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Old 05-20-2006, 05:09 PM   #166
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Flubox Basic Configuration

I love window managers regardless if i'm using my old box at home or my
new one at work. In the first one, it speeds it up, and in the second,
it makes it faster than if i used Gnome or KDE.

Enough. Let's get to it, this is a basic installation and
configuration, nothing fancy, old style, lean and mean, no wallpapers, or
icons to suck memory from my old box. I'm using kernel 2.6 with Sarge, what else?

Note: there are several ways of doing this, this is the way i do it and it's definitely not written on stone.

# apt-get -y install fluxbox

it will install version 0.9.11

$ update-menus
# updatedb

this will insert fluxbox in the menus and updates the database so you can 'locate' anything about fluxbox later on.

One thing i like about Debian is that it comes with the 'Debian menu', click on it and again on Window Managers and Fluxbox should be there.
Click on Flubox and it switch to it in a jiffy, unless you're on Gnome or KDE, then it won't. But if you're on anothe WM (icewm, openbox, etc), it will.

If you want it to be your default manager:

$ nano ~/.xsession

and add the lines that suit your situation, here are mine:


xscreensaver &
#exec ion3
#exec icewm
exec fluxbox

save/exit from your editor and ~/.xsession will be created.

The commented window managers will be ignored and only the uncommented one will start by default. The next time you enter the X system fluxbox will start together with (in my case) xscreensaver.

Launch fluxbox, the default Style is Meta, if you want to try another ones, right click on the desktop or the side of the screen and from the Root (Main) menu, click on Syles and click on whichever you like. From the same menu, click on Configuration and disable Full Maximization by clicking on it, so you can see the toolbar at the bottom. Enable Antialias if you find the fonts too small. From the Root Menu click on Restart so the changes take place.

Now you can right-click on the toolbar and do some changes from there always remembering to Restart afterwards so the changes work. I like to go the other way.

Open a terminal and with favorite editor locate the fluxbox files:

$ nano locate fluxbox <Enter>

you will get a long list of files, you are interested in 2 files: the init and keys ones.


now copy them to your /home directory:

$ cp /etc/X11/fluxbox/init ~/.fluxbox/init <Enter>
$ cp /etc/X11/fluxbox/keys ~/.flubox/keys <Enter>

Now we'll go to the init file in you /home dir as USER, and do our stuff:

$ nano ~/.fluxbox/init

you will get a full page of configuration lines, something like this:


session.screen0.overlay.lineWidth: 1
session.screen0.overlay.lineStyle: LineSolid
session.screen0.overlay.joinStyle: JoinMiter
session.screen0.overlay.capStyle: CapNotLast
session.screen0.window.focus.alpha: 255
session.screen0.window.unfocus.alpha: 255 255
session.screen0.toolbar.onTop: False
session.screen0.toolbar.autoHide: false


I edit the ones i need to, and leave them looking like this:

session.screen0.toolbar.widthPercent: 100
this will make the toolbar full length across the screen.

session.screen0.strftimeFormat: %a %d %b %H:%M
This will render my time format like so:

Sat 20 May 14:23

session.screen0.workspaces: 2
I only use 2 virtual desktops instead of the default 4.

and that's it for me. Save/exit in my editor, Restart from the main menu.


$ nano ~/.fluxbox/keys

at the file you will see some keybindings, i erase them all and copy/paste this to it:

Mod1 Tab :NextWindow
Mod1 Shift Tab :PrevWindow
Mod1 F1 :Workspace 1
Mod1 F2 :Workspace 2
Control F1 :ExecCommand "aterm"
Control F2 :ExecCommand "xfe"
Control F3 :ExecCommand "xchat"
Control F4 :ExecCommand "gqview"
Control F5 :ExecCommand "mozilla-firefox"
Control F6 :ExecCommand "opera"
Control F7 :ExecCommand "mozilla-thunderbird"
Control F8 :ExecCommand "oowriter"
Mod1 F10 :MaximizeWindow
Mod1 F4 :Close
Mod4 m :RootMenu


Mod1 = Alt
Mod4 = Windows key

You replace my apps with yours, of course.

