During last month’s release of Nitrux, we made available a minimal ISO to let users install Nitrux and install a different desktop environment and a selection of applications than the ones we include by default. We figured it’d be simpler since we don’t plan to release additional ISO images with other desktop environments.

Nonetheless, let me start by stating the following.

Our primary focus is with Plasma and MauiKit.

  • This minimal image only includes SDDM, jwm, Calamares, xterm, and X11. However, it does have our default selection of CLI tools and applications (cmus, ftp, hdparm, htop, links2, mc, ncdu, nsnake, tmate, tree), as well as appimage-cli-tool, appimagetool, etc.

We emphasize that this is not a new edition, version, or anything in between of the distribution. It is a barebones Nitrux ISO image.

What is a desktop environment?

In computing, a desktop environment (DE) implements the desktop metaphor of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer operating system that shares a standard graphical user interface (GUI), sometimes described as a graphical shell.

With that said, let’s see how you can add other DEs to Nitrux.

Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆


Get started

After installing the distribution and rebooting, you will see the jwm desktop.

  • The minimal ISO comes with jwm or Joe’s Window Manager by default. This window manager is minimalistic, and it does not include any menu, contextual menu, application launcher, interactive system tray, notification tray, etc. this is not a bug as that is its default configuration.
    • We want to remind users that we do not develop jwm. Neither do we provide any further configuration (or “ricing”) other than setting the color of the default panel and the background; this is not a bug or an oversight.

About jwm desktop in minimal ISO

  • Super+T opens the terminal.
  • Super+L switches the keyboard layout.
    • By default, the keyboard layouts are latam and us layouts, so make sure to adjust this setting to your keyboard layout.
  • The JWM configuration file is ~/.jwmrc.

Commands to install other DEs

To install other DEs using their respective meta-packages, run one of the following commands.

  • Due to a bug in PackageKit, the output in the terminal window can be difficult to read. To avoid this problem use the option –plain or -p, i.e., pkcon -p install $(package).
  • When installing the meta-packages to add other desktop environments in the minimal ISO, depending on the meta-package, it may or may not include the complimentary utilities such as a file manager, text editor, terminal emulator, web browser, etc., or additional hardware drivers. As well as customizations of any kind, this is not a bug.

Please note that starting from version 2.1.1 to manage Debian packages users should use PackageKit (pkcon).

# Install (vanilla) Plasma 5 meta-package
pkcon install kde-plasma-desktop

# Install XFCE4 meta-package
pkcon install xfce4

# Install LXQt meta-package
pkcon install qtbase-abi-5-15-2 qtbase-abi-5-15-3 lxqt

# Install Gnome meta-package
pkcon install software-properties-common gnome

# Install Budgie meta-package
pkcon install budgie-desktop

# Install Cinnamon meta-package 
pkcon install pkexec-compat cinnamon

# Install MATE meta-package 
pkcon install mate-desktop-environment

# Install Enlightenment
pkcon install enlightenment && pkcon repair

To illustrate an example, we installed the XFCE 4 desktop using the command above, which is now available as a session in SDDM.

From this point forward, you can then install whatever software selection you want and customize your system.

To change the desktop session in SDDM, edit the configuration file in /etc/sddm.conf and change the line ‘Session=’ to one of the X Sessions listed in /usr/share/xsessions, since we installed XFCE 4 we enter xfce.

sudo micro /etc/sddm.conf

Troubleshooting

Adding a wireless connection in jwm

Suppose you’re installing Nitrux using the minimal ISO on a computer without an Ethernet connection. In that case, you will need to use the command line program nmtui to set up your wireless connection. nmtui is a curses‐based TUI application for interacting with NetworkManager.

Open a terminal window and run the following command.

nmtui

Then follow the prompts to add your connection.

It’s important to add the wireless device you want to use with the connection, typically this is called wlan0 but yours may vary, to know what it’s called run the following command.

ifconfig

To activate go back to the first menu and select Activate connection then from the list of connections highlight your new connection and press Enter.

Finally restart the relevant services, to do that run the following commands.

sudo rc-service dhcpcd restart
sudo rc-service network-manager restart
sudo rc-service dnsmasq restart

And to test the connection, run the following command.

ping -c 10 nxos.org

Automatically add AppImages to the application menu

If appimaged does not start when you log in, disable the currently enabled entry (highlighted below) in Settings>Session and Startup and create a new entry.


That’s it; this concludes today’s tutorial.

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