Linux Part 4

Linux Part 4

Linux – Desktop Environments

The inventory of the previous chapter is described in a manifesto dated 1996 Matthias Ettrich grown in response to base the KDE and Miguel de Icaza founded the GNOME project to the next year, which reflect Mac OS and Windows in terms of usability and software standardization of behavior.

These two projects have become the backbone of Linux on the desktop. Each has indeed:

  • Programmers, a very productive programming environment as well as recommendations of interfaces (in English: guidelines) to produce faster applications easier to use;
  • Translators, infrastructure. These two environments and their myriad of software are translated into dozens of languages;
  • Artists, work spaces to exercise their talents;
  • Specialists in ergonomics, the ability to make it more simple and coherent;
  • External applications, a reference environment in which integration;
  • And thus to the user, a complete environment, and a seamless, integrated suite of essential applications: file browser, web browser, media player, email client, address book, pdf reader, and manager images.

These two desktop environments have recently reached a certain maturity include the 2003 KDE, later to GNOME. Very active, both projects have nevertheless intends to improve dramatically for their next major releases, and efforts in this direction are concentrated within projects Appeal for KDE, and Topaz for GNOME.

Technically, they are both based on many common technologies, first and foremost the X11 windowing system. To avoid duplicate some efforts, an area of informal collaboration between these projects Freedesktop name has been established.

This approach in ergonomics (the latter being on the user type) and the conception of the role of a desktop environment they are different: the KDE pushes away the will of integration between applications, has numerous advanced features and plays the card setting while sure to have good choices default GNOME is more refined and focused on core tasks (taking the philosophy making Things just work). Everyone please, therefore, to a different audience.

We may also note the rise of a third desktop environment called Xfce, which aims to provide a complete environment based on GTK + like GNOME, but still lighter than the latter or KDE.

Offer software

The free software community has produced a large number of software used in many areas.

Examples of software for guidance:

  • The desktop with,
  • With Mozilla Firefox, Konqueror, Iceweasel, Epiphany, Gnuzilla, Mozilla Thunderbird, Pidgin, or BitTorrent,
  • Multimedia with Xine, MPlayer, VLC media player, XMMS, Totem or Amarok
  • Graphics, GIMP, Inkscape and Scribus
  • 3D with Blender.

Most Linux distributions offer a program (eg. Synaptic) to browse a list of thousands of free software pre-configured and tested specifically for distribution. These free programs are then downloaded and installed the click of a mouse, with an electronic signature system guarantees that no one has added any viruses or spyware. These programs are then updated automatically.

Some important software owners also have a Linux version. This is the case of Opera, Macromedia Flash Player, Acrobat Reader, NeroLINUX or Skype for example. The concept of portability is the ability of a program to be used under different operating systems or architectures.

Finally it is possible to use software made for Microsoft Windows on a Linux box with a Windows API implementation for Linux like WINE. Commercial offerings based on WINE as CrossOver Office can use almost without problems of software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop from the Windows world.


There are many games available for Linux, free or paid, free or proprietary. The offer includes both small office games (cards, minesweeper, chess, and golf) as recent commercial games (Enemy Territory: Quake Wars).

Some games are designed to run natively on Linux (Quake 3 for example), and some may be run through programs that implements the Windows API under Linux. There are several implementations, including some specifically for the game and allowing to run several games designed for Windows environments as Cedega and WINE (i.e., World of Warcraft). The last resort for players using Linux is simply to use Windows parallel on the same computer with the multiboot or virtualization.

Shell Programming

The programs most popular text-mode accessible from the command line includes vim, emacs, sed, apt, etc. Some of them may also be used via a GUI. Moreover, the programs running in console mode is relatively high. The reasons are many:

  • History (originally Linux was devoid of graphical environment);
  • Efficiency (programs that do not use the graphical environment require less resources);
  • Speed (open a console to type an operation is often much shorter than going through the various menus for a window manager or desktop environment);
  • Better control;

Using these programs can be difficult for a person not accustomed to working in text mode, people from the Windows example. On the other hand, they are relatively popular among advanced users of UNIX systems.

Free Library

The software that uses a free library can run on Linux and on all platforms where the library is located. These libraries can add a graphic overlay text applications existing as is the case of Vim, but they are mainly used to develop software available to non-computer and having the features allowed by the GUI, like drag and drop, manipulations with the mouse, etc..

Other applications such as Blender or Google Earth is a special case because they use the OpenGL library for the basic implementation and management of programs using 3D (but also 2D).


Several emulation software available for simulating the operation of competing operating systems or gaming environments

Emulation of computer

Programs and Steem ARAnyM emulate much of the applications written for Atari, including Atari ST and Atari TT, UAE (Amiga Emulator Unix) used to emulate the Commodore Amiga, basilisk 68,000 older Macs from Apple.

Study: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The text is available under the Creative Commons.


Leave your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.