The Hack's Desktop

The KDE desktop is used because it is most similar to the Windows desktop that most of you are familiar with. We'll explore it as we check some stuff out.

The Clock

Look for the clock in the lower right corner. If your BIOS clock is set to UTC, this clock should be UTC also ... and just as accurate. No guarantee what the clock will read if your BIOS clock is set to local time ... or someplace in between. If you want to set the time on your computer, just give the Hourglass on the desktop a click. This will check a network time server. Please be aware that this will adjust your computer's BIOS (hardware) clock. Programs like "IBP" (the Beacon Project) work best when your clock is set to UTC. You can also give the clock a click with your Right mouse button. Pick "Configure Clock", and then click the "Timezones" tab to set for local time.

LogOut Button

Next to the clock is a small orange "LogOut" button. When you want to quit your Linux session, click this little button. It is important on any *nix system to always logout and shutdown "gracefully". This gives the system time to complete any last minute tasks it may have been doing and close up any remaining operations. Failing to exit in this manner may leave the system with open files or at worst, data splattered all over your drive where it will be difficult to recover, if it ever is recoverable. Fortunately, most of this system will be on the CD. So, you need be concerned only when writing to one of your hard disks. When you click this button you will be presented with a menu allowing you to "Shutdown and Power off", "Reboot", "End the Current Session", or change your mind and "Cancel"/Continue.

Lock Screen Button

Next to the LogOut button is a small blue button called "Lock Screen". Clicking this button will cause your screen to blank. If you wish to return to work, just touch a key or move your mouse. On regular systems, you would be asked for the password of the user whose desktop is currently on screen. Since passwords have been effectively disabled on this system, none is required.

The Mixer

Just to the left of LogOut and Lock Screen is a small speaker. Kmix Click this to adjust volume and play with the audio mixer (click the big "Mixer" button).

I've included some screen shots from two of my machines to give an idea of what to expect. Since each sound card is different, you may have more or fewer controls and they may have different names. Take note of what channels I have activated. On the "Switches" panel, "Mic Boost +20db" can be most effective if your mic audio output seems a little low. Test your mic with the "qTel" EchoLinux, "EchoTest" server (it is book marked in "qTel"). If there is a tremendous annoying hiss coming from your speakers, make sure that "IEC958" is disabled.

Video Adjustment

Next to the Speaker icon, is a small blue box icon. This one will help you configure your screen display. If you don't get the desired result check the Hints and Tricks


Next to the Screen icon, is a small US Flag. Click it once, and it changes to a German Flag, click it again, and it changes to a French Flag ... this is a "localization" icon and indicates the style of keyboard and language you want to use. Most of us will want the US "qwerty" style.


The Klipper clipboard is useful for transferring almost any sort of data, it can be text, an image, etc., from one program window to another. Give Klipper a right mouse click to view some of its functions. You can configure it to your needs. For instance, it might be useful here for copying text from a web page to a word processor or even the Xmit frame of gMFSK during an on-going QSO. Klipper enables the CTRL-C/CTRL-V, copy/paste functions. It will keep track of several items and allow you to choose which one to paste with a CTRL-V or context menu "paste".

The Task Bar

Next, is a wide space. This is called the "Task Bar" and is where your program windows will be 'swallowed" when they are minimized.

The Pager

The next icon is called the "Pager" This lets you select which of up to 20 different desktops you want to use or switch to. It is currently set to 1 just to conserve memory. Give a Right mouse click on some open space on the Desk top and pick "Configure Desktop" from the context menu. Then choose "Multiple Desktops". You can make up to 20 and give each a different name. You can run a different bunch of related programs on each desktop. For example, Programing utilities on (1), Ham radio stuff on (2), Web Browsing on (3), Seti-at-Home on (4) ... you get to decide how to divie up your space. Make less or add more ... you decide. Most of Linux is like that ... You get to decide!


The other icons (moving to the left again) represent: The Konqueror Browser, a small light weight but heavy duty web browser. "Konqi" is also used as a sort of file manager. Click the "Home" icon to see how it works in this function.

The Shell

The "Shell Terminal" is a terminal screen. Its used to display the results of scripts you write and run or just present you with a command line where you can enter a command and watch the results. Its a good way to view error messages so you can see how your script is working.


You can display The Knoppix "home" directory by clicking the Home Icon. This will use the Konqueror browser to display the contents of your home directory. On *nix systems, many times your "Home" directory is held on a drive or partition apart from the rest of the system. This has the advantage of making backups easier and insulating user data from the rest of the system in case of a crash or foul play.


Clicking the "Desktop icon" ... will have the effect of "clearing the desk" ... minimizing all open windows and swallowing them in the Task Bar.

Tux, the Penguin

Tux, the Penguin Tux is the marketing Icon for Linux systems. He comes in a variety of styles and sizes, depending on the particular "brand" or "flavor" of Linux you're using. Here, Tux represents some specialized Knoppix system menus and functions. Here, you'll find aids for setting up you internet connection if its not already running, making a "Persistent" directory, and other tasks peculiar to Knoppix.

The "K" Menu

The "K Menu" is very similar to the "Start" button. This is where you'll find links to specialized system tasks as well as many of the programs on the CD that are not represented by icons on the desktop. You'll find additional configuration and control/setup programs in here.