Alpine Linux Desktop Environment

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#1 Fri, 2015-11-13 17:56
ScrumpyJack
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I've seen a few posts about using Alpine Linux as a desktop computer.

This is the obligatory desktop screenshot thread, for showing off, posting question and getting help on that subject.

This one is mine. http://st.ilet.to/a.png for full screen or

Sun, 2015-11-15 13:39
pwFoo
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Nice one!
Based on which DE? Fluxbox?
Is there a install / configure howto?

Tue, 2015-11-17 11:11 (Reply to #2)
ScrumpyJack
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Window manager is twm (thin and minimalistic menu and window decorations)
Compositor is compton (for window and root menu transparancy, shadowing and transition fading)
Launch bar is wbar (with the HighContrast icons from gnome-themes-standard)
System tray is stalonetray (small and grows with new icons)

You can put all these elements together yourself quite easily:

  • Once you have X11 working, the packages you'll need are
    feh
    stationetray
    compton
    wbar
    twm
    xclock
    gnome-themes-standard

  • Put something like this in your ~/.xinitrc file. I've added the names of the config files, they will need tweaking to suite the behaviour you are after
    feh --bg-fill /path/to/your/background.png &
    xclock -geometry 70x70-1+1 &
    compton --config ~/.compton.conf &
    stalonetray --config .stalonetrayrc &
    wbar --config .wbar &
    twm -f .twmrc 

  • Get the twm window decorations from http://st.ilet.to/twm-decorations.tar.gz and untar into your home dir

  • Add the following to your .twmrc to use the decorations

    IconDirectory "~/.twm/icons" 
    LeftTitleButton "resize.xbm"=f.resize
    RightTitleButton "minimize.xbm"=f.iconify
    RightTitleButton "maximize.xbm"=f.fullzoom
    RightTitleButton "close.xbm"=f.delete

  • Add the following colour settings to your .twmrc file and tweak them to match your background image's colour palette
    Color
    {
    BorderColor         "#4E4E4E"
    DefaultBackground   "#D6D6D6"
    DefaultForeground   "#000000"
    TitleBackground     "#4E4E4E"
    TitleForeground     "White"
    MenuTitleBackground "#4E4E4E"
    MenuTitleForeground "White"
    MenuBackground      "#D6D6D6"
    MenuForeground      "#4E4E4E"
    MenuShadowColor     "#303639"
    MenuBorderColor     "#000000"
    }

  • Make sure the Desktop Environment components don't get treated as normal windows by adding this to your .twmrc file
    NoTitle
    {
    "wbar"
    "xclock"
    "stalonetray"
    }

  • The action of mouse clicking on the background is important here, as there is no window list tray.

    -Left click brings up the root menu
    -Middle click some window manager functions
    -Right click brings up the list of all the open windows

    Button1 = : root : f.menu "RootMenu"
    Button2 = : root : f.menu "twm"
    Button3 = : root : f.menu "TwmWindows"

  • Here are some sensible values for compton to go in your .compton.conf file
    shadow = true;
    menu-opacity = 0.9;
    inactive-opacity = 0.8;
    frame-opacity = 0.7;
    inactive-opacity-override = true;
    alpha-step = 0.06;
    fading = true;
    fade-in-step = 0.03;
    fade-out-step = 0.03;

  • Stalonetray config is a bit tricky, but I'm happy with this. It could be improved on, as it doesn't force tray icons for some apps to shrink (eg. xchat)
    decorations none
    dockapp_mode none
    fuzzy_edges 3
    geometry 1x1+1+1
    grow_gravity NW
    icon_gravity NW
    icon_size 24
    log_level err
    max_geometry 0x0
    no_shrink false
    parent_bg false
    scrollbars none
    skip_taskbar true
    sticky true
    tint_color white
    tint_level 0
    transparent false
    vertical false
    window_layer normal
    window_strut auto
    window_type dock
    xsync false

  • Here is a wbar config extract to get you going with the launch bar.
    i: /usr/share/pixmaps/wbar/dock.png
    c: wbar --bpress --above-desk --nofont --pos bottom --isize 42 --idist 5 --nanim 4 --balfa 100 --falfa 75 --filter 0
    t: /usr/share/fonts/ttf-liberation/LiberationMono-Regular/10
    i: /usr/share/pixmaps/firefox.png
    c: firefox
    t: Firefox
    i: /usr/share/pixmaps/wbar/wbar.png
    c: wbar-config
    t: Config

The rest of the tweaking will be obvious once you've looked at the config files.

