...making Linux just a little more fun!

<-- 2c Tips | TAG Index | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Knowledge Base | News Bytes -->

The Answer Gang

By Jim Dennis, Jason Creighton, Chris G, Karl-Heinz, and... (meet the Gang) ... the Editors of Linux Gazette... and You!

(?) icewm light weight desktop

From Jpydeep Bakshi

Answered By: Chris Gianakopoulos, Benjamin Okopnik, Adam Engel, Thomas Adam

Hi all,

I am totally shifted to icewm and I am a newbie on this icewm. that's why I am asking some questions, may be very basic to you all but I don't have much knowledge about it.

1) is it possible to get a customised menu where I'll have some very frequently accessed entries like sylpheed-claws, mplayer etc and nothing else ?

2) how to create shortcuts on desktop ?

(!) [Thomas] Use a program such as rox-filer [1] or 'idesk' (search LG.net for that one, there was an article about it not so long ago). You're also suffering from a fundamental lack of understanding about what a desktop environment is, and what a window manager is. I'm not going to cover it here again - see any of the recent LG releases within the last six months. Essentially the term "desktop" isn't. It's just the root-window.
  1. http://rox.sf.net

(?) I'll definitely go through those article. what window manager do you use?

Now a million-dollar question. is it practically possible to run K-desktop environment on xfce or icewm window manager ? if possible then how ? I am too much interested to do such an experiment.

(!) [Thomas] You clearly don't pay enough attention to reading the LG, if at all. :) [2,3]. I suppose you ought to read the recent TAG entries as well [4,5,6].
Only where those window managers are EWMH compliant [3], for which icewm seems to be. This allows things like the kde kicker and gnome's taskbar to be handled correctly from the window manager that will run 'inside' of the KDE or GNOME environment. Effectively this process is using Session Management [2], although in reading that, you would need to replace the current running window manager in GNOME with icewm. You can't use "icewm --replace" as that's specific to FVWM, hence you should use:
killall metacity && sleep 1 && icewm &
Then you'd have to save your session before you logged out (via gnome-session-properties). I have to say that I absolutely hate session managers. I can't stand them. They're terrible at what they do and what they do, is second rate.
If you want to use KDE instead, the process can get a bit trickier - I have heard rumours of the use of candles and goats, but....
KDE is started via the 'startkde' script. If you edit that script what you might see is a line such as:
which starts the window manager (kwin by default). To start fvwm you should add the option "-w icewm" to the ksmserver line, and save the file. On typing 'startkde' this should then launch icewm as the window manager of choice.
Of course, all of this is theory - I don't use icewm so I am just applying what I already know.
  1. http://linuxgazette.net/105/adam.html
  2. http://linuxgazette.net/100/adam.html
  3. http://linuxgazette.net/104/tag/4.html
  4. http://linuxgazette.net/105/tag/1.html
  5. http://linuxgazette.net/105/tag/2.html
(!) [Ben] Thomas already mentioned that you're suffering from a bit of confusion in this regard. You don't "create shortcuts on desktop"; you run an application that allows you to create clickable icons linked to applications. My favorite is "coolicon", which is available as a standard Debian package; it does not come with particularly exciting icons - but you can use any XPM image as an icon, and it's very flexible, powerful, and lightweight.
You can also create clickable links on the IceWM toolbar - here's my ~/.icewm/toolbar file as an example:
prog "BackFlip" "xv.xpm" bkgr
prog "Lock screen" "lock_16x16.xpm" xlock -random
prog "CD Player" "dvd_unmount_16x16.xpm" grip --small
prog "Mix" "music_32ndnote_16x16.xpm" /usr/bin/tkmixer
prog "Firefox" "mozilla_16x16.xpm" /usr/bin/firefox
prog "JPilot" "pda_black_16x16.xpm" /usr/bin/jpilot
# prog "Liferea" "rebuild_16x16.xpm" /usr/local/bin/liferea
prog "Snap" "camera_16x16.xpm" /usr/local/bin/snap
prog "Cell-up" "randr_16x16.xpm" /usr/local/bin/cell-up
The first string after "prog" is the 'hover label' for the icon, the second one is the 16x16 XPM image to be used, and the third one is the program to execute. Simple and easy.
Furthermore, IceWM allows you to associate programs with other toolbar entities (the mail notification icon, the CPU activity icon, the clock, etc.) See the "preferences" file - same locations as the "menu" file - and search for the word 'Command' (the variables will be MailCommand, ClockCommand, etc.)

(?) 3) how to add wallpaper ?

(!) [Ben] You can use "icewmbg", or just use the standard X commands (i.e., "xsetbg").

(?) 4) can I add application-button, applet to panel which I could do in KDE ?

(!) [Ben] I think you're asking about toolbar buttons - which I've answered above.
(!) [Chris] I'm an icewm boy. I can answer two of your questions. In your home directory, once you save your preferences with the program called 'icepref', you will have a directory called .icewm. There will be a file called preferences.
For a background image (wallpaper), set the following line:
In this case, a jpeg file will represent your wallpaper.
I have attached another file in that directory called programs. It represents your menu items. The file that I have included is the one that I use. Modify this as you like. In it you will see menu entries, and within each menu entry, you will see prog entries. The prog entries are the selections within each menu.
Actually, I have attached both (preferences and programs) files. If you don't have icepref, just create the directory .icewm in your home directory, and copy the attached files into that new directory.

See attached icewm-preferences.txt

See attached icewm-programs.txt

(!) [Adam] If you're using a Desktop Environment like KDE or GNOME, why do you need a win manager at all, except to literally "manage windows;" that is, what's the difference between Metacity or Icewm or Sawfish if you're already using GNOME with all it's icons, menus, etc.
(!) [Thomas] Because KDEs and GNOMEs framework are such that you can use different window managers within them as long as they're EWMH-compliant. It just so happens that GNOME uses metacity now as its window manager or choice. Before that, it was sawfish.
(!) [Adam] As "stand-alone" win managers, sawfish and metacity don't seem to do much (on my system) -- as compared to window maker or enlightentment or fvwm etc -- yet sawfish and metacity are the "window managers" of GNOME, which doesn't, as far as I know, have a win manager of its own.
(!) [Thomas] That's right, it doesn't. It's allowed for the choice to be down to the user. Of course, most don't bother changing it, because the options that GNOME gives them aren't dependant on the window manager being used, but rather how GTK will react to those events; in the same way that the options GNOME allows for affect the gpanel, etc.
(!) [Adam] I don't understand the relationship of a window manager, such as sawfish, to a full desktop environment such as GNOME. If I want to go with a window manager, I use window maker or enlightenment and customize it, otherwise, I use KDE or GNOME for the "desktop experience." Can anybody explain what the relationship between a window manager and a Desktop Environment like GNOME?
(!) [Thomas] See above -- it's only one half of the equation.

This page edited and maintained by the Editors of Linux Gazette
HTML script maintained by Heather Stern of Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

Each TAG thread Copyright © its authors, 2005

Published in issue 114 of Linux Gazette May 2005

<-- 2c Tips | TAG Index | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Knowledge Base | News Bytes -->