F8 User Guide - Desktops

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The Fedora Desktops

In contrast to most proprietary operating systems, Fedora 8 has several desktop environments or desktops, which are used to display and launch available applications, and manage the overall appearance of the screen. The desktop environment is sometimes referred to as a Graphical User Interface, or GUI.

The three major desktops included with Fedora 8 are:

  • GNOME, which focuses on simplicity
  • KDE, which includes a large collection of applications and customization features
  • Xfce, which is appropriate for older PCs and laptops due to its low-memory requirements
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More Desktop Environments Exist
Fedora's extensive repository of software offers other desktops as well. To learn how to browse and install software from the repository, refer to Managing Software With Pirut.

Applications written for one desktop environment work with other desktops with very few exceptions. For instance, the OpenOffice.org office suite runs on all three major desktop environments.

Some applications are created specifically for a particular desktop environment. For instance, each major desktop has a preferred text editor. GNOME uses Gedit, KDE supplies Kedit, and Xfce provides Mousepad. However, even if you run GNOME as a desktop, you can install your favorite KDE or Xfce programs.

Fedora provides a wide choice of applications to browse the World Wide Web, create documents, and display and edit photos. This guide describes the most commonly installed applications on each desktop environment, as well as useful alternatives.

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