Programming by Robert Massaioli

Learning through Programming Adventures

Extending xMonad for Dvorak

You may or may not know about xMonad but if you are a Linux user then I really reccomend looking into it: xMonad is a ‘Tiling Window Manager‘. When you use Gnome the default window manager is Metacity; Metacity is nice for those new users to Linux because it is similar to what they are used to; because they probably came from Windows. However, on linux you do not have to stick with crappy technology and ways of doing things, you can instead change your setup to be more friendly to you. I like xMonad because it allows me to be that little more efficient and use all of the screen space at my disposal.

I also like using Dvorak and Thomas ten Cate has already gone to the effort of making a really nice xmonad.hs config file for everyone to use. I really liked it but over time I found various features that I did not like about it, or thought were missing, and therefore I edited it with the following changes:

  • You can now move a window and switch to the screen that you moved it to at the same time with Win+Alt+FXX.
  • Instead of Alt+Shift+Tab to reverse tile navigation, it is now Alt+Shift+CapsLock. (Warning: I have swapped my Backspace and CapsLock keys around so if you have not too then you will want to edit mine after the patch to use CapsLock instead. I’ll explain more later.)
  • Win+PrintScreen will now take screen shots of the desktop. And you can add a shift to that command if you only want a portion of the screen.
  • The Win+Shift+Q still quits but in what I think is a nicer way. And the Win+Shift+W command now lets you log out or switch user.
  • Win+Shift+I brings up google-chrome browser, but you can change it to the browser of your choice.

All in all I think that these changes are for the better and I would really recommend that you try them out. If you want to get what I have done then just follow the following instructions, assuming that you have already installed, and are using, xmonad then you can get the project from github. Open up a terminal and type:

git clone git@github.com:robertmassaioli/robertmassaioli_xmonad.git
cd robertmassaioli_xmonad
bash install.bash

And then you need to restart xmonad, usually by pressing Mod1+Q and then you will see the new config and all of the instructions. I hope that you enjoy the changes and let me know what you think.

Remember, if you have not mapped the BackSpace and CapsLock keys like I have then you will need to run the following:

cd ~/.xmonad
cat xmonad.hs | sed 's/BackSpace/Caps_Lock/' > temp.hs
mv temp.hs xmonad.hs

And you will need to restart xmonad again with Mod1+Q. That should be everything that there is to it; I will be happy to help solve any problems in the comments.

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2 responses to “Extending xMonad for Dvorak

  1. Thomas 2010/04/15 at 11:12 pm

    This is great, thanks! Some of those things you did were actually on my wish list too, especially Win+Alt+F[n]. Maybe you could put your full config on the Haskell wiki too? http://haskell.org/haskellwiki/Xmonad/Config_archive

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