installing much desktops

Joel Roth joelz at
Mon May 2 19:06:19 UTC 2016

Tim Chase wrote:
> On May  2, 2016, Kristoffer Gustafsson wrote:
> > can I install many desktops at the same time?
> My first interpretation was that you had a lab full of machines and
> you wanted to bulk-install across them.  In which case, yes, Debian
> can be automated to do that.
> However, reading further, I understood that you want multiple desktop
> environments (DE) and/or window-managers (WM).  You can certainly
> install as many as you want, though can usually only run one at a
> time.  It helps if your login manager is DE/WM aware.  I believe the
> stock "xdm" is pretty dumb about it, needing an add-on tool that lets
> you pick your DE/WM as it starts up.  There are others such as "gdm"
> or "slim" that let you choose your DE/WM at startup.

gdm, xdm etc. don't actually offer much. I just get rid of
them and use 'startx' after login to start my default WM
or 'startx /usr/bin/somewm' for alternates.

I prefer to remap some keys, so that goes into ~/.xinitrc
(see below). To be able get correct mapping when I plug
in an external keyboard, I also put the remapping stuff in
a script'. The arguments to setxkbmap can be
found by 'man xkeyboard-config'. 

cat .xinitrc

# start a term, with gnu screen
urxvt -fn xft:inconsolata:pixelsize=28 -e screen -R -d &

# Use CapsLock as Ctrl, allow Ctrl-Alt-BackSpace to kill X server
setxkbmap -option ctrl:nocaps,terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp

# Don't beep
xset b off

# Disable PrintScreen (by mapping it to BackSpace)
xmodmap -e 'keysym Print = BackSpace'

# Start tiling window manager
exec /usr/bin/i3


Joel Roth

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