[tutorial] Running Gala as a standalone WM on Arch Linux - GNU/Linux

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Long time nixers
Gala Window Manager is the Elementary Teams take on a window manager.

A window manager basically takes care of moving windows and switching from one window to another.

Not only does Gala allow you to throw windows anywhere and to switch from one to another, it also displays animations, this is because Gala is also a composting window manager, so no Compiz is needed to get decent effects.


If you are going to go for the "Looks like Luna" Approach, be aware, there are issues while getting it to work.

For example, wingpanel will not launch, and because of that slingshot will not display unless executed through a terminal. And the elementary theme looks rather ugly.

You can try what follows below but be aware your desktop will look somewhat like the screenshot below.

# Prerequisite

> Have Arch Linux installed

> Make sure you have the AUR

# Getting Started ( The Looks like Luna approach )

If you want your arch to look as much as Luna as possible download this package from the AUR: pantheon-session-bzr:

yaourt pantheon-session-bzr

Pantheon-session-bzr will install the following packages:

* gala-bzr
* wingpanel-bzr
* slingshot-launcher-bzr
* plank-bzr

You must also install this package, if not slingshot and wingpanel will not work:

yaourt indicator-pantheon-session-bzr

# Edit the your xorg.conf

Now insert the following lines in your xorg.conf. This will bring up gala as your window manager will also present your dock, your panel and your launcher. If you opted to install some more software you would like to launch at boot include it here.

exec gala &
plank &
wingpanel &

# Extra elementary packages

If you want to change your wallpaper, install this package from AUR:

yaourt pantheon-wallpaper

elementary video player

yaourt audience-bzr

elementary e-mail client

yaourt geary

elementary calender

yaourt maya-calender-bzr

elementary web browser

yaourt midori-granite

elementary audio player

yaourt noise-bzr

elementary terminal emulator

yaourt pantheon-terminal-bzr

elementary file manager

yaourt pantheon-files-bzr

elementary text editor

yaourt scratch-text-editor-bzr

elementary settings manager

yaourt switchboard-bzr

# This is the machine after boot up without pantheon-wallpaper
[Image: Screenshot_4.png]
# Desktop with pantheon-wallpaper.

* I have not included a destination for the wallpaper so it is defaulting to a Ubuntu wallpaper, just include a path after the pantheon-wallpaper command and it will display the wallpaper. Example: pantheon-wallpaper /home/dog.jpg
[Image: Screenshot_5.png]
# You're done! ( Possibly )

That's it, you have successfully installed a bit of Luna onto your Arch Linux box. If you have some problems look below.

# Some Problems

If you don't have a correct gtk theme installed, startx will fail. But it is easy to get around this by getting the theme through Pacman.

yaourt gtk-theme-elementary

If you want the Adwaita theme installed instead of the elementary theme:

yaourt gnome-themes-standard

# Getting Started ( The Make it Yours Technique )

If you want Gala as your window manager but want to make this desktop yours, just get the gala package and start adding what you will like.

yaourt gala-bzr

I will also want the tint2 panel and plank for my dock on my custom desktop.

To get plank I will execute:

yaourt plank-bzr

and to get tint2 a:

pacman -S tint2

# Editing your xorg.conf

After that you now have to add gala in your xorg.conf and whatever else you chose. In the below example I have gala as my window manager, tint2 as my panel and plank as my dock. All of which will boot at launch.

exec gala &
tint2 &
The world is quaking from our Linux Thoughts!
Long time nixers
(17-10-2013, 04:40 PM)shix Wrote: Any scrots?
Screen shots and a final guide of this will be available on Monday. :D

But at the end of setup it will look almost exactly as Luna.
The world is quaking from our Linux Thoughts!