Networking / Beginners


A typical GNOME desktop with the Text Editor application open. As you can see, the GNOME desktop looks a lot like Microsoft Windows. In fact, many of the basic skills used for working with Microsoft Windows - such as moving or resizing windows, minimizing or maximizing windows, and using drag-and-drop to move items between windows - are almost exactly the same in GNOME. So you should feel right at home.

The following paragraphs describe some of the key features of the GNOME desktop:

  • On the desktop, you can find several icons that let you access common features. The Home icon lets you access your home directory. The Computer icon is similar to the My Computer icon in Windows. And the Trash icon is similar to the Recycle Bin in Windows.
  • The panel at the top of the desktop area includes several menus and icons. The Applications menu lists applications you can run, and the Actions menu lists actions you can perform.
  • Workspaces, you ask? A workspace is like a separate desktop where you can keep windows open in order to reduce the clutter on your screen. The panel beneath the desktop area contains a tool called the Workspace Switcher, which lets you switch active workspaces by clicking one of the rectangles in the grid.

Command Shell

You can get to a command shell in one of two basic ways when you need to run Linux commands directly. The first is to press Ctrl+Alt+Fx to switch to one of the virtual consoles. (If you aren't sure which function key to use to open a virtual console, take a look back at the "Virtual consoles" section in this tutorial.) Then, you can log on and run commands to your heart's content. When you're done, press Ctrl+Alt+F7 to return to GNOME.

Alternatively, you can open a command shell directly in GNOME by choosing Applications → System Tools → Terminal. This opens a command shell in a window right on the GNOME desktop. Because this shell runs within the user account that GNOME is logged on as, you don't have to log on. You can just start typing commands. When you're done, type Exit to close the window.

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