Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - General
User Name
Linux - General This Linux forum is for general Linux questions and discussion.
If it is Linux Related and doesn't seem to fit in any other forum then this is the place.


  Search this Thread
Old 10-18-2005, 11:17 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Distribution: Slackware, Mandriva, Debian derivatives, +BSD/ Solaris/ Minix/ plan9/ GNU/HURD...
Posts: 185

Rep: Reputation: 31
switching window managers in live CD distros

At the risk of provoking with this half question/half rant: I don't like KDE. But I do like live CDs. This is a question mainly about two live distros: Linux Live Gaming Project, and MediainLinux. How do I get any desktop besides KDE? Anybody gotta clue?

Both distros are Debian/Knoppix based. Both of them are Italy-based, as well, and I don't know Italian and half the forums/help is in Italian. MediainLinux doesn't address the issue at all. LLGP's forum claims that the Knoppix boot options should work with LLGP - well, they don't! Just for a sanity check, I loaded up my trusty Knoppix CD and typed, "Knoppix desktop=fluxbox screen=1024x768" and it came up nice as you please. In LLGP, at best it will ignore me as if I'd typed nothing at all. At worst, it will kernel panic!

In Red Hat, I had a program called "switchdesk" . In Slackware, it's a matter of "xwmconfig". Once I'm in any other window manager, there's usually an option to switch to window maker from fluxbox, for instance., or fluxbox to fvwm, right from the menu. Believe me, even TWM will do just fine! Hey, if I want KDE's panel, I'll just type "kicker" in the xterm!

See, I use live CDs only when they group a whole google of packages that aren't in my base installs. Usually, these programs are memory-intensive already, plus the overhead of running them from a CD. So that's why it's particularly important to have the environment as light as possible. What's particularly puzzling is, I check the directories and fluxbox and window maker and xfce, etc, etc are all there, looking fully installed and ready to go - with no way to use them! And there's no such thing as an X install without TWM - it comes default, doesn't it?

Beyond the case of these two distros: Does anybody have a general-purpose distro-proof guaranteed method of getting out of KDE and into another window manager, when no installed program (xdm, etc) is provided to do that, and the whole file structure is written to disk, and boot options are not an option? I was considering just carrying "xdm" around with me on a USB drive, but I don't think I could get that working...

Any thoughts or suggestions welcome. Perhaps we need to lobby KDE to convince them to be more user-friendly to people who want to run a different desktop for awhile?
Old 10-19-2005, 02:25 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Aberdeen Scotland
Distribution: elive,sidux,xp,pclinuxos super gamer, mandriva 2007
Posts: 417

Rep: Reputation: 30
Well kanotix which i think is one of the best has this - which runs fluxbox. Based on knoppix but with better hardware detection but its unsupported - installs to usb key as well as to hd if you want.
Old 10-19-2005, 03:41 AM   #3
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Distribution: Slackware, Mandriva, Debian derivatives, +BSD/ Solaris/ Minix/ plan9/ GNU/HURD...
Posts: 185

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 31
Um, yeah, I might try Kanotix sometime (it installs Debian/Sid in ten minutes ?!?!?), but I'm specifically looking for solutions for these two distros...each of which meets a specific need (LLGP is the best of Linux gaming on one live CD, popular with the family. MediainLinux is all the graphics/audio/media tools on one live CD, good portable artist's toolbox for *me*.) As update, I did get FXCE to run on MediainLinux (not quite the solution I had in mind, but even XFCE's better than KDE strangling the machine to death while it's trying to ray-trace my Blender meshes.), but that's only because I found "startxfce4", in /usr/bin. I'm trying a similar snark-hunt on LLGP.

It's not just out of speed, it's that KDE has a particular dislike for some of my old hardware (I'm running these on the oldest box in the house, the one that gets the handmedown junk from the other computers). On a monitor which easily does 1024x768, it insists on 640x480 and won't let me change it, and it refuses to admit anything to do with sound exists on the machine. Between the icons the size of a half-dollar crowding out the window I'm trying to draw in, and crashing the system every time I accidentally trigger a sound event, it was getting on my nerves. I start XFCE and everything works beautifully. Go figure? I think it's at least halfway the way KDE is configured on these two distros. KDE in Knoppix never gave me too much grief. Anyway, I always prefer the lightest possible distro.

