35 GNOME: The Desktop


GNOME is a desktop platform for Unix and GNU/Linux, delivering a high level of usability through consistency of application interfaces, as well as interoperability. The GNOME Foundation, initiated in August 2000, brought together many of the major Unix vendors of the time, including Sun Microsystems, IBM, HP and Compaq, to support the further development of GNOME. Sun (later acquired by Oracle), for example, identified the GNOME desktop as the standard for Solaris, one of the most popular commercial versions of Unix at the time.

GNOME, an abbreviation for the GNU Network Object Model Environment and is a component-based system built around standards such as XML and CORBA. It offers a standard look-and-feel for applications and a platform for applications to share resources.

While GNOME applications share the same look-and-feel, you can choose the theme for that look-and-feel to suit your own style. Many themes are available including those that mimic other operating systems (MS/Windows and Mac/OSX). Once you choose a theme all of the GNOME applications will use that theme immediately. You can change themes at any time through the gnome-tweak tool. We use different themes through this book, noting that our preferences may change over time. Themes used include Ambiance and themse may be chosen with a lighter grey in the background to suit screenshots to be used in publications.

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