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Hi, I wanted to know what do I need to have a basic linux desktop. What I want is - let's say I do a base install of debian using ...
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  1. #1
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    Unhappy basic linux desktop


    Hi,

    I wanted to know what do I need to have a basic linux desktop. What I want is - let's say I do a base install of debian using a netinstall disk (without xserver) then what I need is a wallpaper, all other stats can be obtained by using conky a taskbar, system tray and a right click menu. I don't want to install all the applets and xorg-xserver-<drivers for hardware i don't have> etc

    I don't understand why you need to have so many different components for a DE. I use linux on a spare computer since I am new to linux. When I do xf<Tab><Tab> there are so many things that show up I don't even know what is what (I use Xfce). Another reason I want to get rid of it is because it is a old computer and a lighter system would help.

    When can I find easy to understand info about desktop environments? Most documentation is hard to understand for newbies. KDE and GNOME had so many applications in the package it just puts me off when I look at the list itself.

  2. #2
    oz
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    You might want to check out KDEmod because you can install individual KDE packages rather than the complete environment. It uses Arch Linux as it's underlying distribution, however.
    oz

  3. #3
    oz
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    If you don't need or want a full-blown DE, you might also check out a few simple window managers such as Openbox, Fluxbox, Pekwm, etc.

    Check here for more info on the various DE's, and WM's:

    Window Managers for X
    oz

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    You need xorg and xserver to have a graphical user interface. As I recall, in Debian, the xorg virtual package pulls all of the drivers for various hardware components. You should be able to remove the unneeded components.

    If you really want to pare it down to just the bare minimum, you'll need to install something like Arch Linux or Gentoo. These are not newbie friendly distributions, though, and assume some comfort and knowledge working with the command line. But they do offer much greater control over your system.

    Here's a little article on the difference between desktop environments and window managers. Flipping the Linux switch: Desktop environments vs. window managers

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    I am quite comfortable with the command line and don't mind using it often. Infact I even prefer using the command line instead of using graphical tools for simple task.

    I don't mind doing some reading to get something setup but sometimes i find it hard to understand some linux terminology and end up having the learn some history as well and visit Wikipedia to learn some simple stuff that I jumped over.

    Recently I saw a pic of fvwm crystal and fell in love with the simplicity of the desktop, that's which I asked.

  6. #6
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    You might really want to try Gentoo.

    Quote Originally Posted by XaeroOne View Post
    Hi,

    I wanted to know what do I need to have a basic linux desktop. What I want is - let's say I do a base install of debian using a netinstall disk (without xserver) then what I need is a wallpaper, all other stats can be obtained by using conky a taskbar, system tray and a right click menu. I don't want to install all the applets and xorg-xserver-<drivers for hardware i don't have> etc
    All you need to work is a WM. Then you can add conky or whatever you want. You mentioned fvwm crystal above. Fvwm crystal is nothing more but a set of configuration files for fvwm (it depends on WM).

    In Gentoo fvwm-crystal is part of the distribution, you can just emerge it to get it installed. In Gentoo you can as well define two variables called VIDEO_DRIVERS and INPUT_DEVICES on your /etc/make.conf, these two will allow you to specify which drivers you want to build for xorg. Even more, you don't even need to install xorg entirely. You can just install xorg-server. This will install only a bare bones X server. You will have to install then all the additional tools you want unless they are dependencies for something else: xrandr, xterm, twm, etc...

    When can I find easy to understand info about desktop environments? Most documentation is hard to understand for newbies. KDE and GNOME had so many applications in the package it just puts me off when I look at the list itself.
    Even if you use kde or gnome, they are modular enough. You don't need to install the whole kde in Gentoo, not even the whole kdebase package. You can install konqueror separately if that's all you want (of course, dependencies must be resolved, but it's still much better than having to merge a big monolithic package with lots of apps you'll never use).

    If you decide to try it, use the handbook and do a manuall installation, and never ever use the graphical livecd to install it. You can consider the installation handbook an introduction to gentoo. If you don't feel like reading and using it to install gentoo then you don't qualify to use and administer gentoo anyway.

    It's not dificult if you have some basic experience with the command line. It's not only for experts/geeks, but you definitely need to put some effort and be willing to read manuals.

    And for any question, you can go to forums.gentoo.org, there's a whole subforum dedicated to installation problems where people can help you if you get stuck.

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    I think I'll stay away from Gentoo for the time being. It is way too much work for a newbie, because everytime I read the manual I also have to search for the meaning of some techninal terms related to linux so it takes a long time for me to read and fix or get anything done with gentoo.

    I tried it and at the install process itself I've realized that I am not ready for gentoo yet. I know what it can do, but it is a lot harder for me to get something done..

    I am trying Icewm now and it seems to be quite ok. I just need to figure out how to get the dependencies resolved to install icewmcc

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