Getting older, not necessarily wiser!
In this final installment of this series, I will be discussing additional software you may want to add/install to upgrade/update Joe’s Window Manager (JWM), by adding some additional flexibility. The three items I will be looking at specifically are network management, sound, and compositing.
Sound is something pretty much everyone will want, and it is not part of JWM out of the box. If you have a fixed wired connection then network management may not be high on your priority list. If on the other hand you are relying on Wifi, then network management might be a bit more important. Compositing adds visual effects like transparency to your desktop, something else JWM does not have out of the box.
I am sure most people will want to activate the sound system and network manager. Compositing is something that some people will not see a real need for, while others will really desire the added visual display elements.
There are a lot of other programs and ways to give JWM additional capabilities, some of which I will be covering in future individual posts.
I will be installing all the programs discussed here in one shot. You can do this or you can pick and chose depending on your needs. The all in one install example command is below.
pacman -S alsa-utils pulseaudio pavucontrol pasystray picom network-managment-applet
Note: Do not forget you must either be root or have sudo privileges to install new software.
The network manager program was installed during the base Arch installation. If you have not used that, then you may also need to install it here.
Sound is probably the most important to the most people, so I will cover it first. I wish I could say sound on Linux was easy, but in reality it has always been a bit of a mess.
Basically from a high level view you have the Advanced Linux Sound System (ALAS) which consists of kernel modules to drive your sound card, and some ALSA utility programs. There are enough tools that one can use ALAS only. However configuration can be a bit of a pain. Note that the Open Sound System (OSS) is an alternative to ALSA. However OSS has limited support for things like Bluetooth and USB audio.
Many users (though their distro) add a higher level sound server system on top of ALSA. This is where programs like Pulse Audio come into play (systems like Jack and Pipewire are alternatives to Pulse Audio). Pulse Audio sits on top of ALSA and tries to make things easier for the user (how successful it is, is a matter of opinion).
My recommendation is to install the alsa-utilities for some troubleshooting tools, and pulseaudio as the sound server. The pavuvolume program provides an agnostic graphical mixer for Pulse Audio. Installing pasystray provides an icon for the dock (system tray).
After installing, you will need to add pasystray to your JWM system Startup.
Next do a system restart. Open the mixer from the system try icon and select volume control. Make sure the volume is not muted. Then run the below command (should hear a burst of static from speakers) to confirm that audio is working.
Note that configuration should not be necessary, unless you add/remove additional components. I need to make a future post on configuring sound under Linux when I get the chance.
Once the network-managment-applet is installed, you will want to make sure it starts automatically with JWM. Add the following Startup command to your JWM configuration. Then restart your system.
You should now have a network icon in your dock (system tray). Click on it to open the network management window.
Note that another option is to install connman (connection manager) instead of networkmanager and network-manager-applett.
The stand alone compositor, picom, is a fork of compton, which in turn is a fork of xcompmgr. A compositor adds additional display effects to a window manager
The picom program needs to be started with JWM. So you will need another StartUp command. You may need to do a complete restart before any effects become visible.
Once installed you can test picom by going into the JWM configuration and reducing opacity for an element (1.0 is totally opaque and 0.0 is totally transparent).
Not that you can copy the picom configuration file to your home directory if you need to do some modificaitons.
cp /etc/xdg/picom.conf ~/.config/picom.config
That is it for this series. We have configured, and added capabilities to JWM. There is much more that can be done to the desktop, but that will have to wait for future independent posts.
JWM Agnostic X on Arch – Part 11 – Additional functionality