Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

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gapan
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Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by gapan »

I bet nobody was expecting this, but here is the first beta of another Salix edition, this time using Ratpoison as the default graphical environment. This is probably the first ever linux distribution release featuring Ratpoison. The aim of the Ratpoison edition is to create a system that is fully usable with the keyboard only, no mouse required! For everyone that is not familiar with Ratpoison, Ratpoison is a window manager for X "with no fat library dependencies, no fancy graphics, no window decorations, and no rodent dependence". Ratpoison uses a workflow that is similar to that of GNU screen, which is very popular in the terminal world. All interaction with the window manager is done through keystrokes.

The application selection for the Ratpoison edition is rather special. The main reasoning behind selecting any of the default applications included in this release is their ability to be used completely with the keyboard, not requiring any mouse interaction. To that effect, a lot of the included applications are actually terminal applications. The default web browser is Vimprobable2, a lightweight webkit-based browser that uses vim-style keybindings. The default mail client is Mutt, the powerful terminal based client with vim-like keybindings. Gnome Commander is the default file manager, while Midnight Commander is also present. You can play music with Music On Console and videos can be played with the Whaaw Media Player, which is not specifically targetted at keyboard users, but can be used only with a keyboard anyway. Gvim is included as text/code editor and Zathura can be used to view pdf files. There is no graphical package manager and Sourcery is absent from this release. Package management is done only using slapt-get from the console and slapt-src can be used to install software from SlackBuilds. There is no office suite included.

Other alternatives are available in the repository. Firefox can be installed and used along with the vimperator or pentadactyl addons so you don't have to use the mouse at all. XXXTerm and Jumanji are more webkit based browser alternatives. Thunderbird can also be used with the Muttator addon and also Claws-mail can be used mostly with the keyboard alone. For writers, PyRoom is available for full-screen, distraction free writing. Cmus is another great terminal based audio player.

A word of warning: this is not your average newbie-friendly distribution. There is no graphical login screen, when you login, you enter the linux terminal. You are expected to run "startx" to start ratpoison itself. Even then, it is not much more newbie-friendly than the linux terminal. You'll have to use keyboard combinations to do anything. Some hints:
* the "Ctrl-t ?" keyboard combination will show a screen with all available keyboard combinations. They all start with "Ctrl-t" and then another key/keyboard combination.
* you can get the ratmenu by hitting "Ctrl-t r". This menu is keyboard driven only as well.
* the Vimprobable2 browser is started with "Ctrl-t v"
* use "f" to follow links in Vimprobable2. Make sure you read the manpage too.
* the terminal is started with "Ctrl-t c"
* all ratpoison configuration is done in your ~/.ratpoisonrc
* the menus themselves are scripts in the ~/.ratmenu directory.
* run "man ratpoison"to get more information on setting up ratpoison. It can really be scripted to do just about anything with keystrokes.

After using ratpoison almost exclusively for the last months, I have to say that not needing to use a mouse does wonders for preventing RSI and it has been a great relief. I don't expect this to become popular at all by the way.

So, here is the first beta iso for the Ratpoison edition. Only 32-bit for now, it will probably stay that way due to low demand (I guess).

Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1 (md5:15b8aa87849a3737fd7bad3f27933d2b size: 448MB)
http://downloads.sourceforge.net/salix/ ... 7beta1.iso

Have fun!
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Duncan_Idaho
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by Duncan_Idaho »

WOW!! :o
that was as unexpected as the spanish inquisition :lol: :lol:
joking aside, the idea looks great, I might take it for a spin in a virtual machine one of these days :P
gesh
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by gesh »

That sounds great!

It's sometimes hard to choose tiling WM beacuse of frightening configuring process, i think.
For exapmle, I don't have enough time to catch up with Haskell for using Xmonad and to set it up myself.

Could you say, why did you choose ratpoison among all tiling WMs? :)
ricotero
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by ricotero »

Ok guys, I officialy love you all!! My main partition had Salix (lxde) already, and I had a second install in my laptop with arch full text console, just for fun (and nostalgy about old times when working Xf86 drivers were a luxury....)
Now i tried ratpoison once but i just cant kill my roedor, is so cute :P ... I use awesome from now to then.
Now i must try this! Downloading...!

Thx!!!
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franzy
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by franzy »

Grrreat Gapan!!.. nice dog we love you! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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mimosa
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by mimosa »

I very much look forward to trying this! Even if I stick with xmonad, I'm sure there's lots to learn from the way you've set this up and the choice of apps.

I can guess the answer, but can't help asking - any chance of an xmonad version?

Regarding the popularity of tiling WMs, I can only say more people should try something like this. The learning curve is steep at first, but benefits are immediate even at the beginning of it. It's not just the question of RSI - and why people should only begin worrying about this after the first symptoms have appeared defies logic - the interface is quicker, easier, and apart from the need to learn which key does what, I think it is more intuitive.

EDIT Is there a torrent of this?
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mimosa
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by mimosa »

Everything works beautifully so far. I had trouble getting Jumanji going at first, but it was because the configuration file I'd copied from 13.37xfce was set up for Privoxy which I hadn't installed yet - as I may have said last time round, I had to install from source because I couldn't get the slackbuild to work.

Having said that, Vimprobable seems pretty good, and maybe a bit faster.

(Al)pine obviously works just fine, for anyone who prefers it to mutt.

It may be worth saying for the benefit of wireless users that wicd-curses may be found under Network, for initial setup. Obvious really I suppose. For some reason I had trouble with the menu at first; the arrow keys do everything, including selecting apps. I think. It feels a bit like selecting an application in kde, and that still makes me feel slightly dizzy.

Thank you very much Gapan for making this available.

lmello has just posted links to new packages of several nice-looking console apps that I imagine would fit in well with this WM, by the way.

EDIT

And finally, this seems a good way in to the ratpoison documentation:

http://www.nongnu.org/ratpoison/doc/
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Duncan_Idaho
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by Duncan_Idaho »

gapan, could you post a screenshot please?
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gapan
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by gapan »

gesh wrote:Could you say, why did you choose ratpoison among all tiling WMs? :)
Because ratpoison is not really a tiling WM. It can do tiling, but only manually, it doesn't automatically tile new windows, I hate that. Having it work in a very similar manner to GNU screen is a great plus too. I tried several other WMs, but I eventually stayed with ratpoison. So, I guess it's also personal preference.
mimosa wrote:Is there a torrent of this?
No, there will be one for the final release.
Duncan_Idaho wrote:gapan, could you post a screenshot please?
That really doesn't make much sense with ratpoison. :D
There is nothing to take a screenshot of. The default desktop is just the default 13.37 wallpaper. No panels, no buttons, no icons, no tray, no desktop widgets, nothing at all. So, if you look at the default wallpaper with an image viewer, you're already looking at the default ratpoison desktop. If you launch an app, it fills the entire screen, no titlebar, no widgets, nothing, again.
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Duncan_Idaho
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Re: Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1

Post by Duncan_Idaho »

@gapan
ok I thought that ratpoison had a status bar or something :lol:
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