Identify KDE Desktop Components  After you log in, your system will by default start the KDE desktop environment. It is composed of  ■

The Desktop



The KDE Control Panel (Kicker)



The KDE Menu



Virtual Desktops

The Desktop The desktop shows only a few icons. You You can start the applications associated with these icons by selecting them once with the left mouse button. You can move the icons by dragging them with the mouse.

The KDE Control C ontrol Panel (Kicker) You control the KDE desktop by using the KDE control panel (also called the Kicker), located at the bottom of the desktop: Figure 2-7

The following are the most commonly used icons and their functions (from left to right):

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Green button with red “N”. Menu “N”. Menu of all configured  programs  programs and functions (not of all programs and functions installed on the machine). This menu is called the KDE menu. Blue house. Konqueror, the preferred KDE file manager. Shell in front of monitor. A monitor. A terminal window in which to type commands directly. Lifesaver with a chameleon head. The SUSE Help Center. Globe with gear wheel teeth. Konqueror, as preferred KDE Web browser.



“E” with letter. The KMail email program.



The white and gray box. Virtual box. Virtual desktops.



The empty area right of the virtual desktops. Task Manager



area. Clipboard with “k”. Clipboard.



Loudspeaker. A sound mixer.



Sheet with “i”. SuSEwatcher for automatic updates.



Computer card. SuSEplugger for plug and play.



Clock. Current time.

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The KDE Menu Programs are normally started from the KDE menu. You can select the KDE menu button to open the KDE menu: Figure 2-8

This menu consists of the following three sections: ■





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Most Frequently Used Applications. As Applications. As indicated by the name, this section lists the five most frequently used applications. Accordingly, the listed entries can change from time to time. All Applications. This section features an overview of various applications sorted by subjects (such as Multimedia Multimedia). ). Actions. This section provides a command line interface, an overview of the bookmarks, an option for locking the screen, and the option for logging out.

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A submenu in the KDE menu m enu is marked by a small black arrow in the right-hand corner cor ner.. To open a submenu, move the mouse cursor over the menu entry. To To start a program, select the corresponding entry once with the left mouse button.

Virtual Desktops If you are working with several programs concurrently, concurrently, the screen can quickly become cluttered with open windows. In Linux, you can bring order to this chaos by changing to another (virtual) desktop. You You can switch between the various desktops via the control panel. By default, two virtual desktops are configured. In the KDE control center, you can increase the number of usable virtual desktops up to sixteen. Every virtual desktop can host a virtually unlimited number of applications. Using these virtual desktops, you can easily organize your work.

How to Manage Icons in the KDE Environment  Three areas in your KDE environment contain icons:

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Desktop



Kicker



KDE Menu

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Desktop There are several ways to create a new icon on your desktop; however, howev er, for simplicity, only one method is used in this course. To create an icon for an application on your desktop, do the following: 1.

Select the item in your KDE menu.

2.

Hold down the left mouse button, move the mouse pointer to free space on your desktop and release the mouse button.

3.

In the menu that appears, select Copy Here. Here.

Kicker You can add new programs to the control panel by right-clicking right- clicking a free area of the panel and then selecting Add Add.. You can remove a program from the control panel by right-clicking right- clicking its icon in the control panel and then selecting Remove program  name. You can move icons in the panel by holding down the middle mouse button or by choosing Move Move from  from the Context menu.

KDE Menu To make changes in your KDE menu, do the following: 1.

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Start the KDE Menu Editor by selecting the KDE menu m enu icon with the right mouse button and selecting Menu Editor. Editor.

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The following dialog appears, where you can edit the KDE menu: Figure 2-9

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How to Use the Konqueror File Manager  You can do nearly all work on the file system by using the KDE Konqueror program. To start Konqueror, select the blue house icon in Kicker. The following appears: Figure 2-10

To navigate quickly through the file system, activate the navigation  panel (select Window > Show Navigator Panel), Panel), which splits the main window and displays the directory tree. tr ee. The icon with the blue house on the navigation panel displays the directory tree starting from the user's home directory. The icon with the folder displays the directory dir ectory tree starting from the root directory.

