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Slint Kick Start

This documents presents the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of Slint. The GUI allows you to communicate with the system so that you can carry out various tasks and accomplish your computing goals.

The Graphical Environments

Slint includes several window managers and desktops, namely: BlackBox, Fluxbox, Fvwm (shipped as the window manager of LXDE), KDE, LXDE and MATE from version 14.2.1, TWM, XDM and WindowMaker.

Strictly speaking KDE, LXDE and MATE are desktops, that themselves ship include a window manager among other main components. However in Slint the “standalone” window managers themseleves include a panel with an application menu and a notification area which makes of them light desktops.

Slint allows you to choose any of these graphical environment. It is a matter of preference which one you choose. All of the choices will allow you to access your documents and applications. Your desktop contains applications that open in windows. It also includes the panel at the bottom, which contains a menu, and application launchers. This graphical environment is very similar to the desktop provided in Microsoft Windows or MacOS. However, you can use console or text mode (white text on a black screen and no desktop) if you are accustomed to it.

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

Beginning with version 14.2.1, Slint includes the gdm2 and lightdm graphical login manager. Both that can speak, thus are accessible to visually impaired users.

You can decide anytime to change the login manager, as illustrated below:

During installation you were also asked what window manager to set as default: This choice is not definitive. To change the system-wide window manager, as root you can run the command xwmconfig to display the above dialog. If you want to change the window manager just for your account, be sure you are logged in as your user, and run xwmconfig.

In Graphical mode you are asked which window manager you want to use every time you log in. Choose a window manager from the Desktop drop down menu, then type your user name, press [Enter], then 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 on your own.

The Panel

The panel at the bottom of the screen makes various components more accessible. Here is an example:

Each numbered section of the panel will now be presented. Some items are not included in the panel of the twm and fvwm window managers. It will be noted when an item is missing and why it was excluded when it is presented.

To customize the panel to your liking: right click on an empty space on the panel.
If you wish to move an item on the panel: Middle-click the element, drag your mouse, and it will follow the mouse until the middle button is released.

① The Application Menu

The application menu can be displayed by left clicking the Earth icon:


This menu provides access to frequently used applications, the Slint Control Center, all graphical applications sorted by category, and a Run dialog to type commands. You can also access the Logout dialog, which will allow you to shut down, reboot, suspend, or hibernate the system. See the figure below:

② Minimize All Windows

In other window managers this button is sometimes labelled “show desktop”.

  1. Left clicking on the icon will hide all opened windows.
  2. A second left click will restore the windows to the previous maximized state.
  3. A middle click will tell the window manager to “roll up” all windows.
    • This state will display only the title bars of each window.
    • This is a feature of Fluxbox and is not available in TWM.
  4. Another middle click will restore all windows to the default state.
  5. Right clicking the icon will display the configuration menu.

③ The Application Launch Bar

The application launch bar allows you to quickly start frequently used applications by left clicking a launcher icon. The default applications in Slint are as follows:

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

By running the command “exo-preferred-applications”, you can launch the Preferred Applications dialog. This will allow you to change the applications that are launched by the application launch bar icons. You can also access this dialog by opening the Slint Control Panel from the application menu. The text editor icon is excluded from this dialog and must be changed manually from the icon launcher on the bottom panel.

Directions to change the default text editor:

  1. Right click on the bottom panel
  2. Select the Panel Settings menu option
  3. Click the Panel Applets tab
  4. Open the Applications Launch Bar menu
  5. Then click on the Preferences button
  6. Remove Pluma and add your desired text editor
After opening the Preferences menu, you can change the order (i.e. left or right on the panel) of the Application Launch Bar icons, add new launcher icons, and remove existing launcher icons.

④ The Task Bar or Window List

The task bar in Fluxbox shows all opened windows, whether they are maximized or minimized. Left clicking on the rectangle representing a window can display 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:
  • FVWM lists task bar items in a vertical panel, which includes other additional features.
  • Twm does not track task bar items.

