The Linux Moderate

One Man Standing Up for Computers That Get Work Done

Transforming Xubuntu into DBCOS

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Part 4: Editing the Toolbar and the Preferences

We’ve just finished editing the IceWM menu. Now on to the toolbar, and then the preferences.

Lots of stuff to do this time, but it’s all easy.

The toolbar file works exactly like the menu file. To add a launcher button to the toolbar, you just add a line in the toolbar file like this:

prog Program-name icon-name program-command

So, for example, to add a laucher for the Mousepad text editor, I’d write a line like this:

prog Mousepad mousepad mousepad

You’ll notice that this line is identical to the one in the menu file. You can populate your toolbar file by simply copying individual lines out of your menu file. That’s what I’ve just done here:

# The default toolbar file lives in /etc/x11/icewm.
# A toolbar file you place in the .icewm folder in your
# home folder will override it.
# The syntax is the same as in the menu file, except
# that, if the icon is available, the toolbar will show
# only the icon, not the name of the program. The name
# will show as a tool tip when you hover the mouse over
# the icon.
prog "PCman File Manager" pcmanfm pcmanfm
prog Calculator gcalctool xcalc
prog "" /usr/share/icons/gnome/16x16/apps/openofficeorg24-writer.png ooffice
prog "Web Browser" /usr/share/pixmaps/kaze_icon.xpm kazehakase
prog Claws-mail claws-mail claws-mail

When you restart IceWM (on the menu, push the arrow to the right of “Logout” and choose “Restart IceWM”), the toolbar will appear as you’ve edited it. Not all the programs will appear, because we haven’t installed them all yet. Specifically, we haven’t installed Kazehakase and Claws-mail.

That’s it for the toolbar file. Now for the preferences file, which controls some of what the toolbar and the menu do.

You’ll find a preferences file in /usr/share/icewm. Just copy that file into the .icewm folder in your home directory. Now you can open it and edit it.

Editing the preferences file is really just a matter of turning switches on or off, and you can change only what you want to change, leaving the rest the way it is.

By default, all the preferences are commented out: each line begins with a #, so IceWM ignores it and uses the default value. Remove the # from a line only if you want to change the default value.

Here’s what I’ve changed:

First, I change the placement of the workspace switcher to the right of the taskbar, because that’s where I’m used to having it. So change this:

#  Place workspace pager on left, not right
# TaskBarWorkspacesLeft=1 # 0/1 

to this:

#  Place workspace pager on left, not right
TaskBarWorkspacesLeft=0 # 0/1 

We took out the # and changed the 1 to a 0. That’s what I mean by flipping switches.

Now I want to get rid of the “Programs” submenu in the main menu. It’s useless now that I have the menu set up the way I want it. So I change this:

#  Show programs submenu
# ShowProgramsMenu=1 # 0/1 

to this:

#  Show programs submenu
ShowProgramsMenu=0 # 0/1 

While I’m at it, I’ll get rid of the “Help” menu item, because it doesn’t lead to any useful help. Change this:

#  Show the help menu item
# ShowHelp=1 # 0/1 

to this:

#  Show the help menu item
ShowHelp=0 # 0/1 

That’s all I’m going to change. I could very easily do it by just writing a text file called “preferences” with three lines:


But keeping the whole preferences file in my .icewm folder will make it easier to edit other preferences if I change my mind about those.

Now when I restart IceWM, the workspace switcher is on the right, and the “Programs” and “Help” menu items are gone.

Our new toolbar and improved menu.

Our new toolbar and improved menu.

Well, that was easy. We’ve created an IceWM installation that really works the way we want it to work. The only problem is that it’s still ugly.

To fix that, we’re going to create our own IceWM theme. But it’s not going to be hard, because we’re going to do it mostly by stealing pieces of other people’s themes. Except in the Linux world it isn’t called “stealing,” because the licenses of most of the themes specifically give us permission to change and use them however we want. Isn’t open source fun?


Written by cbaile19

August 6, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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