Let's try out Awesome

I use i3wm, but I feel like most of your questions are related to the nature of the WM and not the specific WM you’re using (and I’m not trying to sell i3 here; it’s just the first one I tried and I stuck with it).

  1. I run it alone, and I’ve seen people running it inside of xfce. I don’t really see any huge benefit in doing so though, but it’ll be up to each individual user to decide what sort of features they want. I have no dog in the GTK/Qt fight. :wink:

  2. I’ve tried numerous file managers, but at the end of the day I keep coming back to DoubleCommander. Since I always have a terminal open, I’ll use that as well (particularly useful if I want to move only files with a 1 or a 6 in the name) and Thunar gets to join in some times too when I want to post a screenshot and I desire a thumbnail view. I guess it’s task specific when I think about it.

  3. scrot if I just want something written to disk immediately, or a wrapper script I wrote for maim if I want specific windows/portions of windows. This then also uploads to a server so I can share image links.

  4. I don’t use one. Kinda. Ctrl+Alt+F2 to move to a different tty, and then I rely on user ignorance for the rest. :smile:

  5. I edit conf files. I don’t enjoy it, but I suppose not everything in life is meant to be enjoyed.

The final two questions are ones I don’t feel I can offer any input on. But in general, just try things out if you’re curious. I’ve been meaning to give bspwm a go, but at the end of the day I’m a very lazy person and what I have right now works (well enough).

  1. I run Awesome currently on Ubuntu 20.04, so I have Gnome installed, and everything else that Ubuntu is shipped with.

  2. Ranger if I want to use terminal based file manager, Nautilus and Thunar are both installed on my current system. As far as I know Nautilus is much more Gnome dependent that what Thunar is to XFCE, so I don’t have or want to have gnome installed then Thunar is my go-to file manager.

  3. Scrot if I want to capture everything, Flameshot if I want more flexibility.

  4. err, the one that comes with Ubuntu? :smile: no but real talk, I think I have GDM since it’s default display manager for Ubuntu. SDDM and LightDM are also nice options.

  5. I prefer to use GUI conf editors, but it’s not huge problem if I have to use Nano or Vim to edit conf files manually. I use Pavu control for sound settings.

  6. Afaik AwesomeWM don’t have compositor built in. Try to install Compton and make awesome run it at boot.

  7. I did look for one, but eventually I just googled “how to add gaps to AwesomeWM”, “how to disable title bars from windows in AwesomeWM” etc. If you have patience to learn Lua a little that will help a lot, and doing so you can write your own scripts and so on. Oh, and take a look what others have in their rc.lua config files.

Oh and obligatory shill :slight_smile: :Let's try out Awesome


Can I merge this thread into yours? Rereading your OP, it looks like you wanted others to pile on over time. I like the idea of keeping it consolidated.

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Sure, go a head. I have some ideas for tweaking my awesome config but I’ve been procrastinating way too much recently. Should be fun to have a common thread where others can share ideas.

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Well, I run Fvwm, but close enough, I hope:

  1. I don’t use a DE, they add little but bloat, at least for me.
  2. The shell (zsh in my case). Really, all file managers I’ve used are varying degrees of suck. If I do use something “graphical” it’s Dired inside Emacs.
    I’m by no means a master of my shell (not by a very long shot) but I find that there is very little I can’t simply do faster through the shell than with a graphical file manager. Probably isn’t for everyone, but I’d consider it worth trying at some point to figure out whether it ‘clicks’.
  3. import, from ImageMagick since I usually have that installed anyway
  4. xscreensaver, if you mean display manager (like xdm, gdm,…) then I don’t use one, I just use good ol’ startx and the usual shortcuts same as @kontroll
  5. Configuration files, at least those can be easily commented, diffed, backed up (as in, stuffed in Git :wink: ), etc. Graphical tools tend to ruin all that, and binary configuration files are the spawn of Satan and should be put to the stake.
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How do I change the background color of the wibar? It’s not respecting any of the theme values. Just black.

I can force it when I initialize awful.wibar, but would still like it to respect the theme values…

I’ll take a look later today when I finish working. I think I changed the color of the wibar. Probably :thinking:

Did you fork new theme completely, or are you editing some default theme?

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@oO.o I have these values in my theme.lua file. I took the default theme, copied it and started messing with it so a lot of stuff was already here. I’ve just been changing values mainly.

theme.bg_normal     = "#222222"
theme.bg_focus      = "#660066"
theme.bg_urgent     = "#ff0000"
theme.bg_minimize   = "#444444"
theme.bg_systray    = theme.bg_normal

theme.fg_normal     = "#aaaaaa"
theme.fg_focus      = "#ffffff"
theme.fg_urgent     = "#ffffff"
theme.fg_minimize   = "#ffffff"

theme.useless_gap   = dpi(7)
theme.border_width  = dpi(2)
theme.border_normal = "#000000"
theme.border_focus  = "#660066"
theme.border_marked = "#91231c"
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I figured it out. I’m using the gtk theme as a base and it was getting things from there. I installed the Nordic-Polar gtk theme and now all good.

