Chapter 11. Customizing Your X Environment

X is now running. But that’s only half the story. In the last chapter, you learned how to set up the X Window System so that it recognizes your graphics board and your monitor. While this is clearly necessary, it is of course not the whole story. In this chapter, we will explain the other half: customizing your X environment. Why is customization important? When working in the X Window System, you might want to change your work environment from time to time because your work habits have changed, because new and better environments are available, or simply because the old one has become boring to you. Some of these environments are quite sophisticated. For example, they let you start up a program with all the options you want at the press of a key or the click of a mouse, they let you drag file icons onto a printer to have text printed, and they can do lots of other things that make you more productive in your daily work.

In this chapter, we’ll first talk about some very basic aspects of X customization and then introduce you to the two most prominent desktop environments on Linux: KDE and GNOME. For readers who want to dig deeper or need a type of application that is provided with neither KDE nor GNOME, we’ll then look at a general means of configuring (older) X applications, the X resources, as well as some general X applications that run independent of any desktop environment.

Until recently, the problem with using X on Unix systems in ...

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