Subject: Re: Window manager selection proposal
To: Frederick Bruckman <>
From: Richard Rauch <>
List: tech-x11
Date: 09/15/2002 11:18:47

How would this affect those of us who don't use .xsession stuff, but
instead "start x" by "startx"?

I hope that I won't have to "select" a window manager post-install, or
click on something *everytime* I run "startx".  My .xinitrc does what I
want (i.e., it runs twm backgrounded, and exec's an iconified xterm).  If
I want to try another window manager, all I have to do is kill twm and
start the other window manager.  (I sometimes like to experiment.  (^&)

Don't get the impression that I oppose making first-time-configuration of
X easier; although the switch to XFree86 4.x really should make a
fantastic leap in that direction, alone.  (A friend was trying to
configure X on his LINUX box using the Debian(?) X config tool; after some
frustration, I pointed out to him the XFree86 4.x autoconfiguration
feature.  After trying it and getting a very much improved config, his
response was, "Why does Debian still bother with that old tool?  Why
didn't they tell me about this?")

I just hope that if I do a "simplified install" (I go through sysinst
normally), I won't get a messed up X configuration, etc.

Maybe this information could be tacked onto the end of your password
database entry?  Then, if the information is present, the "core" X system
could go ahead and start that as your X window manager.  If the
information is absent, it will run as presently is the case (letting
.xinitrc or .xsession dictate the window manager, if any).

This would:

 a) Mimic extant /etc/shells behavior a little more closely (use

 b) Let you retain the original behavior by not filling out the passwd

 c) Maybe make it a little simpler to coordinate the (at least) two
    distinct ways of starting X.

And, FWIW, the default window manager should be twm.  (^&  It already
ships with X, and is a fine window manager.  (A better default
configuration could be provided, though.)

  ``I probably don't know what I'm talking about.''