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The Traveler
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:48 pm

Another minimal desktop install: bullseye lite - xorg - jwm

Thu Apr 21, 2022 5:58 pm

For those who enjoy minimalist installs and hacking away at stuff, here's a rather minimalist desktop I've been using lately on an RPi 3B+. I use this install on a RPi 3B+ with a desktop monitor/mouse/keyboard and an RPi 3B+ with a 7" touchscreen, no keyboard or mouse. It works the same on both configurations.

Disclaimer: I know there are ways of automating the install and deleting unwanted applications via scripts, etc. Well and good. This is just a simple install and can be modded in any number of ways. If you develop a script to automate the install, please don't hesitate to share it with others in this thread.

1. Install bullseye lite to the SD card.
2. Install xorg.
3. Install jwm.
4. Install usbmount (needed to automount usb sticks)
5. Type: "sudo systemctl edit systemd-udevd"
5a. Add the line: "[Service]" then right below it add the next line ...
5b. Add the line: "PrivateMounts=no"
6. Type: "cp /etc/jwm/system.jwmrc ~/.jwmrc"
7. Reboot
8. Type startx or use any other form you wish to start the desktop.

At this point you have a fully functioning desktop GUI. You can delete any unwanted Xwindow apps and xwindows drivers you don't want or need if you want to slim it down even further. Edit the .jwmrc file you copied to your HOME directory in Step 7 to customize the desktop to your liking. All jwm configuration is done in this single file which keeps things simple and the website for jwm has very good documentation: You can do a surprising amount of customization to jwm including setting background images, custom launching programs, adding sub-menus, etc. You can make the "look n feel" of the desktop what you want it to be to suit you.

In my case, I'm an "old skool" C and shell programmer who uses a lot of console text-based tools. However, I needed a desktop GUI for yad scripting development. (yad is like zenity for displaying shell scripts graphically on the desktop). I didn't need, or want, any other graphical applications installed (no bloat). I added a rxvt-unicode terminal to launch Midnight Commander for file management and to launch nano for simple file editing. I added xfonts-terminus as a font that is very easy on the eyes when programming for hours on end. So, I write my shell scripts in an rxvt terminal using nano and execute them. The yad dialogs show up in the GUI. A quick and efficient setup to suit the way I like to code.

If you do this install and have questions, go ahead an post them here. I'll try to answer them in as timely a fashion as I can.

RPi interests: Coding an Infinite Improbability Drive. In C.
Old Assembler programmers don't die. They just disassemble.

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