- Anatomy of the Default Config
- Making Changes to the Default Config
Starting with FVWM 2.6.7 a default configuration file was introduced. When FVWM starts it loads some internal defaults, then looks for a Configuration file (see the INITIALIZATION section of the manual page for details). If it is unable to find any configuration file it loads the default configuration.
The default configuration file is a fully commented configuration file that both gives users new to FVWM a default set of options to start with and a commented configuration file, which describes the config options used that they can edit to start creating their own config.
Anatomy of the Default Config
Most aspects of FVWM are configurable, as such the default configuration file is quite long. It configures everything from key bindings, window decoration, what buttons do, how windows behave, and even additional modules. For new users the default configuration can be confusion, so here is a brief overview of the defaults.
All key bindings and mouse bindings (what happens when you click on a button, window, etc) are configurable. The default config file sets up the following bindings.
- Alt-F1 or Menu Key: Open the root menu.
- Alt-Tab: Opens a menu to cycle through the current windows. Holding Alt down and hitting tab will cycle through the windows. Releasing Alt will select that window and take you to it (Focus it).
- Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, Ctrl-3, Ctrl-4: Takes you to the Virtual Dekstops 1-4.
- Super_R (the right windows key): Opens a terminal (xterm by default).
New in fvwm3
- Alt-Space: Opens a dynamic menu (if
dmenu_runis installed) that is used to run commands.
- Ctrl-Alt-ArrowKey: Moves the current window in the selected direction until it hits another window or screen boundary.
- Ctrl-Alt-Shift-ArrowKey: Grows the current window in the selected direction until it hits another window. Hitting the maximize button returns the window to its original size.
The mouse buttons are Mouse 1 = left button, Mouse 2 = middle button, Mouse 3 = right button, Mouse 4 = scroll wheel up, Mouse 4 = scroll wheel down.
- Mouse 1 on root window (desktop): Opens the root menu.
- Mouse 2 on root window (desktop): Opens a menu that lists all windows.
- Mouse 3 on root window (desktop): Opens the full window operations menu.
- Mouse 1 on any window: Raises the window.
- Mouse 1 hold and drag title bar: Move the window.
- Mouse 1 hold and drag window border: Resize the window.
- Mouse 1 double click title bar: Maximize/Unmaximize the window.
- Mouse 3 on the title bar: Opens the short window operations menu.
- Mouse 4 (scroll up) on the title bar: Shades the window.
- Mouse 5 (scroll down) on the title bar: Unshades the window.
All Menus are fully configurable. You can create as many menus as you want, configure how to open them, and even what they look like. The default config includes the following menus:
- FvwmRoot Menu: This menu is includes the Programs Menu, XDG Menu, Background Menu, FvwmManPage Menu, and access to a terminal, FvwmConsole, and to Restart or Quit FVWM.
- Programs Menu: A collection of commonly used programs (if they are installed).
- XDG Menu: This menu is generated using the XDG deskop menu specs.
If you have
python-xdginstalled along with a desktop menu from LXDE, Gnome, etc, it will use that to generate a desktop menu.
- Background Menu: A collection of some tileable wallpapers.
- FvwmManPage Menu: Access to the FVWM manual pages.
- WindowOps Menu: A collection of actions you can preform on windows (such as iconify, maximize, resize, etc). There is both a short and long version. This can be access by right clicking the desktop or a window’s title bar.
FVWM does virtual desktops differently, it virtualises desktops using both Desks and Pages. First it has the standard virtual desktop support found in other window managers (called Desks), where you can have collection of windows visible on independent desks that you can switch between.
Second, FVWM divides each desktop into a grid Pages. You can think of Pages
as an extension of the current desktop, where each page is the size of
your current viewport. You can then move left/right/up/down through these
pages. You can access other pages by dragging your mouse to the edge
of your screen, then
EdgeScroll will scroll you to the next page. You
can move windows between pages by dragging them over the edge of your screen
moving them to the next page (note there is a delay, before the page switch
to avoid accidentally switching pages).
The default configuration configures 4 Desks and each of the Desktops are divided in to a 2x2 grid of 4 Pages.
Window Styles are a versatile set of options for how windows look, behave, and much more. FVWM has hundreds of styles that can be applied to all windows, or a group of windows, or specific windows. These styles can configure most aspects of windows. Some of the styles used in the default config are:
- SloppyFocus: Windows are focused when the mouse pointer enters the window, so whatever window the mouse is in has focus.
- !Icons: When a window is Iconfied (minimized) it does not (due to the
!) create an Icon on the desktop. Note the reason FVWM calls minimizing a window Iconify is because in traditional window managers (before task bars) the minimized window would turn into an Icon on the desktop. The default config doesn’t use this feature, but you can turn it back on with
Style * Icon.
- ResizeOpaque: When a window is resized you see the window contents. The other option is to only see a resize grid. The resize grid is a nice retro look and is useful on very old hardware.
- SnapAttraction: When moving a window around, if you get within 15 pixels of another window or screen edge, it will snap to it. This helps to move windows to screen boundaries or next to other windows.
FVWM uses Colorsets to configure the colors of window decors, menus, and modules. The default config defines the first fifteen colorsets (0-14) for use:
The colors used by the default config are based off the colors used on the fvwm.org website years ago (2000ish).
FVWM provides the ability to write custom Functions which can be used to link various FVWM configuration tools together to provide even more control over how to interact with windows using FVWM. The default config uses Functions to help assist in many of its aspects.
No need to go into detail about the functions here, just pointing out how extensive the FVWM config file is and all of the options that can be used to configure (program) your own setup.
FVWM also includes a collection of Modules which can add to FVWM. These modules include tools that can extend the features of FVWM and even make it more desktop like. Some modules the default config uses are:
FvwmPager: A module that provides a miniature view of the virtual desktop (Desks and Pages). This module can be used to see your current virtual layout, move between desks and pages, and even move windows around. The default config Swallows the pager in the RightPanel.
FvwmIconMan: A module that functions as a task bar of sorts. It lists running windows, and allows you to access them. The default config Swallows FvwmIconMan in the RightPanel which can be used to switch to the selected window (left click) or open up the window ops menu (right click) to act on the selected window.
FvwmIdent: This simple module gives you information about a window. This can be useful to identify a windows name/class/resource if writing a Style for it. The default config includes this module in the window ops menu under ‘identify’.
FvwmEvent: This powerful module allows you to run custom functions when certain events trigger (focus changes, page/desk changes, when windows are iconified, maximized, and so on). This module can be used to automate certain actions (like auto hide a panel). The default config uses FvwmEvent to change the active desktop in the RightPanel whenever a desk change event happens.
Making Changes to the Default Config
Most likely you want (and should) make changes to the default config, as the power of FVWM is to configure it to do what you want, and no default config file can ever satisfy everyone.
The default config is meant to be a starting point and something usable
for new users. To edit the default config you need to first copy it to
$HOME/.fvwm/config by default), then edit
your copy. You can use the
Copy Config option in the FvwmRoot Menu
to do this for you.
Use the comments in the configuration file, the Fvwm Wiki, and the manual pages to look up options and to customize until you make FVWM your window manager.
Local Configuration File
Starting in Fvwm3 1.0.4, there is now a local configuration file that
(if it exists) is read after the default config file. If you don’t
want to have a copy of the fully default config, you can create the
$HOME/.fvwm/local.config by default).
Any commands you enter into that file are read after the default config
and can be used to change, override, or add to the default configuration.