I've given some thought to the emergency measure of kill -9 'ing KDE a piece at a time from the console without touching X, then sneaking TWM in there. Some hack like that, to have up my sleave for future situations like this. There won't always be a "startxfce" in a handy place. And I know, I'm a nut for going on about TWM. It's just that it's ALWAYS there, and every program in every system can be started from typing it's name at the command line. On my older hardware, it literally makes the difference whether I can use 50% of the programs on it, depending on the window manager!
Old 10-19-2005, 08:34 AM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Houston, TX (usa)
Distribution: MEPIS, Debian, Knoppix,
Posts: 4,727
Blog Entries: 15

Rep: Reputation: 234Reputation: 234Reputation: 234
"The fault is our distros, Cassius, not in our desktop" (with apologies to Will)

It's not KDE's fault if the LLGP forum lies to you -- as you said, the "cheatcodes" work in Knoppix.

Are you experienced enough to re-master either Knoppix or LLGP to what you want?

Can you use translation software to make head or tail of the LLGP forum? Hate to mention it, but it is built into Konqueror.

Have you tried the equivalent of "knoppix 2"?

I worse comes worse, would "killall kde" be quicker?
Old 10-20-2005, 12:14 AM   #5
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Distribution: Slackware, Mandriva, Debian derivatives, +BSD/ Solaris/ Minix/ plan9/ GNU/HURD...
Posts: 185

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 31
"It's not KDE's fault"

I'm beginning to understand that. The distro releaser has KDE starting the sound module before it's up all the way, and this results, by his own admission, in kind of a "race condition" where KDE is running the sound before X has it found, yet. He advises Ctrl-Alt-backspace to reload, but that doesn't seem to help. Mind you, if we leave it sit running for about half an hour, the sound suddenly starts up all by itself! How's that for hard-to-diagnose behavior?

"Are you experienced enough to re-master either Knoppix or LLGP to what you want?"

Not yet! I'm still only a level 10 mage - can dink out a reasonable program in one of six or so languages, but still need lots of books to help me.

"Hate to mention it, but it is built into Konqueror."

Holy cow! I just tried that, and it worked like a charm! Why isn't this built into Firefox? I probably need to get the plug-in. Thanks! If nothing else, I got that, at least. The results aren't bad...I did a markov program in python once that wasn't this clear...

"I worse comes worse, would "killall kde" be quicker?"

Heh...KDE is set up for "autoload" on this system, I've figured out, so all attempts to kill KDE result in it springing back to life. I *did* manage to get at least TWM going, and it still runs KDE with TWM as the window manager instead of KWin! Also, killing KDE all at once makes X die, too. The sound works in TWM, and the graphic resolution normal, but now everything's slowed to a crawl!?? Apparently, the installs for fluxbox/wmaker & company are either only partially implemented or disabled.

Well, a new release is in the works, complete with an install-to-harddrive program. And nobody guaranteed me that this disk would run on any ancient machine I threw it on - gamers are expected to have at least moderately advanced hardware. The half of the games that run OK *do* rock, so guess I'll leave this one for the kids to play with. Just, y'know, major games are one of the "Holy Grail"s of Linux, and I was hoping we had that one nicked - but at the least, I have hope that we will sooner than I expected.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
switching window managers LSherman Slackware 4 05-02-2004 12:51 PM
Switching Window Managers Brother Michael Debian 5 04-17-2004 10:49 AM
Window Managers vs. Desktop Managers mikeshn Linux - General 4 02-11-2004 11:31 AM
Switching Window managers... Brother Michael Linux - Newbie 1 12-20-2003 12:16 AM
Switching Window managers? zhenwu Linux - Newbie 8 07-28-2001 01:53 AM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - General

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:39 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration