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March 13, 2001

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Article Index

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Introduction

Switching from the GNOME to the K Desktop

Making Red Hat's K-Desktop More MS-Windows-Like

Modify the K Panel & Taskbar

Change the Desktop Background Color

Tweak the Icons Look

Working on Your Own

Conclusion

Resources & Links

Linux for Microsoft Windows Users: #3 -- Making an MS Windows-Like Desktop for Red Hat Linux

page - 4 -

Working on Your Own

That's a wrap for today's session. Your customized Red Hat K desktop theme now should look and feel lots more like the MS Windows default desktop then it did when we switched from the GNOME desktop to the K desktop. However, it is not the same as the MS Windows desktop. There are differences, but it is close enough.

You now should have enough feel for customizing and configuring the K desktop that you can work on your own to make your desktop look and feel even more like the MS Windows desktop if you like. Or, you further can explore the Settings sub-menus on your own and create your very own, personalized, custom Linux desktop configuration.

There are some nice pre-configured desktop themes and styles that you can try. Look for some elaborate themes in Settings > Desktop > Themes Manager. There are lots of background wallpapers in Settings > Desktop > Background. And there are some nice, pre-configured color schemes in Settings > Desktop > Colors.

You can look for additional KDE skins and themes on the Internet. Try the Open Source Development Network's (OSDN) kde.themes.org and themes.org Web sites for starters. Make sure any skins or themes you download are designed for the KDE version you are using.

You can use the Add button in the KDE Themes Manager to import downloaded themes and skins. Be careful, however. Installing imported themes and skins could result in changes to your desktop that you cannot un-do.

In any event, congratulations! You now have a reasonably MS Windows-like desktop theme for your Linux-based PC.

In this tutorial all the changes to the K desktop configuration were made by using the Settings menu structure. If you prefer, you can use the KDE Control Center to customize your K desktop configuration. Just click on KDE Control Center in the K Menu.

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.

Chapters 2 through 4 in Special Edition Using Linux, 6th Ed., by David Bendel and Robert Napier from Que Books ($45. ISBN: 0-7897-2543-6) should help you to work further on your own with either the K desktop or the GNOME desktop -- for just about any major Linux distribution.

There is a light treatment of both GNOME and KDE in Chapter 5, Using X Windows (sic) in Inside Linux, by Michael Tobler, from New Riders ($40. ISBN: 0-7357-0940-8)

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.

Check Chapter 2, GNOME in 60 Seconds (or so) in the Red Hat Linux 7 Getting Started Guide for some additional help with the GNOME desktop for Red Hat users. The following chapter there, Chapter 3, KDE in 60 Seconds (or so), covers the KDE desktop for Red Hat users.

Most current Linux distributions, including the Caldera OpenLinux 2.4 and Red Hat Linux 7 distributions, use a pre version 2 KDE. For example, OpenLinux installs KDE 1.1.2 by default. Red Hat Linux installs KDE 1.1.2. even though KDE is not the default Red Hat desktop.

However, KDE now is up to the version 2 level. The computer book publishers for the most part 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 Menu icon 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. (You will find your Linux kernel version release number there too.)

Considering Practical KDE 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.

Conclusion

You can use the K desktop to configure most any Linux installation 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 an MS-Windows-like theme, try re-setting the K desktop to the KDE Default Theme, one of the other pre-configured themes, or a custom theme of your own deign. Or, give the GNOME desktop a test drive.


Resources

Related Articles

Linux for Microsoft Windows Users: #4-- Getting Started Using the Windows-Like Desktop for Linux

Linux for Microsoft Windows Users: #2 - Getting Started with The Linux MS Windows-Like Desktop

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 & Stuff

Caldera OpenLinux

KDE Organization

kde.themes.org

Open Source Development Network's (OSDN)

Red Hat Linux

themes.org

Books

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

Inside Linux, New Riders, $40. ISBN: 0-7357-0940-8

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

Special Edition Using Linux, 6th Ed., QUE Books, ISBN: 0-7897-2543-6


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