FVWM-Crystal 3.0.4 review

by rbytes.net on

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 3505K
Developer: Maciej Delmanowski
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FVWM-Crystal aims to create an easy to use, eye-candy but also powerful desktop environment for Linux or other Unix-like operating systems.

FVWM-Crystal uses following programs: FVWM as a window manager and "main core", ROX-Filer as file manager (manages icons on the desktop), xterm, aterm, mrxvt or urxvt as terminal emulators, MPD or XMMS as music players (there's built-in support for controlling these programs), and several other tools for different functions, like setting a wallpaper or making screen shots.

Here are some key features of "FVWM Crystal":
transparent elements of the interface: panels, menus, dialogs (pseudo-transparency, doesn't show windows underneath)
window decorations, panel/menu colorsets and desktop wallpaper changeable from the main menu; choice saved for next X sessions
flexible window decorations: can have different titlebar buttons layout, pixmaps, button functions
different "desktop layouts" (panel placement and functions, desktop functions, window icons/thumbnails), changeable from the menu
advanced keyboard support: keybindings for controlling the desktop switching, window management (moving, resizing, focusing, basic operations like minimalization or closing) - nearly 90 different keybindings
support for controlling music players, using the keyboard or panel buttons and menus; currently MPD and XMMS are supported
advanced support of the terminal windows: special "QuakeConsole" terminal accessible by an Alt+` (grave) keystroke similar to the console found in FPP games; terminals can be opened using RMB on the desktop; terminal windows don't release focus for newly opened windows (by default)
a Python script for generating different panels and menus with installed applications - automatically finds programs in $PATH and creates specified menus and panels
support for nearly 250 different applications - icons, menu/panel database entries, window styles
different language support using gettext

Features for advanced users

all FVWM configuration divided into small files in a simple directory structure
special functions for loading configuration files - allows FVWM configuration files placed in different directories (for example system-wide and user-wide); user files are searched before system-wide files (directory structure must be preserved), first found file is loaded
simple and easy to use system of "user preferences", adds to the configuration files ability to remember different user choices and recall them at any moment, usually at the startup of X session
support for system-wide configuration in /etc/X11/fvwm/fvwm-crystal directory as well as user configuration in ~/.fvwm directory - changes in configuration files can be preserved between package updates
special files called "recipes" - similar to "standard" FVWM configuration model (one configuration - one file), allows for different configurations in the same package (for example different music players changeable during runtime)
support for different icon themes and sizes (similar to /usr/share/icons directory), included many icons in 22x22, 32x32 and 48x48 sizes

FVWM - version 2.5.13 or higher
Python - for some scripts
ImageMagick - import and convert are used
ROX-Filer - for icons on the desktop (additional wallpaper program not needed)
XScreenSaver - a screen saver
trayer - a systray (notification area)
configured sudo - for reboot/shutdown computer options in the menu
terminal emulator - xterm, aterm, Eterm, mrxvt or urxvt
program for setting a wallpaper - Esetroot, hsetroot or habak
music player - Music Player Daemon (+ mpc), X MultiMedia System (+ xmms-shell and XMMSFind), Quod Libet or cdcd

What's New in This Release:
A new package was added, which has a stripped down version of FVWM-Crystal that is suitable for live CD distributions.
There are also new recipes, new clock scripts, and some other enhancements.

FVWM-Crystal 3.0.4 keywords