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   >  Using the Favourites List in Fedora
   >  Using the  Gnome 3.x Activities Area
   >  Using Workspaces in Gnome 3.x
   >  Adding  Applications to Gnome
   >  Customising the 3.x Desktop
   >  Using Gnome to View Folders
   >  The Linux Mint Gnome 3 GUI
   >  The Zorin OS Gnome 3 GUI


The Linux Mint Gnome Desktop

 Video Tour of the Linux Mint 12 Gnome 3.x Desktop

The Linux Mint Gnome 3 Graphical User Interface (GUI)

The current version of Linux Mint (12), uses Gnome 3 as it's default desktop. This is very similar to the Ubuntu Unity and Fedora desktops in look and operation.

The current version of Linux Mint .. uses Gnome 3 as it's default desktop..

In this section, we'll take a tour of the Gnome 3 desktop as supplied out of the box by Linux Mint. When you first boot Linux Mint 12, the desktop will look something like the screenshot below:

The Gnome Desktop

The default desktop consists of four main areas:

  1. The Activities area (-the infinity icon in the top left corner of the screen)

  2. The Top Panel (-the icons in along top line of the screen)

  3. The Desktop (-everything between the top/bottom panels)

  4. The Bottom Panel (-the icons / options along the bottom line of the screen)

The Top Panel

The Linux Mint menu bar consists of seven different drop downs:

Mint Gnome Top Panel

  1. Activities Area clicking this allows you to access the Activities Area

    Mint Activities Area Icon

  2. Sound clicking this allows you to check or configure the volume and sound output

    Volume  Menu

  3. Bluetooth: clicking this allows you to to configure and check your Bluetooth settings:

    Bluetooth Menu

  4. Network clicking this allows you to check or configure your network/internet access

    Network Menu

  5. Power: clicking this allows you to to configure and check the power settings, view the state of the battery, etc:

    Power Menu

  6. Calendar and Appointments: clicking on this gives you access to the calendar, allows you to browse or change date and time settings and to view or change your appointments

    Calendar Options

  7. User clicking this allows you to set your chat status, change your account setup, run various system functions or log off / lock your screen / logon as another user / shutdown the computer, etc:

    System Menu

The Activities Area

There are two main ways of invoking the Activities Area:

  • Clicking on the Show Desktop Icon icon in the top left of the desktop
  • Clicking on the "Option" key (-aka the Windows key) on your keyboard

Once invoked, there are two main functions to choose from:

  1. Favourites List: this is a quick launch bar listing icons of your favourite applications down the side. Left-click on any of these to start that application - or to switch to it's window, if it is already running:

    Mint Favourites

  2. Show Windows: this is the default view and shows all the currently open windows and workspaces, allowing you to switch between them by clicking on the desired window (-or to close windows by clicking on the "x" icon in the top right corner of that window):

    Activities - Windows Area

  3. Show Applications: this shows all the available applications installed on the computer and allows you to run them by double-clicking on their icon

    Activities - Application Area

The Desktop

Unlike Fedora, the Linux Mint desktop can contain icons and shortcuts like Gnome 2.x. Mounted media - such as CDs and USB memory sticks - also show up here.

8Gb USB Filesystem mounted

You can add icons to the desktop via the File Manager by dragging the file icon to your /home/Desktop directory:

Activities - Application Area

The Bottom Panel

Along the bottom of the screen, you find the Bottom Panel. The default display can be divided into five parts:

Mint Main Menu Icon

One of the controversial points about Gnome 3.x desktop - as implemented by Fedora and Ubuntu - is the lack of a menu structure. The Linux Mint desktop addresses this by providing a Main Menu in addition to the Activities Area. From here, you can access your Favourites (-down the left hand side) and navigate to a particular application either by category or a text search:

The Mint Main Menu

Mint Show Desktop IconClicking this icon toggles between minimizing all windows currently open on the desktop and restoring them to the desktop. This is useful if you need to get to the desktop background quickly
Mint Minimised App IconThe central area of the panel contains icons for each of the minimised icons on the current virtual workspace
Mint Workspace IconsThe next icons allow you to switch between the (-by default, two) available virtual workspaces
Mint Notifier IconThis icon allows you to suppress or view any alerts / messages displayed by the system

The Context Menu

If you right-click on any blank area of the Linux Mint desktop, the Context Menu will display:

This allows you access to some basic options, such as to create a new file or customise the desktop (e.g. to organise the desktop icons and set background wallpaper).

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