Use Rodent as a Desktop Environment?

  • DAY

    DAY - 2013-10-10

    I believe Rodent has the potential to become a standalone desktop environment. Or maybe it can already be used as one? What I have in mind is having Rodent run in a mode similar to chrome a la ChromeOS. Once there is a file manager Rox-Filer which can do this. But Rox-Filer seems dead. Also Rodent, in my opinion, has already surpassed Rox-Filer in a lot of ways.

    Actually I have an even more ambitious goal, make a distro featuring Rodent as the desktop environment! How do you think?

  • Edscott Wilson Garcia


    Rodent can be used ---along with fvwm as a window manager--- as a standalone desktop environment. This is the way I use it and my different computers have just what I need and like, no more, no less.

    After all, if it is my computer, I want to choose what applications to install. These include at least: fvwm, gkrellm, gvim, LyX, libreoffice, firefox, sudo, mplayer and xscreensaver. And I don't want to install applications that I do not use.

    This is what my desktop looks like:
    the taskbar and pager are provided by fvwm.

    I'm sorry I cannot comment on ChromeOS since I have not had a chance to use it.

    I'll be glad to help you as my time permits.

    Good luck!

  • DAY

    DAY - 2013-10-11

    Hi, Edscott,

    Thanks for the interest. Here are some initial ideas:

    I intend to not have another WM's complement to form the DE (I want to have Rodent run alone.), but I can see some window management funcitonality may not be available in Rodent yet. The prototype in my mind is that of ChromeOS (I have no experience of it either, but from those screenshots I have seen, it seems nothing more than what I will describe. Of course, to be more sure about, I need to take a closer look.), where the chrome browser is run on the foreground. You can think of it as the whole chrome browser window maximized on your regular desktop. Since what Google is trying to advocate is doing all your tasks online, the browser window (with tabs) is naturally the only interface you will need.

    So what I want is to have the Rodent window run in such a mode. Because the primary task of users are managing files, either by navigating using Rodent's GUI or its CLI. Of course, this means Rodent's GUI needs to be somehow modified to mimic a desktop look. I think the recent GUI simplification movement by Gnome is on the right direction.

    About taskbar, I think it is not that necessary but of course nice to have. About pager, it is also not necessary if Rodent's tabs can trap other application windows. That is, if Rodent do window management thought its tabs.

    At this point, Konqueror comes to my mind. If Rodent could someday match Konqueror, the idea will come true. Essentially, the idea is to extend chrome's online-task-orientation to also offline.

    Oh, I did some search just now. It seems ChromeOS can already do things like these. So, great minds think alike, :) But ChromeOS's forcing me to doing my tasks online is really annoying.

    About the availability of applications depends on the repository of the base distro. Currently I have Arch in mind, mainly because I have been using Arch for quite some time.

    Last edit: DAY 2013-10-11
  • Edscott Wilson Garcia

    I see what you mean. Rodent would need the following configurable features:

    1.Ability to run in full screen mode as desktop application (as rodent-desk runs).
    2.Capture keyboard events and send to desktop application (I don't know how to do this, yet).

    Minimum window management functions would be needed.

    Fvwm would be a good choice for that because taskbar and pager are plugins and need not be loaded. Decorations can be disabled.

    On trapping other windows with tabs, fvwm can be configured so that the fvwm taskbar plugin looks like tabs to provide the functionality you describe. In this scenario, all windows would run maximized, so that clicking on the taskbar button would function like switching tabs. The size of maximized windows can be limited with fvwm, so that the CLI and little run buttons could always be visible. Resizing, moving and adding decorations to windows would be disabled (yes, you can do all that with fvwm).

    In short, fvwm and rodent can be configured to look like a single application.

    I'll try to look into enabling features 1 and 2 and tweaking fvwm as soon as I have some time.


Log in to post a comment.