Next time you're in the 'zone', no time for icons, mouse or something else just use your keybindings and your apps will be launched. Nothing is faster than this.

Now, to test my default window manager: Ctrl+Alt+Backspace


IRC: Freenode server #fluxbox
Old 05-22-2006, 08:15 AM   #167
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Arch, Debian and FreeBSD
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So macondo, you switched to fluxbox from icewm? why?
Old 05-22-2006, 05:02 PM   #168
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Life ain't easy...

nope, i use icewm, fluxbox, and for the last 2 weeks ion3. I can take fluxbox for a couple of days, then switch to icewm, 2 weeks later i'm on ion. I got no life.
Old 05-24-2006, 07:11 PM   #169
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Arch, Debian and FreeBSD
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Originally Posted by macondo
nope, i use icewm, fluxbox, and for the last 2 weeks ion3. I can take fluxbox for a couple of days, then switch to icewm, 2 weeks later i'm on ion. I got no life.
Well at least you make mine easier with your guides
Old 05-28-2006, 08:13 PM   #170
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Just a comment about GRUB and LILO... I like GRUB, but I am forced to use LILO. Why? Because on many old computers the 1024 cylinder limitation will prevent GRUB from working, but LILO is unaffected (as long as the lba32 option is used).

Old 05-28-2006, 08:29 PM   #171
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Question Good programs that don't require KDE or GNOME?


I'd like to see some discussion of good programs that don't use KDE or GNOME. If you install a light window manager like IceWM, fluxbox, etc., you lose the advantage of the lighter window manager if you are using KDE and/or GNOME programs with it.

BTW, I am using KDE 3.3-- the one that comes with Sarge-- on an old 300 MHz laptop with 256 MB of RAM. It is quite responsive with most of the "eye candy" turned off. I wasn't planning to use KDE, but had planned to use Xfce instead. Now that I've seen how responsive KDE 3.3 is, I will probably stick with it for the time being.

Anyway, I just thought I'd mention that because I often see complaints that the software that comes with Debian stable is "old." Well, in this case "old" is good because it means that the performance of my computer is "snappier" than I expected.

Old 05-29-2006, 04:31 AM   #172
Registered: Apr 2004
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Hi pcalvert,

maybe these pages can be of help for you:

Page about lightweight apps:

lightweight "desktop":

page about configuring in general

It's also interesting to look at:

Also have a look at some lightweight linux distro's like Damn Small Linux and see what programs they use:

If you really want to start a discussion about lightweight applications, then I suggest you start a new topic about it. Or maybe build further on this one:

Old 05-31-2006, 02:20 PM   #173
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IceWM addendum

I wanted to share this with you IceWM nuts:

I like my terminal maximized (without having to screw around with geometry). I want the new windows that i open maximized, my apps without title bars, saving space on my monitor's screen. I close the screens with the keys, anyway.

$ cp /etc/X11/icewm/winoptions ~/.icewm/winoptions

$ joe ~/.icewm/winoptions

I read what was there and erased it, and added this:

aterm.startMaximized: 1
pine.startMaximized: 1
name.class.startMaximized: 1

aterm.dTitleBar: 0
opera.dTitleBar: 0
gqview.dTitleBar: 0 0
xchat.dTitleBar: 0


I start Pine (my mail app) by clicking on the mail icon on the taskbar next to the time. For this to work, i edited my ~/.icewm/preferences, and edited line 425:

# Command to run on mailbox
MailCommand="aterm -name pine -title Pine -e pine

Edit: or you can put this in your ~/.icewm/keys
key "Ctrl+F7" aterm -e pine


Edit 2 June 2006:
Here's my new keybindings in:
$ nano ~/.icewm/keys

key "Ctrl+F1" aterm
key "Ctrl+F2" xfe
key "Ctrl+F3" aterm -e tinyirc
key "Ctrl+F4" gqview
key "Ctrl+F5" mozilla-firefox
key "Ctrl+F6" opera
key "Ctrl+F7" aterm -e pine
key "Ctrl+F8" oowriter
key "Ctrl+F9" aterm -e links


Last edited by macondo; 06-02-2006 at 09:05 AM.
Old 06-15-2006, 12:51 PM   #174
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Very, very useful reading. Thanks a lot for this job... I found great advices in you post macondo, very helpful for a newbie like me. Sorry for my english.
Old 06-16-2006, 06:53 PM   #175
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The reason it's a good howto, is because it's a joint effort. Lots of people contributed to it.
I'm glad it is of help to you.

