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More on LinuxToday GUIs can be a "pain in the butt"

Mar 31, 2000, 17:21 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

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"With all of these different GUIs out there, it can be a pain in the butt to figure out which control manages which setting on your desktop. First, what window manager do you have? What's the environment? Which flavor of Linux? Getting a simple answer to a Linux GUI question is about as frustrating as walking into Starbucks and simply ordering "coffee.""

"To try to simplify this, let's review what each component in the GUI does. First, there's the X Window System, or just X. X is the application that runs from the basic Linux operating systems. Its job is to provide a sort of virtual machine in which a graphic interface can run, depending on the hardware available. After all, Linux is really at its heart just a command-line system with no inherent ability to display anything other than text. X is the key that lets GUIs run on Linux."

"Then there's the window manager. It talks care of the basics of the GUI, such as windows, menus, buttons -- all of the things we tend to use in today's GUI. There are a lot of window managers out there to be run with X and they all take different approaches to how and what things get displayed."

"Finally, there's the desktop environment. People new to Linux may tend to get this confused with a window manager, but its not. A desktop environment works in conjunction with the window manager to create a more integrated interface. Environments also bring things like file managers and other utility applications to the GUI table."

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