FVWM-Crystal aims to create an easy to use, powerful desktop environment for
Linux or other Unix-like operating systems with lots of eye-candy.
It uses following programs: FVWM as a window manager and "main core", ROX-Filer
or Nautilus as desktop manager (manages icons on the desktop), gnome-terminal,
xterm, aterm, mrxvt or urxvt as terminal emulators, MPD, QuodLibet or XMMS as
music players (there's built-in support for controlling these programs), and
several other tools for different functions, like setting a wallpaper or making
- Transparent elements of the interface: panels, menus, dialogs
(pseudo-transparency, doesn't show windows underneath).
The windows can be made transparent if xcompmgr and transset-df are installed
- Window decorations, panel/menu color-sets and desktop wallpaper changeable
from the main menu; choice saved for next X sessions.
- Flexible window decorations: can have different title-bar buttons layout,
pixmaps and button functions.
- Different "recipes" (panel placement and functions, desktop
functions, window icons/thumbnails), changeable from the menu.
- Advanced keyboard support: key-bindings for controlling the desktop
switching, window management (moving, resizing, focusing, basic operations
like minimization or closing) - in total there are nearly 90 different
- Support for controlling music players by using the keyboard or panel buttons
and menus; currently AlsaPlayer, audacious. cdcd, cmus, mocp, mpd, mplayer (you
can also play movies with it), mplayer2 (mplayer fork), Quodlibet, XMMS
and XMMS2 are supported.
- Advanced support of the terminal windows: special "Quake Console" terminal
accessible by an Alt+` (grave) keystroke similar to the console found in FPP
games; terminals can be opened using RMB on the desktop; terminal windows
don't release focus for newly opened windows (by default).
- A Python script for generating different panels and menus with installed
applications - automatically finds programs in $PATH and creates specified
menus and panels.
- Support for nearly 400 different applications - icons, menu/panel database
entries and window styles.
- Localization support using gettext.
- All FVWM configuration is divided into small files in a simple directory
- Special functions for loading configuration files – allows for FVWM
configuration files placed in different directories (for example system-wide
and user-wide); user files are searched before system-wide files (directory
structure must be preserved), the first found file is loaded.
- Simple and easy to use system of "user preferences" which adds to the
configuration files' ability to remember different user choices and recall
them at any moment, usually at the startup of X session.
- Support for system-wide configuration in /etc/X11/fvwm/fvwm-crystal directory
as well as user configuration in ~/.fvwm directory - changes in configuration
files can be preserved between package updates.
- Special files called "recipes" - similar to "standard" FVWM configuration
model (one configuration - one file), allows for different configurations in
the same package (for example different music players changeable during
- Support for different icon themes and sizes (similar to /usr/share/icons
directory), included are many icons in 22x22, 32x32 and 48x48 sizes.
- Special script that will generate the application menu entries by searching for
application type desktop files and applications icons.
- FVWM - version 2.5.31 or higher.
- Python - for some scripts.
- ImageMagick - import and convert are used for screenshots.
- UAM and pmount-gui - automounting of removable medias.
- ROX-Filer or Nautilus - for icons on the desktop and wallpaper.
- XScreenSaver - a screen saver and/or screen locking.
- Systray: at least one of Trayer or Stalonetray.
- xdg-user-dirs - localized desktop icons.
- Sudo and optionally gksudo configured for running text/graphical
applications as superuser and reboot/shutdown computer options in the menu.
- Terminal Emulator: at least one of gnome-terminal, konsole, xfce4-terminal,
xterm, aterm, Eterm, mrxvt, urxvt or terminator.
Be aware that the Quake console need one of mrxvt, urxwt, aterm or xterm.
- A program for setting a wallpaper such as Esetroot (orphaned here), hsetroot
or feh (only needed if ROX-Filer or Nautilus are not used as suggested above).
Habak support was removed due to X Errord st restart. hsetroot will be used first
- A music player - At least one of Music Player Daemon (+ mpc), X MultiMedia
System (+ xmms-shell and XMMSFind) (orphaned now on most distribution, you
will be better with another one), AlsaPlayer, cmus, mocp, mplayer, XMMS2,
Quod Libet or cdcd. You will get video support with mplayer.
