Switching from fluxbox to wmii on Hex

January 30, 2008

wmiiDon’t get me wrong, I love fluxbox, I just enjoy experimenting with other window managers and decided I’d finally try the daunting wmii (turns out, not very daunting at all). So, here’s a quick rundown on getting wmii working on Hex 1.0.3BETA (this will work on pretty much any other Hex 1.* release as well). They should always work about the same for a standard 6.2 FreeBSD release, although the steps may vary a little.

Step 1: Get the packages here: http://navi.eight7.org/~hinmanm/files/hex/wmii/, you will need all 4 packages. (hopefully my server doesn’t go down ;)

Step 2: Install the packages. With all the packages in the same directory do:
pkg_add -v ./wmii-3.5.1.tbz
The dependencies will automatically be installed along with it.

Step 3: Hex utilizes .bash_profile to actually do the starting of X11, if you take a look at the last line in ~/.bash_profile, you’ll see:
if [ -z "$DISPLAY" ] && [ -z "$SSH_CLIENT" ]; then
exec startx

Since X is already started, the easiest way to have wmii started instead of fluxbox is to simply change your ~/.xinitrc file to read:
while wmii; do

Step 4: Restart X, kill X with a Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, if everything works correctly, you should be staring at an extremely plain desktop. Hit Alt+Enter to open an xterm.

Step 5: wmii uses the /usr/local/etc/wmii-3.5/wmiirc file to store its configuration options, there are a few lines that need to be changed in order to fit wmii into hex a little better:

changes to:

xsetroot -solid $WMII_BACKGROUND
changes to whatever background-setting command you like to use, mine is set to:
Esetroot -center /home/analyzt/rp-Wallpapers/rp-team.jpg

In addition, to make using Alt as the MODKEY non-annoying (change the MODKEY=Mod1 setting if you want to use something other than Alt), there are a few changes that should go into ~/.mrxvtrc:

The line:
Mrxvt.macro.Alt+1: GotoTab 1
changed to:
Mrxvt.macro.Ctrl+1: GotoTab 1

Repeat for all the GotoTab # commands. Since wmii uses Alt+# to switch workspaces, using them to switch mrxvt tabs doesn’t work either.

Step 6: Restart wmii, hitting ‘Alt+p’ and selecting ‘quit’ should prompt wmii to restart, with the new settings, now hitting Alt+Enter should open the standard mrxvt terminal.

Check out the guide for additional info on how to use wmii. I am loving the lightweight feel and speedy response I’m getting so far, it works great for running Hex in virtualization, as it’s even lighter weight than Fluxbox is.

Good luck!

P.S. Hex 1.0.3 should be out any day now, It will have NSM-Console 0.5-DEVEL version on it, which I will be releasing additionally for download at the same time, look forward to it!

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