Someone was opining on IRC about fvwm and its wonderful configurability, and that made me realize that I haven't really given fvwm a chance in a long, long time. Time to see if I was missing anything!
The defaults are terrible. No wonder I didn't stick with fvwm after newer windowmanagers came out! It's definitely not an install-and-go sort of program. Nor is the documentation (a long and seemingly thorough man page) clear on how to get started configuring it.
Eventually I figured out that it looks for ~/.fvwm/config, and that some sample configs were in /usr/share/doc/fvwm/sample.fvwmrc (which is a directory), and I went from there. After several hours of hacking, googling, and asking questions on #fvwm, I had a setup which rivals any window manager I've found: it's fast, lets me configure the look of my windows, lets me bind just about anything to keys, and seems pretty well behaved focus behavior. More important, it also allows me to specify special behavior for certain windows, for example, making xchat always occupy all desktops:
Style "xchat" Stickywhich is something I've wanted but haven't been able to do in any other lightweight window manager. That alone may keep me in fvwm for the forseeable future.
Tips for things that were non-obvious:
Rotating through three desktopsIn other window managers, I define three desktops, and use ctrl-alt-right and left to cycle through them, rotating, so going right from 3 goes to desktop 1. fvwm has both "pages" (a virtual desktop can be bigger than the screen, and mousing off the right side scrolls right one page) and desktops. I didn't want pages, only desktops, so DeskTopSize 1x1 turns off the pages, and it was clear from the man page that
PointerKey Left A CM GotoDesk -1would go left one desk (the only unclear part about that is that A in the modifier list means "Any", not "Alt", and "M" (presumably for "meta" means alt, not the windows-key which some programs use for meta). "PointerKey" is needed instead of "Key" because otherwise fvwm gets confused when using the "sloppy focus" model (the man page warns about that).
The question was, how to limit fvwm to three desktops, and wrap around, rather than just going left to new desktops forever? The answer (courtesy of someone on IRC) turned out to be:
PointerKey Left A CM GotoDesk -1 0 2 PointerKey Right A CM GotoDesk 1 0 2 PointerKey Left A CMS MoveToDesk -1 0 2 PointerKey Right A CMS MoveToDesk 1 0 2The only problem at this point is that MoveToDesk doesn't then change to the new desktop, the way other window managers do, but I'm confident that will be easily solved.
Titlebar buttonsI had the hardest time getting buttons (e.g. maximize, close) to appear on the titlebars of my windows. You'd think this would happen by default, but it doesn't. It turned out that titlebar buttons aren't drawn unless there's a key or mouse action bound to that button, which they aren't by default. So to get buttons for window menu, maximize, and close, I had to do:
Mouse 1 6 A Close Mouse 1 8 A Maximize Mouse 1 1 A Menu Window-Ops NopBut then showing buttons 6 and 8 (the even buttons are numbered from the top right) automatically turns on 2 and 4 (I chose 6 and 8 because their default shapes were vaguely mnemonic), so they have to be turned off again:
Style * NoButton 2 Style * NoButton 4
Smaller titlebar and window frameI also wanted to reduce the titlebar height and the width of the window frame: I don't like wasting all that screen real estate. That, too, took a long time to figure out. It turns out I had to define my own theme in order to do that, then add a couple of undocumented items to my theme. There's lots of documentation around on how to make buttons and background images and menus and key bindings in themes, but none of the documentation mentions simple stuff like titlebar height.
DestroyDecor MyDecor AddToDecor MyDecor + TitleStyle Height 16 + Style "*" BorderWidth 5, HandleWidth 5 + ButtonStyle All -- UseTitleStyle Style "*" UseDecor MyDecor
New windows should grab focusMost window managers do this by default, but fvwm doesn't, and requires: Style * FPGrabFocus
Full config fileFor any other settings, see my fvwm config file.
[ 18:14 Dec 13, 2004 More linux | permalink to this entry | ]