All window managers, except for Twm, allow the user to move a window to a specific workspace or virtual desktop, which allows the user to show a selection of all opened windows at one time.

⑤ The Pager

The Pager shows a miniature view of all workspaces. Workspaces are also known as virtual desktops. They exist to provide the user a method to organize and manage windows. The Pager is located on the bottom panel to the right of the window list and looks like a series of three small rectangles. It allows the user to initiate various window manager actions such as activation, moving, re-stacking, iconification, maximization, and closing.

In the above example, workspace 2 displays the Firefox window. Xterm (A terminal emulator) and PCManFM (A file manager) are not displayed because they are in workspace 1. You can make them appear by switching from workspace 2 to workspace 1 in a few different ways:

  • Left click on the small picture that represents workspace 1 on the bottom panel
  • Right click on the desktop and navigate the application menu list until you can select the workspaces list
  • Middle click on the desktop and navigate the workspaces menu until you find a desired workspace
You can drag and drop windows from one workspace to another by moving the mouse directly left or right out of bounds of the screen. You can determine which workspace you moved the selected window to by viewing the pager on the bottom panel.
It is also possible to add and remove a workspace from the workspaces menu or the window manager menu.
The panels of Twm and FVWM do not include a pager in Slint:
  • Twm can handle only one virtual desktop.
  • FVWM includes a four pagers on top of its vertical panel that can each handle four virtual desktops.

⑥ The Plugins Area

Various plugins can be added to the bottom panel by opening the Panel Settings menu, clicking the Panel Applets tab, clicking the Add button, and the plugins dialog will appear. The process is similar to that described just before section ④ where the default text editor is replaced.

Slint ships these plugins by default, from left to right: sound volume control, battery monitor, temperature monitor, keyboard layout handler, keyboard LED, and a digital clock. Some can be customized by right clicking on a plugin 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. These applets display the status of devices, allow configuration, notify about events, and act accordingly to events.

In the panel's picture, under ⑦ you see icons of the Blueman applet for managing Bluetooth devices, the NetworkManager applet that allows management of network connections and displays their status,and HPLIP status services (for Hewlett Packard printers). This is also where the salix-update-notifier will pop up in the event that there is a software update.

The salix-update-notifier icon looks like this:

Generally, you will left or right click on the icon of an applet to modify the corresponding settings, or act upon a notification. There is also often the option of setting an icon as hidden.

The Window Managers' Menus

Blackbox, Fluxbox, Fvwm, Twm and Windowmaker are configured to include at least two menus. These menus will pop up with a click of the mouse on any 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. It is 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, right click your mouse anywhere on an empty part of the screen. The virtual terminal can be started from the application menu or with a left click on its picture (third from the left) on the panel.

The menu title in the above screenshot reminds us we are using Fluxbox. It presents features similar to those of the bottom panel application menu. It shows us a menu without the Logout dialog, but with features specific to this window manager. It also presents a windows or workspace list. This list is also available with a middle click anywhere on an empty part of the screen.

At the bottom of window manager menu you also see the “Fluxbox Setup” sub-menu (we will let you explore it). Also visibile is the Quit Fluxbox sub-menu, which allows you to restart, quit, or switch to another window manager. All of your open applications or windows will persist if you switch to another window manager, preserving the current session.

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 by clicking on the panel, the title bar, the left and right buttons of any window, an icon in the panel, or on an empty space of the screen.

The window managers are configured in Slint to be usable without changes. However you can reconfigure them to your liking. The way to do so varies from window manager to window manager. For more information, see: User Settings.

The Slint Control Center

We will end this introduction to Slint's usage by presenting the Slint Control Center. You can find that you can display it from the application menu on the bottom panel or the root menu of the window manager.

The goal of the control panel is to gather applications that are useful for system administration, documentation, and settings in a consistent fashion in all window managers. By clicking on a category in the left menu, you can display the corresponding applications in the right pane. We will present them in table format. This will give us the opportunity to present the administration tools that have a graphical user interface as well.

