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GNOME

GNOME As with most GNU programs, GNOME has been designed to run on all modern strains of Unix-like operating systems.

The initials stand for GNU Network Object Model Environment but this doesn't really help explain what it does, though. GNOME is a part of the GNU Project and an attempt to make a desktop environment which is free software and which runs on lots of platforms is consistent so that you use the same approach to do the same tasks in different programs, can be used by developers to develop software easily and is fun to use. GNOME can be used with several window managers including Sawfish http://sawmill.sourceforge.net/, Enlightment, http://www.enlightenment.org and Window Maker which allows a Next Step look like environment.

One of GNOME's most interesting features is session awareness. When you re-enter GNOME, it reconfigures your desktop to match the state at the time you exited. GNOME even restores each application to its former state. GNOME provides desktop tools including games, calendar, address book, etc, plus GIMP, the GNU Image manipulation program, office applications plus many more. Explore these application by clicking and holding the GNOME (footprint) icon. Once you are logged in.

The GNOME project acts as an umbrella, the major components of GNOME are:

  • The GNOME desktop: an easy to use windows-based environment for users.
  • The GNOME development platform: a rich collection of tools, libraries, and components to develop powerful applications on Unix.
  • The GNOME Office: A set of office productivity applications.

GNOME is a large collection of software, created over the last years. It ranges in scope from small utilities to large, powerful systems, and from low-level development libraries to end-user applications. So what is it that all parts of GNOME have in common?

  • The GNOME project was the first to provide a fully free desktop environment for Unix-like systems. Free Software is about empowering users, and about granting them rights over the software they use.
  • The GNOME Usability Project aims to improve the ease-of-use of GNOME and make the GNOME experience as enjoyable and natural as possible.
  • GNOME is chock-full of cutting edge technologies. Network transparent component technology using CORBA, extensive use of XML, and one of the most advanced imaging models on any platform are only some of the features that makes GNOME the closest to rocket science you're likely to run on your desktop. In addition, it's all implemented in extremely efficient C, which makes it fast, lean, and very portable.
  • The GNOME developer community is vast, tightly knit, and very friendly. If you're a developer who wants to get started on modern Unix GUI applications, GNOME is the emerging standard, and the large amount of developer documentation and other resources will help you find your way quickly. The GNOME libraries and infrastructure take care of most of the boring work for you, and let you focus on the code that makes your application unique. For more developer information, go to the GNOME Developer's Site.
  • GNOME is used, developed and documented in hundreds of countries across the globe, and with the new GNOME internationalization features, GNOME lets you work in your language, no matter if it's Japanese, Russian, Swahili or English, complete with documentation, help, and menus in your native language.
  • Accessibility is about enabling people with disabilities to participate in substantial life activities that include work and the use of services, products, and information. The GNOME Accessibility Project is developing a suite of software services and support in GNOME that allows people with disabilities to utilize all of the functionality of the GNOME user environment.

Even though it's extremely user-friendly, GNOME is a large and complex system, and as such, requires some learning to utilize to the fullest. To make that easier, we've provided some pointers to useful documentation.

The first resource you should look at is the GNOME User's Guide. It contains a wealth of useful information for the novice and experienced GNOME user alike. If you'd like, you can download the HTML or PDF GNOME.org


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Next: KDE Up: Users@Planet CCRMA (The Linux Previous: Popular-X-window applications examples at

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