Chapter 15. GNOME

GNOME stands for the GNU Network Object Model Environment. It is a user-friendly, graphically driven environment that controls the look and feel of your desktop and provides a consistent method of interaction and cooperation between applications. GNOME is one of two popular desktop environments used with Linux. It is standard with Red Hat, Debian, and other popular distributions. The other popular Linux environment is called KDE, which is discussed in Chapter 16.

GNOME is not a window manager. As a graphical environment, it provides users with a highly customizable user interface and consistent functionality of common GUI features such as menus, toolbars, and buttons. As a user environment, GNOME utilizes a growing set of native applications to create a productive computing system.

One of GNOME’s most attractive features is its CORBA-based architecture, which allows interaction among applications through the sharing and embedding of component objects. CORBA stands for Common Object Request Broker Architecture. It specifies methods that software objects use to interact with each other through an ORB (object request broker). The ORB package currently used by GNOME is the ORBit package ( allows similar functionality to Window’s COM and OLE. For example, a spreadsheet created by gnumeric (a GNOME spreadsheet program) can be placed as an object into an AbiWord document.

GNOME does rely on a window manager to handle the particulars ...

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