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The Konqueror window is divided into three thr ee sections: Figure 2-11







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The Top section contains section contains a menu bar, a toolbar, and an address panel. The bar to the left is the preset navigation panel, which serves primarily for navigation and orientation. After you select the blue house or folder icon, the navigation area is split into a Left window and a right window. You can use the left window for quicker navigation through the file system tree. The Right window displays the contents of the directory you selected in the left window. This is the file view.

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There are several ways to navigate in the file system: using three arrows on the left side of the toolbar is the simplest way. way. The current position can be seen in the text window of the URL panel (in the above example, /home/tux/  example, /home/tux/ ). ). If you select the arrow pointing up, you will move from the current directory to the next highest directory (from /home/tux/  (from /home/tux/  to /home/   to /home/ ). ). The arrow pointing to the left returns you to the previously visited location. You You can move forward again with the right r ight arrow. arrow. ■





You can open a directory and view its contents by selecting the directory in the file view. If you select a normal file, KDE tries to open it or starts a program to open it. Selecting the house symbol in the toolbar takes you directly to your own home directory (for example, /home/tux/  example, /home/tux/ ). ). If you select a directory in the navigation area, its contents are displayed in the file view.

You can double-click the directory in the navigation area to open it and view all subdirectories in it. Double-click the directory again to close it.

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If you prefer a detailed list that displays information about each file in the tree, activate the tree view by selecting the second icon from the right in the toolbar.

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Exerci cis se 2-1

Explore Your KDE Des esk kto top  p  It is possible to administer SLES9 without a graphical user interface. However, However, sometimes a GUI is much more convenient than a pure text console. The purpose of this exercise is to familiarize you with KDE. To explore your KDE desktop, do the following from the GUI login lo gin screen (where you were left after installing SLES 9): 1.

In the Username field, enter geeko geeko..

2.

In the Password field, enter N0v3ll (use a zero, not  an  an uppercase O). For security reasons, asterisks are displayed instead of the actual letters when you enter the password.

3.

Select Login Login.. The KDE desktop environment starts, and initial dialogs appear.

4.

Close the SUSE LINUX welcome screen and the Kandolf’s Useful Tips dialog by selecting the X in the upper right corner of the windows.

5.

(Conditional) If a new hardware dialog appears, deselect Keep Me Informed about New Hardware; Hardware; then select No No..

6.

Start the file manager Konqueror by selecting the blue house icon in Kicker.

7.

View the navigation area by selecting the  red folder icon on the left side of the Konqueror window.

8.

View the contents of the /etc/ directory by selecting etc etc in  in the side panel (a single mouse click).

9.

Copy the file /etc/DIR_COLORS to the directory /tmp/ by scrolling down and selecting the DIR_COLORS DIR_COLORS file  file icon, dragging it over the tmp the tmp folder folder  icon in the navigation area, and releasing the mouse button.

Here. 10. From the popup menu, select Copy Here.

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tmp in  in the 11. View the contents of the directory /tmp/ by selecting tmp side panel (a single mouse click). DIR_COLORS file  file  12. Rename the copied file by right-clicking the DIR_COLORS icon, and then selecting Rename Rename from  from the popup menu. 13. For the new filename, type example.txt example.txt;; then press Enter Enter.. 14. Quit Konqueror by selecting the X button in the top right corner

of the window. i con in the bottom 15. Open the KDE menu by selecting the leftmost icon panel. Logout;; then select Logout Logout again.  again. 16. Select Logout You are returned to the GUI login screen. 17. Open the Menu Menu drop-down  drop-down list; then select Shutdown Shutdown..

 in 18. Select Restart computer; computer; then enter the root password novell novell in the Password field and select OK OK.. After the computer has restarted, the login screen appears.  with a password of N0v3ll 19. Log in as geeko geeko with N0v3ll;; then select Login Login.. 20. Close all windows that open automatically by selecting the X 

button in the top right corner of the window. (End of Exercise) 

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Objective 3

Use the Gnome Desktop Environment Both GNOME and KDE are comfortable desktop environments. Like KDE, GNOME supports drag and drop. Numerous programs are specifically designed for GNOME. To use the GNOME desktop environment, you need to know the following:

