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Old 09-06-2008, 12:00 AM   #1
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Single GUI-Application DSL

Dear All ...

Is there any documentation on how-to customizing DSL to only :
- Launch single X-application
- No Launchbar/menu etc etc

i.e : Just launch a graphical "hello world" with an "button", and shutdown whenever the button pressed.

Old 09-07-2008, 09:19 AM   #2
Libra RHR
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Salzburg, Austria
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04
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If you have a small experience in C programming, you can try to write a 20 lines application using GTK. Just install the libgtk devel package and look into the documentation, here's an example. Clicking the one and only button has to trigger an fork/exec command combination that executes the command to bring up and down the connection.

Maybe anyone knows better how to write the code, I did it once but forgot it.
Old 09-07-2008, 08:49 PM   #3
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Hi Libra ...

Thankyou for your help ..
But what I mean is how to "modify or re configure DSL" so that it don't call for a "desktop manager" ... but only single application.

i.e : Let's say I want a DSL distro that only have kinda FluxBox and FireFox in it. I want each time DSL start/boot ... after a normal boot sequence .... it only exe Firefox. No other menu or button etc etc .... and whenever I close/quit Firefox .... I want DSL to shutdown.

thats the system I want.

So how to strip-down exixting standard DSL to act like that ?

any enlightment please.

Note : Sorry for my bad english

Old 09-20-2008, 03:06 PM   #4
Registered: Jun 2008
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The DSL wiki has information about setting stuff to launch at boot. I don't know much about Fluxbox since I use JWM as my window manager, but in JWM it would be easy to strip all the config files down to the bare minimum. The JWM config files are stored in /home/dsl and start with .jwmrc. The JWM website has lots of information about editing the config files
Old 02-03-2009, 01:43 PM   #5
Registered: Jun 2008
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If you use the "dsl 2" cheat code at boot, you boot to the command line. From there you can launch individual X programs if you know where they're located.

I sometimes do that when I connect to my home server via ssh. Whenever I need a graphical program and I can't remember the path to the executable, I just type "nano ~/.jwmrc" to read the config file for the start menu.

It wouldn't be hard to write a script to create a text-based launcher menu for your favourite X programs.

If your goal is simply to declutter your desktop, it's not too hard to rewrite the JWM config files located in the home directory. That wouldn't really speed up your system though.

Yet another option is to use a minimal window manager, like RatPoison. It's available as a MyDSL extension.

Last edited by roystonlodge; 02-03-2009 at 01:55 PM.
Old 02-04-2009, 03:59 PM   #6
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Hi Guys
I think I have a similar problem to the original poster but none of the answers seem to do what I'd like. Actually I have two problems, but they're both due to the project I have in mind. Please let me give you some backgroud first as it'll help understanding.

I have a 42" 5 year old plasma screen that I currently use showing a DVD of a real fire, at least during the Winter. Other times it shows an aquarium or woodland scene. What I want to do is create a cut down version even of DSL to auto-run an AVI or MPEG when a PC boots up. I don't need a login screen to display and I don't want or need a desktop, browser, editor, terminal, anything but the ability to run a single Mpeg. Almost like an embedded system in fact.

I'm thinking of either a Pico-itx or Nano-itx as the PC hardware and would like to boot up from an SD card which would contain the essential OS files and the MPEG/AVI. There should be 1GB, maybe 2GB, of RAM available at boot up. All that's needed from the user perspective is a single button to power on and off the system. I don't care that an SD card can only take so many re-writes and can't take a swap file because I'm not writing to the card, only reading.

I've come across a distro called GeeXboX which might also be a good start - very small indeed.

Can anyone help me?
Old 02-12-2009, 11:44 AM   #7
Registered: Jun 2008
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A couple of options:

1) DSL is so small that there's mostly no need to remove any apps to strip it down further. You would just need to install the mplayer.unc extension and add a line to the .xinitrc file.

I'm not an expert on the best syntax for the .xinitrc file, but I think something like this would get mplayer to run your movie in fullscreen automatically when X starts: mplayer -fs filename &>/dev/null &. You would add this line underneath the line that runs dillo at boot.

Another idea: If you put a # in front of the torsmo line in the .xinitrc file, and you use the minimal cheat code at boot to use the minimal fluxbox window manager instead of JWM, you would reduce the amount of crud on the desktop and speed things up a wee bit. I'm almost certain there's a way to get mplayer to play in the root window (ie, the desktop background), but I couldn't find the command in mplayer's very extensive man pages.

Now, keep in mind: DSL still might not be the best distro for this sort of project, because it uses Xvesa which cannot switch to true fullscreen. If you use DSL you're still going to get the jwm or fluxbox menubar at the bottom, and (unless you can find the command to get mplayer to play in the root window) your video will be playing in it's own window, which might be a little ugly. Also, this seems to me to be a lot of work just to trick DSL into doing what you want it to do, with a result that might not be QUITE good enough for your needs. So...

2) Another distro you might want to try is eMoviX (, which from what I can tell is designed to be small enough that you can burn the OS and a movie file to a CD-R, and the movie will play at boot. I haven't tried it out, but it looks like the sort of thing that would suit your project. It appears to be much smaller than DSL since it's designed with a single application in mind.

3) There are more distros designed with home entertainment in mind at the LiveCD list website:


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