One thing idk if I can fix without hacking some things is that I added a border to the wibar to make it look like it’s gapped, but now theres a double gap between the bar and the rest of the windows.

does that theme pull colors etc from your installed gtk theme?

It appears to be pulling from gtk3 theme and falling back to xrdb colors. It was one of 4 included themes that came with Awesome (on Arch at least).

I’m realizing that using the same theme for multiple applications and desktop might be a mistake. Especially with tiling plus multiple tmux panels, everything starts to blend together. I might switch gtk/awesome to dracula and let the terminal stay in nord. Also, IIRC dracula also has an icon pack which nord does not.

Oh ok, iirc there was 4 themes that came with Awesome when I installed it from Ubuntu repo. I didn’t like the idea of using gtk based theme on awesome since I wanted to be able to use the same theme on multiple devices and different distros. It’s very likely I will have different gtk themes on different devices so I don’t want it to mess with my Awesome config. :smile:

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I am adding the themes as submodules in my dot file repo, so they will follow me around.

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Thing that I like about awesome is you can keep the actual theme in separate file, and then just make multiple themes for yourself if you want to switch between multiple themes.

But I can also understand that some want to keep all config information in one single file.

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Looks like I’m going with the gtk3 version of pcmanfm for gui file manager and trying nnn for cli file manager although may switch to ranger. Also, I’m liking sxiv better than feh for image previews.

It’s starting to come together…

If you have problems with image previews in ranger, try using Überzug as image renderer. Common option is w3m and I just recently found out that some of the problems I had with images were caused by w3m, not terminal emulator.

After I started using Überzug basically every problem I had with terminal image previews disappeared.

I wrote short post about this to my blog: Even's DIY ‘n stuff blog

What made pick this? Just curious. I haven’t managed to find enough differences in gui file managers to prefer one over the other. Currently I like to use thunar. Nautilus is also ok but I think it need a lot of gnome dependencies to work, which might be problematic in non-gnome system. :thinking:

Only reason I’m trying nnn over ranger initially is because nnn is supposed to be leaner. Good to know aobut uberzug though.

Thunar was my second choice, but it’s still bringing in some xfce stuff. There’s also a “set as wallpaper” option in the right click menu that will never work in awesome (I assume). I’d rather have something that’s as divorced from a specific DE as possible. The qt version of pcmanfm is the lxqt file manager, but afaict the gtk3 version in arch is entirely DE-agnostic (besides being gtk obv). Nvm, pcmanfm is default fm for all LXDEs (gtk2, gtk3 and qt).

What’s really frustrating me now is deciding on a remote desktop application. krdc is definitely the best in my experience, but I really don’t want to have to pull qt and all the other kde dependencies just for one application. Remmina pulls a bunch of gnome stuff I’d rather not have and I’m having trouble installing the vnc and rdp plugins anyway.

vinagre actually looks good despite being a gnome application, but seems kind of abandoned by the devs and won’t connect to Macs with passwords longer than 8 characters. If you want to pull your hair out, you can read several people pleading for a fix to this, including submitting patches just to be ignored by the devs.


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It’s real shame when promising projects end up like this. One certain forum software comes to mind… :gigathink:

Is there a reason why you are avoiding kde/gnome dependencies? Do they cause some problems for you with other programs?

I want to minimize bloat and broken functionality. Like in Thunar, “Set as wallpaper” doesn’t work because I’m not using XFCE. There are similar things in Nautilus. For KDE apps, I mainly want to avoid having to deal with settings across both GTK3 and QT. KDE is so gui-centric with it’s config, I honestly have no idea how to apply a theme via conf files only.

That said, my frustration with some gnome apps is fixed with this:

And I got RDP and VNC working in Remmina, so it’s not so bad. The only thing it’s sort of forcing me into is Gnome Keyring, which is fine.

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So a little problem that I managed to fix with Awesome. I’ve been using tenkeyless keyboards since 2013 or 2014, but lately I got a used IBM model M keyboard, and noticed for some reason after booting the computer numpad was not working, even though Num Lock led was on. I’ve heard that some window managers don’t always know what to do with Lock keys, so I thought maybe there’s a solution for this.

And yes there is indeed. I solved the issue with X and program called numlockx. What you need to do is install this program, probably available in official repositories of your preferred distro, and then add line numlockx & to your xinit, before the exec line. Example bellow stolen from Arch wiki

 # ~/.xinitrc
 # Executed by startx (run your window manager from here)
 numlockx &
 exec window_manager
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