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issue the ability to customize the desktop was something that fascinated me from the first time I used GNU / Linux . Taking everything in between ideological issue and others, was the most attractive and it certainly made me stay there forever. The system in question, more precisely, was Ubuntu 7.10, or 8.04, just experimenting with something new that I had read about. Also not risking anything by then was out Wubi.
I started knowing
Beryl (but never to use it) and then Compiz Fusion, mostly by the hub and the Emerald decorator. I think, for now, the only use we gave was to test the effects and try bringing order and decorate everything in a coherent, as if the screen was showing a interactive canvas but with a hint geek or geek , as you like best. Anyway, since then, the way I see the desktop changed from that little experiment and the time it took me to that, some time later,’ll adapt Debian as main OS.
potential that I was at the desktop GNU / Linux as a form of artistic expression, had been developing for some time. In fact, it is quite logical to see it this way because who have designed the first interfaces have required the intervention of artistic creativity to be both functional and attractive. Unfortunately, the major operating systems (or, pointing, Windows and MacOSX) propose a design and leave it fixed, preventing the user desktops can change dramatically without the intervention of an external application.
Meanwhile, the other way, developments such as GNOME and KDE, start to give more independence during their first few days but still not enough. At the same time arose new window managers (besides the old, as twm) that precisely do nothing but draw the windows in a somewhat more friendly than the command line . One thing leads to another, unfortunately I can not describe it accurately because by that time and did not know what a computer was. However, having left Blackbox in 1997, began to emerge from it variants (Fluxbox and Openbox perhaps the most notable). The premise, a window manager and nothing else.
what I was saying, we have already formed both desktops and not bring anything at all or rather not even be called desktops. Now, back to the concept interactive canvas , the second is the right to carry out this idea. As we only have windows, somebody will want to have a taskbar. It takes work and the program. Incidentally also want a program to launch applications, the program also. Finally, something that provides information such as the items that are added to taskbars or docks of yesteryear. We could go on and now end up with the same system GNU / Linux as always but with a different face, itself, does not belong to anyone but that person .
Time has passed, it became massive Internet were formed and communities of people who want to have their own identity and share it with others . At the beginning of the new millennium, appeared opendesktop.org, which maintains the famous site *-look.org that provide icons, themes and other *-apps.org and applications to beautify and add more features to our desktops.
Enough of history, do not want to because it is a period that I could see, so a little further. According FreshMeat (or Freecode), the first stable version of Openbox came on 27 April 2002. Openbox I mention because, when he had begun to use, had become popular as an environment for customization (including mention that later). Being a descendant of Blackbox (although not now share code) we can say that they share the same premise. At least with that I found when I installed it: nothing. . A very popular system, and which I have written, which employs Crunchbang default.
tools to perform the style vary user creativity, the ability to schedule and willingness to learn . I mean, one could take today, to KDE or XFCE (quintessential examples customizable desktop) and change everything himself comfortable place, but not enough. According creativity, one could sit and design a clever scheme to interact with the wallpaper, to say the least. To give an example, I have seen that have been drawn in the same background design of the taskbar, then make the bar itself transparent. Note on the linked example: I do not know if this makes particular use of what I want to show, however, a way to add decoration to the bar in the top right was to make the home icon like the wide part of the tape on the bottom draw the rest.
According to program capacity and willingness to learn, one can go further and build the entire view under their own . Programming can be tedious, especially since learning can be time to do something really useful and interesting but we can take shortcuts and there comes into play is the willingness to learn. I’ve written about Dzen elsewhere, who does most of the work for us. We draw the bar so we would not have to worry anymore that the necessary information with a script , which bash is relatively easy to do, understand and learn. Also conky, with which even the possibility of passing the information through Dzen.
As you would imagine, customization results in several styles . Some of them is the style MacOSX or Windows 7. Or basically copy another style. Then, also looks far, is minimalism. In short, could be defined as the absence of the superfluous. Now, there are different ways to achieve this. One may be just that: a desktop with icons, a taskbar and perhaps an application launcher. Something like the first boot of any system. We could call order also. On the other hand, I have also seen that also accompanied by not very complicated shapes (straight edges), no bright colors and annoying and, above all, make the entire screen space using small fonts (as artwiz).
From now, I will focus in the second . Here come into play mainly window managers. While this style are environments with KDE or GNOME, I feel that is not the same. We can mention as the most representative to the * box (as I said, Blackbox, Fluxbox and Openbox, maybe some other more) but also those who have tiled windows as dwm (already mentioned), awesome, scrotwm , subtle, and much xmonad. I will not mess with the differences between each of them, possibly later. Everyone agrees be light and at the same time, for not bringing minimalist features to manage windows.
is quite common among these environments view style settings was saying. In fact, so let making them more attractive . However, not everything in your appearance. The customization goes further. Use, which is not visible catches, plays another important role because, well remember, it should be used and not just admired. Examples of this can be used as launchers or shortcuts to activate the window manager functions, or a set of applications integrating the color scheme, such as Emacs, vi, GTK theme, but all that is now due to the needs of each one.
I would make a parenthesis and compare musical composition : say what you see is just the melody, anyone can achieve sat down to write a tune, on the other hand, to accompany her go to have to write a harmony that sustains back and give him another touch. That would happen with your use of it does not matter, period, but requires a deeper understanding as in our case, program or at least know how to read a configuration file. Although, of course, there are shortcuts.
Openbox and Fluxbox
have issues configurators and selectors. The first is called the obconf and the second is built but not in all cases is that simple : to cite two examples, on how to configure dwm is modifying the source code in C (although for modify the little things not as complicated) or its configuration xmonad is written in Haskell. For other functions, applications are recurrent gmrun to launch applications, tint2 for the taskbar, nitrogen or feh for wallpaper and especially in console applications (such as the pair mpd and ncmpcpp for music) . All set by hand and using startup scripts in a position to drop everything when using the desktop. Speaking of console applications, a detail that never fails is to modify the ~ /. Xdefaults which handles the standard configuration of our terminal (mostly for xterm or rxvt not have profiles like gnome-terminal or konsole). There are really nice schemes to consider.
Well, we could go on listing various cases and possibilities but that’s for your experimentation, so then I will post links that I found useful:
DotShare.it (configurations and color schemes for console applications)
Forums and Wiki
xwinman (information on various window managers)
* nix deviantART
Collection of useful commands
felt I had to leave a few words on this subject that was interesting (and in fact I have self-documenting with my catch) and, perhaps, introduce you to someone, such as I have done reading articles from other blogs at the time. Besides also enjoy catches appreciate others, many of them are true works of art.