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Old 10-28-2005, 09:54 PM   #1
shepper
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Desktop from Source for Older computers


I have a small amount of webspace opening up and am thinking about putting up a web site that guides the reader through setting up a simple but full featured desktop on Slackware. The idea is not to skimp on the apps themselves but rather to save resouces at the desktop level.

This would be an extension of a Linux Journal article by Marcel Gagne where he used icewm but also stayed with lightweight apps (ie dillo as a browser). All I seem to need from my desktop is a pleasing look and a way to launch my apps. I recently setup a gnome 2. 12 desktop and feel that my lightweight desktop can do anything that the Gnome desktop can.

I basically did a base install of slackware of the a/, ap/, d/ + python, n/, l/ x/ then compiled all the apps I use from source. I have been able to keep it very up to date. When ever a new release comes out, gimp for example, I just copy the ".configure" line from the config.log and if it successfully configures run "make uninstall" on the old code. Then "make && make install && make clean" on the new code.

Slack-packages could also be used but source code has the advantage of being able to
upgrade quickly when new code is released

This looks like a fair undertaking so I wanted to get feedback up front before investing alot of time.

An initial outline:
1) Icewm
A) Install Icewm to /usr/X11R6
1) setup xintrc.icewm and xwmconfig
2) sudo for user shutdown and reboot
B) Link to setting up icewm menus, toolbars, backgrounds, keymaps
1) Examples of my menus, toolbars, keymaps etc.
2) Setup of Xkill and Screenshot in toolbar.
3) Setup of eth0, wlan0, ath0 and cpu load in toolbar.
4) Howto to use Gimp to modify icons for Icewm - (*32x32.xpm)
2) Internet
A) Firefox - howto compile from source. Java, flash plus use of Firefox as
a file browser and cups printer manager.
B) Sylpheed claws with dillo, Clam antivirus and tray icon plugins. Setup links to firefox.
Thunderbird could also be compiled instead of Sylpheed-Claws
C) Java Web start
D) Options for Opera, Mozilla, Gaim
3) Downloaders
A) amule
B) bittorrent gui - caution that bittorrent-curses use far fewer resources
C) Downloader for X
D) GFtp
4) Games - Pysol - the one I do not know how to install from source - I did find a *tgz
of the latest version.
5) Graphics
A) Gimp
B) GQview
C) Gtkam/Gphoto2 - hotplug for usb permissions, camera group
6) Multimedia
A) Aumixer volume control - Setup F11 & F12 as volume keys
B) Beep media player - use as a cd player is more intuitive than XMMS
C) GXine/Xine
D) RipperX and how to set user id
E) Realplayer
F) Streamtuner/Streamripper setup to use beep media player instead of xmms
7) Office
A) Adobe Acrobat - somewhat redundant but needed to fill out government (tax) forms
B) Calculator
C) Jpilot and setup with 2.4 kernel and 2.6 kernel
D) Xpdf - setup in firefox to open *.pdf links
E) Abiword - optional. Version 2.2.10 to avoid the extra libs later version 2.4.1 needs
F) Xsane/Sane setup of hotplug script for users
8) OpenOffice2.0 - Binary installer and setup of menus. Used in lieu of Abiword.
9) Programing
A) Bluefish
B) Nvu for those who want wysiwyg - optional
10) System Tools
A) Drive Mounter - Using curses based mnt - fastab setup for usb drives, cdrom, cdrw
dvd drives
B) Graveman Burner vs Xcdroast
C) Midnight commander with brief guide to setup for ftp, file extraction, editor
Install rar.
D) Super user MC for system administration.
E) Xscreensaver
11) Networking - for laptop users
A) Setup scripts for Wireless up and Wireless down
B) Setup scripts for NICup and NICdown
C) Modem ppp-on ppp-off.
 
Old 10-28-2005, 10:31 PM   #2
justin_p
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Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: slack 13; I've used it all :)
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why not install a slack variant?...vector comes to mind.
 
Old 10-28-2005, 11:05 PM   #3
tuxdev
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I quickly found that Vector didn't give me enough control Install-time which apps I wanted.
I also noticed that almost everything Gnome or KDE can offer can be done easily enough with IceWM and have been trying to do this exact thing. I only got around to figuring out some of the apps and a set of configuration tricks and tips.
There is not as much point in figuring it all out if nobody uses it, so creating a tarball of downloaders and installers would make it nice and easy. Source might be difficult to automate.

Last edited by tuxdev; 10-28-2005 at 11:09 PM.
 
Old 10-28-2005, 11:28 PM   #4
slackhack
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sounds like you should just make your own distro. "shepper linux."
 