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How to Start GNOME



How to Navigate in GNOME



How to Manage Icons in GNOME



How to Use the GNOME File Manager (Nautilus)

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How to Start GNOME  Before you select Login at the login screen, you can start GNOME instead of KDE by selecting Session Type > GNOME from GNOME from the Menu drop-down list. The following appears: Figure 2-12

How to Navigate in GNOME  Besides the main window window,, the GNOME desktop includes the following two panels: ■

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Top panel. The panel. The panel at the top of the desktop is responsible for launching applications. The following features are available (left to the right):

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Applications menu for launching applications



Actions menu for basic actions (such as logging out)



The Nautilus file manager (house icon)



The terminal emulation window (monitor icon)



A clock 



A speaker icon for volume



A menu listing all open op en windows

Bottom panel. The panel. The panel at the bottom of the desktop provides the following: ❑

An icon to close all open windows



A task manager



A pager for the 4 virtual desktops

You can start a program progr am with an icon on the desktop by double-clicking the icon. You You can set preferences for the desktop environment by selecting the Start Here icon. Here icon. To quit GNOME, select Actions > Log Out in Out in the GNOME panel. The following appears: Figure 2-13

If you select Save Current Setup, Setup, your current desktop environment settings are saved.

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How to Manage Icons in GNOME  You can find icons in the following f ollowing three areas on your desktop: ■

Desktop



Panel



Application Menu

Desktop There are several ways to create a new icon on your desktop; however, howev er, in this course only one method is described. To create an icon for an application on your desktop, select the item in your the Applications menu, drag it to Copy a free Here. space. on your desktop, release mouse button; then select Here

Panel You can add new programs to the control panel by right-clicking a free area of the panel and then selecting Add to Panel. Panel. From the submenus displayed, select the application you want to add. You can remove a program from the control panel by right-clicking right- clicking its icon in the control panel and then selecting Remove from Panel. Panel. You can move icons in the panel by holding down the right mouse button and selecting Move from the context menu.

Application Menu To add an entry to a menu, do the following: 1.

Double-click the Start Here icon Here icon on the desktop. The Start Here location appears.

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2.

In the file manager window, double-click doubl e-click the icon that represents the menu (Applications (Applications or  or Menu SuSE) SuSE) to which you want to add the launcher.

3.

Select File Select  File > Create Launcher. Launcher. A Create Launcher dialog is displayed.

4.

Enter the properties of the launcher in the Create Launcher dialog; then select OK OK..

How to Use the GNOME File Manager (Nautilus)  GNOME provides its own file manager, m anager, called Nautilus, shown below: Figure 2-14

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You can start Nautilus by selecting the house icon in the t he top panel or by selecting the username Home  icon on the desktop. Although  Home icon Nautilus does not provide as many features as some other file managers, it has the features you yo u need for most file navigation tasks. To display the file system tree view, select View > Side Panel; Panel ; then select Tree  from the side panel drop-down list. A window similar to Tree from the following appears: Figure 2-15

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Exerci cis se 2-2 2-2

Explore Yo Your GN GNOME De Deskt kto op  Whether you use KDE or GNOME is entirely a matter of personal preference. The purpose of this exercise is to familiarize you with the GNOME desktop. To explore your GNOME desktop, do the following: 1.

From the KDE menu, log out as geeko by selecting Logout > Logout.. Logout

2.

From the GUI login screen, select the Menu Menu drop-down  drop-down list; then select Session select  Session Type > GNOME. GNOME.

3.

Log in as geeko geeko with  with a password of N0v3ll N0v3ll (select  (select Login Login). ). The GNOME desktop environment starts.

4.

From the GNOME desktop, select the Applications  menu (top Applications menu panel) and view the applications available.

5.

Start the Nautilus file manager by selecting the house icon icon in the top panel.

6.

Display the side pane by selecting View > Side Pane. Pane.

7.

View the file system tree in the side pane by selecting Tree  from Tree from the drop-down list at the top of the side pane.

8.

Display the contents of the directory /tmp/ by expanding Filesystem;; then select tmp Filesystem select tmp..

