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Applies to openSUSE Leap 15.4

1 Getting started with the GNOME desktop Edit source

Abstract

Learn about the default configurations of GNOME.

GNOME is an easy-to-use graphical interface that can be customized to meet your needs and personal preferences. This section describes the default configuration of GNOME. If you or your system administrator modify the defaults, some aspects might be different, such as appearance or key combinations.

Note
Note: Included session configurations

openSUSE Leap ships with as three different session configurations based on GNOME. These are GNOME, GNOME Classic, and SLE Classic. The version described here is GNOME. The main difference between the configurations is the look and feel of the home screen and the main menu. The majority of what is described in the following applies to all three configurations.

1.1 Logging in Edit source

In general, all users must authenticate—unless Auto Login is enabled for a specific user. In this case, a particular user will be logged in automatically when the system starts. This can save some time, especially if a computer is used by a single person. It may impact account security. Auto Login can be enabled or disabled during installation or at any time using the YaST User and Group Management module. For more information, refer to Book “Start-Up”, Chapter 5 “Managing users with YaST”.

If your computer is running in a network environment and you are not the only person using the machine, you are usually prompted to enter your user name and password when you start the system.

Default GNOME login screen
Figure 1.1: Default GNOME login screen
Procedure 1.1: Normal login
  1. In the login screen, select your user name.

    If your user name is not listed, click Not listed?. Then enter your user name and click Next.

  2. Enter your password and confirm with Enter.

1.1.1 Switching the session type before logging in Edit source

If you want to try one of the additional GNOME session configurations or try another desktop environment, follow the steps below.

  1. On the login screen, click your user name or enter it, as you normally would.

  2. To change the session type, click the cog wheel icon in the lower right corner. A menu appears.

    Default GNOME login screen—session type
    Figure 1.2: Default GNOME login screen—session type
  3. From the menu, select one of the entries. Depending on your configuration there may be different choices, but the default selection is as follows.

    GNOME (default)

    A GNOME 4 configuration that is very close to the upstream design. It focuses on interrupting users as little as possible. However, starting applications and switching between them works differently from many other desktop operating systems. It uses a single panel at the top of the screen. This session is started on Wayland.

    GNOME on Xorg

    By default openSUSE Leap uses GNOME with Wayland. Choose this option to start GNOME on Xorg. This is also the version used in this documentation.

    GNOME classic

    GNOME classic is for users who prefer a more traditional desktop experience. It is based on GNOME 4 technologies but provides a number of changes to the user interface.

    IceWM session

    A basic desktop designed to use little resources. It can be used as a fallback, if other options do not work or are slow.

    SLE classic

    This desktop is a GNOME 4 configuration and uses a single panel that is placed at the bottom of the screen. This session is started on Wayland.

    TWM

    A minimalist desktop designed to consume as little hardware resources as possible.

  4. Enter your password into the text box and confirm with Enter.

After switching to another session type once, the chosen session will become your default session. To switch back, repeat the steps above.

1.1.2 Assistive tools Edit source

The top bar provides access to your windows and applications. Here you can set the volume or screen brightness, check the battery status, log out or switch users, and much more.

The Activities overview allows you to access your windows, applications, files, folders, and the web.

1.2 Desktop basics Edit source

The GNOME desktop appears after you first log in. The top bar displays the Activities overview, the calendar, and the System menu. The following list gives more details on each element:

Activities overview

The Activities overview allows you to access your windows, applications, files, folders, and the web.

The Activities overview is described further in Section 1.2.1, “Activities overview”.

Calendar

The current day of the week and time are shown. Click it to open a menu where you can access a calendar and adjust date and time settings.

System menu

In the right corner of the top bar, click the icons to open the System menu where you can adjust sound volume, display brightness, network connection, and power settings, or log out.

GNOME desktop
Figure 1.3: GNOME desktop

1.2.1 Activities overview Edit source

The Activities overview shows a preview of all open windows and icons for favorite and running applications. It also integrates searching and browsing functionality.

