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Slint kick start

This documents presents the GUI (Graphical Use Interface) of Slint, in other words the graphical elements that allow you to communicate with the system, do that it does what you want it to.

The window managers

Slint includes several window managers and desktops (for sake of simplicity will only write window manager from now on) and you can choose any of them as your graphical environment. Choosing one of them is just a matter of personal preference as all allow to access you documents and applications. By graphical we mean a desk with applications opening in windows and a panel, as in Microsoft Windows or MacOS. You can use instead the console mode (white text on a black screen, no window) if you are accustomed to it.

During installation, you were proposed to start Slint in graphical or console mode. If you are new to Linux, you probably chose to start in graphical mode. Anyway you can toggle between modes running as root the command startupmode in a terminal or from the console. You can also do that from the Slint Control Center. This will display again dialog that you saw during installation.

During installation you were also asked what window manager to set as default: This choice is not definitive either: you can run the command xwmconfig to display again this dialog, for yourself (if you type it as regular user) or as default for all users (if you type it as root).

In Graphical mode you are asked which window manager you want to use now every time you log in. Choose a window manager (here named deskop), type your user name, press [Enter], type your password and press [Enter] again.
The window manager will then appear. Below you see Fluxbox as it appears the first time you start it: We will now present the features of Fluxbox, as configured for Slint. The other “light” windows managers (namely blackbox, fvwm, twm, windowmaker) are very similar, so we will let you discover them.

The panel

On the bottom of the screen the panel gathers components always accessible. Here is an example:

we will now present the items of the panel numbered in this example.

Some items are not included in the panel of twm and fvwm. We will mention which and why when presenting them.

You can customize the panel to your liking: just make a right click on an empty space on it, on the bottom of the screen.

Yo can move some items or plugins across panel by means of middle button drag and drop, i.e. middle-click it then drag, and plugin will follow the mouse until middle button is released.

① The menu of the panel

A left click on the earth displays the menu integrated to the panel


This menu gives access from top to bottom, to applications frequently used, the Slint Control Center, all graphical applications sorted by category, a Run dialog to type a command and a Logout dialog from where you can also shut down, reboot, suspend or hibernate the system as shown below:

② Minimize all windows

This button could be labelled “show desktop”.

A left click on the picture representing two windows minimizes (hide) all opened windows. Another left click restores them in their previous state.
A right click “rolls” the windows, showing only their titles. Another middle click restores them in their previous state.
This button is not included in Twm as this function is ineffective with it.

③ The application launch bar

The application launch bar allows to quickly start frequently used applications with a left click on its launcher (default application in Slint inside parentheses):

  • A virtual terminal (X Term)
  • A file manager (PCMmanFM)
  • A web browser (Mozilla Firefox)
  • A mail client (Mozilla Thubderbird)
  • A text editor (Pluma)

But the text editor, you can change the applications set as default typing in a terminal the command “exo-preferred-applications” (without the quotes) or from the Slint Control Center (see below).

You can change the default text editor and add or remove any launcher to/from the application launch bar from the panel's settings menu:

  • Make a right click on the panel.
  • Click on “Panel Settings” then on the tab “Panel Applets”, then on “Application Launch bar” then on “Preferences”.
  • You can then move the current application launchers up or down (i.e. left or right in the panel) remove or add an application launcher.
  • To add a launcher first select one of the Installed Applications on the right, the click Add.

④ The task bar or window list

The task bar show all opened windows, be they displayed or hidden (minimized).
A left click on the rectangle representing a window alternatively displays it or hide it.
A right click provides other options, as shown below:

The panels of twm and fvwm do not include a task bar in Slint:
  • The windows are listed in the vertical panel of Fvwm that provides additional features.
  • Twm can't handle the clicks on the items of the task bar

All window managers but Twm allow to put a window in a specific workspace or desk, allowing to show a selection of the opened windows at a time.

⑤ The pager

The pager shows a miniature view of the desks representing managed windows by small rectangles and allows to initiate various window manager actions like activation, moving, restacking, iconification, maximization and closing.