Most administrative tools should be used with administrative privileges. You will be asked for the root account password in order to launch a 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 common 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 you switch the mail reader from Mozilla Thunderbird to Claws Mail, then you click on the Mail Reader in the panel or in a menu, Claws Mail will start instead of Mozilla Thunderbird.
ApplicationsGslapt Package ManagerGslapt is a graphical front-end to slapt-get. It is a handy tool to perform software management in Slint. It allows you to search for, install, remove, upgrade, and configure software packages.
ApplicationsSourcery SlackBuild ManagerSourcery is a graphical front-end to slapt-src. It allows you to search for SlackBuilds and SLKBUILD scripts that it can then use to automate the build process and installation of software packages. It can also remove and reinstall packages on your system. A word of caution: it is preferable to install pre-made packages as much as possible using the Gslapt Package Manager.
ApplicationsApplication FinderFind and launch the applications installed on your system. The search field is very handy to find applications in comparison to manually searching the application menu.
HardwarePrinter SetupUsed to set up any connected printer. It is a front-end to the CUPS print server, which is running by default in Slint.
HardwareCups Print ControlThis application allows you to configure the CUPS service, manage printers, and control print jobs through a web browser.
HardwareKeyboardThis tools allows you to set the keyboard type, key map, and enable the SCIM service. SCIM helps by allowing you to type 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 a Slackware user, but many of them are useful for a Slint user. Caution: Some of the listed tools, like slackpkg or sbopkg, should not be used in Slint.
InformationSlackware DocumentationThis documentation can be also useful for Slint users. Slint is based on Slackware.
InformationSlint DocumentationThis gives local access to documents also available on Slint's website.
InformationSlint ForumPeople whose native language is not English may also post in the localized Salix forums.
InformationSlint WebsiteThe Slint website provides documentation, links, and a way to find the ISOs and packages.
InformationSystem InformationThis tool collects information about your computer, such as its connected devices (internal and external), and displays it all in one place. It can also do system bench marking.
SettingsSystem LanguageThis tool 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 change this setting in PCManFM, the file manager. Issue 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 an application among those proposed.
SettingsxwmconfigThis tool allows you 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 you to set up the boot loader and to start Slint in EFI mode. In cases where an EFI firmware is present, eliloconfig should be run after every kernel update, or else booting will fail.
SystemSystem ClockThis tools allows you 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), and if not, set the date and time.
SystemHostnamesThis tool allows you to configure the system hostname. It is useful if you use your Slint installation as a server, on a local area network, or on the Internet. The hostname helps networked computers identify each other by a common name if a domain name system service is not in use.
SystemRebuild Icon CacheThis utility rebuilds the icon cache, which is a file registering all icons in the system, allowing them faster access. Run it when new icons are installed on your system.
SystemSystem ServicesThis tool allows you to choose which services will be enabled at startup. For instance, Bluetooth, the CUPS print server, or a web server. Only use it to change the defaults settings if you know what you are doing.
SystemUsers and GroupsThis tool allows you to add, remove, and set up user accounts and groups. It is mostly useful on multi-user systems.
SystemGUEFI Boot ManagerThis tool is a graphical front end to the efibootmanager command. It allows editing of the EFI firmware's boot menu. Actions such as adding, removing, or changing menu item order.
SystemliloconfigThis tool allows you to set up the boot loader to start Slint in BIOS or Legacy mode. If the firmware is only BIOS capable or set up to use the Legacy mode: it should be run after every kernel update, or else booting will fail.
SystemNetwork ConfigurationThis tools allows you to configure your network.
SystemTask ManagerThis tools allows you to manage the running tasks or processes on your system. You will typically launch it to understand why your system becomes less responsive, in the case of overheating, to know which task is causing the issue (generally consuming to much resources), and possibly to terminate or kill it.
en/getting_started.txt · Last modified: 2019/11/18 12:54 (external edit)