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Thread: Window/Desktop Manager choices and uses [opinions inside]

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate red_parchel's Avatar
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    Window/Desktop Manager choices and uses [opinions inside]

    For years now I have personally used Fluxbox as my window manager of choice, for many reasons including text based config files, light weight, extremely simple, and to me elegant. For me and my purposes it worked very well. And because of this I without question put Fluxbox on my carputer.

    I'm looking to branch out try some new WM's or maybe even Desktop managers, in hopes of finding something that is best suited for me and my carputer.

    there seems to be very little about what WM/DM people use in their car, why they use it, what kinds of modifications they've made.

    here's a thread that we can all share our experiences in fine tuning our WM/DM's for use in our cars, including set ups, tips&tricks, config files, and perhaps the obligatory screen shots!
    MobileThree: in car - Zotac Atom/ION - linuxICE 2.0.2

    --worklog--

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate red_parchel's Avatar
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    Fluxbox

    I've been using Fluxbox in my set up, taking a tip from timekiller.org I added the bbbutton app for a while to relaunch things if they died or i accidentally closed them. that worked pretty well! I also used it to launch an on screen keyboard such as xkbd 'xkbd -geometry 1024x200+0+568' or xstroke to use the touch screen for gesture recognition

    I also had taken advantage of the ~/.fluxbox/startup file to launch all types of apps [and scripts] when fluxbox booted, such as nGhost. I found this much easier than dealing with the rc/init scripts

    I also used the ~/.fluxbox/keys file to create keyboard shortcuts/'macros' to do things [such as stop/start/restart wifi/bluetooth/phone] this got difficult to use once i gave up a keyboard/keypad and really was the catalyst for looking into new WMs. For a while i used xstroke to "draw" the keystrokes i wanted which also worked well but got old.

    I'd like to try Matchbox WM after reading the IGo 8 Running on 'NIX thread and seeing dinuxlt's set up. Also Kev000 suggested a combination of "maximus+compiz" that looks promising and I hope he'll comment on it at some point.


    I know my post is lacking the config's and screenshots I suggested but i promise I'll post them soon after I unpack my carputer from my recent move.
    MobileThree: in car - Zotac Atom/ION - linuxICE 2.0.2

    --worklog--

  3. #3
    licensed to kill - FKA kev000
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    tripzero's Avatar
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    LinuxICE uses Matchbox window manager by default. It issues a startx that launches the /etc/matchbox/session script. Here is what I have in that script to start the window manager:

    Code:
    #!/bin/sh
         
        nscan &
         
        icepanel &
         
        nghost &
         
        exec matchbox-window-manager $@ -theme trueice -use_desktop_mode decorated
    themes in matchbox are really odd. It's basically a bunch of images and some xml. Here is the theme.xml for trueice.

    matchbox window manager has no concept of desktops. Everything is resized to full screen (except for dialog windows). It works really well for most things. It works extremely well with matchbox-keyboard. The window manager automatically resizes the window around the keyboard! Also, matchbox has a few commands that LinuxICE uses on icepanel to handle iterating through windows: matchbox-remote -prev and matchbox-remote -next.

    Hope that helps a bit. If anyone has any questions, i'll try to answer with what I know.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  4. #4
    Low Bitrate benedums's Avatar
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    webOS

    Kev,
    Have you checked out WebOS running on the new Palm Pre?
    Just went to the Sprint store tonight to get another phone and saw the Pre, had to put my name on the wait list.

    Any way, it looked very similar to Clutter in that it had what they called a card layout that you could scroll through multiple apps that are running. (see multi tasking)

    http://pdadb.net/imageview.php?path=...CardView02.jpg

    It would be cool if you could add that type of layout to the matchbox.desktop or ice.desktop or whatever it is.
    I just liked the interface and how easy(and intuitive) it was to navigate with just a few touches.