In the example above you see the Workspace 2 that hosts the Firefox window, but not the two other opened windows (an Xterm virtual terminal and a PCManFM file manager) because they are in the Workspace 1. You could make them appear several ways:

  • clicking on the small picture that represents it in the task bar
  • clicking on the (now greyed) small rectangle that represents the first workspace in the panel
  • clicking on one of them in the Workspaces menu or the Workspace list in the window manager menu
The windows, represented by smaller rectangles in the workspaces area or pager of the panel, can be moved from one workspace to another one with the mouse by drag and drop.
It is also possible to add and remove workspaces from the workspaces menu or the workspaces sub-menu in the window manager menu.
The panels of twm and fvwm do not include a pager in Slint:
  • Twm can handle only one desk.
  • Fvwm includes a specific pager on top of in its vertical panel that can handle four desks and four pages per desk.

⑥ The plugins area

You see there various plugins that can be added to or removed from the panel from its settings menu, displayed as explained above just before ④.

By default in Slint these plugins are included, from left to right: sound volume control, battery monitor, temperature monitor, keyboard layout handler, keyboard LED, digital clock. Some can be customized with a right click on them on the panel or from the panel settings menu. For instance this allow you to display a LED for the NumLock state in addition to CapsLock, if you have a numeric keypad.

⑦ The notification area

The notification area, also named the tray, gathers icons of applets, that display the status of devices and configure them, notify of events and act accordingly.

In the panel's picture, under ⑦ you see icons of the Blueman applet for managing Bluetooth devices, the NetworkManager applet that allows to manage managing wired and wireless connections and displays their status,and HPLIP status services (for Hewlett Packard printers). You would be notified of an available update of an installed package seeing there the icon of salix-update-notifier: .

Generally you make a left or right click on the icon of an applet to modify the corresponding settings or act following a notification. There is often a setting allowing to hide the icon.

The window managers' menus

Blackbox, Fluxbox, Fvwm, Twm and Windowmaker are configured to include at least two menus, that pop up with a click of the mouse on an empty part of the screen:

  • A main or root menu, displayed with a right click (button 3)
  • A workspace menu, displayed with a middle click (button 2)

Fvwm, Twm and Windowmaker also have a windows menu, displayed with a left click (Button 1)

The next picture shows a virtual terminal and the window manager's menu:

To display the window manager's menu, just make a right mouse click anywhere on an empty part of the screen.
The virtual terminal can be started either from the application menu or with a left click on its picture (third from the left) on the panel.

This window manager's menu's title, here Fluxbox, reminds us which it is. It otherwise presents features similar to those of the panel's menu, without the Logout dialog but with features specific to this window manager. It also presents a windows or workspaces list, This list is also available with a mouse middle-click on an empty part of the screen:

At the bottom of window menu, you also see the “Fluxbox setup” submenu (we will let you explore it) and also the Quit Fluxbox submenu, that allows you to restart Fluxbox, really quit or switch to another window managers among those listed, keeping all windows as the are (keeping the session open, in technical words)

You can discover most of the features of applications and other components of Slint with a right, middle or left click of the mouse, for instance on the panel, on the title bar and the left and right buttons of any window, on an icon in th panel or on an empty space of the screen.

The window managers are configured in Slint to be usable as is. However you can reconfigure them to your liking. The way to do that vary upon the window manager used, see User Settings.

The Slint Control Center

We will end this introduction to Slint's usage presenting the Slint Control Center, that you can display from the menu of the panel or the root menu of the window manager.

The goal of the control panel is to gather applications useful for system administration, documentation and settings in a consistent fashion in all window managers. Clicking on a category on the left displays the corresponding applications on the right. We will present them in a table, and this will also be the occasion to present the administration tools that have a graphical user interface.

Most administrative tools should be used with administrative privileges: whenever needed you will be asked for root's password after having clicked on the tool.

