Linux User Interfaces and Desktops - dummies

By Emmett Dulaney

The Linux+ certification exam from CompTIA covers the topic of user interfaces and desktops. This table shows the subtopics, weights, descriptions, and key knowledge areas for this topic.

Breakout of Domain 106
Subtopic Weight Description Key Areas
Install and configure X11 2 Be able to install and configure X11 Basic understanding of X Window configuration
Set up a display manager 2 Set up and customize a display manager Work with XDM (X Display Manager), GDM (Gnome Display Manager),
and KDM (KDE Display Manager)
Accessibility 1 Knowledge and awareness of accessibility technologies Assistive Technology (ATs) and keyboard settings

To adequately address these topics, focus on the following files, terms, and utilities: /etc/initab, /etc/x11/xorg.conf, braille display, DISPLAY, emacspeak, gdm configuration files, gestures, GOK, high contrast desktop themes, kdm configuration files, large screen desktop themes, mouse keys, on-screen reader, orca, screen magnifier, screen reader, slow/bounce/toggle keys, sticky/repeat keys, X, xdm configuration files, xdpyinfo, xhost, xwininfo.

Here are the top ten items to know as you study for this domain:

  1. The emacspeak speech interface is one of the most popular speech interfaces available for Linux.

  2. The xdpyinfo utility can be used to view information about an X server. It can be used with the all option to see information about all the extensions supported by the server.

  3. Window information for X can be viewed with the xwininfo utility. Using the -all option shows all the possible information.

  4. The server access-control program for X is xhost. This is used to connect to a host across the network and work within the graphical interface.

  5. The X Display Manager (xdm) is the default display manager included with the X Window System.

  6. The /etc/x11/xorg.conf file is the X configuration file used for initial setup.

  7. Several assistive technology projects have been developed for both KDE (the KDE Accessibility Project) and GNOME (the GNOME Accessibility Projects).

  8. Orca is a screen reader from the GNOME project intended to help individuals who are blind or impaired. Orca will work with Firefox, Thunderbird,, and other applications.

  9. The GNOME onscreen keyboard reader (GOK) is another assistive technology. It works with XML files and can dynamically create keyboards to adapt to a user’s needs.

  10. Slow keys can be configured for a keyboard preference to accept input only if a key is held; this prevents accidental presses from counting as input. Bounce keys can be configured to ignore fast duplicate key presses; sticky keys can be used to simulate simultaneous key presses.