Old 07-04-2006, 06:35 AM   #176
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: India
Distribution: Kubuntu Gutsy
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Nice thread and I think after installing Debian, this is the perfect answer, due to time, the thread enlarged, still it is the best starter kit.

Though, I'd rather more happy, if I could find a solution for JRE 1.5 and Flash 7 or above with popular browsers like Firefox/ Mozilla, Epiphany, Opera. I am suffering from these two plugins, which is a must nowadays.

In the first page, I have found a post regarding Java, but the targetted link withdrawn the support at present. So, please contribute some of your time for these two issues...

Old 07-04-2006, 01:12 PM   #177
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Please post your questions outside this thread, this is a manual type of thread NOT to solve problems.

IIRC, craigevil posted the answer to java. Hint: enter "java" in the search engine at the top of the page.

As for flash, go to adobe/macromedia and download the flash plugin and follow the instructions or:

# apt-cache search flash

and follow instructions.
Old 07-06-2006, 07:26 PM   #178
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'Windows' key + arrow (right or left)

Note: if you don't have a 'Windows' key, use Ctrl + Alt.

If you're one those users with 6 or 7 desktops going:
'Windows' key + # (desktop #)

If you want to move a window to a DIFFERENT desktop:
'Windows' key + Shift + right or left arrow OR desktop # . Not bad huh?

If you want to run the CLI to launch apps without going to the terminal:

"Windows" key + Spacebar (if you don't have the windows key, use CTRL + Alt)

just type the name of the app and then <Enter>
it also works for reboot and shutting down the machine.

If you change your mind, just press Esc.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete and then press 'r'

Last edited by macondo; 07-06-2006 at 07:31 PM.
Old 07-13-2006, 08:57 AM   #179
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One of the differences i noticed while on Sid, was the new themes for
IceWM in that version. They were beautiful. After a couple of weeks i
decided to go back to Sarge; i didn't like the way Firefox and Opera
moved, the scrolling was jerky, i couldn't use Synaptic because of the
bugs, plus the daily update/dist-upgrade. Not really serious things but
after a while it anoyed me.

So i'm back in Sarge!

One of the things i kept thinking about, was the IceWM themes in Sid. I
went to see my friend Mr Google and got this page:

It gives this instructions and that was it.

mv the_theme.tar.gz /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/icewm/themes/
cd /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/icewm/themes/
tar -zxvf the_theme.tar.gz

Most of the themes come in the tar.gz format, you have to compile them.
Not having done this before, I installed:

plus the suggested packages except the manuals/docs.

I was having visions of ./configure, make, checkintall -D, and all the
uncivilized instructions Linux uses. But alas, it wasn't necessary as
you will soon see.

I went to to take a look at the icewm's themes:

there are tons of them.

Before i moved the theme from my home dir (according to the
instructions), i had to know the global address of the icewm themes, so
i opened a terminal and typed:

$ locate icewm

The address is /usr/share/icewm/themes

I decided to install the animation2 theme.

So i clicked on the tar.gz link and downloaded it to the disk, checked with
my file manager xfe, and the compressed file was there, in my /home. I
opened a terminal and typed:

$ sudo mv animation2-1.0.tar.gz /usr/share/icewm/themes

then following the instructions, i navigated to that second file,

$ cd /usr/share/icewm/themes

this put me there:


then proceeded to untar the tar.gz file:

luigi@debian:/usr/share/icewm/themes$ sudo tar -zxvf animation2-1.0.tar.gz

and it unraveled as it should:


If you want to go back to the original prompt:

luigi@debian:/usr/share/icewm/themes$ cd <Enter>

Now, i restarted IceWM:

Ctrl+Alt+Delete + r

I checked Themes from the main menu (press Windows keys) and voilą, it
was there under letter 'a': animation2, i went to my wife and told her
that i was a frigging genius! she yawned and went back to watching her
soap opera.