1.2.1.1 Opening the Activities overview Edit source

To open the Activities overview, you have the following options:

  • In the top bar, click Activities overview.

  • Move your mouse pointer to the upper left hot corner.

  • Press the Meta key on your keyboard.

1.2.1.2 Using the Activities overview Edit source

In the following, the most important parts of the Activities overview are explained.

Activities overview
Figure 1.4: Activities overview
dash

The Dash is the bar positioned in the center at the bottom. It contains your favorite applications and running applications. If you move the mouse pointer over one of the icons, the name of the corresponding application is displayed nearby. A small dot underneath the icon indicates that the application is running.

Right-clicking an icon opens a menu which offers different actions depending on the associated program. Using Add to Favorites, you can place the application icon permanently in Dash. To remove a program icon from Dash, select Remove from Favorites. To rearrange an icon, use the mouse to drag it to a new position.

Search box

On the top, there is a search box that you can use to find applications, settings and files in your home directory.

To search, you do not need to click the search box. You can begin typing directly after opening the Activities overview. Search starts immediately, you do not need to press Enter.

1.2.1.3 Using the Application menu Edit source

Application menu for Firefox
Figure 1.5: Application menu for Firefox

Right beside the Activities button, you can find the Application menu. It shows the name of the active application and provides quick access to the windows and details of the application.

1.2.2 Starting programs Edit source

To start a program, you have several options:

  • In the top bar, click Activities and select an application from the menu.

  • Open the Activities overview by pressing Meta on your keyboard and select an application.

  • If you know the exact command to start the program, you can press AltF2, enter the command into the dialog and press Enter.

    For more information about the Activities overview, see Section 1.2.1, “Activities overview”.

1.3 Pausing or finishing your session Edit source

To pause or close your session, open the System menu in the upper right corner of the top bar and choose one of the options listed.

  • Lock This pauses your session but keeps the computer on. Make sure that nobody can look at or change your work while you are away. Other users can log in and work in the meantime. Other users can shut down the computer, but a prompt will warn them that you are still logged in.

  • Log Out or Switch User Finish the current session, but leave the computer on, so other users can log in.

  • Suspend Pause your session and put the computer into a state where it consumes a minimal amount of energy. Suspend mode can be configured to lock your screen, so nobody can look at or change your work. Waking up the computer is generally much quicker than a full computer start.

    This mode is also known as suspend-to-RAM, sleep or standby mode.

  • Restart Finish the current session and restart the computer. Restarting is necessary to apply some system updates.

  • Power Off Finish the current session and turn off the computer.

1.3.1 Locking the screen Edit source

To lock the screen, open the System menu in the upper right corner of the top bar and click the padlock icon.

When you lock your screen, a curtain with a clock appears first. After some time, the screen turns black.

To unlock the screen, move the mouse or press a key to display the locked screen dialog. Enter your password and press Enter to unlock the screen.

1.3.2 Logging out or switching users Edit source

Note that the Log Out and Switch User entries only appear in the menu if you have more than one user account on your system.

  1. Click the System menu in the upper right corner of the top bar to open the menu.

  2. Expand the Power Off/Log Out menu.

  3. Select one of the following options:

    Log Out

    Logs you out of the current session and returns you to the Login screen.

    Switch User

    Suspends your session, allowing another user to log in and use the computer.

1.3.3 Restarting or shutting down the computer Edit source

  1. Click the System menu in the upper right corner of the top bar to open the menu.

  2. In the menu, select Power Off/Log Out to expand it.

  3. Select one of the following options:

    Suspend

    Pauses your session and puts the computer into a state where it consumes a minimal amount of energy. Suspend mode can be configured to lock your screen, so nobody can look at or change your work. Waking up the computer is generally much quicker than a full computer start.

    Restart

    Logs you out of the current session, then restarts the computer.

    Power Off

    Logs you out of the current session, then turns off the computer.

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