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Re: [tlug] Replacing the WM in Gnome 2.24

On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 02:54:40PM +0900, Curt Sampson wrote:
> On 2009-02-21 13:35 +0900 (Sat), Wayne wrote:
> > ...and not only choose what DE to start from the GDM log-in
> > screen but can also choose what DM to use with Gnome.
> Can you explain in more detail what you think a DE and DM are? I suspect
> that differing terminology may be confusing us.

Without claiming to read Wayne's mind (scary thought) :), I think he
either made a typo or was simply using them interchangeably. 
> A DE I would guess is a "desktop environment," which in my mind would
> be a combination of session manager, window manager, file manager,
> and various other bits such as toolbars (gnome-panel, in the case of
> gnome). I don't want the standard gnome combination of these; I want
> only gnome-session and the toolbar. (And, of course, the use of a few
> other programs that interact with the session manager.)

I consider (read this some time on some site devoted to DE's and WM) a
desktop environment to be something like Gnome, KDE and even XFCE, one
that adds functionality (or bloat, depending upon point of view) such as
some of the things you mention below.   Things like their own printer
configuration tool, language tools, and so forth.  I would then say a WM
(Window Manager) to be something like *box, dwm, something that
basically provides an X environment and manages windows, but little

> > I had all on my test machine and tried Gnome with alternative DMs...
> > First you have to input your user name at the log-in screen then at
> > the bottom the desktop choices appear...

Oops--now I think Wayne meant, by DM, gdm and kdm.  

> Oh, you put in your login name *first*! That's why I didn't see the box;
> I'm used to the Ubuntu style where you can pick the environment before
> entering your login name.

> On 2009-02-21 00:06 -0500 (Sat), Scott Robbins wrote:
> > I think that most of the desktop oriented distributions, however, are
> > getting more and more tied into their DE's, to the point where each
> > version makes it a bit harder to customize.  
> Yeah, ouch.
> I'm wondering if I should try using KDE's session manager instead. I'm
> sure that switching users and all of that works with it, right? How
> about having a dock-like thing where, for example, you can see battery
> status, and have Pidgin flash when there's a new IM for you, and so on.
> Does that work all the same in KDE as it does in Gnome?

I believe it does--actually, after some of the hype about KDE 4.2 I
tried it on one of my Fedora installs, and it has nice eye candy.  Even
XFCE (I think) has most of that.  KDE's is almost Mac like now.  Of
course, there's awn for Gnome (you'll find as many articles telling you
how to get your Ubuntu to look like Mac as you'll find complaining that
MS is using Linux like desktop effects--hopefully written by different
people.)   :)

> Actually, the best for me, if I can get it working, would be to go back
> to using a straight .xsession and setting up everything myself. What I'm
> not clear on is how I'd get all the cool features such as the panels
> things can dock in and user switching, since my understanding was that
> much this and the communications necessary for it was taken care of by
> the session manager. Perhaps there's another minimal session manager I
> should be trying instead? Would gnome-panel or something equivalant work
> under such a minimal session manager?

At least to a point.  When I was playing a lot with openbox, I was
trying different panels.  There was fbpanel, which seemed full of
featuers.  (There's also conky of course, but I don't think that's what
you want.)  At the time, I was looking towards a minimalist panel
though, I just wanted a list of open apps and a clock, so I didn't
investigate any of their full abilities.  

There's a fairly new Ubuntu based distribution called #!Crunchbang,
which uses openbox by default.  If you browse around their forums
(again, depending upon how much time and effort you feel like putting
into this) I believe there are some long threads about panels.  (That's
a vague memory though, I could be wrong.)

I would almost be confident enough to say that at least some of these
panels would do much, if not all, of what you want.  

If you do set something like that up, I'd certainly be interested in
reading about it. 

Scott Robbins
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