Since Canonical decided to ship Ubuntu with Unity as opposed to GNOME as the default desktop in their next release, I decided to take a look at StumpWM again.

Although I like keyboard driven apps like emacs, conkeror, and screen, GNOME with Tracker + deskbar-applet (similar to Mac OS X’s Spotlight) has been sufficient; I think any stable Linux desktop is sufficient for me since they’re all very configurable by default (keyboard shortcuts!). The need for a tiling window manager doesn’t apply to me since 1) I work on my laptop/netbook (10in-13in), so I usually have windows maximized; 2) I’m pretty fast with Alt-Tab; and 3) non-minimal window manangers have certain services all set up, such as sound/video control (with shortcuts), network manager, etc. Basically, having convenient applets, a quick way to move between windows, and a quick way to launch apps (think Mac OS X’s Spotlight) makes me happy.

Nonetheless, I toyed with StumpWM again but decided I’m not ready for it yet. Maybe I will be ready the next time when I’m using a bigger screen. I’ll outline my trial for documentation.

I followed this to set up StumpWM on Ubuntu. This screencast gives a good overview of the powers of StumpWM.


sudo apt-get install sbcl sbcl-doc ## common lisp compiler
sudo sbcl
## enter following in sbcl prompt
## select [SKIP-GPG-CHECK] when asked. Have to do this a few times
(require 'asdf)
(require 'asdf-install)
(asdf-install:install 'clx)
(asdf-install:install 'cl-ppcre)
## more install
sudo apt-get install xorg-dev
git clone git:// ## use latest version
cd stumpwm
sudo make install
sudo make install stalonetray ## for docking applets from GNOME

Add StumpWM as an entry in GDM Sessions Menu

sudo emacs -q -nw /usr/share/xsessions/stumpwm.desktop
## add following
[Desktop Entry]
Comment=This session logs you into StumpWM (a minimalistic window manager)

Restart computer and choose StumpWM when logging in.


;; -*- lisp -*-
(in-package :stumpwm)

;mode line
(stumpwm:set-fg-color "green")
(stumpwm:set-bg-color "black")

;startup apps
(stumpwm::run-shell-command "stalonetray")
(stumpwm::run-shell-command "nm-applet")
(stumpwm::run-shell-command "gnome-volume-control-applet")
(stumpwm::run-shell-command "gnome-power-manager")
(stumpwm::run-shell-command "system-config-printer-applet")
(stumpwm::run-shell-command "dropbox start -i")
(stumpwm::run-shell-command "gnome-power-manager")
;; (stumpwm::run-shell-command "")
;; (stumpwm::run-shell-command "")

(define-key *top-map* (kbd "M-Tab") "pull-hidden-next")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "M-ISO_Left_Tab") "pull-hidden-previous") ;; shift
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "M-]") "pull-hidden-next")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "M-[") "pull-hidden-previous")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-Tab") "fnext")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-]") "gnext")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-[") "gprev")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-b") "move-focus left")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-n") "move-focus down")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-p") "move-focus up")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-f") "move-focus right")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "M-F4") "kill")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-s") "fullscreen")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "M-F2") "exec")
(define-key *top-map* (kbd "s-SPC") "exec")

(define-key *root-map* (kbd "M-F") "fullscreen")

I want to try xmonad next when I have time. My verdict now is to stay with GNOME.

About Vinh Nguyen


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