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A Desktop Environment (DE) is a complete Graphical User Interface (GUI) for a system.
Desktop Environments usually include, but are not limited to:
- A Window Manager
- 1 The X Server
- 2 Installing a Desktop Environment
- 2.1 Installing KDE in a Nutshell
- 2.2 Installing GNOME in a Nutshell
- 2.3 Installing Xfce in a Nutshell
- 2.4 Installing Enlightenment in a Nutshell
- 3 Configuring the Desktop Environment
- 4 External Resources
The X Server
To install/use a DE, you require X(org). If you are accessing this wiki through a graphical browser like Firefox or Konqueror, then you likely already have X and a DE installed. However, if you installed Arch using a base CD and are reading this wiki from the terminal (in a browser like links2), you likely don't have X. To install X, type the following in a console:
# pacman -S xorg
For more information on X, see the Xorg article.
Installing a Desktop Environment
There are many DE's available for Linux; here are just a few:
Installing KDE in a Nutshell
You can install KDE by simply typing the following in a root terminal:
# pacman -S kde
This will first ask you if you want to install the whole KDE group of packages. This is about 270MB of downloads (4-2006 estimate with KDE 3.5.2). If you don't want to install all of this, you can type 'n', and it will ask you which KDE packages you want. Below is a list of all the KDE packages and details about them.
- arts – KDE Sound Engine
- gwenview – KDE Image Viewer
- kde-Common – Common KDE packages
- kdeaccessibility – KDE Accessibility
- kdeaddons – Plugins for konq, noatun, etc.
- kdeadmin – Administration packages; includes user manager
- kdeartwork – Artwork (Colors, themes, pictures, splash screens, etc.)
- kdebase – Base of KDE. REQUIRED
- kdebindings – KDE keybindings (for developers)
- kdeedu – KDE Educational Applications
- kdegames – Games for KDE
- kdegraphics – Graphic-related Applications
- kdelibs – KDE Libraries. REQUIRED
- kdemultimedia – Includes Multimedia Applications for KDE
- kdenetwork – KDE Network-related package, including kppp, etc.
- kdepim – Personal Information Management; Korganiser, KMail, etc.
- kdesdk – KDE Software Development Kit
- kdetoys – Small Applications and toys for KDE; Eyes, Amusing Misuse of Resources (AMOR)
- kdeutils – Little extra applications; ark, kcalc, etc.
For more information, see KDE.
Installing GNOME in a Nutshell
You can install GNOME by simply typing the following in a root terminal:
# pacman -S gnome
Like the KDE one, this will first ask whether you want the whole GNOME group. The total download for installing GNOME is 125.6MB (As of 12-2006). If not, you may select which packages to install. Below is a list of the GNOME packages, and explanations of what they are.
- gnome-icon-theme – An icon theme for GNOME
- control-center – The GNOME Control Center
- epiphany – GNOME web-browser
- gnome-applets – Panel Applets
- gnome-backgrounds – Desktop Backgrounds
- gnome-common – Common GNOME files
- gnome-desktop – The GNOME Desktop
- gnome-media – GNOME Media Tools
- gnome-mime-data – Mime Data for GNOME
- gnome-panel – GNOME Panel
- gnome-session – GNOME Session handling
- gnome-themes – Themes for GNOME
- gnome2-user-docs – GNOME User Documentation
- metacity – GNOME Window Manager
- nautilus – GNOME File Browser
- vte – GNOME Terminal Widget
- yelp – GNOME Help browser
For more information, see GNOME.
Installing Xfce in a Nutshell
You can install Xfce by simply typing the following in a root terminal:
# pacman -S xfce4
As with both the KDE and GNOME installs, it will first ask you if you want to install the whole Xfce group. The total downloads for Xfce is 44.9MB (As of 4-2006). If you choose not to install the whole group, see below for each package and its details.
- gtk-xfce-engine – The Xfce-GTK graphics engine
- libxfce4mcs – Settings management support for Xfce.
- libxfce4util – Non-GUI functions for Xfce
- libxfcegui4 – GTK widgets for Xfce
- orage – Xfce Calendar
- thunar – File manager
- xfce-mcs-manager – Settings manager.
- xfce-mcs-plugins – Plugins for settings manager
- xfce-utils – startxfce4 script, run dialog, etc.
- xfce4-appfinder – Application finder
- xfce4-icon-theme – Icon theme
- xfce4-iconbox – Simple application management, similar to taskbar.
- xfce4-mixer – Volume control plugin for the panel
- xfce4-panel – Xfce Panel
- xfce4-session – Session management
- xfce4-systray – System tray plugin for the panel
- xfce4-toys – Small toys for Xfce
- xfce4-trigger-launcher – Trigger launcher panel plugin
- xfdesktop – Allows desktop wallpaper, icons, and menus
- xfprint – The Xfce Print package
- xfwm4 – Xfce Window Manager
- xfwm4-themes – Themes for Xfce Window Manager
For more information, see Xfce.
Installing Enlightenment in a Nutshell
Enlightenment has two versions:
- DR16, the older code, originally released 2000, with most recent release 2003.
- DR17, the newer code, still in pre-alpha (although quite stable).
Enlightenment Development Release 16
You can install Enlightenment DR16 by simply typing the following in a root terminal:
# pacman -S enlightenment
It seems that E16 is only the window manager, and not a whole Desktop Environment; See Window_Managers_and_Desktop_Environments_-_What_are_they? for more info.
Enlightenment Development Release 17
You can install Enlightenment DR17 from the community repository, by typing the following in a root terminal:
# pacman -S e17-svn
Install additional packages with:
# pacman -S e17-extra-svn
Enlightenment DR17 has a similar group of packages to KDE, GNOME and Xfce. Below is a list of packages in the E17 group.
- e – The window manager
- ecore – Event Abstraction and Modular Convenience
- edb-devel – E Database Development package
- edje – Interface Abstraction Library & Tools
- eet – Distribution Container Libraries & Tools
- embryo – Embeddable scripting language for enlightenment
- emotion – Video smart-object library for evas
- entice – An Image Viewer
- entrance – The E Display Manager
- epeg – For thumbnailing JPEGs
- epsilon – Freedesktop.org thumbnailing library
- esmart – A collection of evas smart objects
- etox – Text Layout and Manipulation
- evas – Canvas Library
- ewl – Enlightenment Widget Library
- imlib2-devel – Image Rendering and Manipulation Library
- imlib2_loaders – Loaders for the Image Rendering and Manipulation Library
Configuring the Desktop Environment
After installing kdeadmin, from the konsole, type 'kcontrol' (kde3mod), or go to K Menu → System Settings (KDE 4).
Use the preferences menu to drop down to whatever you'd like to change.
Right-click on the desktop and pull down to the settings menu. From there you can open the settings manager.
Navigate from the E17 menu (or left-click the desktop), and go to Configuration → Configuration Panel.