Tuesday, 24 January 2012

IceWM on openSUSE 12.1

  According to the the project home page , IceWM is a window manager for the X Window System. The features of IceWM are speed, simplicity, and not getting in the user's way. For the ones who are itching to build it from the source, here is the link to the sourceforge project. Personal opinion of IceWM  is that a simple , non flashy , practical window manager that doesn't promise much , but simply delivers.
Pluses of IceWM on openSUSE 12.1
==>It is damn fast
==>It is small and has a very very small memory footprint
==>You can get the entire application menu(list of all apps installed on your system) on the right click of your mouse which is pretty cool feature.
==>It has many built in themes and can emulate the look of Windows '95(evokes nostalgia), OS/2 Warp 3, OS/2 Warp 4, and Motif etc:
==>Fully compatible with YaST on openSUSE12.1
==>It piggyback rides on GNOME desktop and hence no need to install it separately.
==>Easy on the eyes .The shades used on the desktop seemed to give off vibes similar to that of a pastel based artwork.
==>Almost all the apps that work in GNOME be it GTK or QT based work on
==>It is a great fall-back window manager for GNOME 3.
==>It is a solid platform or those(developers,DrJava runs fine,screenshot attached below) who don't need an  frilly desktop
How and where  I found out about IceWM ?
 The story is quite similar to that of  goldilocks and the three bears.One fine day ,similar to the bears in the story I was fuming after one of the infamous crashes of GNOME 3 desktop and when the desktop automatically got logged out ,I found that there are multiple desktops that and then I thought somebody has been piggybacking on my GNOME installations.GNOME 3 was very unstable until a few patched came rolling in on openSUSE 11.4.Those were early days when GNOME 3 desktop was introduced as an alternative to the default GNOME 2.32 desktop on openSUSE 11.4.Whenever I used "gnome-tweak-tool" to set nautilus as the desktop handler, the desktop would crash . It would also crash whenever i refreshed the desktop using the key combination "Alt+F2"==> type in"r" and press return or enter key . Whenever I tried to login after the crash the desktop would crash again,it would take me to a login screen . Then i would login into the "IceWM" Session and  fix my GNOME 3 desktop. I felt that it was really very handy to keep multiple Window managers installed as a fall-back system . Hats off to the openSUSE guys for bundling IceWM and  its sort of poorer cousin TWM. 
Goldilocks Session switcher showing GNOME 3, IceWM and TWM
IceWM Screenshots
IceWM theme used in the screenshots is "icedesert" which happens to be the default theme on IceWM.The version installed on my system is  IceWM 1.3.7.
IceWM in full throttle running Nautilus,gnome-mplayer ,GKrellM and gnome-calculator
IceWM running DrJava(light weight Java IDE),bleachbit(linux equivalent of the windows based ccleaner) and also showing the entire application menu
If you looking for article on running jar files in Linux environment(like running DrJava packages) then  take a look at this post.If you are looking for installing java jre on openSUSE 12.1 take a look here.
IceWM with nautilus added as a quick launch button in the task bar.
To add a new button like a quick launch for nautilus to the task bar you need to create a new file with the name toolbar under the path /home/<Your HOME FOLDER>/.icewm and add a line prog "Nautilus"  "" nautilus to the file and save it , logout and log back in to get the button working / show up on the taskbar.
Desktop icons enabled on IceWM by using "gnome-tweak-tool"
The trick to doing this is to press the left windows key on keyboard and launch the application menu on the left hand side and invoke "xterm". Then type in "gnome-tweak-tool" and hit return / enter key.Then using the tweak tool / Advanced Settings you can enable desktop icons and set nautilus to manage the the desktop.You may need to logout and login back again to see the changes though.
Side Note:-Logo at the beginning of post created here:- FalmingText


  1. yep rightly said,I use it not as a primary desktop which is gnome 3,but as a fall back desktop

  2. Tried to upgrade to gnome 3.6RC using zypper dup, but during 1st boot I am getting icewm instead of newer gnome as it is supposed to be. icewm is too alien to me, I can't fine any session manager to get me right back to gnome at the logout. 

  3.  I am not an expert at troubleshooting issues. Kindly open s thread in the opensuse forums http://forums.opensuse.org

  4. it's ok, opensuse mailinglist stated that RC does not compatible with 12.2 due to dependencies error. 

  5.  Thanks for the info.Can you point me to the link in the mailing list ?



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