A faster alternative to KDE and Gnome - IceWM

Q I have been wondering for a while if there is a faster alternative to KDE or Gnome for my Fedora machine (Athlon 1.2GHz, 256MB). So I decided to try out the IceWM window manager, because I wanted something that was vaguely similar to what I was already using, with a task bar, launcher button and menu. It wasn't all plain sailing, but I did eventually get there. The first stumbling block was getting IceWM to start at all. Eventually I found I had to put an .xsession file in my home directory (and make sure it's executable). Here is what I use, so other readers don't have to struggle like I did:

# run profile to set $PATH and other env vars correctly
. $HOME/.bash_profile
# setup touchpad and the external
mouse
xset m 7 2
xinput set-ptr-feedback 0 7 1.9 1
# run initial programs
uxterm &
# start icewm, and run xterm if it crashes (just to be safe)
exec icewm-session || exec xterm -fg red

The next problem was to figure out how to get any extra items on the launcher menu. I found that you can do this by editing files in the .icewm directory (a sub-directory of home). The main file to edit is menu (obvious really, when you think about it). The nice thing about this is you don't have to reboot your machine to get the menus active - they are immediately there when the file is saved. My one and only gripe, which is stopping me from using IceWM all the time, is that because it's so quick my mouse is too fast to control easily. My guess is that there is some kind of parameter to change in the xorg.conf file or in the nvidia-config file. Could you tell me what needs changing to get my mouse under control?

A Thanks for sharing your discovery. IceWM is a great little window manager, although I prefer to use Sawfish as it seems a little more solid in general use. Most login tools such as gdm and kdm will allow you to select a window manager, so you won't need to edit your .xsession file manually to change to the one you want. For anyone looking for a slightly less minimalist window manager, Enlightenment DR0.17 is looking pretty crazy these days (check out www.enlightenment.org). If you've got the time to compile the dozen or so support libraries for it, it's a really slick system, although it is still in development. A quick machine is recommended for Enlightenment, but if you turn off many of the bells and whistles it will work happily on older boxes. Now to your question. You can set the mouse speed using xset, such as

xset m 5 1

You can also set a 'Resolution' value in your xorg.conf in the Mouse section to adjust the speed of the mouse. In both cases, it's a trial and error situation where you have to tune your settings as you go. Of course, you will probably only want to change one at a time otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy!

Follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter

Username:   Password:
Create Account | About TuxRadar