I use xfe as my file manager, it's very light and fast as lightning, no
waiting for it to come up. It is very configurable, fonts, colors, etc.

So, i pressed the Windows key + Spacebar and that gave me a CLI on the
taskbar with a blinking cursor, all this without launching a terminal,
and typed:

sudo xfe

This will allow me to use xfe as root.

When you go to the site i gave you at the beginning,
click on the images to take a look, press backspace to go back to the
previous page, click on the theme name link, in the next page click on
the url that ends in tar.gz . This will downloaded it to your disk.

After downloading the compressed tar.gz file to my home dir, it
appeared in xfe, i selected it and right clicked on it, chose 'Extract
to', this took me to a box, went down to usr>share>icewm>themes, and
clicked on 'themes', then clicked on Accept, let it unravel, Close. Now
the theme is untarred in the icewm themes dir.

Restart. Check Themes from the main menu and click on your new theme.


Once you have done it once, it takes less than a minute to download,
untar, and install the new theme. If you install more than one theme,
the box to extract to, will remain on 'themes' so you can just Accept
without looking for the themes global address.

I downloaded and installed a bunch of themes, i can see how you can
become a themes junkie.

Now i realized i had too many, together with the ones from the package
icewm-themes, i had about 80. Time to trim the fat.

# dpkg -P icewm-themes

This took out a bunch of themes, just leaving me with the default
themes plus the ones i had installed. I guess the next time i install
debian, i won't install icewm-themes just manually install what i want.

Still i thought i had too many, i went one by one, and wrote down the
ones that i didn't like now that they were installed.

In xfe (remember i'm still root), on the left column, went to


clicked on themes, and got a list of all themes i had in IceWM. Then
right-clicked on each one i didn't want, and chose Delete from the menu
and they were gone.

Restarted and was done. Closed xfe.

This is the list of themes i ended up with:


Warning: if you install Elberg, after you untar it, and restart icewm,
it will NOT appear in the themes menu. Somehow it goes to:


To fix this, start xfe as root, go to the above file, open it, you will
see these 3 files:


Select the first one, Shift-Click on the last one, this will highlight
all three of them, right click on them, choose Move from the menu, in
the next box, enter the CORRECT file:


Accept, and Restart

Now you will see the Elberg brothers in your themes menu.

It was fun!

Edit July 14 2006:
My wife adores the SilverXP theme which was wiped out when i uninstalled the icewm-themes package. He,he... so i clicked the SilverXP link at, and it took me, there i went to a second page and clicked on the link:

SilverXP-1.2.17-single-1.bz2 (make sure you have 'bzip2' installed)

clicked on it and did the xfe number on it, and after it was thru, it didn't appear on the main menu Themes submenu.

I did a 'sudo updatedb', nothing. I did a 'locate icewm' and found it in /usr/share/icewm/themes/icewm/themes . (don't ask)

with xfe as root, i moved it to the correct dir:



voilą! wife happy

Last edited by macondo; 07-14-2006 at 07:31 PM.
Old 07-13-2006, 11:25 AM   #180
Tony Bradley
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Location: Plymouth UK
Distribution: Debian
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Screen Resolution Problems

I've just recently installed Debian 3.1 sarge -great stuff!

However, one post-installation problem I've encountered is that I can't for the life of me get Debian to use a better screen resolution than 800 * 600 @ 75 Hz. The SuSe distro gave me a resolution of 1280 * 1024 (SXGA) @ 65 Hz.

Although this is usable, I think this may be damaging my monitor (a GSA LG Electronics CS778DC), which I'm running off an Intel I815 video card.

This would explain the occasional intermittent problems where the screen suddenly draws a multitude of multicoloured vertical lines on a black background.

Any ideas as to the resolution to this problem please? (Sorry for the pun).



debian, setup

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