Thursday, April 28, 2011

How about Windowmanager hopping instead of distro hopping? Try Pekwm

Sometimes it is all so nice and quiet on using your AB install that you might get restless and want to discover new ways of doing things.
Instead of distro hopping, exploring different window managers might be a good option.
There is a lot of options and choices to discover and it broadens your view what is possible in the look and feel of your OS. We forget about the obvious KDE an GNOME, Compiz, XFCE or LDXE and even E17 (see Bodhi linux if you want to explore Enlightenment); go and explore the more lightweight and configurable options.
Basically the choice is between floating or stacking window managers and tiling window managers although a combination of the two is also possible. See ]

Tiling window managers provide a dashboard of applications and are good for overview; have a great geek factor but personally I like to have as less visual clutter as possible.
I works nearly always with one window full screen. So floating window managers are my thing. I am especially interested in small solutions like Pekwm


When you want to experiment with new window managers you might want to use a separate install of AB, so you won't risk or lose your production pc when you have an off day. A simpler way is to create a new user and login as that user.

# adduser

adduser asks common questions about the user with sane defaults and constructs a useradd command to run. It also sets the password and changes finger information.

Install a login with session choice

To use different window managers is is handy to be able to change the session; I install gdm: #pacman -S gdm.
To make the graphical login the default method of logging into the system, edit your /etc/inittab file

Choose x:5:respawn:/usr/sbin/gdm -nodaemon to login and edit out with # the present login method.

Installing a new window manager

Lets take the example of Pekwm: pacman -S pekwm
After that you reboot choose the pekwm session in the gdm login and the configuration file will be made in /home/user/.pekwm
Now we can go and have a look at the specific possibilities of pekwm
If you have a new window manager installed, you will also need to add a line to the file /home/user/.xinitrc: exec pekwm

Now can we go and learn about the specifics of pekwm.
And check out what others have done with it:
Two aspects are important to me: keyboard control:
A speciality of pekwm is the chainbindings:

PeKwm support keybindings & 'chain bindings' which means that you can execute a script/apps with a keybinding (like in openbox) but you can also use 'keychain': ie you press [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[M](for Menu), then release , then when you press [R] and you've got the RootMenu, if you press [W], you've got WindowMenu...

Another special and very useful feature is the window grouping which can be compared to tabbed and bound windows.
Arch wiki on Pekwm: ]

I installed menumaker to get a accurate menu but that didn't work out too well. But editing by hand is not too difficult:
the menu file is ~/.pekwm/menu. The syntax for the menu file is fairly straightforward. A simple entry has the following structure:

Entry = "NAME" { Actions = "Exec COMMAND &" }

A submenu has the following syntax:

Submenu = "NAME" {
Entry = "NAME" { Actions = "Exec COMMAND &" }
Entry = "NAME" { Actions = "Exec COMMAND &" }

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Using the keyboard in PEKWM

Pekwm allows excellent keyboard control of your window management. Lets try it out a bit. If you don't have the windows key on your keyboard, please see ~/.pekwm/keys for the keychains you can use to do the same and a lot more.

Moving and Resizing windows. --> special MoveResize state. This happens by pressing Mod4+Enter. The window should after this be movable by using the arrow keys. To resize, press Mod4(=Super or Windows key) and use the arrows. Using the Shift-key with these actions makes them be careful. To accept the new size and position, press Enter. To fail back to the old position and size press Escape.

Minimizing. Press Mod4+I. Mod4+Shift+I pops up the icon menu you can use to bring it back.

Shading. This is to hide most of the window, leaving only the titlebar visible. Press Mod4+S to toggle the shaded state.

Maximizing. Mod4+M toggles the maximized state.

Filling (making a window grow as big as it can in the space it has around it). Press Mod4+G to make windows grow to fit.

Fullscreen. Press Mod4+F to toggle the fullscreen state.