CategoryToolPurpose and comments
ApplicationsDotnewThis tool allows you to manage the new (named hence the name of the tool) vs old configuration files after having upgraded some packages. It's a good habit to run if after an upgrade. It will tell you if there is something to take care of and then present you a choice of actions.
ApplicationsPreferred ApplicationsThis tool allows you to change the default applications used to perform the usual tasks: Web browser, mail reader, file manager, and terminal emulator). In Slint the respective default applications for these tasks are Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, PCManFM and Xterm. If for instance you switch the mail reader from Mozilla Thunderbird to Claws Mail, when you will click on the Mail Reader in the panel or in a menu, Claws Mail will start instead of Mozilla Thunderbird.
ApplicationsGslapt Package ManagerGslapt, graphical front-end to slapt-get, is a handy tool to perform software management in Slint. It allows to search for, install, remove and upgrade software packages, and configure the software packages management.
ApplicationsSourcery SlackBuild ManagerGraphical frontend to slapt-src, it allows you to search for SlackBuids and SLKBUILD scripts, that it can then use to automatize software packages building and installation. It can also remove and reinstall such packages. A word of caution: it is preferable to use pre-made packages as much as possible, using gslapt for instance.
ApplicationsApplication FinderFind and launches applications installed on your system. Its search field comes handy.
HardwarePrinter setupYou can use this this application to set up any connected printer, if the CUPS print server is running (it is running by default in Slint
HardwareCups Print ControlThis application allows yo to manage printers and jobs and setup the CUPS server (which should be running) through a web browser.
HardwareKeyboardThis tools allows yu to set the keybard tupe and map, and also to enable the SCIM service, that helps typing characters for which there is no key on the keyboard, like in many Asian languages.
InformationSlackDocs WebsiteThe documents in this wiki are primarily intended for Slackware user, but many of them are useful for Slint user. Exercise caution though as some of the listed tools, like e.g. slackpkg or sbopkg should not be used in Slint.
InformationSlackware DocumentationThis documentation, coming from Slackware, can be useful also for Slint users.
InformationSlint DocumentationThis gives a local access to documents also available on Slint's website
InformationSlint ForumPeople whose native language is not English may alos post in the localized Salix forums.
InformationSlint websiteThe Slint website provides documentation and links, for instance where to find the ISOs and packages.
InformationSystem InformationThis tools tells you all you want to known on your computer, its devices, the network, and also does benchmarking.
SettingsSystem languageThis tools allows you to set the system locale (language and geographic peculiarities) so that the applications you use will display information in this locale, if available.
SettingsstartupmodeThis tool allows you to choose whether the computer should start in Console or Graphical mode.
SettingsPulse Audio Volume ControlThis is the main sound mixer for Slint. You can also access it with the command pavucontrol
SettingsMIME type editorThis tool allows you to set your preferred application to open some types of files. This is for instance the one that will be started when double-clicking on a file in a file manager. Cf. this specification
You can also make this setting in the file manager PCManFM: do a right click on a file of a given type, click on Properties then in the General Tab click on the drop down application list on the right of “Open with” and select one among those proposed.
SettingsxwmconfigThis tool allows to choose which window manager or desktop will start by default. In Slint, if xwmconfig is run as root the default setting will also apply in Graphical mode. Else the system default is fluxbox.
SystemeliloconfigThis tool allows to set up the boot loader to start Slint in EFI mode. In case of an EFI firmware it should be run after every kernel update, else booting will fail.
SystemSystem clockThis tools allows to set the time zone, choose if the clock should be synchronized with Internet servers (this is recommended but of course needs an Internet connection), if not set the date and time.
SystemHostnamesThis tool allows to configure the system hostnames. It is only useful if you use your as a server, on a local network or on Internet, or is included in a local network
SystemRebuild Icon CacheThis utility rebuilds the icon cache, which is a file registering all icons in the system, to access them faster. Run it if/when you add icons to your system.
SystemSystem servicesThis tools allows to choose which services will be enables at startup, like for instance bluetooth, the CUPS print, a web server. Only use change the defaults settings if you know what you are doing
SystemUsers and groupsThis tool allows to add, remove and set up user accounts and groups. It is most used on multi-user systems
SystemGUEFI Boot managerThis tool is a graphical front end to the efibootmanager command, allows to edit the EFI firmware's boot menu, adding or removing menu entries or changing their order.
SystemliloconfigThis tool allows to set up the boot loader to start Slint in BIOS or Legacy mode. If the firmware is only BIOS able or set up to use the Legacy mode it should be run after every kernel update, else booting will fail.
SystemNetwork configurationThis tools allows you to configure your network.
SystemTask ManagerThis tools allows to manage the running tasks, or processes. You will typically launch it to understand why your system becomes less responsive or in case over overheating to know which task is causing the issue (generally consuming to much resources) and possibly terminate or kill it.
en/getting_started.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/23 10:50 by didier