- A mixer, one of the precedent if the player support it, aumix or
amixer (alsamixer, you will get volume control in dB with it).
- Some usual linux utilities like cut, sed and bc. (bc is needed for the speed
control with AlsaPlayer and mplayer.)
Instalation / Update
Please be sure to read the information into the Install file when installing
or updating Fvwm-Crystal. It is a few things you will have to do in order
to get the full potential of Fvwm + Fvwm-Crystal.
Fvwm-Crystal work fine with graphical display managers like xdm or gdm.
Choose it in the menu and it will start.
Anyway, the prefered way to start Fvwm is with startx. You will get a fast
and light system without to have to load non needed stuffs at login.
If you choose that way, you may want to edit ~/.xinitrc and add
if your system is polkit and cosole-kit free.
If it is not the case, something like the following will do the trick:
exec ck-launch-session /usr/bin/fvwm-crystal
If you want to log Fvwm messages, you can use somethink like
exec /usr/bin/fvwm-crystal 2>.fvwm-crystal_messages
exec ck-launch-session /usr/bin/fvwm-crystal 2>.fvwm-crystal_messages
Now, run 'startx'.
For Fvwm-Crystal to start at login, edit ~/.bash_profile and add the
following line at the end of the file:
if ! pidof X &>/dev/null ; then startx ; fi
Contacting authors and other users/contributors
The original author of FVWM-Crystal project is Maciej Delmanowski.
You can contact with him using:
Jabber (preferred): firstname.lastname@example.org
IRC: #email@example.com (also on #fvwm)
The current maintainer and author of this project is Dominique Michel.
You can contact me using <firstname.lastname@example.org> or on the
mailing list below.
There is also a low-traffic mailing list, where you can talk with other
FVWM-Crystal users and contributors. More information and subscription
instructions can be found on:
You can also look at the archives located here:
-): With the Music -> Playlist browser, file or directory names with quoting characters
will confuse FVWM. I see that as a bug in FVWM - we all have utf-8 file system where
such characters are valid ones into a file or a directory name, but anyway, these
function make an intensive use of the shell, and for that reason the only real fix
at that time, and I think for all eternity, is to fix your file and directory
names by removing such characters. (Do a goggle search on special characters in file
names and the shell to get more info on that.
In the preferences of the Music menu, it is an option to get no icons into that
file browser: This can help with the special characters in some cases, but this
is a workaround not a real fix, and it will be of no help with quoting
characters, and will break the exec title function (the function that
load all the files of a directory into the playlist when clicking
on that directory's name) instead.
The real fix is to remove the quoting characters from your file and directory names.
-): Certainly others. Please report them to the mailing list - best, your report(s)
will be archived, which insure they will not be lost, or to me directly:
Contribute to Fvwm-Crystal
The best way to contribute is to take contact on the mailing list.
You can also take contact with me using <email@example.com>
I would never have learn Fvwm myself without Fvwm-Crystal. Its modular
architecture allow you to focus on one thing at a time.
For information on Fvwm, take a look at the Fvwm website: http://www.fvwm.org
I would like to thank all these people for help with this project (in random
order): Aragorn_Vime, Lucass, Taviso, Hoppke, Ravbc, Myles Green, Esack,
theBlackDragon, Thomas_Adam, Liorithiel, MadCow, LiNiO, fEnIo, KHorne, QsoRiX,
niv, stR4y and all others which I can't recollect now - thanks, guys :)
I would like to thank harnir. Without him and his good work and vision,
Fvwm-Crystal would not exist.
I would also like to thank all the peoples behind Fvwm. Without them,
Fvwm-Crystal would not be possible.
FVWM-Crystal is and always will be a free software, however if you want, you
can make a donation - I probably will spent it on my electricity & telephone
bills... Anyway, below is the neccesary info to do that.
Account: PL 90 1140 2004 0000 3102 3664 7363
Name: Maciej Delmanowski
Address: 90-050 Lodz, Al. Mickiewicza 1, Poland