Configuration changes with FVWM
#163 Henry, Monday, 16 July 2012 1:59 PM (Category: UNIX Tools)
(Tags: fvwm pager)

After I rebooted, my basic system continued to work fine, but my fvwm setup was slightly bad. It had to do with me using my old configuration file and not paying attention to the changes happening with fvwm over the years. The button box was in the right place at top left, but the pager was not where it should be. I have a pager showing 12 desktops, in a 3x4 arrangement. The pager is the most important thing I use, the thing that keeps me using FVWM instead of switching to fancier desktops like KDE or XFCE. The pager, and the fact that FVWM is faster and snappier and uses less memory and is generally a really fast window manager that I can easily configure to support the work I do. So yeah, all that and the pager. The pager is really important. The pager is usually swallowed up into the Button Box. That's the technical term in FVWM - the Button Box swallows the pager. But now it isn't being swallowed, it's sitting loosely on top of the Button Box, and it's not in the right place. I looked in the FVWM log file and found a whole bunch of little issues. I thought it best to deal with them one by one and see if that fixed the pager positioning.

My log file showed these problems:

[fvwm][menustyle_parse_old_style]:  error in * ActiveBack #56041b style specification
[fvwm][CMD_EdgeResistance]:  The command EdgeResistance with three arguments is obsolete.
     Please use the following commands instead:
[fvwm][]:  EdgeResistance -1
[fvwm][]:  Style * EdgeMoveDelay -1
[fvwm][]:  Style * EdgeMoveResistance 0
[fvwm][style_parse_and_set_window_style]:  Unconsumed argument in  StaysOnTop NoHandles:
/bin/sh: lineakd: command not found
gkrellm: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file:
     No such file or directory
[FvwmButtons][FlocaleLoadFont]: WARNING -- can't load font 'helvetica-10', trying default:

I worked through the issues one by one.

First, ActiveBack appears to have disappeared. I found this post about it: Where did the MenuStyle "ActiveBack" go?. It appears to have been replaced by HilightBack, and I already have an entry for that, so I just deleted ActiveBack. Worked fine.

Next, EdgeResistance. I was using

EdgeResistance  10000 0

and, after reading about FVWM EdgeResistance, I replaced that with

EdgeResistance 10000
Style * EdgeMoveDelay 10000
Style * EdgeMoveResistance 0

Next, the NoHandles. I used it like this

Style "FvwmPager"    Sticky, StaysOnTop NoHandles, WindowListSkip

and that was a typo. There should have been a comma between StaysOnTop and NoHandles, so it was treating NoHandles as a parameter to StaysOnTop. I added the comma. Fixed that problem.

Next, lineakd. This was an ancient experiment when I had a fancier keyboard and I was doing stuff with the extra keys and lineakd was the utility that worked that. I no longer have the keyboard, no longer care about fancy keys, don't have lineakd installed, so I deleted the line.

Next, gkrellm. This was no longer an error as the updated libraries were correctly installed when I was able to finish my Slackware update.

And finally, the whole series of complaints about using Helvetica. I simply deleted all those lines and let it use the default font. Menu options seem smaller, but it doesn't matter. It still looks okay, and it works fine. I might revisit this later as I would like the text a little larger. My aging eyes appreciate that.

I did all that, stopped FVWM and restarted it. This time all the errors were gone from the log file, but the Button Box still did not swallow my pager. The pager existed separately, on top of the button box. More research needed.

Bad pager in Button Box

I had a couple of geometry commands for FvwmPager like this:

*FvwmPager: Geometry           -10000-10000

I have no idea why I did that, way back in 2000 when I last did a lot of FVWM configuration. But I deleted those lines. Restarted fvwm and this time the pager was still separate to the Button Box, but to the right instead of on top, and it was larger than it previously was. Next I looked at how I swallowed the pager. A quick look at the FVWM pages on FvwmButtons showed that things had changed in the world of swallowing.

I was specifying it like this:

*FvwmButtons: (3x2, Swallow (UseOld) "FvwmDesktop" 'FvwmPager 0 0')

and I used the example on the FVWM website and changed it to this

*FvwmButtons: (3x2, Swallow "FvwmPager" "FvwmPager 0 0"

restarted FVWM and this time it worked and the pager was correctly swallowed by the Button Box.

Good pager in Button Box

All is well again.

I do notice a difference with the pager. Each of the applications inside each window now has text from the title bar of each window. I don't know if this is good or not. I do remember some option to not show text in the pager, so I might look at that again.