[mythtv-users] Window Managers (was: SUCCESS: I've had EVERY SINGLE problem possible)

Chris Palmer mythtv at zencow.com
Fri Mar 28 00:41:57 UTC 2003

IvanK. wrote
> On Thursday 27 March 2003 12:10 am, Chris Palmer wrote:
> > Albert Santoni wrote
> >
> > > I only have two remaining problems:
> > > - MythTV doesn't like Gnome, and in KDE 3 I get the taskbar at the bottom
> > > of my video...
> >
> > You can't really get around this with KDE.  You *can* configure
> > your taskbar to "auto hide" (which still leaves a row of pixels)
> > or, what I do, is click on the left or right side of it to hide
> > it manually.  It shrinks to the height of the taskbar, but only
> > a few pixels wide (the size of the click areas are configurable
> > and I bet it would change the size of the remaining pixels, too).
> > If you're not dependent on KDE, another window manager would get
> > away from this problem and other focus issues that you're not
> > even mentioning, yet.  :).
> Or you can comment out the panel (I believe it's the kicker line) in startkde.  
> This won't start the panel at all.

that sounds like an interesting idea.  i bet you could stop it and
restart it when needed.  I may have to look into that later.

I'd like to share with everyone what I figured out last night.  It's 
a very simple solution that might not suit everyone, but "works for me":

- I have mutliple window managers installed on my system and I choose 
which one to run when I startup X-Windows, based on whether I want to 
use a fancy slow-loading desktop environment (KDE) or use MythTV 
(under blackbox).  This works for me well, because when I want to
watch TV, I'm sitting on the couch in front of the TV and not staring
at my computer monitor.

- X-Windows running
- Window Managers of choice installed
- custom scripts for managing .xinitrc

There are many Window Managers to choose from and I have only used a 
small handful over the years, but I'm trying to get the best use out 
of KDE as my desktop right now (just moved to it from enlightenment 
a couple months ago).

I'm impressed with how quickly blackbox loads and it's very clean, 
but it doesn't have the ease of use of other window managers to make
it my window manager of choice for doing work.  It also doesn't have
all the features of other WM's which makes it great for running a 
dedicated MythTV session.  I've set things up so that MythTV starts
up when blackbox runs, and then blackbox exits back to the text prompt 
when I exit MythTV.

My system is setup to start KDE when I run "startx" on the commandline
with no parameters.  I'd be using KDM (which lets you choose a WM when
you login to X), but I have had some problems with the environment 
settings which make it impossible for me to use it at this time.

I have no .xinitrc file in my home directory by default, so I decided
to take advantage of that and created these 2 scripts:


cp -p ~/.xinitrc.tv ~/.xinitrc
startx $*
rm -f ~/.xinitrc


if [ -f ~/.xinitrc ]; then rm -f ~/.xinitrc; fi
startx $*

and this is my ".xinitrc.tv" file:
blackbox &

I had already created a script called "mf", which shuts off the 
screensaver features of X and starts mythfrontend, then turns 
it back on.  I just used it since it does everything I need:

/usr/bin/X11/xset -dpms s off
/usr/bin/X11/xset +dpms s on

When I want to watch TV/Recordings via MythTV, I exit KDE, then
type "tv" and it all starts up right into MythTV.  The best part
is that there are NO FOCUS PROBLEMS with taskbars or anything else,
since the WM doesn't fight you and MythTV is the only thing running.

The "tv" script, copies my custom .xinitrc file into place and then
starts X.  After X exits, it removes it.  If you had an existing
.xinitrc for your other window manager, you could modify the ideas
I have here so that it just copies your other .xinitrc into place
from some other filename.

I also created the "x" script to be my new shortcut to "startx",
which will also clean up the .xinitrc if it finds it still there.
Again, if you had another .xinitrc that you use for your WM, you
could make this copy it into place so that you always have the
config you want when you start up.

Incidentally, if I wanted to change the behavior, so that blackbox
doesn't automatically shutdown after MythTV closes, then I found
that changing the order in the ".xinitrc.tv" file does that:

alternate ".xinitrc.tv" file:
mf &

Essentially, you decide with programs, including a WM, start when
you run X.  When the one running in the foreground exits, the xinit
system kills off everything else.  When I was playing with this last
night, I found this worked equally well with "twm" as the WM, as
blackbox above.  It might be easier for you to find out what WM's
you already have and choose one of those, rather than installing
blackbox or sawfish, or any one of the many other WM's available.

I hope these ideas are helpful to those of you that are annoyed
with focus issues or are trying to get rid of taskbars on their 
TV screens.  :)


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