Yet another blogging experiment…

Installing Xmonad on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

After seeing with my own eyes how rapidly the very minimal the xmonad windowing manager starts up after logging in, I decided to upgrade an old Linux box I have at the office that is running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusy Tahr).

David Brewer’s Easy Installation

David Brewer’s xmonad-ubuntu-conf is really well-documented and it is what my buddy at work based his setup on. I started by forking David’s repository so that I could maintain serveral branches online (one for each Linux box I install xmonad on).

After that, you just clone the repository out to $HOME/.xmonad and run this command:


Keyboard Tweaks

I’m using a really nice and solid IBM Model M Keyboard for my Linux box. It has no Super key and you really need one with xmonad.

I wanted to remap my Alt key on the right-hand side of the spacebar as the Super key. I found instructions here:

Basically just edit $HOME/.Xmodmap (you may not already have this file) and add the following:

! Free up Right-Alt for remapping
remove mod1 = Alt_R

! Remap Right-Alt to Super
clear mod4
keycode 108 = Super_R
add mod4 = Super_R

Then just log out and back in again.

Desktop Backgrounds

This involves two steps. The first it to select and save them, the second is restore when you log in. The nitrogen command is used to do both.

Selecting and Saving

Start nitrogen as follows:

nitrogen --save <path-to-pictures-directory>

Select the picture or pictures (if you have multiple desktops) that you want. Then exit the program.

Restoring Desktop when you Log in

Edit the file $HOME/.xinitrc (it may not already exist).

Add the following:

nitrogen --restore &

Fixing the stalonetray with Dual Monitors

The stalonetray goes in the upper-right corner of the window. On my machine, with dual monitors, all my menu-bar stuff except for that was on the left monitor. The stalonetray was at the upper-right corner of the right monitor and there was a little gray box in the upper-right corner if the left monitor where it should have been.

Fixing this is easy. First, determine the number of x-pixels in your monitors. I found this out by running the Displays app. My monitors are 1680x1050.

Now edit the file $HOME/.xmonad/start-xmonad. Search for “stalonetray”. Edit the --geometry setting.

Mine --geometry setting had this value originally:

--geometry 5x1-0+0

I changed it to ths:

--geometry 5x1-1680+0

Restart xmonad and you are good to go.

xmonad default bindings

Print out this PNG file.