Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
I’m really, really impressed with FVWM-Crystal. It makes for an exceptionally good-looking lightweight system — even on outdated hardware.
But after knocking around the FVWM-Crystal howto here, I realized I would do much better to just start over from scratch, and see if I could settle on a better way.
For one thing, FVWM-Crystal is in the Edgy (and Feisty) repositories, but it’s version 3.0.3, and the FVWM-Crystal home page is at 3.0.4. Now for some people that’s not a big deal, but if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right. Right?
So this is from a clean server installation of Edgy, with all the extra repositories enabled and the system fully updated and upgraded. (You could start from that Edgy howto I have somewhere in this blog, stopping where the GUI is installed.)
Start by downloading some essentials.
sudo aptitude install -y xorg fvwm-crystal build-essential
That will put the X substructure into place, and configure it for you. It also puts FVWM-Crystal — and its dependencies, including XMMS and other ancillary programs — into place. And since we’re going to drop version 3.0.4 on top of it, we’ll need build-essential.
When those are done and ready, download the newest version of FVWM-Crystal from the download page, or use wget.
It’s small, so it won’t take long. Once it’s in place,
tar -xvzf fvwm-crystal-3.0.4.tar.gz
Now move into the directory it makes.
And install it over top your existing FVWM-Crystal.
sudo make install
That’s all. Easy as pie. One last step, just so there’s no confusion:
nano -w ~/.xinitrc
Add this line to that file.
From here you should install your applications and whatnot, using the usual terminal commands. FVWM-Crystal will scan for new applications on each start, and add them to its quickbar. It has a tendency to lump things in funny categories, but once you get the hang of it, it’s mighty nice.
Start up the desktop with the startx command.
P.S.: I repeated this in a more complete form on the Ubuntu Community Documentation site.