Science and technology

Pekwm: A light-weight Linux desktop

Let’s say you desire a light-weight desktop atmosphere, with simply sufficient to get graphics on the display screen, transfer some home windows round, and never a lot else. You discover conventional desktops get in your approach, with their notifications and taskbars and system trays. You need to reside your life primarily from a terminal, however you additionally need the luxurious of launching graphical functions. If that sounds such as you, then Pekwm could also be what you’ve got been in search of all alongside.

Pekwm is, presumably, impressed by the likes of Window Maker and Fluxbox. It gives an utility menu, window ornament, and never an entire lot extra. It’s superb for minimalists—customers who need to preserve assets and customers preferring to work from a terminal.

Install Pekwm out of your distribution’s software program repository. After putting in, log off of your present desktop session so you possibly can log into your new desktop. By default, your session supervisor (KDM, GDM, LightDM, or XDM, relying in your setup) will proceed to log you into your earlier desktop, so you should override that earlier than logging in.

To override the earlier desktop on GDM:

And on KDM:

The first time you log into Pekwm, chances are you’ll encounter nothing however a black display screen. Believe it or not, that is regular. What you are seeing is a clean desktop with out background wallpaper. You can set a wallpaper with the feh command (chances are you’ll want to put in it out of your repository). This command has a number of choices for setting the background, together with –bg-fill to fill the display screen together with your wallpaper, –bg-scale to scale it to suit, and so forth.

$ feh --bg-fill ~/Pictures/wallpapers/mybackground.jpg

By default, Pekwm auto-generates a menu, out there with a right-click anyplace on the desktop, that provides you entry to functions. This menu additionally gives a number of choice settings, similar to the power to choose a theme and to log off of your Pekwm session.


Pekwm is primarily configured in textual content config information saved in $HOME/.pekwm. The menu file defines your utility menu, the keys file defines keyboard shortcuts, and so forth.

The begin file is a shell script that’s executed after Pekwm launches. It is analogous to the rc.native file on a conventional Unix system; it is deliberately final in line, so no matter you place into it overrides every little thing that got here earlier than it. This is a vital file—it is in all probability the place you need to set your background in order that your alternative overrides the default on the theme you are utilizing. 

The begin file can be the place you possibly can launch dockapps. Dockapps are tiny applets that rose to prominence with Window Maker and Fluxbox. They normally present community screens, a clock, audio settings, and different belongings you is likely to be used to seeing in a system tray or as a KDE plasmoid or widget in a full desktop atmosphere. You may discover some dockapps in your distribution’s repository, or you possibly can search for them on-line at

You can launch dockapps at startup by itemizing them within the begin file adopted by an & image:

feh --bg-fill ~/Pictures/wallpapers/mybackground.jpg
wmnd &
bubblemon -d &

The begin file have to be marked executable for it to run when Pekwm begins.

$ chmod +x $HOME/.pekwm/begin


There’s not a lot to Pekwm, and that is the fantastic thing about it. If you need further companies to run in your desktop, it is as much as you to launch them. If you are still studying Linux, it is a nice approach to be taught in regards to the minute GUI parts you normally do not take into consideration after they come bundled with an entire desktop atmosphere (like a taskbar). It’s additionally a great way to get used to a few of the Linux instructions, like nmcli, that you’ve got been which means to be taught.

Pekwm is a enjoyable window supervisor. It’s sparse, terse, and really light-weight. Give it a strive!

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