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Linux in a Nutshell, Fourth Edition by Aaron Weber, Stephen Figgins, Ellen Siever

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Chapter 17. GNOME

One of the two popular desktop environments used with Linux, GNOME is provided as the default desktop for Red Hat, Debian, and several other popular distributions. As a graphical environment, GNOME provides users with a highly customizable user interface and consistent functionality of common GUI features such as menus, toolbars, and buttons. In addition, it offers users a growing set of native applications to create a productive computing system. The number and quality of applications are a testament to the developer-friendly GNOME libraries; many GNOME technologies are also used in nongraphical or totally unrelated software. GNOME is distributed with most Linux distributions, and you can also get it from the GNOME web site (http://www.gnome.org) or from Ximian (http://www.ximian.com), a company that specializes in the GNOME desktop.

GNOME stands for "GNU Network Object Model Environment,” and although the name is admittedly obscure, it does point to one of GNOME’s core technologies: its CORBA-based objects. CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) specifies methods that allow interaction among applications through the sharing and embedding of component objects. For example, a spreadsheet created by Gnumeric (a GNOME spreadsheet program) can be placed as an object into an AbiWord document, and the Nautilus file browser can display images, web pages, and so forth by embedding an image viewer and HTML display engine. GNOME uses two libraries to do this: ...

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