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Posts: 15 | Thanked: 19 times | Joined on Jul 2008
So I've been searching for a decent WM for my n800. I spent many an hour ssh -X ing into my laptop trying out different windows managers on my tablet. I ended up deciding upon fvwm2 for my purposes. (I originally compiled Enlightenment, but it kept segfault-ing in scratchbox, and I got to frustrated trying to debug with gdbserver, as the bug only reared its head under armel).

With a little configuration, I got FVWM2 to be very usable. Below is what I considered important considerations:

1) No reboot between matchbox and FVWM2
The ability to go back to matchbox like nothing ever happened.

2) Play nice with hildon-desktop
I like the applets, menu (navigator bar) and status bar, so I want them there. However, I didn't like how navigator is always on top (with non-hildonized apps) with most WM's I tried but with FVWM its not the case. The "home desktop", "status bar" and "navigation bar" are all separate windows and can be moved, resize, hidden, lowered and raised, etc. I've configured them to me without title bar and handles, but when in focus a window op pop-up can be opened with the fullscreen button.

3) Play nice with osso-* essential services and all hildonized apps
Access to all essential things, like connectivity UI. The hildonized apps play nicely. Sometimes they are tiny, but that is fixed by maximizing or resizing. Sometimes they are too big and can't be resized, but thats handled by the scrollbar feature

4) Finger friendly (Including the maemo finger keyboard)
The fullscreen button has been mapped to bring up the window op menu, allowing you to do most window manipulations easily.
Most importantly, in all hildonized apps, you can still you the finger keyboard

5) Desktop Switcher
Im really glad about this. I normally leave the "home desktop" clean and move all apps the other workspaces.

6) Highly Configurable
Able to change keybindings (I have a mini keyboard I use when using ssh -X to turn my tablet essentially into a terminal to my lab machine)
Able to add rules for each window. There is a save layout module, but I havent figured out how to restore it yet...

7) Themes? Apparently there are themes available for FVWM2? I don't know, haven't played around with that.

8) Lightweight, few dependencies
Important, as this meant I was able to compile it easily

Here is a screenshot of it running:

Installation Instructions: (Standard disclaimer, Not responsible for Blah, blah, blah...)
First download the tar file:

Copy it to your tablet: (Or just download it there)

become root: (Here are some methods)
sudu su (If you are in your sudoers)
sudo gainroot (If becomeroot installed)
ssh method (if ssh client installed)

cd to root directory:
cd /

tar -xvf /home/user/fvmw2.tar

Its now installed, but there is still the annoyance of stopping matchbox-window-maker (only one WM at a time is allowed of course)
You may notice that if you try the logical killall matchbox-window, but it will just restart.
This is due to a launcher thats gaurding it (dsmetools). In theory you should be able to stop it via this launcher, but I have had no luck.
So, the workaround was to modify the matchbox launcher script so that it won't try to restart matchbox if it "crashes".
If you are curious about the technical details, it involved a one character change of -r to -o in /etc/osso-af-init/
But so this didn't effect all apps that use this script, I made a new one /etc/osso-af-init/ with this change. Then I changed /etc/osso-af-init to use this new launcher.

Anyway, you should notice a script /home/user/ Running this will do the following:
Make a backup copy of the modifyed
Copy the new launcher
Install a matchbox restart script (/usr/local/bin/matchbox)


Starting fvwm2:
killall matchbox-window //Close matchbox
fvwm2 //Lauch fvwm2

Back to matchbox:
Close fvwm2 via menu
execute /usr/local/bin/matchbox

run /home/user/

This will install all files added, restoring backups

This DOES NOT remove following files, as they may be there by another program

It DOES remove xterm and links that were added during installation in /usr/local/bin

Let me know of any problems. I havent tested it on N810, nor have I run the "install script", (its really tiny, but if there is a typo let me know).

Happy Hacking

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qole's Avatar
Moderator | Posts: 7,109 | Thanked: 8,809 times | Joined on Oct 2007 @ Vancouver, BC, Canada
That's really cool, so in the screenshot you're simulating the Hildon desktop in FVWM2?

One trick I've found for having two WMs at a time is using Xephyr nested X-server to open a WM in display :1, I use this for my Debian chroot (see my sig).
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Posts: 15 | Thanked: 19 times | Joined on Jul 2008
The screenshot is straight off my tablet, everything running natively on it and no chroot. (I do however like to run apps from my laptop using X-fowarding). When you start the wm, it just encapsulates the hildon-desktop, which is really three windows, kinda wrapped into one. This gives you freedom to do what you will with the status-bar, navigation bar and the home/backround/applet area. I got rid of the handles and title as they werent really needed (I think I will see if I can remove the border too). The whole reason I decided went for an alt wm is so I can use non-hildonized apps and not have them cramped. I've yet to play around with running with a chroot, but Im sure it will be my next project when I get bored

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Underscore's Avatar
Posts: 276 | Thanked: 74 times | Joined on Feb 2008 @ Missouri, USA
I try running /home/user/ but I get the message:
cp: cannot stat '/home/user/': No such file or directory
Looking through the files in /home/user/ I see but there is no
Hoping to get this running!
qwerty12's Avatar
Posts: 4,274 | Thanked: 5,356 times | Joined on Sep 2007 @ Looking at y'all and sighing
To me, this sounds like the same file (well same function anyway)

I'd just run:
ln -s /home/user/ /home/user/

and hope for the best.

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Posts: 7 | Thanked: 0 times | Joined on May 2008
Looks great! I'm pumped about trying it when I get home. I've never used this WM before, how quick is it compared to matchbox?
Underscore's Avatar
Posts: 276 | Thanked: 74 times | Joined on Feb 2008 @ Missouri, USA
I did what Qwerty12 said and I received no error messages. Then I typed "killall matchbox-window" in xterm. All my open windows seemed to close one at a time, then reopened, nothing changed. Typing "fvwm2" gets me:
/bin/sh: fvwm2: not found
Posts: 15 | Thanked: 19 times | Joined on Jul 2008
Oops, looks like Im a little dislexic. I fixed the install script. As for the speed I don't see a noticable slowdown.

Here are some more screenshots.

Sometimes the os keyboard stays on the screen if you close the window without "deselecting the text entry area". When this happens I click on a hildonized text entry area, then click off it in the same window and it goes away. (EG, I click on the search applet entry field, then click else where on my home area).

As for the not found, it should be located in /usr/local/bin. It might not be in the path variable by default, I think I may have had to add it somepoint along the way.

Its a simple snippet of code to add it to the path, but I cant produce it off the top of my head. You can try running it with absolute path /usr/local/bin/fvwm2

Hopefully that will do it

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PS: Once all the caveats I overlooked come out, I will see if I can sum them up in a README in the tar.
Posts: 15 | Thanked: 19 times | Joined on Jul 2008
Oh, Just remembered something important!! Make sure you restart after running Else you wont be able to kill matchbox as it will have been started by the old launcher script, it will just restart endlessly. (Or until you kill it 10 times in 60s, then your tablet will give up and restart I think).
Yeah, def a readme when all one's demonstrated all my errors :-p.

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