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WindowMaker Reloaded


Well, first Ubuntu, now Debian, have foisted the abomination that is Gnome 3 on me. To be fair, the code revisions -may- be worth it (I haven't looked), but the UI is a horrible step down from Gnome 2. IMHO, anyway. Maybe it will improve.

In the meantime, back to WindowMaker I go.
Here are some of the packages I use with it to make it all play nice:

  • xfe - Nice lightweight file manager.
  • chromium - web browser (also iceweasel).
  • xscreensaver - lock the screen.

To get real transparency working, xcompmgr and transset-fd work ok with WindowMaker, although there's no GUI. Still, it's easy enough to set up some keyboard/mouse shortcuts.

Linux Mint Debian Edition


I installed Linux Mint Debian Edition (64-bit) into a Virtual Box virtual machine to try it out. Following are some observations:


There is no way to install LMDE into a Logical Volume, even if an LV is created manually. Very disappointing.

Given the lack of support for technical users, almost more surprising was the fact that there was no automated suggested partitioning scheme, rather, the user is expected to manually partition the disks.

Otherwise the install proceeded quickly and smoothly.

However, after installation, over 400MiB of updates needed to be downloaded. Since LMDE is based on Debian Testing, it seems it would make sense to just distribute a minimal installer which then performs the installation over the network. Or update the DVD image nightly.


There is no (easy) way to set a system-wide proxy, used by all applications, tools, and utilities. For me that meant a bit of manual configuration before the 'mintupdate' utility was working.

This is fine for a technical distribution, but not one aimed at people new to Linux.

Debian (unstable) / XFree86 / Microsoft Natural Keyboard


Mapping extended keys (Power / Home / Volume)

I wanted to map some of the special keys on a Microsoft Natural Keyboard to actions in WindowMaker. The following steps are applicable to most Window Managers.

Now edit ~/.Xmodmap, adding entries for the relevant keycodes (found with xev) using the key symbols from /usr/lib/X11/XKeysymDB - you will most likely want the symbol names starting with XF86. When done, reload the keyboard map:
   $ xmodmap .Xmodmap

In WindowMaker you can use one of the graphical configuration utilities to map your newly mapped keys to actions or directly edit your WMRootMenu file.

Debian (unstable) / Mozilla 1.6 / mozgest


Normal User is no longer able to start Mozilla

This problem was highlighted when I tried to install the Mouse Gestures (mozgest) package into Mozilla 1.6. As root, the optional Mozilla components get install in /usr/lib/mozilla/... and sometimes the permissions are not properly set (usually in the 'chrome' sub-directory). To fix, run the following command to give everybody read-access to the files:

  $ cd /usr/lib/mozilla
  $ chmod -R +r *

Debian (unstable) / XFree86 4.x / user Xdefaults | Xresources


Under Debian user X Resources are placed in ~/.Xresources and not in ~/.Xdefaults. They are only sourced at X session startup. Any changes made require either restarting the X session or merging them manually:

  $ xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources

Debian (unstable) / Kernel 2.6.3 / kbuild / VMWare 4.0.5


The install of the kbuild system seems to slightly broken for compiling kernel modules as it relies on the kernel header files being within its directory structure. If you're trying to compile kernel modules and the compilation fails because it can't find some header files, try adding a symlink as follows:

  $ cd /usr/src/kernel-kbuild-2.6-1
  $ ln -s ../kernel-headers-2.6.3-1-k7/include .
And here are some related links:




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Last updated: 2011.11.24