Author Topic: How to install an extra window manager on Manjaro  (Read 1568 times)

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Offline Heart Of A Lion

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How to install an extra window manager on Manjaro
« on: 06. May 2016, 23:01:33 »
Most Manjaro users are running a desktop environment like Xfce or KDE and are quite happy with that single desktop environment.

However, some of you might want an extra desktop environment or something lighter like an extra window manager next to your default desktop environment.

You might want it for various reasons.

The reason I installed an extra window manager was for redundancy reasons, in case my default Xfce desktop environment would break. I wanted a backup GUI environment that I could access in such a case, to potentially fix or backup things from there in case Xfce would not be accessible for some reason.

Of course it's also possible to fix a broken system from the live cd and use mount and mhwd-chroot to fix issues, but nonetheless it's nice to have a backup GUI as well. Plus it's easier for new Linux users.

And why did I choose for a window manager instead of an extra desktop environment? Well, a desktop environment is much more complex and installing an extra desktop environment can overlap with the default desktop environment and cause conflicts. It's certainly possible to do this, but it might be more complex to configure that to work in stable and reliable way.

Plus, window managers tend to be faster, because they are smaller in size. Window managers suffice in cases of emergency, so there's no need for a massive second desktop environment in such a scenario.

This tutorial explains how to install an extra window manager in Manjaro.

My default desktop environment is Xfce, so that is the perspective from which this tutorial is also written, but it will probably work for any desktop environment or window manager you are currently using.

For the purposes of this tutorial, Enlightenment has been chosen as the extra window manager to install.

Why Enlightenment? Because it requires you to download only one package and Enlightenment offers a lot of features. Having to download only 1 package keeps things simple in case something breaks and you have to uninstall it again, while at the same time offering you a lot of features as a backup window manager.

After this tutorial, you will have your default desktop environment and Enlightenment installed and can choose between them in the LightDM Greeter screen where you log in. You can then boot into either one after selecting it from a menu in the LightDM Greeter screen - or you can start either one from the console at the LightDM Greeter screen, which is accessible via the hotkeys [CTRL]+[ALT]+[F2]


The process will be explained in steps and they are as follows:

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1. Download the package called Enlightenment via Pamac (or Pacman if you prefer the terminal). It's the only package that is required, that's it.

2. Go to your user's home directory and open the hidden file called ~/.xinitrc . It has a period in front of its name, which means it's a hidden file. You can use Thunar to view hidden files. To do this, press [CTRL]+[h] to see hidden files.

You need to open ~/.xinitrc using a text editor like gEdit for example.

In that file, find the following line:

Code: [Select]
DEFAULT_SESSION=xfce4-session
You need to change that line to:

Code: [Select]
DEFAULT_SESSION=enlightenment-session
3. Now reboot - and in the login screen (the LightDM Greeter), you can select the desktop environment or window manager that you want to boot into.

Technically, this could be the end of the tutorial, because now you have both your default desktop environment and a new window manager working and you can select them at login.

However some of you might install a window manager for redundancy reasons. So what if both your default desktop environment and the LightDM Greeter break and you have no GUI at all to choose from? What if you will only have access to the console when pressing the hotkeys [CTRL]+[ALT]+[F2] ?

4. In that case you can run the following command to start Enlightenment from the console:

Code: [Select]
startx /usr/bin/enlightenment_start
5. Or to start the Xfce desktop environment from the console, type the following command:

Code: [Select]
startx /usr/bin/startxfce4
That's it. You now have a main desktop environment and a backup window manager. You can switch between them at login via a graphical menu or you can start them from a console.

Enjoy!
« Last Edit: 07. May 2016, 02:04:30 by Heart Of A Lion »

Offline Chrysostomus

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Re: How to install an extra window manager on Manjaro
« Reply #1 on: 06. May 2016, 23:25:35 »
Nice tutorial!

If you want bspwm instead of enlightenment:

1) install bspwm-desktop-settings
Code: [Select]
sudo pacman -S manjaro-bspwm-settings
2) copy few settings files to your home folder
Code: [Select]
cp /etc/skel/.xinitrc $HOME/.xinitrc
cp /etc/skel/.rootmenurc $HOME/.rootmenurc
cp /etc/skel/.profile $HOME/.profile
cp -r /etc/skel/.config/bspwm/ $HOME/.config/bspwm/
cp -r /etc/skel/.config/sxhkd/ $HOME/.config/sxhkd/
cp -r /etc/skel/.config/GTKmenu/ $HOME/.config/GTKmenu/

3) Now you can select bspwm from your display manager.

4) To start bspwm from console, just run
Code: [Select]
startxIf you want some other enviroment, run for example
Code: [Select]
startx gnome
startx xfce
startx kde
startx openbox
And so on.