posted by Rahul Gaitonde on Thu 22nd Jul 2004 18:23 UTC

"IceWM, Page 2/6"

2.2 Settting up IceWM as the default window manager

The binary that launches IceWM is now icewm-session. In earlier versions, the single binary icewm used to handle all of the window manager's tasks. These have now been broken down into

icewm
the actual window manager binary.
icewmbg
the background-setting applications.
icewmtray
catches docklet objects from aaplications like Gaim.
icewm-session
runs all of the above when needed
icewm-menu-gnome1
(internal), generates IceWM menus from GNOME(1) menus
icewm-menu-gnome2
(internal), generates IceWM menus from FreeDesktop .desktop files (KDE/GNOME(2) menus).

Open your .Xclients file in your favourite text editor. At the end, add the line

/home/rahul/icewm/bin/icewm-session || exec xterm 
and save the file. The .Xclients file is used by all Redhat-based distros. On other systems (I think Debian and others) it might be the .xsession file. This file is parsed when you start X either via the command line by issuing "startx" or by the login manager in case you've selected the "default" login session.

3. Exploring IceWM

3.1. Components of the IceWM desktop

  1. The Start Button
  2. Taskbar
  3. Virtual Desktops
  4. Command Line
  5. Clock
  6. CPU Status Applet
  7. Net Status Applet

So, if you've had any prior Windows OS experience, the default IceWM desktop won't be in the least bit intimidating to you. Not as much as Fluxbox, anyways. The key is to be able to customise these components to maximise your productivity. That's the purpose of the next section.

What you don't see in this screenshot is the Toolbar. That's an area on the taskbar usually just to the right of the start menu button - kind of like the Quick Launch Toolbar in Windows 98 onwards. You can place heavily used apps there, so that they're just a mouse click away.

If you have a 24/7 Internet connection, you might be interested in the Mail Check applet. That's an applet much like the Net Status/ CPU Status applets, which checks your mail server for new email every few minutes and reports when new mail does arrive. It can be configured to launch your preferred mail client when clicked upon.

The newer versions of IceWM have full support for the Freedesktop.org system tray standard, which allows applications like Kopete/GAIM/K3B to dock into the IceWM tray. That's a boon - using GAIM was no fun when you had to keep it on the taskbar, conversations and all!

What might irk some users of Windows, or even our own KDE and Gnome, is the lack is support for icons on the desktop. Of course, that is not supposed to be the Window Manager's job. Although the toolbar and menu provide ready access to most applications that a user requires, there might be those among you who insist that they have a "My Documents" or "Trash" folder on the desktop. There is a workaround to this, but it's neither elegant nor pretty. You can use an application by the name of DFM, or Desktop File Manager. It essentially draws 'icons' on the root window, and can launch programs/ open the location in a traditional file manager when clicked upon. DFM is the application that Vector Linux's implementation of IceWM uses. If you've ever wondered how Vector does it... well, now you know! The flip side to DFM is that it's not pretty. Take a look at the screenshots on the home page, and you'll find that you'd rather do without it.

Table of contents
  1. "IceWM, Page 1/6"
  2. "IceWM, Page 2/6"
  3. "IceWM, Page 3/6"
  4. "IceWM, Page 4/6"
  5. "IceWM, Page 5/6"
  6. "IceWM, Page 6/6"
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