[Techtalk] Red Hat/Windowmaker woes

Malcolm Tredinnick malcolm at commsecure.com.au
Thu Nov 8 20:44:32 EST 2001

I'm almost certainly going to regret posting this, since Telsa has way
more experience than me at using Window Maker, but I may be able to fill
in some blanks here.

On Thu, Nov 08, 2001 at 10:52:27AM +0000, Telsa Gwynne wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 06, 2001 at 05:41:11PM -0500 or thereabouts, patty wrote:
> > 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. 

What version of Red Hat (or what distro) are you installing? Sometimes
we can give very specific advice for particular versions (and sometimes
not -- it's a matter of whether somebody on the list has used that

> > 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?
> 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
> #!/bin/sh
> waker

I'm willing to bet you actually spelt it 'wmaker', though. I don't seem
to have 'waker' installed on my system. :-)

> 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.

On my current box (a Red Hat 7.2 system), there is already a session
setup for WindowMaker for gdm to use. The different session options are
in /etc/X11/gdm/Sessions and according to 'rpm -qf
/etc/X11/gdm/Sessions/WindowMaker', that file was installed by the
WindowMaker rpm (the WindowMaker version is 0.65).

So now I'm wondering if Patty is either not using Red Hat or has not
installed the WindowMaker rpm. My experience on other distros is very
limited at the moment, so I'm not sure if their packages of WindowMaker
install a session file.

> (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.)

I sort of cringe at this "remove it" advice, but that may be just my
personal taste in sys adminning. In theory, startx should always look
for $HOME/.xinitrc if you are starting from a normal console login. Just
make sure that .xinitrc is executable.

> 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.

This is an _important_ point that I would have shoved right up front! If
you don't mind using GNOME, then just click on the GNOME entry in
gdm/kdm/xdm (or whatever login manager pops up) and then choose the menu
item Setting->Desktop->"Window Manager" and select WindowMaker from the
list of choices there (assuming it's installed). Then, whenever GNOME
starts up for you, you will get WindowMaker as your window manager.


Plan to be spontaneous - tomorrow.

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