Note: some packages won't be available until Alpine Linux 3.3 is out.
This is a vey mouse focused Desktop Environment, but adding keyboard shortcuts in twm to do what you like is trivial.


The font used for window decorations is courier

Tue, 2015-11-17 22:40
superquark
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Scrumpyjack it's nice to see someone else using twm AND graciously posting configs. TWM is so minimal but also still fully functional. Two questions about your twm:

1. How did you configure submenus? Care to share that bit of your .twmrc?

Edit: Well, nevermind, I just found out how, simply define each menu and place the menu name in a higher level menu. Easy.

2. Do you know if there is a way to shift focus without using your mouse (eg, alt+tab)? (I couldn't figure how to do that in twm and that's why I usually prefer cwm or openbox.)

Thu, 2015-11-19 10:26 (Reply to #4)
ScrumpyJack
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2. Yes. Define a key combo: at what focus the combo happens: and f.circleup or f.circledown, like this:

"Tab" = m : all : f.circledown

This also cycles through programs that are in your tray if you have one, so there might be a few "Alt-Tab" presses that seem to do nothing, but they are circling through the programs nonetheless.

One of the reasons I always come back to twm, aside from the fact that it's so simple (just a rootmenu and bare bones window decorations) is for this:

Button1 = s : window : f.resize

Hold shift down and click+drag any corner of a window to resize it.

I'm sure there are plenty of other window managers that will let you do that too, I've just not tried them long enough to want to figure out how.

Tue, 2015-11-17 23:46
pwFoo
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Looks great! My first problem was to get X11 and the DM working...

DM have to be started manually because it wasn't start after boot automatically (is added to startup). After some attempts I was able to start Fluxbox and also XFCE, but Chromium was unable to start (gl error message...). Firefox works... So some settings / drivers are wrong I think (it's easier with pre configured DEs *g*).

Alpine provides most of the needed packages (also keepassx, chromium) with only a few missing tools (simple-scan, atom editor).

Fri, 2015-11-20 05:28
superquark
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@Scrumpyjack thanks for that bit about cycling through windows. I had a similar code snippet which works sometimes. I am not sure why it works sometimes and not others. ?? Here's that code. you can see its almost the reverse of yours:

Function "winup" { f.circleup }
"Tab" = m : root|window|frame|title : f.function "winup"

I agree twm is a pleasure to config and doesn't get in the way. Have you tried cwm? Also very minimal, similar to twm, but somehow more whimsical. Maybe it is because I know how to theme it b/c web documentation is easier to find with cwm. Maybe twm is just as themable?

Sun, 2016-01-10 23:31
DrDavid
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Hi, sorry if this is not best place but I have problem in getting desktop, please see if you have idea.
I installed Alpine as a Vbox VM (guest on a Win 10 host), got through setup-alpine,
but when trying to run setup-xorg-base, I get this error:

rc-update: service 'mdev' is not in the runlevel 'sysinit'

Any ideas what to try next? Been reading about rc-update and mdev but it's a lot to digest...
THANKS.

Sat, 2016-01-30 18:33
commandline.be
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i get this error as well, even after  rc-update add mdev sysinit it report the same error after a reboot

Thu, 2016-03-24 20:47
pwFoo
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How to adjust sound / volume?
Packages pavucontrol (found only xfce4-mixer) and volumeicon are missing.

Wed, 2016-04-13 15:47 (Reply to #10)
ScrumpyJack
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Use alsa-mixer

Sat, 2016-04-30 07:08 (Reply to #11)
pwFoo
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Hi ScrumpyJack,

alsa-mixer works, but a small tray widget like volumeicon is missing.

Wed, 2016-04-27 09:26
mrgreen
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So far I have only managed to a black screen under virtualbox. Openbox simply stopped once you startx. Twm starts (eventually). Wiki guides are brief and seem to have little information.

Followed this guide

https://wiki.alpinelinux.org/wiki/XFCE_Setup

Seems xfce4 does not load (some world error)

So went with Openbox, adding .xinitrc of course and just got a black screen then it locked.

Is there reason I cannot find xterm?

