The desktop is central to a modern Linux desktop. Traditionally, Linux relied heavily on the command line, and a strong knowledge of the vast portfolio of Linux commands and how they could be strewn together was essential for surviving the Linux way of life. In the last few years, this way of life has changed substantially, and Linux users are becoming less and less reliant on the command line. The command line is still there, but if you want to control and administer your computer in an entirely graphical way with your desktop, you can.
This chapter focuses on the KDE desktop environment. In it you'll find information on how to use the protocol handlers in Konqueror to access remote filesystems, patch KDE with experimental code to improve its appearance and functionality, use desktop enhancements from the superkaramba project, and lock down KDE to provide a controlled environment for users.
One point to remember when using the desktop is that it typically provides an interface to the command-line magic that underlies it. The benefit of this is that many of the features and configurations you use in your desktop environment are available in the command line. For example, [Hack #39] shows you how to control your KDE environment from the command line.
The hacks included in this chapter give you insight into the variety of ways you can step in and below the desktop GUI layer to make it behave how you want. The desktop is not just a pretty face.