Ratpoison

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Gullible Jones, Nov 28, 2012.

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  1. If you use Linux and have not tried this window manager, you might want to check it out.

    It's a tiling window manager, like Dwm or XMonad. But instead of having a bunch of keybindings, it has only one main keybinding (usually Control-t, shown as C-t in the documentation). You invoke the main keybinding, then enter one of the bound keystrokes to do something. With the default setup:

    'C-t !' lets you execute an arbitrary command
    'C-t c' launches an xterm
    'C-t ?' displays a help page
    'C-t :' lets you enter commands for Ratpoison (quit, restart, etc.)
    'C-t w' displays a list of open windows, and their associated numbers
    'C-t <number>' (with a number from 0-9) switches to the window bound to that number
    'C-t <apostrophe>' lets you enter a window number to switch to
    'C-t space' or 'C-t Return' progresses through windows a la Alt-tab
    'C-t k' closes a window
    'C-t C-g' aborts a command (like in EMACS)

    Those are for managing a single frame, i.e a collection of stacked windows. You can also split the screen into several frames, or merge them with 'C-t Q'. Once you get used to the way the keybindings work, learning it is IMO pretty quick.

    Obviously YMMV, as with any software ever. However, I have found the following with Ratpoison:
    - It eliminates the need for tabbed browsing
    - It makes window management faster and simpler, though it falls a little short of obsoleting the mouse
    - It is easier to learn than other tiling WMs, and the hotkey setup and lack of automatic tiling make it less intrusive to use

    Oh, one other thing... Using Ratpoison on Ubuntu may be a pain, because LightDM does not support custom .xsession files. You'd probably have to write a .desktop file for it.

    Happy obsessive Linux desktop tinkering...
     
  2. And an update: the following .desktop file works on Ubuntu 12.10, when put in /usr/share/xsessions:

    Code:
    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=Ratpoison
    Comment=This session logs you into Ratpoison
    Exec=ratpoison     
    TryExec=ratpoison
    Icon=
    Type=Application
    Edit: umm, on 12.10 this will unfortunately give you no sound output when using Ratpoison. Working on it, will post a solution when (or if) I find one.

    Edit again: you have to add yourself to the 'audio' group. For some reason 12.10 doesn't do this by default.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2012
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