Mon, 2016-05-02 01:57
Head_on_a_Stick
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My desktop with bspwm and xfce4-panel:

@mrgreen: hello again :)

I think xterm is in testing, see https://wiki.alpinelinux.org/wiki/Alpine_Linux_package_management#Repository_pinning for instructions.

https://pkgs.alpinelinux.org/packages?name=xterm&branch=&repo=&arch=&maintainer=

Sat, 2016-06-18 15:34
lounge
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Hi ,im trying to install cwm that requires pkg-config, xft, xinerama and xrandr.I only found xrandr in repositories also libxft and libxinerama.
But when make

Package fontconfig was not found in the pkg-config search path.
Perhaps you should add the directory containing "fontconfig.pc"
to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
Package "fontconfig", required by "world" , not found
Package "x11", required by "world" , not found
Package "xft", required by "world" , not found
Package "xrandr", required by "world" , not found

Is there a way to enable this packages ?

Thu, 2016-06-23 09:33 (Reply to #15)
ScrumpyJack
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Can you put in a package request on bugs.alpinelinux.org?

Sun, 2016-06-19 17:21
mmix
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customized tinywm and xfce4 terminal here.
http://incise.org/tinywm.html

Thu, 2016-06-23 09:35 (Reply to #17)
ScrumpyJack
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Screenshot! :)

Thu, 2016-06-23 16:10
mmix
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Fri, 2016-07-29 20:04
Head_on_a_Stick
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dwm clean:

dwm with firefox-esr, thunar & st:

Can't get the Arc theme for FF to work with 45-esr though :(

EDIT: The Arc theme was updated and it works now:

:)

Thu, 2016-10-20 16:55
Bibiprog
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Problem finding packages for GNOME (https://forum.alpinelinux.org/forum/installation/alpinelinux-missing-gnome-base-vmware)
or MATE ?
I use a multi-touch screen, so apparently both environments should be fine but I can't find packages where the wiki says they are: http://nl.alpinelinux.org/alpine/edge/main/x86_64/
Another environment for multi-touch ?

Thank you for your help.

By the way, I'm new using Alpine and until now, it makes the job ! I look forward to know more about it ...

Thu, 2016-10-20 17:30 (Reply to #21)
Bibiprog
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Found packages for MATE, not in edge anymore : http://nl.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.4/community/x86_64/
GNOME still not found.

Sun, 2016-11-27 08:52
gmc
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Hi guys! Very promising project, glad to see proper geeks at work :) For, desktop, I agree that we need Gnome, please add.

Mon, 2017-03-13 00:24
mfernandez
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anyone have idea how to configure like xdg-users-dirs? thank you... and sorry for a debian user...

Sun, 2017-04-02 09:05
mmix
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thanks to alpine linux v3.5.2.

Thu, 2017-04-13 16:25
emacsomancer
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I finally got an X11 install of Alpine up on my ThinkPad x220, running AwesomeWM. I'm having horrible screen tearing though.

I tried setting up compton with the settings described above (and, with other distros, I'm awesomewm+compton w/o screen-tearing), but it didn't help.

I also tried setting up a /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf file with:

Section "Device"
   Identifier  "Intel Graphics"
   Driver      "intel"
Option "TearFree" "true"
EndSection

essentially following https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Intel_graphics but then X just wouldn't start at all.

Any suggestions on how to solve this?

Sun, 2017-09-24 19:43 (Reply to #26)
Head_on_a_Stick
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A bit late but...

The hardened kernel restricts access to the video card, try https://wiki.alpinelinux.org/wiki/Intel_Video

Back on topic with my dwm desktop:

I've forked dwm and hardcoded the configuration, the repository has an APKBUILD included:

https://github.com/Head-on-a-Stick/dwm

Fri, 2017-06-23 16:49
m4chm4n
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my beautiful setup.



Wed, 2017-06-28 20:46
Compact
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Perhaps worth mentioning:
An Alpine Linux desktop is very very very powerfull. Realy!
No other decent distro will run fine with a desktop on a Compaq 333Mhz 64Mb.
I found, if we are talking about REAL leightweight, Alpine Linux is the only one.
Perhaps a little pity Xfbdev is not working right. If it did even Xorg would not be needed.
I'm very thankful for the existence of an Alpine Linux desktop.
Personally I'm using JWM it's in the repos too. I keep my screen black. So it's quiet for the eye
and not worth posting. Desktop on/off with PCManFM is also very usefull.

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