Old 10-28-2005, 11:42 PM   #5
shepper
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Quote:
There is not as much point in figuring it all out if nobody uses it, so creating a tarball of downloaders and installers would make it nice and easy. Source might be difficult to automate.
Tarballs are an option and many of the programs come with Slackware or can be had on LinuxPackages. I was actually thinking of setting it up so users could copy and paste the commands to compile the packages - sort of like Linux from Scratch. Source automation is too much for me to tackle - besides why not use FreeBSD with the ports system (for me is was because Slackware supported some of my hardware better).

My laptop has a Via C3 CPU and some of the LinuxPackages i686 packages would not work on it so I ended up compiling my own. Once I had the the compile setup it became easy to to do my own updates. I am still running Slackware 10.1 but have upgraded many applications. I had firefox-1.0.7 long before Pat V. released a security patch. My version of gxine, midnight commander, bittorrent, gimp and abiword are all newer than came with Slackware 10.1 and it should be easy for me to continue to do upgrades 6 months from now.
.

Last edited by shepper; 10-28-2005 at 11:46 PM.
 
Old 10-29-2005, 10:56 AM   #6
tuxdev
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You are mixing your audience somewhat. Anybody who would do anything like LFS would not need the guide. Anybody who couldn't, would be lost at most of the console commands, even if *most* of the time, it works fine. *most* people run i686, so packages would be no different from source.
 
Old 10-29-2005, 11:32 AM   #7
gnashley
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Registered: Dec 2003
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Have a look at this:
http://amigolinux.org/amigoxp/screenshots/XP-scr1.gif
Here's some of the packages:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/.../download/G12/
This is not the full list but covers the hard-to-find utilities to flesh-out a desktop which I call G12 since it only needs GTK-1.2. easily extendible to gnome-1.4 or GTK-2.0 and GNOME-whatever

I've been hoping to get some help/input on some of this stuff.
I set it up using wmaker, fluxbox or xfce with taskbar or fbpanel and a patched ROX-filer for the icon and drag-n-drop handling. I even have wmaker setup so that no icons, mini-windows or even DOCK apps will show! I choose window-maker because of it's speed, size, smoothness, and 2 available GUI programs for configuration, especially of desktop menus (I'd really like to do more work on the panel and get drag-n-drop menu creation working there. I let the window manager take care of any paging capabilities available. I also use the WDM diplay manager for login(on runlevel 5 to avoid interfwering with KDM/GDM).

The main idea besides being light, is that the panel, window manager and filer all run separately -using non-integrated components has some great advantages.

You can get a very nice GTK-1.2/lesstif desktop for around 250MB including dozens of GUI programs!

Last edited by gnashley; 10-29-2005 at 11:43 AM.
 
Old 10-29-2005, 01:35 PM   #8
tuxdev
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Nice! I also like WindowMaker, but with that arrangement, the dock and the panel seems a bit redundant. IceWM and WindowMaker are so alike, but I like IceWM more cause of the easy manual configuration.
 
Old 10-29-2005, 02:07 PM   #9
shepper
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It is a tribute to Slackware flexiblity that the Dropline developers can come up with an i686 optimized, all the bells and whistles destop.

The desktop that I have in mind may be more in keeping with the basic Slackware goals of simplicity and elegance while providing full functionality. I have a box setup with Gware Revison E (Gnome 2.12) and my basic box actually can do anything the Gnome box can but is much more efficient.

Quote:
I quickly found that Vector didn't give me enough control Install-time which apps I wanted.
I also noticed that almost everything Gnome or KDE can offer can be done easily enough with IceWM and have been trying to do this exact thing. I only got around to figuring out some of the apps and a set of configuration tricks and tips.
For me Vector was my first exposure to Slackware but the more recent versions that I have tried I have had to tweak things like Xorg using what I subsequently learned in Slackware.

Quote:
You are mixing your audience somewhat. Anybody who would do anything like LFS would not need the guide. Anybody who couldn't, would be lost at most of the console commands, even if *most* of the time, it works fine. *most* people run i686, so packages would be no different from source.
I was thinking of a shorter path. LFS/Beyond LFS is a very long journey from start to Desktop. Newbies could get an introduction to basic commands, and be walked through compiling about 35 apps/libaries to get their desktop. Since Icewm uses a simple set of easily edited files to set up menus, newbies would not have to deal with editing all the *.desktop files that are now needed in Gnome.

Quote:
I set it up using wmaker, fluxbox or xfce with taskbar or fbpanel and a patched ROX-filer for the icon and drag-n-drop handling.
I suppose it could be setup for several different windowmanagers although Zenwalk does a pretty good job with XFce. I am not excited about desktop icons. I already can start apps from the toolbar and the menu, why add the overhead of desktop icons for a third way to start apps?
Windowmaker, Fluxbox and XFce all come with Slackware in xap/. Icewm does not. We could
set up links to Your site on tweaking Windowmaker. I also kinda planned to keep gtk2 as firefox, , thunderbird, nvu, gimp, gtkam, and beep media player all utilize gtk2.
 
  


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