[Techtalk] Red Hat/Windowmaker woes

Telsa Gwynne hobbit at aloss.ukuu.org.uk
Thu Nov 8 11:52:27 EST 2001

On Tue, Nov 06, 2001 at 05:41:11PM -0500 or thereabouts, patty wrote:

> I'm relatively new to the list, so I suppose a little introduction 
> is in order. My name is Patty, I work in a network operations center 
> in Atlanta. 

Welcome :)
> At work, I use Red Hat with WindowMaker as my window manager. I've only 
> had about six months' experience with any *nix at all, so I'll be the 
> first to admit that my knowledge is somewhat pedestrian. I've become 
> pretty attached to the combination, though, so I've been trying to 
> install it at home. 
> I followed through with the installation instructions and spent several 
> hours pondering over various FAQs, but no matter what I do, I cannot get 
> WindowMaker to load as the default session, or indeed as any session 
> at all. .xinitrc tells me that wmaker should be the manager it loads, 
> but the login screen only gives me an option for Gnome.
> Can anyone help me out?

Some quick questions: 

"trying to install it at home": does this refer to RH or to wmaker?

RH these days comes on two CDs and wmaker is on the second one, I 
think. I know I always have to go and make sure it (and libproplist,
a requirement for wmaker) is selected in the install. So, first, if
this referred to installing RH, check wmaker is on your machine
with "rpm -qa | grep -i window". "rpm -qa" lists *all* installed
packages and may take some time. grep will spit out anything
which matches the string after it. The "-i" makes it match regardless
of the case. (WindowMaker, windowmaker, Windowmaker... the capitalisation
has changed in the past, so this will catch it whatever it is these

If you have been trying to install windowmaker onto the box, have
you been trying to install via rpms or compiling source? It is
possible that in installing from source you have put it in 
/usr/local/ (where stuff you installed from source should go) and
that something is looking for it in /usr (where stuff from package
managers like deb and rpm gets put). At least, I think it's possible.

The login screen: is this a plain black screen with

  Red Hat Linux (releasename here)


..and not a lot else in the top corner, in text? Or is it a big
funky graphical login? If the latter, do you know whether it's
Gnome's graphical login manager (gdm) or KDE's (kdm)?

If you are starting with a text login and starting X with 'startx',
then this used to work for me before I switched to Gnome: a file
in my home directory called ".Xclients" with nothing in it except


If it's the gdm (or kdm) screen, then there is a way to make a
new Session option. There's a directory somewhere which will have
Gnome, KDE, Default (or fallback or something) files in it. Not
having *dm to hand, I can't remember where. I would imagine you
can make one for WindowMaker along the same lines, restart gdm,
and it will notice it.

(You can get rid of gdm with rpm -e gdm, btw, and see whether
startx actually pays attention to your .xinitrc once gdm is
no longer there.)

Finally: WindowMaker is a window manager. Gnome is a desktop
environment and you can use any window manager in it that you
like. I run Gnome with WindowMaker. I turn off a lot of 
WindowMaker features which Gnome also offers, but it is WindowMaker
doing the window management.

Um. More questions than answers there! Sorry!


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