9.

Delete the file example.txt file example.txt by  by right-clicking the file icon and selecting Move to Trash. Trash.

10. Close the Nautilus file manager window.

Actions menu;  menu; 11. From the top of the Gnome desktop, select the Actions then select Log Out. Out. 12. Select OK OK..

You are returned to the GUI login screen. Menu drop-down  drop-down list, select Session Type > KDE. KDE. 13. From the Menu

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geeko with  with a password of N0v3ll N0v3ll (select  (select Login Login). ). 14. Log in as geeko (End of Exercise) 

Objective 4

Access the Command Line Interface From the Desktop You can implement classic multiuser environment by connecting several terminals (dialog stations)—monitor and keyboard units—to the serial interface of a single computer. You can also connect several terminals to the serial interface in a Linux system. However, However, because in general not more than one person sits in front of one computer at any given time, usually only one physical keyboard is needed. Virtual terminals were created in Linux to allow a user to run tasks in parallel. With virtual terminals, you can work in Linux as if you had several classic terminals available at the same time. By default, you have six virtual terminals (F1–F6) running on your computer. By pressing Ctrl + Alt + F x, you can switch between individual terminals. By pressing Ctrl + Alt + F7, F7, you can switch back to your graphical user interface. You can determine the terminal currently being used from the tty number (tty1–tty6). tty is an abbreviation for teletype, which is another word for terminal. When you switch to a virtual terminal, a login prompt appears:

 Welcome to SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 (i586) - Kernel 2.6.4-27-default 2.6.4-27-default (tty1).

da10 login:

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From here you can enter your login name and password. To To log out enter exit exit.. The file /etc/issue contains the text that is displayed before you log in to the

x

system (see above). When you log in to a host via the network, the contents of the file /etc/issue.net are used.  To display a welcome message after the successful login to the system, you can enter the text in the file /etc/motd with the help of a text editor such as vi.

Besides using the virtual terminals, you can start a terminal emulation (called Konsole) from your KDE desktop d esktop Kicker by selecting the following icon: Figure 2-16

The terminal opens inside a window with options optio ns you can select to modify the display of the terminal (such as font and background color).

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 Version 2

 

Use the Linux Desktop

Exer Ex erci cise se 22-3 3

Acce Ac cess ss th the e Co Comm mman and d Lin ine e In Inte terf rfac ace  e  As has been stated before, SLES9 does not need a GUI for its administration. And even with a graphical desktop environment running you can switch to the text consoles any time if you like to. This exercise shows you how. To access the command line interface, do the following: 1.

Switch to the first virtual terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + F1. F1.

2.

(Conditional) If you see a SUSE - A Novell Company splash screen, display the command line by pressing F2 F2..

3.

Enter geeko geeko as  as a login name.

4.

Enter N0v3ll  as the password. N0v3ll as

5.

Switch to the second virtual terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + F2. F2. Notice that you are not logged in at this terminal.

6.

Press Ctrl + Alt + F1 to F1 to switch back to the first terminal. You are still logged in as geeko.

7.

Log out by entering exit exit..

8.

Switch back to the graphical user interface by pressing pr essing Ctrl + Alt + F7. F7.

(End of Exercise) 

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a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NonCommercial ShareAlike ShareAlike 2.5 license.

 

Getting Started with Linux: Novell’s Guide to CompTIA’s Linux+

Summary Objective

Summary

1. Overview of the Linux Desktop

The X Window System consists of a server component (X server) and client applications applications..

2. Use the KDE Desktop Environment

You can use the KDE to ■





3. Use the Gnome Desktop Environment

4. Access the Command Line Interface From the Desktop

Safely bring your Linux system up and shut it down. Log in and log out of the KDE system. Manage files and directories.

You can use GNOME to ■

Log in and log out of the system.



Manage files and directories.

SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server provides the user with six virtual terminals. You can use us e the key combinations combina tions Ctrl + Alt + F1 to Ctrl + Alt + F6 to switch between the individual terminals. You can switch back to your graphical user interface by pressing Ctrl + Alt + F7.

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