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Archive for the ‘lxde’ Category

LXDE keyboard

Windows d shows the desktop, no windows

ALT TAB cycles between different application windows

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LXDE as a Desktop Environment does not attempt to cause irritation for former users of Windows. It is different but its developers are not desperate to show that it is different. The desktop choice is today characterised by indifference and what really matters for LXDE is a leadership in the categories performance and memory footprint while at the same time you should not miss any essential features of a modern Desktop Environment.

What feels different for experienced Windows users with LXDE is the Window manager. You don’t know what that is? Doesn’t matter. Let’s fix it.

The default Windows Manager of LXDE is called Openbox and you can tweak its settings with a tool called “Openbox Configuration Manager” or “obconf”.

Select the panel “Mouse” and set here the following options:

  • Double click on the titlebar: Maximizes the window.
  • Double click time: 350ms (or more).

Clicking with your mouse on the top title bar will now maximize the window. There are also many other settings you can configure. Openbox is very fast, flexible and provides you with choice.

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LXDE has a added new component, lxshortcut. It’s a small utility used to edit application shortcuts. I really missed it. In other words, it is for those little buttons you click on and that start the application for you. The tool demonstrates the LXDE philosophy to make the desktop not only lightweight and fast but modular. This is so important because we want life to be simple. We want a desktop environment to be stable. We want code to be manageable.

Think back to the Unix konsole world where you always have one tool for one purpose and that tool is stable and known to work. The stability of modern complex desktop environments, in particular those available for Linux but also Vista, is a problem for users, and it affects further scalability of these systems as well. When you add complexity but have no means to make it stable you get software where users are able to discover a bunch of bugs and defects within 3 minutes of use.

lxshortcut is a simple tool that meets real user needs. A few days ago I manually fiddled with my configuration files.

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Sustainability expert Chris Watkins points at the upcoming CarCampTaipei where members of the LXDE team will present their light Desktop environment software.

Chris also has some suggestions for Linux distributions (via Twitter):

#Linux desktops need a keyboard shortcut for the applications/system menu. Shouldn’t the Windows key be mapped by default?

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