Installing Awesome-WM (and others) as the second "DE"

Hey guys!

I have been using Manjaro for a while now (coming from FreeBSD, but also openSUSE at work). The question I have is kinda a newbie-question though.

For all this time I have now been using Xfce. This is what we use at work and I am used to it. The fact that it is the "main" choice for Manjaro (at the time I started anyway) did help my choide along. :wink:

Since I am kinda stuck at home right now (who woulda thought?), I thought about diving into some of the other DEs and WMs out there. I tried Awesome and Bspwm (and others) by booting from a pen drive. That is all fine and good, but I would like to play around with the config somewhat.

Installing Awesome via pacman is no big deal. But it is possible to get the default config too? I get that I will have to tinker with the config files and I am fine with that. But I would like the default config (as in the boot image) as a starting point.

Is there maybe a way to not only DL the "naked" WM but also the config files and get a list of all the other addons that the default configuration depends on to work?

Thanks for reading and have a happy Easter! :rabbit:

Best regards,
Cassi

I do not use Awesome but you can find desktop settings here https://gitlab.manjaro.org/profiles-and-settings/desktop-settings/-/tree/master/community
try i3-wm :slight_smile: too.

It is possible to mix xfce and awesome, but you will have to adjust some things and you have to expect to fix some problems. If you just want to play with the awesome-edition, why not install it in a virtual machine? You could then create a snapshot after you installed it, so you can play with it and if you mess something up you can restore the snapshot. This way you learn about configuring Awesome, get to know your way around, without messing with your real system. If you feel comfortable with you can then decide to install awesome and configure it in your real machine or even just backup your data and install the Awesome-edition.

However if you want to do it right away here is some additional info:

The files which are refered by @VoDo are one way to get the files. Another one would be to install manjaro-settings-awesome-settings-18.0 and copy the contents of /etc/skel to ~/home. However, in both cases you will have to do some adaptions (set terminal to xfce4-terminal in rc.lua instead of lxterminal, start gnome-polkit instead of mate-polkit in autostart.sh, ...) and also check for some other programs of the awesome edition (e.g. rofi) to get the full experience of the edition.
And you have to be aware that the keybindings set via the xfce4-keyboard-settings and the ones of awesome may conflict. As you are planning to use them in parallel I suggest that you assign the keybindings identical e.g. Super+Enter to open the terminal.

I'm using XFCE + i3 currently. I was running i3, and once I learned and understood how the config files worked. I saved the relevant dotfiles to a usb.

I then installed XFCE, you need to turn off the window manager from the sessions and autostart settings, remove all of the xfce keybindings. From there, I don't know if it's i3 specific, or if you'd need to do it in awesome too, but I downloaded i3-gaps and nitrogen. I added i3 to the autostart list, and added a file called .i3 to /home/username and then added my config file to that folder. I kind of used this as a guide ( I have successfully done LXDE+i3 earlier this month - posted up in the April screenshot thread) and it was very helpful. I'm sure you can use it to very similarly add in awesome. Or, if you want help with i3, I have no problem helping you much more specifically. I can post up my specific config file if you'd like also. It originally started out as @oberon 's config in Manjaro i3, but I've made a whole ton of adjustments to my liking at this point it's pretty far deviated from his. But, it was an amazing tool to help me get started.

And now I have this:

2020-04-11-101227_2560x1440_scrot

I thought about using Awesome with Xfce (because I have quite heavily customized my panels and like the results), but I have my doubts about that being a good idea. For one, there are the key-bindungs, which you already mentioned. Apart from that, Xfce handles workspaces quite differently than Awesome. I currently have two monitors and soon there will be a third. I already have the monitor, I am just waiting for the wall mount to arrive. This will be a lot of "fun" in any case, because I plan to mount the third monitor in portrait orientation. Xfce will treat all three monitors as one workspace, while Awesome treats each monitor as a workspace. How will Xfce and Awesome get along if this is the case?

Also, part of the idea was to get a Desktop that was rather more streamlined than Xfce is. I know it isn't exactly heavy on resources, but certainly more so than Awesome, Qtile or i3.

Regards,
Cassandra

I'm sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you wanted to ADD awesome, not just install a vanilla - non-manjaro awesome. . .

You would need to use architect installer I believe. I'm sorry about that. Maybe someone can help you further, is I actually have no idea how to do that.

In my XFCEi3, I when I turned off the xfce wm, I deleted ALL of xfce keybindings. My computer now uses my config file for both workspaces and keybindings exactly as they did when I just had i3. I will try hooking my computer up to my tv later to see how that works. I've never had a 2nd or 3rd monitor hooked up like this yet, so I have no idea the reaction yet. I'll see what I can find.

Well, actually, you didn't misunderstand me completely. :wink: And it is very likely that I was wasn't completely clear (English is not my native language), so I will give you a quick overview and hope to get it right this time. :crossed_fingers:

Sorry if this is a tl;dr!

I've been using Xfce for years now - both at home an at work. Because I wanted to expand what I know (and because I have a little time on my hands), I wanted to try some tiling WMs[1]. I read up a bit and watched some videos on these - especially the videos from DistroTube. So I created a flash drive with Manjaro and Awesome. After looking at it and playing with it for a while, I decided to give the Awesome a go and wanted to make it my daily driver - keeping Xfce of course so I could always go back to that if needed. So I started my machine normally into Xfce and installed Awesome via pacman. I logged out an into Awesome and that is where the motivation for this thread came from: The Awesome that is now installed beside my Xfce is nothing like the preconfigured Awesome I got to see when booting from the flash drive. it is very vanilla. Distrotube has a tutorial video about configuring Awesome and although his installed Awesome also looks very vanilla, his start menu is populated, which mine isn't (at all).

