Symphony OS (fvwm desktop)

Hey folks wondering if anyone has had a look at the Symphony OS distro. I found it’s ideas for a desktop environment pretty interesting, especially the complete lack of nested menus. I was wondering if anyone who liked this and knew how to, would make a config for something similar with similar functionality? I’d love to use a desktop similar to Symphony’s but not the distro itself, Im pretty happy with archlinux for now…
Anyways have a look see:

Hmmm, interesting. I am sure that with a little planning this could be achieved. The whole OS is interesting in concept, but like you I am not going to give up my current distro.

Looks like some play time.

suggestions anyone?

Aren’t they using FVWM now instead of IceWM? If so, should be able to just snatch the config :stuck_out_tongue:


the orchestra really looks cool. Is there a success in snatching the fvwm configs from symphony?? I dont want to dl the whole OS just for the configs.


I read in an german magazine today, it is based on Icewm (but these informations in printed magazines might be not up to date).

The “typical” thing of Symphony is the menue-system, which is based on XUL, a Mozilla-technique.

They use a patched mozilla, and run a local webserver to be able to launch Applications from within the mozilla-framework.

Here is a german article about it:


It looks quite pretty, the first screenshots seems to be Fvwm no ?
Lastest Icewm ok but the firsts…

Which one do you mean?

I think the screenshots do not give information about the WM, because what you see is Mozilla/Firefox in fullscreen-mode.
So Firefox is the “Desktop”.

The WM (icewm) just seems to be used to manage windows (to give them a titlebar), but the rest of the concept (menues and so on) is based on HTML+perl/XUL.

This is totally different from what people discuss in these forums here, because here the WM (fvwm) serves as the Desktop with menues, icons and so on.


You can find something which is a little bit comparable on my homepage:

But here I also use HTML/Javascript to draw the titlebars.

A “Web Virtual Window Manager” (wvwm) :wink:


It’s definitely using FVWM now and not IceWM. If you look closely at the screenshot’s you’ll see Tavis Ormandy’s thumbnail-icons; I downloaded the LiveCD and after booting took a look at the files. Sure enough, there is a .fvwm2rc with Tavis’s code right there! Might have more time to play with it later.

ah, ok, I see…

But i think the menue-system with the “corners” is based on firefox?

I played around a bit, trying to simulate this (more basic, just to play around with).

see a picture here: … toprun.jpg

It is a “menue” made of HTML/cgi -files.
If you click on the “edges”, the menue in the center changes.

If you click on a menue, a program is started.

There are some problems:
as the “user” of a cgi-server is “apache” , it is not allowed to connect to your xserver.
So you must run
xhost +
(this is not very secure, as it allows everybody to connect to your Xserver. If someone knows how I can allow just “apache” to do this, please tell me)

Some programs still do not work, like gedit.
And some (like kedit) need a “home-directory” /home/apache.

To make it not too unsecure, programs just can be started from (your local machine).


As it is based on HTML, it should be quite easy to build very “beautiful” menues using pictures and/or Javascript.
You even could use flash.

If you run it fullscreen and lowered, you might have a desktop-effect like with symphony.

Greets, Mark