My first steps in linux where on a ubuntu distribution, when you could order the ISO images on a cd-rom delivered by the post.

I liked it a lot and ever since I only used linux on my home based devices. Following the releases of Ubuntu. Starting at inuits I tried something else and installed CentOS desktop on my laptop. The idea behind this was to gain experience on the CentOS distributions.

Once I figured out that it didn't made sense since a laptop has other purposes then a server. By the time we got new machines I decided to install fedora on it. Nevertheless I don't like the gnome 3 unity layer. It's not that it's bad, But I just don't like it. So I started by installing mate-desktop.

By playing around and looking how other people are configuring and using their local machines a colleague pointed me to ratpoison. Because I could install this window manager nicely next to the existing mate-desktop I gave it a try. Shameful I have to admit that when I first gave it a try I thought I did something wrong on the installation. That installation is not that hard on fedora, since they packaged it in their own repository:

$ sudo yum install ratpoison

Once installed you can logout and try to log in after changed your window manager. For me that first introduction was like I already mentioned a bit shameful. Nothing happened, I only saw a black background and couldn't do anything. It took me some time to figuring out that you had to use a keyboard pre configured strike to get started using the ratpoison functionality. And by default that is CTRL-T.

So if you for example tap in CTRL-T and then SHIFT-V you should see the ratpoison version disclaimer.

Once I figured that out I started to configure the whole environment for my needs. After some try and error I finally became in love with it. My screen movements are a lot faster by moving around screens, windows and applications trough my keyboard without physical moving my hands!

The configuration is done in the ~/.ratpoisonrc file:

# Ratpoison configuration
startup_message off
set winname class

# Desktop
set padding 0 0 0 93
exec conky -c ~/.conky/conkyrc
feh --bg-scale ~/path/to/background/picture.png
exec xscreensaver -nosplash

To begin I disable the startup message which only says what your keystroke is. Then I configure my desktop, setting a padding at the bottom of my screen so my conky setup is displayed smoothly on my screen. Starting the conky daemon, setting a background picture and starting the xscreensaver daemon.

 # Startup programs
exec dropbox start
exec dropbox2

exec /home/Jan/.scripts/fnotify -s
exec /home/Jan/.scripts/ratcpi
exec /home/Jan/.scripts/detectPhone

The second part of my .ratpoisonrc file is the file with my startup scripts. To start my dropbox scripts as explained on a previous post, the fnotify script to display irssi notifications, ratcpi for displaying battery notifications and detectPhone which looks for my phone by bluetooth to decide to lock my laptop yes or no.

# Aliasses
alias showroot exec ratpoison -c $HOME/.rpfdump; ratpoison -c 'select -' -c only
alias unshowroot exec ratpoison -c "frestore at $HOME/.rpfdump"
alias showpadding set padding 0 0 0 93
alias showfullscreen set padding 0 0 0 0
alias term exec terminator

# Bindings
unbind n
unbind c
unbind s
unbind Q

## Software bindings
bind d exec chromium-browser
bind c exec terminator
bind C-c exec terminator
bind l exec xscreensaver-command -lock
bind C-s exec spotify
bind s exec synapse

## Move bindings
bind C-k delete
bind r restart
bind n nextscreen
bind C-n nextscreen
bind b showroot
bind B unshowroot
bind p showpadding
bind f showfullscreen

bind v hsplit
bind h vsplit
bind q only

This last part is about setting my key stroke bindings. Most of them are self explaining, all those keys need a pre hit of CTRL-T before called.