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February 14, 2001

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Article Index

(click the )

Introduction

Selecting a Linux Distribution

X Window - The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Getting Started with the K Desktop

Working on Your Own

Conclusion

Resources & Links

Linux for Microsoft Windows Users:

#2 - Getting Started with The Linux MS Windows-

Like Desktop

page -4-

Figure 8 shows the K Desktop equivalent of the MS Windows Start Menu. It's called the K Menu. Simply click the little white K on the left side of the K Panel at the bottom of the K desktop to pop up the K Menu. That little white K is called the Application Starter since it pops up the K (applications) Menu.

Figure 8. The K Menu looks and works very much like the MS Windows Start Menu.

Just as with the MS Windows Start Menu, you can drill down through sub-menus until you find the application (program) that you wan to open. Then simply click on the application name to run it. In Figure 9, the Mahjongg game was started by clicking on its name in the Games sub-menu.

Figure 9. Here, The K Menu was used to start the Mahjongg game application.

Working on Your Own

Congratulations! You now have a reasonably MS Windows-like desktop for your Linux-based PC. Now you know how to use the K Panel pretty much the same way you use the MS-Windows task bar. And you know how to pop up the K Menu to start programs (applications) much the same way you use the MS Windows Start Menu to do that.

There is some pretty decent help included with the KDE installation. Just click on the KDE Help listing in the K Menu. For a nice step-by-step tutorial tour of the K Desktop, click on A Quick Start Guide to the Desktop on the main KDE help page.

Chapter 6, KDE Graphical Desktop, in the Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4 User's Guide is a good introduction to using the K Desktop. Check it out.

Most current Linux distributions, including the Caldera distribution, use a pre version 2 KDE. For example, OpenLinux installs KDE 1.1.2 by default. However, KDE now is up to the version 2 level. The computer book publishers have not yet caught up with the release of KDE 2.

Practical KDE by Dennis Powell from QUE Books ($30. ISBN: 0-7897-2216-X) is a good book for help with learning to use the K Desktop. However, it is a KDE 1.x rather than a KDE 2 book. To check which KDE version you have, click on the K Application Starter button on the task bar and then click on KDE Control Center. The KDE version is listed in the top, right panel of the KDE Control Center.

Considering this book was published December 6, 1999, which is more than a year ago, and that KDE 2 is the current KDE version, this book is a little old. However, since there are no basic KDE 2 books of which we know, you might find Practical KDE handy if you have a pre version 2 KDE installation.

If you are a more advanced reader and would like to get under KDE's hood, you might find KDE 2.0 Development, by David Sweet (SAMS, $50, ISBN: 0672318911) interesting.

Another good book that you might find helpful is Special Edition Using Caldera OpenLinux by Smart et al, also from QUE Books ($40. ISBN: 0-7897-20458-2). However, as with Practical KDE, this book is a little on the old side too. It was published nearly two years ago (June, 1999) and comes with the OpenLinux version 2.2 CDs.

There are substantial changes in the installer from OpenLinux 2.2 to 2.4. And the Webmin graphical system administration tool is new in OpenLinux 2.4. If you already have or obtain Special Edition Using Caldera OpenLinux you should use the material in the Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4 User's Guide for installation and Webmin help and information rather than the book.

Special Edition Using Caldera OpenLinux covers KDE 1.1. So you should be OK with this book for help with KDE 1.x installations.

If you are a beginner using Red Hat Linux, you might find SAMS Teach Yourself Red Hat Linux in 24 Hours by Judith Samson from SAMS ($25.ISBN: 0672318458) helpful. This book covers the GNOME desktop rather than the KDE desktop.

Conclusion

You can configure Linux to look and feel pretty much like MS Windows. Doing that should make using Linux lots easier if you are now an MS Windows user.

However, in the long run you will get more out of Linux if you learn to use Linux as Linux rather than Linux as an MS Windows clone. Once you get use to using Linux and the K desktop with the Windows Theme, try re-setting the K desktop to the KDE Default Theme.

Resources

Related Articles

Linux for Microsoft Windows Users: Introduction & Overview

Triple-Boot Caldera OpenLinux, Red Hat Linux, & MS Windows for Best of Three Worlds

Dual-Boot Linux & Windows to Get the Best of Both Operating System Worlds

How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6.0 -- Safely!

Computer Connections at Home, Office, & School

Some Basics for Computing & Networking Novices

Mozilla's ChatZilla, The Lizard Speaks: Real Internet Chatting & Communication Part 1: Introduction & Overview

Products

Caldera OpenLinux

Red Hat Linux

Xi Graphics

KDE Organization

Books

KDE 2.0 Development, SAMS, $49.99, ISBN: 0672318911

Practical KDE, QUE Books, $30, ISBN: 0-7897-2216-X

Sams Teach Yourself Red Hat Linux in 24 Hours, SAMS $25.ISBN: 0672318458

Special Edition Using Caldera OpenLinux, QUE Books, ISBN 0-7897-20458-2


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