Fedora provides graphical applications in addition to command line utilities for configuring many features. This chapter describes methods for opening
Graphical User Interface, or GUI, applications in various environments.
Graphical applications can be launched from a terminal window or console session by simply typing the name of the application.
File names vs Application names
Programs are opened from the command line using the name of the executable file provided in the program’s package. An entry in the desktop menu will often be named differently from the file it executes. For example, the GNOME disk management utility appears in the menu as Disks, and the file it executes is
When a program is executed on the command line, the terminal is occupied until the program completes. When a graphical application is executed from the command line, the program’s error output, or
STDERR, is sent to the terminal window. This can be especially useful when troubleshooting.
[fedorauser@localhost]$ astromenace-wrapper AstroMenace 1.3.1 121212 Open XML file: /home/fedorauser/.config/astromenace/amconfig.xml VFS file was opened /usr/share/astromenace/gamedata.vfs Vendor : OpenAL Community Renderer : OpenAL Soft Version : 1.1 ALSOFT 1.15.1 ALut ver : 1.1 Font initialized: DATA/FONT/LiberationMono-Bold.ttf Current Video Mode: 3200x1080 32bit Xinerama/TwinView detected. Screen count: 2 Screen #0: (0, 0) x (1920, 1080) Screen #1: (1920, 0) x (1280, 1024) Supported resolutions list: 640x480 16bit 640x480 32bit 640x480 0bit 768x480 16bit <output truncated>
To launch a graphical application, but fork the additional output into the background and return the terminal for immediate use, use the shell’s
job control feature.
[fedorauser@localhost]$ emacs foo.txt &
Ending a session
Applications that hold the command line prompt until they complete will close when the terminal session ends, even if they are forked into the background.
GUI programs can also be launched on one
TTY and displayed on another by specifying the
DISPLAY variable. This can be useful when running multiple graphical sessions, or for troubleshooting problems with a desktop session.
Switch to another TTY using the key combination Ctrl+Alt+F2 and log in. Note that consoles are available by default with F2 through F6.
Identify the X session you want to target. The
DISPLAY variable is always an integer preceded by a colon, and will be :0 in most cases. Check the arguments of the currently running X process to verify the value. The command below shows both the
DISPLAY variable as well as the TTY that X is running on,
[fedorauser@localhost]$ ps aux|grep /usr/bin/X root 1498 7.1 1.0 521396 353984
tty1Ss+ 00:04 66:34 /usr/bin/X
:0vt1 -background none -nolisten tcp -auth /var/run/kdm/A:0-22Degc root 23874 0.0 0.0 109184 900 pts/21 S+ 15:35 0:00 grep --color=auto /usr/bin/X
DISPLAY variable when executing the program.
[fedorauser@localhost]$ DISPLAY=:0 gnome-shell --replace &
Switch back to the TTY the graphical session is running on. Since the example above shows X running on
vt1, pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 will return to the desktop environment.
Most desktop environments follow the convention of using the key combination Alt+F2 for opening new applications. Pressing Alt+F2 brings up a prompt for a command to be entered into.
Commands entered into this dialog box function much as they would if entered in a terminal. Applications are known by their file name, and can accept arguments.