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15.4. The GNOME Control Center

The GNOME Control Center (Figure 15-4) is where most customization and configuration of your desktop environment takes place. Open the Control Center using the toolbox button on the panel, or from Utilities on the main menu. The Control Center contains a number of configuration applications, called capplets, that allow you to change various GNOME settings. The capplets are listed in the left pane of the Control Center window, and clicking on a name opens the capplet in the right pane.

Figure 15-4

Figure 15-4. GNOME Control Center

15.4.1. Desktop Settings

These sections provide settings for the overall look of your desktop by letting you choose the background, screensaver, theme, and window manager. Theme selector

Themes provide a consistent overall style to the many widgets and components used by GNOME. A number of basic themes are included with the gtk-engines package, and you can download and install additional themes from http://gtk.themes.org.

Anythemes that are installed on your system are listed in the Theme Selector. You can select one and preview it in the lower section of the window. If you click Auto Preview, a theme will preview automatically when you click on it. Otherwise, click the Preview button to see how it looks.

If you have downloaded a theme and wish to install it, click the Install New Theme button. Provide the name and location of the .tar.gz or .tgz file and click OK. The new theme will be installed in the /usr/share/themes directory and be available for you to use on your desktop.

15.4.2. Panel

Panels can be configured individually or globally. For individual configuration, right-click on the panel and select This Panel's Properties.

Most of the panel settings are made in the global panel configuration tool shown in Figure 15-5. To open this tool, select Global Preferences from the Panel menu.

Figure 15-5

Figure 15-5. Panel configuration settings

The global panel configuration section of the Control Center opens. It contains the following sections:

15.4.3. Document Handlers

This section configures the default programs used to run specific files based on their content type or URL.

15.4.7. User Interface

This section sets various properties for application window components such as menus, toolbars, status bars, and dialog boxes.

15.4.8. Sawfish Window Manager Configuration

The Sawfish window manager is the default window manager used by the Helix GNOME Desktop used in the figures in this chapter. Sawfish is GNOME-compliant, working well not to overlap the GNOME desktop settings. The Helix version of the GNOME Control Center integrates the Sawfish configuration settings instead of using a separate configuration tool. The Sawfish section of the Control Center is shown in Figure 15-6.

Figure 15-6

Figure 15-6. Sawfish configuration settings

The following sections describe the Sawfish configuration settings contained in the Helix GNOME Control Center. Focus behavior

This section contains settings that determine how windows receive the input focus.

The selection box at the top determines how the mouse pointer sets focus. The default is to focus when the mouse clicks on the window. The other choices are to focus only when the pointer is in the window ("enter-exit") and focus stays with the last window entered ("enter-only").

Three checkboxes are used to enable the following focus policies: focus each window when first displayed, transient windows inherit focus from their parent, and raise windows when they are focused. You can set the delay (in milliseconds) between focus and the time the window is raised (brought to the foreground).

The advanced section contains the following additional settings:

  • Give focus to windows even when they haven't asked for it.

  • Offset from left window edge when warping.

  • Offset from top window edge when warping.

  • Does click-to-focus mode pass the click through to the window?

The Shade Hover section contains settings for the behavior of shaded windows. A shaded window is effectively rolled up, like a window shade, into its titlebar, usually by double-clicking on the titlebar. If you check the button to enable shade hover, a shaded window will temporarily unshade when the mouse pointer is placed on its titlebar. The next box allows you to select the delay (in milliseconds) before unshading occurs. The final setting in this section enables windows to be raised automatically when they are unshaded. Minimizing and maximizing

This window contains settings for minimizing and maximizing windows. The settings for minimizing windows are as follows:

Windows are uniconified onto the current workspace

Minimized windows are opened on the current desktop workspace when they are clicked in the tasklist. You will usually have only one workspace in GNOME, which is divided into a grid of separate screens called viewports.

Windows are raised after being uniconified

Minimized windows are opened in the foreground when they are clicked in the tasklist.

Windows are focused after being uniconified

Minimized windows receive keyboard focus when they are clicked in the tasklist.

