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A little background. Before upgrading to F15, I used Gnome out of box. I installed much the same with Fedora 15 i386 ISO at's home page. Gnome 3 is not supported on my laptop. I'm investigating other options to avoid bloat.

I currently have Gnome running the show on my fresh F15 install. I think I'd like to streamline and try Xfce as an alternative to Gnome and use the Fluxbox window manager. Before I make a change which takes me hours to undo lets clear up a few confusing points about setting things up,

  • One SuperUser post suggests installing system-switch-displaymanager.
  • Same post says edit /etc/sysconfig/desktop, but I do not have this file or anything like it in sysconfig.
  • Another SuperUser post suggests using Switchdesk.
  • XFCE has install instructions but nothing to add fluxbox. The command startxfce4 did work to get xfce started. Yet, I don't yet understand. What is a ".desktop file"?
  • Fluxbox wiki has no entry for XFCE. It has instructions for GDE. Since this is already installed, I followed the instructions looking for /etc/gdm/Sessions/fluxbox OR /etc/X11/gdm/Sessions/fluxbox" but my install does not match these directories. Nor does the tree contain the targeted files. And, seems this page in the fluxbox wiki was last edited in 2009, when I installed F11!

I am beginning to understand maybe why there are several packages to change these settings--two I listed above.

Any others? Any idea why they are not included as alternatives in these above wiki pages? Is there some counter culture of making life easier these developers have not yet discovered? hahah

Anyone have a successful Xfce + Fluxbox install?

-- UPDATE= The Xfce wiki has a page suggesting the use of a file named .xinitrc with an example file. I added it to the home directory and I was able to start into Xfce with startX rather than startxfce. Turns out fluxbox also has an example of an .xinitrc file which can be used with startx command to launch fluxbox. I am as yet unfamiliar with what the .xinitrc does, though I did find this page at ArchWiki.

-- (#2 - This is necessary for me since I default to runlevel 3 in order to obtain root access to the graphical environment. With login from the command line, I start the graphical environment with # startx and therefore bypass the window manager menu).

(* XFCE uses language that describes window manager: "Window decorations [...] Select the theme in the Window Manager Settings...You can find more information about how to create a window manager theme here."

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I would suggest improving your title and tags... – KronoS Jul 11 '11 at 18:58
For experimenting like this you could create a another user account and try stuff out there. That way you don't have to worry about messing up your primary configuration. – Keith Jul 12 '11 at 2:30
I have noticed posts have a general tendency to be unclear about the topic of the spins or (DE) and GUI appearance (WM). This is not helped by the fact that I have in my install both GDE and KDE applications after the install. Thus, when I route around to find what's happening and trying stuff, it appears as though I'm using some parts of GDE and some of KDE. The result is I am unable to determine at this point, if my attempts to minimize my DE using only XFCE, is in fact only the packages of XFCE or, as can happen with DMs, it is running in some nested/recursive config. %-( – xtian Jul 16 '11 at 15:09
you don't need to use fluxbox in order to use xfce, xfce has its own windowmanager. – akira Aug 3 '11 at 6:37
I have finally uncovered one part of the puzzle hinted at by akira's comment. Xfce has its own window manager, Xfwm. Then the question becomes, Can fluxbox replace Xfce's WM Xfwm? – xtian Sep 2 '11 at 2:34

All you need to do is run fluxbox and add xfce-panel (or whatever you need) after/before it. As long as you don't try to run two window managers at the same time, you'll be fine. The easiest way to mix the "x session" is by by putting what you want to run in ~/.xinitrc and running startx. Just put the names of the binaries/scripts that you need followed by an ampersand and you're good to go (the last binary - the desktop manager must remain in the foreground - no ampersand).

Check out this page:
It is not about Fluxbox, but their mehtod for integrating xmonad into xfce is applicable to fluxbox.

A .desktop file is "link" to a program or a service that can be used by different window managers or desktop environments. The most common use is when making "start menus". The desktop files specify a category and a name - and those applications appear in the "start menu" under the different categories. These files can also be user to configure screen savers and probably many other things.

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