Moving between frames. Press Mod1(=Alt)+Tab and Mod1+Shift+Tab to move between frames. Or use Mod1+Ctrl+Tab and Mod1+Ctrl+Shift+Tab to move between most recently used frames. You can also use directional focusing. Press Mod4 and one of the arrow keys. The focus should change to the frame that is in the direction you pointed to. Try it out.

Moving inside frames. Press Mod4+Tab and Mod4+Shift+Tab to move between the clients in a frame.

Closing. Press Mod4+Q to close windows.

Grouping. The easiest way to group is to use marking. You select clients you want to group to another frame by toggling them marked with Mod4+Z. You can have as many marked clients as you wish. Then go to the frame you want those now marked clients to be attached and press Mod4+A. That's it.

Menus. There are some simple menu bindings. Mod4+R shows your main menu (the Root menu). Mod4+L shows a list of your active windows (the Goto menu). Mod4+C shows a list of all your open windows (the Goto menu). Mod4+W brings up the Window menu. And Mod4+Shift+I the Icon menu.

Those were the basics. There's a ton more. See the rest of the documentation for rest of the simple bindings and ~/.pekwm/keys for a list of the keychains. And again, if you hated something, go ahead and edit it.
source: here and here

If Archbang mirror is still present after pacman update

you get this error: could not open file /var/lib/pacman/sync/archbang.db: Failed to open '/var/lib/pacman/sync/archbang.db'
This is because there is a new sort of database in pacman 3.5.
The solution is to comment out the archbang repo in etc/pacman.conf with #

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New version of FVWM released

I'm really totally into Openbox as very user friendly and easy to configure window manager. But sometimes the adventure calls, for instance when you see a new version of FVWM announced: This is really exotic, but seems quite useful; see the Arch Wiki:
Amazing screenshots:

And ready made config files are downloadable on

Also see on youtube:

Starterkit here

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Error resizing ntfs partition with gparted

Not only with ntfs but also with ext3 and ext 4 ther seem to be probelms when resizing your partiton. Always backup you data.
The error you get is:
ERROR: Current NTFS volume size is bigger than the device size!

When you go to the parted forum you will be very well guided to solve the problem though.
And so this didn't lead to data loss for me.
Just stay cool and don't start deleting partitions in your panic.
See for details:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Howto change root password

Change root and use the passwd command, or erase the password field entry. Any Linux capable LiveCD can be used, albeit to change root it must match your installed architecture type.
Change Root

Boot the LiveCD, and change root.
Use the passwd command to reset your root password.
Exit change root.
Reboot, and remember your password.

Howto chroot:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trying Aptosid is a mixed experience

Stimulated by IgnorantGuru's blog I decided to try out Aptosid.
Install went well. One strange error in the grub file: a wrong uuid was mentioned, which I happily discoverd before rebooting.
With blkid I could find the right one.

Nice login theme that I lost however with the first system upgrade.
What you do todo a system upgrade?
apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade -d # download but don't install yet
init 3 (terminal mode)
apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get clean
Then reboot.
Because of dependency problems a lot of progs have problems. I couldn't install adeskbar ( problem with python-gtk2; python-gtk2 : Depends: python-numpy (< 1:1.5) but 1:1.5.1-2 is to be installed
E: Broken packages).
I solved this by updating the mirrors in etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list s
New list looks like this:
deb sid main
deb unstable main contrib non-free
deb sid main contrib non-free
deb sid main fix.main
deb sid main

I couldn't install pcmanfm-mod in a ordinary way.
My home configuration openbox were not so useful as I had hoped.
Nitrogen was busted after the first update: GdkPixbuf-WARNING **: Cannot open pixbuf loader module file '/usr/lib/gdk-pixbuf-2.0/2.10.0/loaders.cache

It worked later but then nvidia kernel built was corrupt and had to go back to fallback kernel, etc. In short lots of issues

The openbox shortcut for the Superkey doesn't work:solution:
change in /etc/default/keyboard is more system-wide and permanent.
# change:

# to:

Finetuning Font Settings:

As root:
dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config

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