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Documentation Summary

Purpose: Short introduction to the Fedora desktop.

Audience: New users with a fresh installation of Fedora.

Assumptions: The reader has an installation of Fedora with the default set of software packages, a user account with the default settings, and access to the root password.

Related Documents: This Guide bridges the gap between installation and the DesktopUserGuide and other sources of help. The DesktopUserGuide documents how to accomplish specific tasks with the desktop applications.

Lead Writer: AndrewHudson Edited for grammar, vocabulary, and content by ZacharyHamed on 2008-03-27

Welcome to Fedora

Fedora is the result of a massive community effort that brings the best aspects of Linux to the world. Fedora has a wide range of software suitable for everyone: from beginner to experienced users, office workers to web addicts, and developers to photographers. You can use it for regular home use, such as typing plain text, editing word documents for schoolwork and business proposals, using GIMP to process your favorite personal pictures, recording your tones in Audacity, setting a file sharing server, assembling a customized home theater, or even constructing a private email server--you can do it all with the Fedora system. Most importantly, all of the software packages mentioned above are absolutely free and are updated and maintained periodically. Even if English is not your native language, Fedora is translated into the most commonly used languages, and you can switch among them at any point. Yes! Fedora includes most languages and packs them into one DVD. All the work is accomplished and proofed by your peers around the globe. If you are curious about (but never had the chance to try) Linux or UNIX, here is your opportunity to download and play with it. You will see the beauty of the next system giant through the distribution of Fedora.

Who This Document is For

This document gives a brief orientation to Fedora and provides links to further reading based on specific interests; it covers typical daily computer usage and includes a range of information designed to make the move to Fedora easier.

For more in-depth information on advanced topics, refer to the following documents:

Some Things to Understand

Linux is very different from other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, the leading desktop OS. This section explains concepts about Linux and how it works, which help make it clear, for example, why Linux asks for various passwords.


By default Linux creates the root user account. The root account is the highest level account on the system and is used for administration. During the installation of Fedora, the user is asked to create a password for the root account. This password should be remembered for future use.

The root account gives the user full permission to modify files, and start and stop critical programs (called processes) on the system. This is a security feature in Linux that limits normal user privileges only to those required for normal tasks. The user is prompted for the root password when making system-wide changes, such as installing new software or starting/stopping fundamental programs required by the operating system.

The Command Line/Terminal

Use the Terminal program to perform command line tasks. Benefits to using the command line include the ability to give multiple commands on one line, but it requires greater knowledge of Linux commands. For more information on the command line, refer to the Command Line Survival Guide .

First Impressions


GNOME, Fedora's default window manager, is the underlying graphical user environment. It provides a visual front-end using a desktop analogy. When you log into Fedora, GNOME is started with a predefined set of icons and menus on the desktop.

The Internet

Mozilla Firefox is the default web browsing application. It is accessed through Applications > Internet > Firefox Web Browser. Firefox is also available on other platforms such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.


Evolution is the default email client application. Use it to access email, organize contacts, manage tasks, and schedule calendars. Evolution is similar in functionality to Microsoft Outlook. Access it by clicking on the envelope icon in the toolbar panel or through Applications > Internet > Email.

Another choice for an email client is Thunderbird, developed by the Mozilla Foundation. It is a popular email client on multiple operating systems. It is used for handling email and newsgroups without the calendaring functions that Evolution provides. Thunderbird is not installed by default. It can be installed by selecting Applications > Add/Remove Software.

Instant Messaging

The Pidgin application is popularly used for instant messaging. The instant messaging protocols that Pidgin supports include MSN, AIM, IRC, and Yahoo. Pidgin is accessed through Applications > Internet > Internet Messenger.

Music & Audio

Fedora provides built-in support for sound cards and playing music CDs. Applications to import audio from CDs and manage music files are available. Extracting audio from CDs and storing it in compressed format on the hard drive is one way to manage a music collection.

To extract, or rip, the music from a CD, use the Sound Juicer program. It is accessed through Applications > Sound and Video > Audio CD Extractor. By default, Sound Juicer encodes music files to the free and open OGG Vorbis format. Once music files are generated, use Rhythmbox to manage and play tracks. In addition to playing audio file formats, Rhythmbox is also used for streaming media from Internet radio stations.

Productivity Tools

The office suite included by default in Fedora is, a well-known and mature collection of software., or, includes a word processor (Write), a spreadsheet program (Calc), and presentation software (Impress). A simple image editing package (Draw) and a relational database (Base) are also available for optional installation.

Moving Further

  • Linux Games - included with Fedora
  • Configuring an internet connection via System > Administration > Network
  • Configuring graphics cards / video drivers.

Cool Things To Do with Fedora

  • LinPhone - demonstrates installing from Extras, and free phone calls. Requires: headset.
  • GnuCash - installs from Core, home finance software isn't cool, but is important.