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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Enabling the IceWM Start Menu

As mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, Easy Mode is a custom version of IceWM. According to the official IceWM website (http://icewm.org), "The goal of IceWM is speed, simplicity, and not getting in the user's way." Sounds perfect for the Eee PC, doesn't it?

In the Easy Mode Eee PC implementation, many IceWM features are turned off. One really nice feature is a Start menu (similar to the Windows Start menu or KDE Launch menu). From within Easy Mode, you can easily turn on this menu and customize it using nothing but a text editor. You will, however, need to build another local preferences directory from your /home/user directory. Before you do that, first switch the Eee PC to Easy Mode. You can now work within Easy Mode because you don't have all the fussing around with icons to worry about.

Making a User Configuration Directory

Launch an xterm window by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and make sure that the prompt says that you are indeed in the /home/user directory. At the command line, enter the following commands to create the directory and then switch to it:

> mkdir .icewm
> cd .icewm

Now, you need to copy some files:

> cp /etc/X11/icewm/preferences .
> cp /etc/X11/icewm/menu .

The trailing dot is shorthand for the current directory, and is required because the cp command needs a destination argument.

You'll be editing both files, so you need to either use sudo to issue the command to load the file into the editor of choice, or change the file permissions to read/write. I mentioned before that this is done through the chmod command, which is explained in Chapter 11. To change the permissions on the files, issue the following command:

> chmod 666 *

The 666 sets the permissions bits to read and write for the user/group/world permissions.

Now you can easily edit either of the files without sudo. This time, use the built-in kwrite editor:

> kwrite preferences &

The & spawns a separate process for the editor, and it's no longer tied to the terminal window. Use the Find command in the Edit menu and look for the following string: TaskBarShowStartMenu.

You should find a section that looks like this:

#  Show 'Start' menu on task bar
# TaskBarShowStartMenu=1 # 0/1

Change the last:




This will enable the Start menu. It's fairly anticlimactic, but that's all there is to it. Save the file, close all of your files and save any information. Restart X Window System by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Backspace.

Using the Menu

When Easy Mode is back in business, you should now have a nifty Start menu. The Start menu in its raw state has a lot of cool things on it and also a lot of nonfunctional things. The Eee PC doesn't have some of the programs that normally reside in IceWM environments, so there are a few nonfunctional items. For the most part, the menu system does actually hide things that aren't there and picks up things that are. On my Eee PC, I've added both the XEmacs graphics editor and GIMP, and they both show up. You may also find a few default entries that don't do anything on the Eee PC.

Because things are missing that you might want to use, the next task is to modify the Start menu to pick up things that you want to add and remove things that you don't want. To do that, edit the menu file:

> kwrite menu &

The structure of this file is pretty easy to follow. The pound sign # at the beginning of a line is a comment. The separator statement alone on a line creates a separator line in the menu. menu starts a menu item, which contains a folder. prog is a program. So, for example, to add the Xandros File Manager before the Applications folder, you would add something like the following:

menu "File Manager" folder {
    prog "Xandros File Manager" /usr/bin/XandrosFileManager XandrosFileManager
menu Applications folder {

The menu "File Manager" folder statement adds a menu item, which is a folder (that is, it contains other items) to the menu. The item itself will show up as File Manager. The open curly brace ({) is followed by the prog statement, which has "Xandros File Manager" as the submenu item name, and two ways to invoke the program (one if its directory is in the PATH environment variable and one with the full path). The closing curly brace ends the statement. Save the file and check your menu; you don't need to restart the X Window System environment. Try it out and select the Xandros File Manager to launch it. Pretty cool, eh?

If you want to remove something, you can put a comment character (#) at the beginning of each line in its entry. That's really all there is to this. Just make sure you put a comment before each line in a group.

IceWM has a few more goodies that you might like. On the Start menu, you can change themes by choosing Start, Settings, Themes and then selecting a theme from the menu (see Figure 4.5). The infadel2 theme is especially nice, with its black metallic look.

Figure 4.5

Figure 4.5 Selecting a theme.

Also, take a look at Start, Windows. This provides a window from which you can select one of four virtual desktops. This is basically the same functionality as in the virtual desktops offered by the KDE and other Linux window managers.

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