Since the Awesome on my flash drive used a lot of Xfce stuff, I though it might not be a big deal to get that to work on a machine which already has a working Xfce installed. I just tried to use the config files, but that didn't work. There seemed to be a lot of things missing.

That is when I decided to ask here, if there maybe is a (meta-) package that I could install to get an Awesome that is installed after something else to look and feel like on the flash drive. I know I have to do some work configuring it either way and I am fine with that, I would have just preferred to start from the preconfigured Awesome that is easier for me to work with as a beginner and go from there.

But currently I am working on the vanilla Awesome and will try to get that to work the way I want. :+1:

I actually used the Architect to install Manjaro, because I have a dual boot setup with Windows, since I do a little gaming outside of Linux. Apart from that, I wanted to partition the SSD manually and use Btrfs and the regular installer isn't flexible enough for that. I do not believe you can actually install a truly "vanilla" edition using the Architect though. You can choose between the minimal install of an Edition (Xfce, KDE, Awesome etc.) but at least for the main DE, you pretty much get the same thing as what you would get when using the graphical installer. Installing a DE or WM after the fact seems to get you a pretty vanilla install. :wink:

I would love to know what your results are when you connect your TV. ATM I don't know how i3 handels multiple desktops and monitors, so I don't know if there would be a conflict with Xfce in this regard. In my case, using Awesome instead of Xfce's WM was pretty bad, because it pretty much make the system unusable. I have configured my Xfce desktop quite heavily and it seems some of that conflicts with Awesome. But I am writing this using the vanilla Awesome (and Firefox of course).

Best regards,
Cassi

[1] I intend to try out Qtile, Bspwm and i3 in the near future too.

Welcome Produmouse. Perhaps my post is a zombie. Nontheless, in case your question remains relevant, I'll add my experience.

I use Awesome atop a Manjaro Xfce foundation. Basically works well- no keybinding conflicts noted. Some tweaks are required (to be expected for personal taste if nothing else). Also, I've found a few shortcomings in the area of app integration- involving elevated rights requirements and also Android. Distro Tube channel on YouTube has some good info regarding Awesome. May be worth a look. A default config comes with the WM. You should copy it to your ~.config directory for tweaking.

Note: Android issue is sorted out. Not a problem- my ignorance is to blame.

1 Like

@arlo
Thanks for you reply!

I haven't found, what I was looking for, but now I can at least name it - sorta. :wink:

When you install bspwm, there are two packages to choose from:

  • bspwm
  • bspwm-manjaro

The first is (probably) a pretty vanilla bspwm. The second (as I understand it) is bspwm with all the configuration and additional packages you get when you install from the iso-image. I was looking for a similar package for Awesome.

Best,
Cassi

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, Awesome is available in Cinnamon and Gnome flavors (among others) but not Manjaro.

Regarding "...sorta...", again, it may be worth your while to visit "DistroTube" on YouTube. Derek Taylor has a number of vids discussing the pro's and con's of the various tilers. I passed on bspwm but don't recall my reasoning at the time. Then again, it's certainly a "to each his/her own" thing so to speak. Please keep me posted.

I'm afraid you've lost me here. This was not really about a flavour, but a package. The two packages for bspwm are quite different.

AFAIK the Awesome edition of Manjaro heavily relies on stuff from Xfce. Or am I mistaken?

But back to Awesome...
The vanilla install of Awesome is only just functional. It has not volume-control, no power management, the menu is there, but empty, because it doesn't find the install applications etc.

If I install Majaro from scratch with the Awesome edition, I get all of the said stuff. And I was hoping to find a package that would install an Awesome WM with all the said functions and configuration already in place, even if the system was not set up from scratch, but even if Awesome was not the first WM/DE installed on the system.

To me the most annoying thing about bspwm is the sxhkd. While it is pretty powerful, the config file is just a mess. That will put off quite a few people. Did that maybe happen to you?

I have watched a lot of Derek's videos. He seems to have a slight obsession with tilers. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Currently, I am setting up bspwm for the first time. While I find the not that great documentation quite annoying, it's way less of a pain to configure than Awesome, which has extensive documentation, but the authors think they have written stuff down way clearer than I find it. Thus configuring Awesome is quite the nightmare if you are not fluent in Lua - and you don't know what you are looking for. If we take the videos you mentioned, they assume a single configuration file. But Manjaro has several scripts on the side which are run. The same is true for bspwm and it took me quite a while to find them and was pretty frustrated in the process.

I will be coming back to Awesome in the future, because what I could get to work, I really liked. But for now, I'll be content getting bspwm to work. :wink:

Regards,
Cassi

manjaro-awesome-settings is the key package. The configuration files are installed to /etc/skel and you can copy them to your $HOME from there. For the complete list of packages, see

1 Like

Thanks for the info!

If this a meta-package that will also install any other missing packages or do I have to go through the list and check them for myself? Not complaining, just asking. :innocent:

BTW.

pacman -Ss manjaro-awesome-settings
community/manjaro-awesome-settings 20180910-1
    Manjaro Linux budgie settings
community/manjaro-awesome-settings-18.0 20190508-1
    Manjaro Linux budgie settings

There are two and the one called 18.0 is from 2019. :laughing:

It is technically not a meta package per se because it also contains the configuration files, but yes, it should pull most of the necessary packages as dependency. I would try first just installing that and see if anything important is missing.

The newer package is newer despite the pkgname :slightly_smiling_face:. The older is from the time I maintained the edition and the newer was managed by @frankk. Probably

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