    I also had a thought of a widget for the ICE.panel that added quick controls for whatever "media" app was controlling sound output, that might include NGhost or any other media app (satellite, radio, media player, etc...) I think you already have something like that but it would be nice if it was a design standard that other media apps would use.

    I also kinda like the app store concept that a user could access to get new apps.
    Might be something to think about for ICE...
    Sailin
    ________________________________________
    CarPC Status:
    Planning.......[--------x-] 90%
    Parts..........[------x---] 70%
    Fabrication....[----x-----] 50%
    ________________________________________

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by benedums View Post
    Kev,
    Have you checked out WebOS running on the new Palm Pre?
    I believe WebOS is closed source. However Google's Android may make its way into our cars sooner than later:

    http://phandroid.com/2009/06/05/andr...ontinental-ag/

  6. #6
    Low Bitrate benedums's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unsungboxer View Post
    I believe WebOS is closed source. However Google's Android may make its way into our cars sooner than later:
    Closed but you can register for their API if/when it is released.
    Sailin
    ________________________________________
    CarPC Status:
    Planning.......[--------x-] 90%
    Parts..........[------x---] 70%
    Fabrication....[----x-----] 50%
    ________________________________________

  7. #7
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    tripzero's Avatar
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    Compiz + Maximus

    Ubuntu netbook remix doesn't use matchbox window manager. It seems like the whole industry is moving away from using it (including maemo and moblin). I think much of the reason is the non-standard way it uses themes, etc. matchbox-wm2 was going to use gtk themes, but that project may be entirely scrapped because opened-hand (the company behind matchbox) was aquired by intel last year. They are now working on "mutter" which is a fork of metacity using clutter for compositing. Possibly more on that later...

    Maximus is a great tool if you want to achieve the same function as matchbox-wm. It works with any freedesktop standards compliant window manager. It automatically resizes "normal" windows to be full screen.

    I'm thinking of this as an option in LinuxICE2. With a simple dbus-send command you can activate compiz's scale, which can be really useful in the car. For example this:

    Code:
    dbus-send --type=method_call --dest=org.freedesktop.compiz /org/freedesktop/compiz/scale/allscreens/initiate_all_key org.freedesktop.compiz.activate string:'root' int32:`xwininfo -root | grep id: | awk '{ print $4 }'`
    command as a button on icepanel would give you an excellent interface for choosing an app. Works very well with the ng3 ideology.

    Maximus is available in the ubuntu repos as "maximus"

    cheers,
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  8. #8
    licensed to kill - FKA kev000
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    tripzero's Avatar
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    Here's a couple screenshots of what I'm talking about with compiz in the car:

    Scale Plugin as controlled by dbus:
    Name:  scale+compiz.png
Views: 599
Size:  365.8 KB


    Switcher is a bit more difficult because the icepanel dissappears as an interface to iterate through the windows. Maybe xstroke gestures would work in this case? It'd be worth a try eh?
    Name:  shift.png
Views: 621
Size:  306.7 KB
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  9. #9
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    Desktop Environments

    Honestly, There's not much of a point of having a full blown desktop environment. I think LinuxICE will include a selected handful of apps from gnome, but definitely not the full blown gnome desktop.

    The OpenICE 2.0 stack will use NDM, nGhost Desktop Manager. This is a much simpler and faster alternative to GDM/XDM/KDM. NDM only needs to log in one person, and autologin should be default. THat's why these others don't really fit well in the car. Plus, they are weighted down with remote XSession support which doesn't make sense in the car either.

    NDM hasn't been started yet, but there are stubbs for it in the ng3 branch in the nghost svn repo. If anyone wants to help code and/or test it, let me know.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  10. #10
    Low Bitrate nalav's Avatar
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    I've found compiz to be horribly buggy and unstable to the point of not usable. And it doesn't like to play nice with KDE3's pager. But if it works for you, that's great. As far as window managers, I'm not even using one on my CarPC. It's all one app run directly on X, and the window manager will just get in the way.

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