Emacs is probably my favourite “text editor” to use on Linux, as it is so extensible. However, the one thing that puts many people off using it (ignoring its complexity), is the fact that it is only single threaded, and can at times feel a little sluggish when compared to other editors like Vim. With Emacs 28.1, along with the libgccjit (Just-In-Time Compilation with GCC) library, we now have the ability to translate Emacs Lisp into machine code on demand - which will speed things up.
Adding a Compositor Those of you interested in ricing your window manager will no doubt have seen all the fancy looking desktop on r/unixporn which have a transparent/blurring effect behind app windows. This can really add a modern look to your desktop. This can be achieved by using a compositing manager. The Awesome window manager doesn’t have one built-in, so you’ll have to add one if you want window effects, like shadows, transparency and blurring.
Wallpapers When customising your desktop, the thing that stands out the most is your wallpaper. It takes up the most pixels on your screen after all, and when it comes to setting a wallpaper on Linux on a normal desktop environment, you have more than a few options. When using a window manager, however, I find these methods easier. Nitrogen If you wish to set a specific wallpaper image for each screen you have, you can use a program called “Nitrogen”.
In part three of the “Awesome Window Manager Guide”, we covered, how to add a “run launcher” for searching and loading apps, adding a “hotkey daemon” for launching your favourite apps and taking screenshots, how to create an “autostart script” which automatically launches apps when Awesome starts up. In part four, we’ll look at setting a screen resolution using xrandr Display Settings The way in which you manage your screen resolutions when using a window manager differs slightly from what you’re used to when using Xfce.
Where Have I Been? This past year and a half has been tough for everyone. The global pandemic has hit us all, both financially and emotionally, and this year has been a challenging one for me too. With summer just around the corner and the lockdown restriction easing — I wanted to make this quick post to answer a couple questions I’ve had from those of you who follow me.
kitty Terminal Emulator One of my favourite terminal emulators on Linux has always been “Alacritty”. It’s lightweight and fast. Recently however, I’ve found myself using the “kitty” terminal a lot more. Here is a run-down of some features that I like about it. GPU Rendering kitty feels just as fast as “Alacritty” as it uses GPU offloading for rendering its windows. This means that any graphically intensive output in the terminal or actions like scrolling through terminal history will feel really smooth.
In part two of the “Awesome Window Manager Guide”, we looked at: Editing the default Awesome configuration file, setting the default terminal emulator and text editor, installing a third-party theme named awesome-copycats/powerarrow-dark performing tweaks to the theme code. Continuing in part three, we’ll look at adding a “run launcher” called “Rofi” and “hotkey daemon” called “sxhkd”. We’ll also create an “AutoStart” script, which will allow us to launch applications, scripts and systray applets when Awesome starts up.
On of many things I love about Linux, is that fact that you can change almost everything about the OS. Unlike Mac or Windows where you’re forced to use the graphical user interface which comes with the OS - Linux allows unparalleled flexibility and freedom when it comes to customization. Installing and learning how to configure a window manager is just one of the ways to experience this first hand.
Like most “Linux tinkerers” who like to customize their OS, I’ve spent a bunch of time over the last few weeks looking on in awe at all the highly customized, yet minimal “Tiling window manager” environments submitted over at r/unixporn. I wanted to get in on the action. So, after some deliberation and a bit of reading up on what a window manager would offer me, I decided to take the plunge and give one a try.
Screen Tearing on NVIDIA One of the most annoying things that has bugged me for years while using an NVIDIA graphics card with Linux is the screen tearing which happens while gaming or watching videos. You can see if your current setup suffers from this by viewing the example video below in full screen. If you see breaks in the black lines while they are scrolling, then you have screen tearing too.