One of the first things I typically like to do is quickly adjust various Gnome settings before proceeding any further. These include:
Open a gnome-terminal (Applications -> System Tools -> Terminal), and click on Edit -> Profiles... -> Default -> Edit -> Colors. Deselect the "Use colors from system theme" box, and choose the White on Black option from the drop-down menu. Much better. Hit Close twice.
Keyboard Peferences (Killing the X Server)
Previously, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Backspace forced the X server to restart, returning the user to the login screen. This is especially useful if the X server hangs. To re-enable this option, open the Keyboard Preferences dialog by choosing System -> Preferences -> Keyboard from the Fedora Main Menu. Then click on the Layouts tab and click the Options... button. Unfold the "Key sequence to kill the X server" tree item and click the checkbox "Control + Alt + Backspace". Hit Close twice.
Desktop Background and Theme
If you want to change the Fedora background click System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Background. You may have to choose the Fill Screen option from the drop down box, depending upon your resolution.
I do not particularly care for the Clearlooks theme, so click the Theme tab followed by Customize... . Under Window Border, choose Crux. If you want, then click on Icons and make sure Bluecurve or Clearlooks is chosen (although I do not mind the default Fedora icons). Hit Close twice.
The screensaver is an unnecessary drain on resources — especially for my server. Click on System -> Preferences -> Look and Feel -> Screensaver. Choose the "Blank Screen" option and unclick the "Lock screen when screensaver is active" box. Hit Close when finished.
I am extremely preferential with respect to windows options. Click on System -> Preferences -> Windows, and make sure the "Select windows when the mouse moves over them" option is set under Window Selection, but the "Raise selected windows after an interval" is not. Under Titlebar Action, choose Roll up from the drop-down box. Hit Close when finished.
Note: For Fedora 14, this option is not available by default (Gnome developers — you are killing me), so use yum to install the following package first:
~> sudo yum install control-center-extraBefore a Linux distribution such as Fedora 14 is really ready for general use, there are a number of important changes that need to first be made (See Section 1 of the HOWTOs). Some of these, though trivial, provide added measures of security, flexibility, and robustness to the system. Others are simply a matter of personal preference and taste. In light of this, I have tried to break down the changes with respect to their relative "Order of Importance."