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.

Future of computing?

This is what I envision the future of computing to be if things were up to me. I can turn on any computer and be able to access an environment that has all the applications I use via a web login. That is, I should be able to remotely log in to my computer/server from any computer that has a web browser and be able to do things on it very fast. I also envision computers to be portable like that of an ipad, but with a keyboard peripheral that can connect to the device to turn it into a laptop (can’t live without keyboard shortcuts; think emacs and conkeror).

The cloud computing piece is partially addressed by eyeOS. However, I have not yet tried it since it isn’t Debian-based (hence not “mainstream”) and appears to have to be installed on top of a another OS (eg, via VirtualBox). I would want the remote login from the web to be a built in feature of Debian.

The portability piece I’m sure will be widely available soon due to all the tablet manufacturing going on. I’ve actually seen one with a portable keyboard attached to turn the tablet into a laptop prior to the ipad release, but have forgotten the link.

I wonder if my dream will come true.

stumpwm on mac os x

stumpwm is to window managing (tiling?) system what emacs is to text editing and conkeror is to web browsing.

very cool. if i was on a linux laptop/desktop like i used to be, i would definitely use this. i’m even debating on quitting my mac os x for this (with emacs and conkeror). however, i most likely won’t since mac os x is pretty stable and most new stuff will be compatible with it (ease of use, plug and play).

i wanted to get stumpwm working on mac os x (intel based) like this post, but i never got it to work. somehow, i got it to work. my steps:

  1. update xquartz like the post said.
  2. install sbcl via macports.

UPDATE: actually, i think i used the sbcl for mac via this site.

  1. download the stumpwm source:

git clone git://

  1. followed the README file of stumpwm for sbcl:
  <pre class="src src-sh">$ sbcl

* (require ‘asdf) * (require ‘asdf-install) * (asdf-install:install ‘clx) * (asdf-install:install ‘cl-ppcre)

this step gave me MANY errors. i kept selecting the option to retry and continue like crazy. i finally gave up.

  1. continued with README
  <pre class="src src-sh">autoconf <span style="color: #ff4500;">##</span><span style="color: #ff4500;">get if not available. macports?</span>

./configure ##may need to specify sbcl if clisp is also installed make

stumpwm binary should be installed

  1. put following in ~/.xinitrc:

exec ~/Downloads/stumpwm/stumpwm ## path to stumpwm binary

launch programs in X (for example, xterm). look at stumpwm manual for keyboard shortcuts. very cool. this makes me REALLY want to go back to linux as my main computer.

create custom keyboard shortcuts / hotkeys in mac os x: spark + applescript

in any linux gui environment, u can define custom keyboard shortcuts for anything, whether its executing a shell command to anything u can think of.

i love my macbook, but i really hate how Apple WILL NOT let me customize things the way i want it. they really force you into their philosophies: we say things should be simple for everyone so we will rely on the mouse. this is BS.

well, i recently figured out a way to resize and move my emacs frame with the keyboard, and i wanted to do that with all windows on my mac like in unix. after googling, i found 2 ways:

  1. mercury mover, which costs $24. no way! the method is a lot like emacs do re mi though. this is good.
  2. use this guy’s applescripts together with spark.

Spark is a great hotkey manager. Great addon to Mac to bring yet another useful feature from linux. I first used spark with emacs remember mode for jotting down notes in the middle of my work. Will write about that next.

I think i should tweak the applescript to somehow make it like mercury mover.