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Gentoo GNOME Project FAQ

1.  Gentoo GNOME FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I turn off desktop icons?
  2. How do I use Keychain with GNOME?
  3. What is FAM, and should I use gamin instead?

How do I turn off desktop icons?

Desktop icons are drawn by Nautilus. In order to remove them, you have to stop nautilus from drawing the desktop. The quickest way is to modify the Nautilus GConf key to controlling drawing. You can either use gconf-editor or gconftool-2 to set the /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop.

Code Listing 1.1: using gconftool-2

% gconftool-2 -s /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop -t bool false

How do I use Keychain with GNOME?

Keychain manages your SSH keys and SSH agent for you. To use it with your GNOME session, you will need to install gtk2-ssh-askpass or x11-ssh-askpass. These give an X interface to prompting you for a passphrase. Setup Keychain as the guide suggests and you should be prompted for your passphrase on your next login.

What is FAM, and should I use gamin instead?

FAM (or the File Alteration Monitor) is a daemon responsible for notifying GUI applications of changes to files. Typically, on a GNOME desktop, this is used by nautilus (the file manager), to keep file listings current with the underlying system - even when modifications to the files are made from outside of nautilus.

In short, FAM watches your filesystem to make sure what nautilus displays is up to date.

Gamin (an alternative to FAM), is library implementation of a subset of FAM's functionality, although its purpose in monitoring the file system for changes, is the same. Gamin is not a complete FAM replacement - some of FAM's more exotic features are missing, but Gamin's main aims are to be an API/ABI compatible replacement for FAM, and to address resource consumption issues.

So which of these two should you choose?

We'd recommend you use Gamin over FAM for your GNOME desktop. The project is now more mature, it doesn't need to run as a daemon (saving some resources), and is easier to use than FAM.

If you don't have FAM installed, installing gamin is easy:

Code Listing 1.2: Installing gamin

# emerge gamin

If you already have FAM installed, it's still easy to switch to gamin. You'll need to stop FAM, remove it, and then install gamin:

Code Listing 1.3: Replacing FAM with gamin

# rc-update del famd default
# /etc/init.d/famd stop
# emerge -C fam
# emerge gamin

Now you'll just need to restart GNOME, or nautilus (killall -9 nautilus) to use Gamin for file-monitoring.

Desktop profile and subprofiles

Desktop profile has been split to KDE and GNOME subprofiles. This means that KDE and GNOME specific USE flags have been stripped from the basic desktop profile and have been migrated to the subprofiles. Choosing a subprofile doesn't restrict you to use only the equivalent DE.


Page updated November 6, 2010

Summary: Frequently Asked Questions about GNOME on Gentoo.

John N. Laliberte

Daniel Gryniewicz

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