System ProgrammingLearn How to Investigating the Gnome Desktop

Learn How to Investigating the Gnome Desktop

After installing Red Hat Linux with Graphical Gnome desktop, we need to investigate this GUI environment and get familiar with. This is going to be the subject of today’s article. Wish you nice reading.

The Gnome Desktop
When you login to your Red Hat 6.7, you should get a screen like the following:
This is the Gnome Desktop. The Gnome desktop is the default desktop environment for Red Hat. Gnome provides a graphical way to work and administer your Linux box using the mouse. If you are coming from Windows background, you will love working with Gnome.

In the screen above, you could notice two main components that together constitute the desktop:

  • The Workspace: this is the largest part of the desktop, where most of our time working with the system is spent. The workspace can contain files, shortcuts, and directories.
  • The Panel: By default, the Desktop contains two panels, each appears like a bar containing small buttons called applets. One panel is located at the top of the screen

while the other in the bottom.
The top panel contains the following from right to left:

    • The username of the current logged in user: eduonix.
    • The date and time.
    • The battery charge level if you are using a laptop.
    • The status of network connectivity.
    • The volume control.
    • Buttons for Writing notes, mail client, and mozilla firefox.
    • Three main menus: Applications, Places, and System:
      • Applications menu: this menu consists of several submenus, categorizing similar and related applications into the same submenu. From this menu, you can run most of the available GUI programs.
      • Places: this is where you can browse the local system, or connect to a remote system.
      • System: the System menu is where majority of system configurations are made.

The bottom panel is similar in function to the Windows taskbar. When an application is started in the current workspace, a small window is open for it in that panel. Don’t be surprised when you know that an open application can be closed from here. You can switch between two or more workspaces using the small buttons in the lower right corner of the screen.

Starting a Terminal
I told you that the shell for a UNIX and Linux admin is like the home for a person. Although the Gnome desktop provides you with useful graphical tools that help you administer your Red Hat Linux box and perform various administration tasks, some tasks are done only from the shell. That is why you are still in need in need for a terminal shell.

To start a terminal from your Gnome desktop:
Right-click any your desktop workspace. In the menu, click Open InTerminal.
From the Application menu, select System Tools, and then click Terminal.
Either ways will open a terminal like the following:

Switching User
The best practice is to login to your UNIX or Linux box using a non-superuser account, and then switch to the root user on need. This prevents many sources of problems or damages that could occur due to accidental, unintended typing/pasting of commands.

As you see in the above open terminal, you are logged in as eduonix. To perform any administration task that requires root privilege, we need to switch to root.


su – root

or simply:

su –

This opens a login shell that runs with root as the effective user, with all its relevant environment variables like PATH, HOME, etc.

When you enter the su command to switch to another user, you are asked to enter the password for that user. So, in our case you are asked to enter the root password:
Type the root password, and press Enter.
Now, we are working as user root in this shell.
When finished, use the exit command, the logout command, or Ctrl+d to exit that root user shell.

Powering off and Rebooting your Server
Although it is not a daily task to shutdown or reboot your Linux server (some servers remain up for several months, and may be years), you should know how to poweroff and reboot your Linux box.

To poweroff your machine, use one of the following commands as root:

shutdown –h

To reboot your machine, use one of the following commands:

shutdown –r

In this article, we had the first look and feel to the Gnome graphical desktop.

  • As a best practice, it is not recommended to login to Linux servers as root.
  • To switch to another user, use the su
  • To shutdown your system, use the halt, poweroff, or shutdown commands.
  • To reboot your system, use the reboot or shutdown command.

In the next article, we will start setting up the basic configurations of our system. See you.


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