7.2. Desktop Environments and Window Managers
Once an XFree86 server is running, X client applications can connect to
it and create a GUI for the user. A range of GUIs are possible with
Red Hat Linux, from the rudimentary Tab Window Manager to
the highly developed, interactive GNOME desktop
environment most Red Hat Linux users are familiar with.
To create the latter, more advanced GUI two main classes of X client
applications must connect to the XFree86 server: a desktop
environment and a window manager.
7.2.1. Desktop Environments
A desktop environment brings together assorted X clients which, when
used together, create a common graphical user environment and
Desktop environments have advanced features which allow X clients
and other running processes to communicate with one another and allow
all applications written to work in that environment to perform
advanced tasks, such as drag and drop operations.
Red Hat Linux provides two desktop environments:
Both GNOME and KDE have advanced productivity applications, such as
word processors, spreadsheets, and Web browsers as well as provide
tools to customize the look and feel of the GUI. Additionally, if both
the GTK+ 2 and the Qt libraries are present, KDE applications can run in
GNOME and visa versa.
For information on the customization of the GNOME and KDE desktop
environments, refer to the Red Hat Linux Getting Started Guide.
7.2.2. Window Managers
Window managers are X client programs which are
either part of a desktop environment or, in some cases,
standalone. Their primary purpose is to control the way graphical
windows are positioned, resized, or moved. Window managers also
control title bars, window focus behavior, and user-specified key and
mouse button bindings.
Five window managers are included with Red Hat Linux:
kwin — The
KWin window manager is the default window
manager for the KDE desktop environment. It is an efficient window
manager which supports custom themes.
metacity — The
Metacity window manager is the default
window manager for the GNOME desktop environment. It is a simple
and efficient window manager which supports custom themes.
mwm — The
Motif window manager, is a basic,
standalone window manager. Since it is designed to be a
standalone window manager, it should not be used in conjunction
with the GNOME or KDE desktop environments.
sawfish — The
Sawfish window manager is a full featured
window manager which was the default for the GNOME desktop
environment until the release of Red Hat Linux 8.0. It can be used either
standalone or with a desktop environment.
twm — The minimalist Tab
Window Manager, which provides the most basic tool set
of any of the window managers and can be used either standalone or
with a desktop environment. It is installed as part of XFree86.
These window managers can be run without desktop environments to gain
a better sense of their differences. To do this, type the
is the location of the window manager binary file. The binary file can
be found by typing which