Iconifying a window that's a member of a group removes the whole group

If you minimize a window that is part of a group (e.g., an application may spawn several child windows from the main window), the whole group of windows will be minimized.

Uniconifying a window that's a member of a group restarts the whole group

In conjunction with the previous setting, a minimized window group will reopen if one of its members is raised.

Windows are uniconified to the current viewport

Minimized windows will reopen in the current screen, regardless of where they were before. In Sawfish, each screen of a desktop is referred to as a viewport.

The settings for maximizing windows are as follows:

Maximizing a window dimension always increases the size of that dimension

A window maximized vertically or horizontally will increase to that size even if it fills the screen.

Raise windows when they're maximized

Maximized windows automatically come to the foreground and receive focus.

Let ignored windows be overlapped when filling windows

If a window is set to be ignored (via the window menu), it will be overlapped by a fill command.

Lock window geometry while the window is maximized

No resizing of a window can occur if it is maximized. Miscellaneous

This section contains some miscellaneous window settings, including settings for the display of tooltips.

Windows selected (normally by the Windows menu) are raised

A selected window, either by keyboard shortcut or the desktop window menu, will be raised with focus.

Unshade selected windows

If a shaded window is selected, it will automatically unshade.

Warp the mouse pointer to selected windows

The pointer is automatically moved to a selected window.

Keep transient windows stacked above

This listbox selects how transient windows are placed. Choose from None, Parents, or All.

Update all windows when the default frame style is changed

If you change the window frame style, all windows will be automatically updated.

Automatically reload themes when they are updated

If a theme is edited, the changes are made immediately.

Group transient windows with their parents

Transient windows such as dialogs are automatically placed in the window group of their parents.

Raise windows when they are unshaded

Windows receive focus and come to the top when unshaded.

To enable window manager tooltips, click the button labeled Display Tooltips for Window Frames.

Tooltips will be displayed until the pointer leaves the item. You can set them to automatically disappear by enabling Remove Tooltips After a Period of Time. The amount of time before displaying and before removing tooltips is set by two input boxes.

You also can set the font used in tooltips, as well as the background and foreground colors.

15.4.9. Configuring the Enlightenment Window Manager

The Enlightenment window manager is the most common window manager used with GNOME. Configuring the window manager allows you to adjust the most general behavior of the desktop, such as mouse behavior, window placement, border styles, and the number of virtual desktops. You can access the Enlightenment configuration editor from the GNOME Control Center. Go to the window manager page, select Enlightenment from the list, and click the Run Configuration Tool for Enlightenment button. This opens the configuration window shown in Figure 15-7. The Enlightenment configuration tool is composed of the following sections:

Figure 15-7

Figure 15-7. Enlightenment configuration tool Behavior

This section contains options for setting additional keyboard focus properties on new windows and miscellaneous options such as tooltips and placement of pop-up windows. The Advanced Focus tab contains the following settings:

All new windows that appear get the keyboard focus

New windows automatically receive the keyboard focus.

All new pop-up windows get the keyboard focus

New pop-ups automatically receive the keyboard focus.

Only new pop-up windows whose owner is focused get the keyboard focus

Only pop-ups generated by the window with the current focus receive the keyboard focus.

Raise windows when switching focus with keyboard

Minimized windows open when receiving focus.

Send the pointer to windows when switching focus with the keyboard

Mouse pointer moves automatically to windows that receive keyboard focus.

The Miscellaneous tab contains the following settings:


Click the Enable button to allow tooltips to appear when the pointer is over an icon. You can set the amount of time in seconds for the tooltip to display with the slider control.

Transient pop-up windows appear together with leader

Displays additional pop-up windows with the window that generated them.

Switch to where pop-up window appears

Automatically switches to the desktop screen where a new pop-up appears.

Display icons when windows are iconified

Displays a small icon on the screen when a window is minimized. Leave this option disabled as GNOME will handle this functionality with the panel.

Place windows manually

When a new window is opened, the pointer is automatically switched to the activated move bar of the window. Move the window to the desired location and click to place it.

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