Several people have asked me over time how I have a GNOME desktop with AwesomeWM as my window manager. I have documented bits of this over time, but it is clearly necessary that I document it all fully here so that I can refer to it when I end up reinstalling my laptop and/or desktop computer.

To be sure that I cover all the appropriate bits, I have set up a fresh VM of Ubuntu 12.04 (LTS) for the purpose of preparing this document. If your Linux installation is different then some bits might need tweaking. Since I’m using my Ubuntu 11.10 install as a reference point, it should be pretty portable.

Install AwesomeWM:

$ sudo apt-get install awesome

Create an X session file:

$ cat > ~/.xsession\ <<‘EOF’
exec\ gnome-session\ ~~~~session=localawesome

Create\ the\ localawesome\ session\ file:
$\ mkdir~~p\ ~/.config/gnome-session/sessions
$\ cat\ >~/.config/gnome-session/sessions/localawesome.session\ <<‘EOF’

Name=Proper\ Awesome\ Session
Create\ the\ localawesome\ desktop\ file:
$\ mkdir~~p~/.local/share/applications
$ cat > ~/.local/share/applications/localawesome.desktop\ <<‘EOF’

In\ order\ to\ enable\ the\ xsession\ session,\ install\ gdm:
$\ sudo\ apt-get\ install\ gdm
Remember\ to\ select\ gdm\ as\ the\ default\ login\ manager.
If\ you\ do\ not\ like\ the\ filthy\ overlay\ scrollbars,\ then\ do:
$\ sudo\ apt-get\ remove\ ~~~~purge\ liboverlay*
This\ will\ remove\ ca.\ 3\ packages\ to\ do\ with\ the\ overlay\ scrollbars.
Now\ reboot.
When\ the\ gdm\ launcher\ starts,\ select\ your\ user\ and\ from\ the\ dropdown\ choose\ ‘User\ defined\ session’\ Then\ click\ ‘login’.
You\ now\ have\ an\ almost-ready\ desktop.\ Next\ install\ the\ gnome\ tweak\ tool:
$\ sudo\ apt-get\ install\ gnome-tweak-tool
This\ will\ install\ an\ infeasibly\ large\ amount\ of\ crap\ unless\ you\ turn\ recommends\ off\ first.
Run\ the\ gnome-tweak-tool\ program\ and\ go\ to\ the\ Desktop\ tab.
Disable\ the\ file-manager\ being\ in\ charge\ of\ the\ desktop.
Now\ you\ can\ quit\ the\ gnome-tweak-tool.\ Remember\ the\ default\ to\ do\ this\ in\ awesome\ is\ meta+shift+c.
By\ default,\ awesome\ exiting\ won’t\ kill\ the\ session\ since\ GNOME\ is\ in\ charge\ of\ it\ and\ doesn’t\ fully\ recognise\ awesome\ as\ being\ in\ charge.\ You\ should\ ensure\ that\ rather\ than\ quitting\ awesome,\ you\ run\ gnome-session-quit\ with\ either~~~~logout\ or\ —power-off\ depending\ on\ which\ of\ the\ two\ dialogs\ you\ want.\ The\ former\ will\ leave\ you\ back\ at\ gdm\ where\ the\ latter\ will\ let\ you\ shut\ down\ the\ system.\ I\ recommend\ you\ start\ to\ customise\ your\ awesome\ rc.lua\ file\ pretty\ soon\ to\ do\ this,\ rather\ than\ having\ the\ quit-awesome\ option.\ If\ you\ forget\ to,\ and\ quit\ awesome,\ then\ pressing\ Ctrl+Alt+Del\ sometimes\ brings\ up\ the\ logout\ dialog\ too.
From\ now\ on,\ it’s\ all\ up\ to\ you.\ Some\ Linux\ systems\ have\ the\ GTK\ configured\ to\ have\ hideous\ resize\ thumbs\ in\ the\ bottom-right\ corner\ of\ every\ window.\ If\ they’re\ present\ on\ your\ system,\ you\ can\ get\ rid\ of\ them\ with:
$\ cat\ >>~/.gtkrc-2.0 <<‘EOF’
style “default-style”
GtkWindow::resize-grip-height = 0
GtkWindow::resize-grip-width = 0

class “GtkWidget” style “default-style”

gtk-icon-theme-name = “ubuntu-mono-dark”

Hope all that helps y’all.

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