April 24, 2019

GNOME Configuration Made Easy - page 2

Getting GNOME

  • November 6, 2000
  • By Michael Hall
One of the things people like most about GNOME is the flexibility it provides, especially with the variety of configurations for the panels.

Helix GNOME has two panels out of the box: a menu panel at the top of the screen and a panel at the bottom. The menu panel provides access to menus for GNOME, your distribution, and even any KDE apps on your system. It also includes a "Favorites" menu item, quick access to the GNOME Control Center, and a "Desktop" menu that can log out, tidy up desktop icons, and lock the screen.

On the far right of the menu panel, there's a small spider icon. Clicking on that provides a menu of various web destinations in the GNOME world, including the bugtracking database, mailing list archives, and GNOME software list. Clicking on the clock provides a menu of calendar views, and selecting one invokes the GNOME calendar program.

The menu panel is somewhat inflexible: you can turn it off if you don't like it, but most of the other things you can do with a GNOME panel are missing: you can't resize it, make it automatically hide itself, or alter its placement on the desktop.

The normal GNOME panel at the bottom of the screen, though, is much more flexible. This week, we're going to look at how to create a panel that provides quick access to favorite applications or applets without being in the way constantly. It also spares having to navigate the menus to get at a favorite application: put it in a small pop-up panel and it will always be one click away. By covering how to do this fairly simple operation uncovers where some of GNOME's configuration options are hidden away.

The first step is to create a new panel by right-clicking on either the panel at the bottom or the menu panel at the top of the screen. Move the mouse over the "Panel" menu entry, then over the "Create Panel" entry. Select the entry labeled "Aligned." This will place a new panel on one edge of the desktop.

The next step is to right click on that new panel and select the Panel/Properties/All Properties item. That will bring up a window that determines where along the edge of the display you want the new panel will be placed and its size and hiding characteristics.

Since we're aiming for an unobtrusive application launcher, consider the following settings:

  • Panel Size: 24 pixels
  • Panel Position: select the edge of the screen where the mouse pointer comes to rest naturally when not in use.
  • Enable Auto-hide
  • Disable 'Show hide buttons'

Having set all the panel's properties by clicking "OK", the panel will hide itself against the edge where you placed it. Now it's time to populate it with application icons. Since GNOME's panels are drag-n-drop, just select an item from the "Programs" menu and drag it over to your new panel, which will pop up long enough to drop the icon onto it.

The panel will hide on the edge of the screen until you mouse over it. If you decide you don't like it, right click on it, mousing over the "Panel" menu entry, and select "Remove this Panel" to get rid of it.

Quick Tip:

The GNOME mail notification applet (found under Programs/Applets/Network/Mailcheck) has six different notification graphics. More than one of these can run at a time, and you can select which mailbox each monitors. If using procmail with multiple mbox files, or have multiple POP accounts, this is a great way to keep track of which box has mail. Just add an applet for each box you want to monitor, pick a separate notification graphic, and point each one at the correct account, maildir, or file.

Next Week:

Evolution's getting closer, and I'll have a look at the newest preview release.

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