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|by Ashwin Acharya|
People keep saying that Linux is so boring. I mean there isn't any GUI, is there? It doesn't look as good as Windows! It's too difficult to remember all those command line instructions.
All this changed with the advent of X-Windows. The name arises, obviously, from MS-Windows. X-Windows is the GUI version of Linux. Now, what's a GUI you may ask? GUI stands for Graphical User Interface. The interface we use to communicate with the computer in MS-Windows is totally graphical. You point and click, drag and drop etc. X-Windows imparts these functionalities to Linux as well.
Initially designed by a group of people who felt that the command line wasn't good enough, it caught on like wildfire and many people developed their own versions of it. Unlike Windows, where you have only one type of interface, X (short for X-Windows) provides you with innumerable interfaces to use. If you don't like the present one, well, you can design your own. All this is possible due to the open source nature of Linux. Source code is readily available for all to refer and learn from. Of course, you have to be an experienced programmer in C, C++ etc before trying this.
There are a variety of interfaces you can use. Universally called as window managers, these run on the xfree86 server. 'X' stands for X-windows, 'free' obviously means that it's free and '86' says it is designed for Intel x86 range of computers (which include the Pentium and onwards too). The basic backbone of X is this server. The GUI managers act as front ends for this ensuring that you have easy access just like in MS-Windows.
The major window managers include Gnome, KDE, windowmaker, enlightenment and more. Gnome, along with enlightenment comes as the default for Red Hat Linux. However if you are installing and using Linux for the first time, I would recommend you KDE. Its interface and usage is almost exactly like MS-Windows. This makes it much easier for you. Later of course, you can experiment.
The next article will deal with one or more of these window managers in detail, explaining to you how to install, use and enjoy them. That's it for now see you later.
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