KDE installation and customization
KDE is becoming the most common desktop environment for Linux and also runs on Solaris, FreeBSD, SGI IRIX and HP-UX. It runs on top of X Windows (or you can use the K windows manager instead) and is free. Red Hat 6.0 installs automatically two other desktop environments: GNOME and AnotherLevel. KDE is included in the Red Hat 6.0 distribution but it is not installed automatically. This tutorial covers its installation and customization. After KDE is installed you can use any of the three environments at will, or tools from one environment in the others, so there is not really a need to choose just one. You can take a look at KDE screenshots.
- Installing KDE
Mount the Red Hat 6.0 CD-ROM 1, and install packages for KDE in the following order:
- any others you may wish
Only the first five packages are really required, while the others are optional. You should install the latest versions of each package (1.1 or greater for KDE packages).
Once KDE is installed, open a shell window and type switchdesk. A graphical window will open and you can then select KDE as your desktop environment.
- Customizing KDE
KDE is automatically customized to your account by the installation, but you may wish to do further customization, which we will discuss here.
You can use in KDE any of the tools available in AnotherLevel and GNOME by selecting Personal, Red Hat Linux from the KDE Menu toolbar. You can also switch to the other desktops by selecting System, Desktop Switching Tool from the KDE Menu toolbar, or typing switchdesk in a shell window (Note: if you skipped the installation of the package switchdesk-kde you will not be able to switch desktops from KDE, but you can install the package after you have installed KDE and solve the problem).
- desktop appearance:
Open the KDE Control Center (click on the fourth icon in the KDE toolbar) and select Desktop and the Background as shown in this link. You can then select the background color and a Wallpaper, if you would like to have one. You can use any jpeg image as your wallpaper. In the example I created a directory media in my home directory, stored jpeg images there and selected one, but KDE comes with a collection you can choose from.
In the KDE Control Center you can also select a screensaver, obtain information, and further customize KDE. For example you can choose from eight languages in which to see KDE information. You can also change the default fonts, window color schemes, etc.
- adding icons to your desktop (we will use Netscape Communicator as an example): just right-click on the desktop and select New, Application. A New Application window will appear and replace Program.kdelnk with Netscape.kdelnk and press OK. A new window will be displayed and you should choose the Execute tab. In the Execute window enter netscape in the Execute space. Then click on the icon symbol to open the Select Icon window. Scroll down in the windown until you find an icon for netscape, select it and click on OK. You will be placed back in the Execute window. Press OK and the icon will be placed on the desktop with a link to netscape. When you single-click (not double-click) on the icon netscape with start. Read also the mount tutorial to see how to place a floppy and CD-ROM mount tool icon in your desktop
Note: you can create your own icons using the Paint application available in the graphics menu of KDE. Icons should be 32 by 32 pixels, saved in xpm format. You can use the various icon collections on the Web to download gif, jpeg and xpm icons. Paint will read any of these formats and save in xpm. Place your new icons in your home directory in the subdirectory .kde/share/icons.
- menu editor : you may want to add items to the KDE Menu toolbar. In order to do so select Utilities, Menu Editor. You will see a copy of the KDE Menu toolbar and if you click (or right-click, depending on the case) on it you can add and edit applications as you may wish. I tend to use the Menu Editor to find out the path for applications so that I can place a link (icon) on the desktop. I navigate the Menu Editor up to the application I am interested and right-click on it. A window will open that will let me choose either change or view and see the application path and icon. When I finish seeing the path and icon I click on cancel and close the Medu Editor.
This page is maintained by Al Bento
who can be reached at email@example.com. This page was last updated on August 1, 1999. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.