Help me out, i'm TEH FVWM Newbie

lol, i’m like the ultimate fvwm newbie. i just installed it (latest, 2.5.14, unstable) but it seems strange. I mean, my screen looks like an late 80’s MIT geek screenshot. I mean, it UGLY.

well, but, this time, i wont give up on it, mainly because i saw some amazing screenshots, and i want my Slacky to look just like that^^

since GNOME sux, KDE is too damn heavy, e17 looks like is gonna be stable on 2050 and i’m tired of Fluxbox’s limitations i’m gonna devote totally to FVWM.

So, enough with the introduction and lets get down to business: Well, as i said, my screen doesnt even resamble any of the screenies i saw. I dont know if it is installed properly, but, i’m gonna discribe it too you (sry, no sshots). The first time i log in X, fvwm is just a black screen with only the left-cick pop-up menu. Now, after i played around a lil bit it had ugly window borders, some strange looking apps and nothing of its graphical appeal.

Could someone explain to me how does it go from this to those incredible screenshots? Oh, and if you’re not in the mood to explain to me how does stuff work on fvwm, could you post like a begginer’s guide? The hacking part i’m familiar with, editing stuff and all, but is too different from Fluxbox…

But what i’m having a problem figuring out is, where is the Menu editing files (like .fluxbox/menu on flux)? Where do i put new themes to use, and how do i use them?

see, like a virgin i open myself to FVWM (lol, ok, lame metaphor), but i dont kow the first thing about it.

Thx to any1 who might reply to this…

  • BodyDrop -

First off, welcome to the forums, BodyDrop! 8)

You might want to download and take a look at some of the configs in the Configs & Screenshots forum: viewforum.php?f=39

In most cases, all you have to do is unzip them and then rename the folder as .fvwm and replace your current /home/username/.fvwm with it. You’ll need to edit some of the files to make them work properly, especially things like menu entries, paths, and such. Some of these configs are complete with wallpapers, icons, scripts, and other files you might need, while some might be the .fvwm2rc file only.

Playing around with the ready-to-go configs will have you up and running in a better looking environment sooner, but you can also learn how to create your own custom configs from experimenting with the configs created by other users.

Be sure to check out some of the following helpful links, too:

Fvwm man-pages:

Fvwm Wiki:

Fvwm FAQ:

Beginner’s Guide:

Good luck with your venture into the world of Fvwm, and above all, have fun with it. :slight_smile:

I am well aware of this — if you look in these forms under… “General
FVWM Discussion” you will find a thread there about changing the default
configuration file FVWM ships with. It’s a work-in-progress that Nick
Fortune and I are working on.

Then you have two options:

  1. You take someone else’s configuration file, tweak that, and smile.


  1. You work hard – you study these forums, you search, you post
    questions, and you can begin to piece things bit by bit together, and
    marvel at your own satisfaction.

I don’t mean point 2 to sound patronising – far from it. But there is
something to be said for a so-called newbie to write their own
configuration file. It’s all very well taking an existing one, and
tweaking that, but you never wrote it – if you want to make any changes
to it, you won’t learn as much.

You’ll realise of course that in these forums, you will get a lot of help.

In another thread that you have posted, I see that people have pointed you
towards the various tutorials and so forth. Depending on what it is you
want to know – you will find these forums invaluable, as well as the
fvwmwiki. I urge you to search continually and, and post questions. :slight_smile:

– Thomas Adam

Hei Thomas, i have discovered that you are a renowed Fvwm hacker. Dont mean to ‘kiss ass’, just pointing out, saw some stuff you did on Wiki Pages and all, found it very good and nicely explained.

What you said is true, a good way to start is to get some1’s config and tweak it. I did that, but i’m not so pleased with the results. So i want to start my own fvwm2rc file from scratch and adapt it to my own needs (this way i have total control on what is happening and how to change it, and thats how i like it).

I got some great help here and googled for some more, but since there is an enormous amount of options in Fvwm, i get, not lost (well, a bit), but, frustraded. Frustraded coz i dont know them all and what great stuff they can do.

Isnt there a reference guide to them? I mean, to EVERY FUNCTION AND OPTION THE COMMANDS CAN POSSIBLY GIVE YOU? The man pages are kinda debilitaded on that aspect (well, its not its function anyway). I just wanted some sort of .pdf, or html reference guide that pointed out the function and its options.

To be more precise, what i mean is:

Name Options

Style “*” CanBeThis, That, SloppyFocus, ThisToo
FvwmButton CanDoThis, ThatToo, Action(Mouse 1), Stuff


…and so on (you get the picture?). the closest i got to that was a site that pointed out every function, invocation, command and whatever that Fvwm had, but didnt show its options and types.

I’m still amazed how many configurations options this thing has (its incredible, INSANE!!). But if i want to achieve some serious eye-candy and productive desktop i need to know what i’m working with.

I’m really convinced that there is nothing Fvwm cant do, and that i have finally found the one window manager that would give me beauty and functionabilty without occuping 500MB or hogging memory.

I just need that damn reference guide… :imp: :imp:

  • BodyDrop -

You’re err, welcome. Note that as it is a Wiki, I am not solely
responsible for all of its content. :slight_smile:

Then I must reiterate that you should read the FVWM Beginners Guide, and
the Config From Scratch document (on this forum) – follow them – even if
they’re not to your liking in terms of style, that’s not the point. What
matters is the principle; how and why you’re doing what you are, and what
it means.

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but you should start out very small.
Don’t get carried away – instead, concentrate on doing something small,
and getting that right first. In all the years I’ve been doing this, the
one thing people do is they will usually sort out decors first (the window
decoration) – presumably because it’s the part they can see, and so they
get the most reward from. That’s fine, but it doesn’t help in terms of
usage. I quite often write configs for people for FVWM, and I do things
in the following order:

Mouse Bindings
Key Bindings

But that’s just personal preference. If you do decide to section your
config file up, and as you build it decide you want to do one section at
a time, like in the above – great. It might get a little tedious, but in
doing so, you’ll learn a lot about that particular part of FVWM

Hate to say it, but ‘man fvwm’ is about the most comprehensive source of
information you’re going to find. I did start to write a cheat-sheet at
one point – perhaps that’s what you’re referring to?

– Thomas Adam

well, thx again. I’m gonna read the man and try to figure things out from there.

i’ma follow your advice on ‘start small’, coz thats something i wasnt doing at all. Its just that i had so many great ideas that i ot carried away and didnt do any of 'em right.

Once i get a good understanding of FVWM and i’m able to comprehend many of its functions, i’ll write a reference guide on my own. Something to help people like me when i started :slight_smile:

You know, just occured to me, FVWM is like a programming language on its own. I know Xlib is written in C but damn, its more complex that shell script!

thx again (do i say thanks too much?)

  • BodyDrop -

Ok – use that in conjunction with the other resources you’ve been pointed to,

It’s just one suggestion that I think might be of benefit. It depends
entirely upon yourself as to whether you think it is a mechanism that you
yourself are likely to benefit from.

That sounds fine – but be a little careful you don’t just reinvent the wheel.
I don’t mean that as a criticism in the slightest, but sometimes having the
same things documented over and over leads to a paralysis, and soon the dust
begins to settle on those features that in all honesty need documenting, but
get forgotten about.

I’ve been umming-and-arring with a few fellows in #fvwm on
as to whether I and they should write a book on FVWM. It would be

Shell script? The fact that FVWM is written using XLib doesn’t matter to
the user who’s wanting to configure it, of course. But I suppose you could
look at FVWM and say it’s a little bit like a programming language. The
nearest thing to it is writing Complex Functions.

– Thomas Adam