Figure 2-1 shows an example of GNOME running. GNOME is very configurable, so your screen may look quite different.
Figure 2-1. Sample GNOME Display.
The long bar at the bottom of Figure 2-1 is a GNOME Panel, which contains a collection of useful panel applets and menus. Panel applets are tiny programs designed to be placed in a panel, for example, the clock applet on the far right shows the current time. The arrows on each side of the panel hide (and unhide) the panel.
The button in the panel containing a stylized foot is the Main Menu Button. Just click on the Main Menu Button and you'll see a menu of pre-loaded applications and actions, including a logout command.
The rest of the screen space is called the "Desktop." Just place on your desktop the items you use most often and you can double-click on an item (with the left mouse button) to use it:
If the item is a program, that program will start.
If it's data, the appropriate program will be start up with that data loaded.
If it's a directory, the file manager application will start and show the contents of that directory. Your desktop will probably have a folder icon labelled "Home directory". Double-clicking on it will start a file manager at your home directory.
The file manager application lets you manipulate your files. The left side of its window shows directories, and the right side shows the selected directory's contents:
To move the file or directory, just drag and drop it.
To copy a file, hold down the CTRL key while dragging.
To run a program or edit a data file, double-click it.
To perform other operations on a file (such as rename or delete), select it using the right mouse button.
To select more than one item at a time, click on the items after the first one while holding down the SHIFT key.
You can easily move or copy files between directories by starting two file manager applications, each one showing a different directory. If you want to put a file on your desktop, simply drag it from the file manager onto the desktop. In fact, dragging and dropping items onto other items generally "does the right thing" in GNOME, making it easy to get work done.
GNOME is very configurable; for example, you can have multiple panels (horizontal and vertical), choose what goes in them, and have them hide automatically. There are many panel applets you can include in your panel. You can also change how the screen looks; later portions of this document tell you how.
GNOME follows several UNIX conventions you should be aware of. The left mouse button is used to select and drag items. The right mouse button brings up a menu for the selected object (if a menu applies). Most UNIX mice have 3 buttons, and the middle button is used to paste text (if in a text area) or to move things. If you only have two buttons, press the left and right buttons simultaneously to simulate the middle button. To copy text, use the left button to drag across the text you want to copy, move to the place you want the text to be, and press the middle button.
When an application window is displayed, there will be some buttons in its borders for controlling the window. These include buttons to minimize, maximize, and close the window. Their appearance can be configured and is controlled by a component called a "window manager."
Two examples of border styles are the Clean style (Figure 2-2) and the ICE style (Figure 2-3):
In the Clean border style, the underscore means minimize, the square means maximize (use the whole screen), and the X button means close the window.
In the ICE style, the X button will close the window. Clicking the arrow with the left mouse button minimizes the window, while clicking with the right mouse button shows a menu of other options.
Figure 2-2. Clean Border Style
Figure 2-3. ICE Border Style
If you are using a default installation of GNOME you may notice that minimizing a window actually causes that window to disappear from your desktop. To regain that window you may use the GNOME Pager which is located on the Panel. The Pager will show you which tasks are running and where they are on your desktops. You will find the application you minimized in the task list on the right side of the GNOME Pager. Press the button for that application and it will return to your desktop.
Figure 2-4. The GNOME Pager
You may read more about the GNOME Pager in the section called GNOME Pager in Chapter 12.
The following sections go into more detail, describing each component of the system.