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Date:      Tue, 24 Jul 2007 00:22:22 -0700
From:      George <d1945@sbcglobal.net>
To:        User Questions <freebsd-questions@freebsd.org>
Subject:   Re: quickie: howto? window manager & xterms, but no kde/gnome/xfce
Message-ID:  <20070724072222.GA468@home>
In-Reply-To: <539c60b90707230936p5462e842vad54446776ea164f@mail.gmail.com>
References:  <539c60b90707230936p5462e842vad54446776ea164f@mail.gmail.com>

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On Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 09:36:53AM -0700, Steve Franks wrote:
> I'm not totally opposed to what comes up in X if you start with no
> .xinitrc, but it's a tad ugly.  I'd ideally like to have a nifty window
> manager, like one of those new 3d ones, but I find no point in running
> kde/gnome/xfce - I launch everything (firefox, etc.) from a prompt
> anyway.  So howto?  I presume I just have to put some things instead of
> "exec xfce-session" in my .xinitrc?  

Not sure about nifty, but I think you're looking for something along the
lines of fluxbox.  It will provide virtual desktops, a way to launch
programs from a prompt, and a desktop menu in case you need it.  What
more does anyone need, right?

$ echo "exec /usr/X11R6/bin/startfluxbox start" >> ~/.xinitrc   

Be sure to install the devel version.

> Is there a guide to this somewhere?  Do most window managers configure
> pretty easily without a desktop?  Is this a common demand?  

Your request isn't unusual but it's been perennially discussed for
longer than people care to remember.   Google is your friend, but
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_window_manager should get you started.
Configuration is typically done with ... wait for it ... a text editor.
;-)

> ([HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
> NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]-> change
> "Shell"="c:\\windows\\system32\\cmd.exe" from shell=explorer) 
> 
> My friend got the idea for XP.  As far as we know it's a completely
> unknown XP hack.  Please credit "Scott Plumlee" if you share/post it.

LOL.  No offense to your friend, but that setting is well known and
applies to XP, 2000 and, IIRC, the entire Win9x line; there's also a
HKCU setting, and a group policy option that mostly works.   Google for
something like "replacement shell", "litestep" or visit shellfront.org
to see what's available either free or commercially.  There's no reason
to default to something as braindead as cmd.exe as your shell.  

We're getting way off-topic here, but I'll add a note of caution:
replacing explorer.exe with something better as a shell is fairly
trivial and while it does work well 99.8% of the time, chances are you
will spend endless hours getting things "just right".  If pursuing an
uphill-bothways goal of getting sane or Unixy behaviour from Windows is
your goal, I'd instead suggest installing Cygwin, and then hiding from
view the desktop features like icons, the taskbar, etc.  Cygwin will
provide rxvt, bash (or csh, zsh, etc.), vim, screen, ssh, and just about
anything else you'd want. 





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