Surviving Gnome 3

Call me old fashioned but all I really want from an desktop is an app launcher and a file manager, and if I must get over complicated I really must be able to configure it easily.  Having someone else deciding that something as simple as a minimize button is too complicated for me is just beyond belief and yes I could fix that with a simple hack, but then there are all the other un-configurable bits that have been decided for me that I’d have to hack…

Having a wide screen aspect but modest vertical resolution, I’ve grown accustomed to having a panel on the side of the screen, the most comfortable and light weight desktop manager I’ve found that can cope with a panel on the side and be configured to get out of the way is LXDE.

Unfortunately LXDE while nice and light and decently configurable isn’t without its issues.

Policy kit gui’s fail to work which is probably because its an over complex way of not following the KISS principle.  You’ll need the policykit-1-gnome package which in itself wont work because for some reason its not auto started in LXDE.  This means things like synaptics won’t run from the menu.  While it would be much easier to just use gksudo in synaptics desktop file, getting policykit to work properly is probably better (alas the herd drags you along from time to time).

LXDE has a gui component to edit autostart items, it might be in settings called something like “default applications for lxsession” but I’ve seen it in other menus with other names… in case you can’t find it or prefer the potentially simpler method of editing the config file its called ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart add the executable


To the list of autostart applications, you can just run this manually or log out and back in to check that you can now run things like synaptics from the gui.

If you like to be able to single click desktops you can use a number of different file managers  to handle desktop icons etc, again in autostart settings add spacefm –desktop

you’ll need to right click and change the single click behaviors for spacefm

It’s a real shame that nemo has real problems with single clicking icons as its the only way I can fault it, its an odd bug but even hovering over an icon opens it and clicking it can get you three instances…

While all this may seem like a faff you have to remember that at least you can in effect roll your own desktop environment using different even disparate components which are all revolving round the freedesktop standards… this is something that is either impossible or much more difficult if you are using something other than the gnu software stack…

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