The most important aspect of the customization is to get an efficient way of accessing the often used application programs. Of course, you can fire up any program from a lilyterm/Xterm window just by typing the name of it, but the (few) every-day apps should be accessible easily with one or two mouse clicks.
Icewm offers at the moment only a single location where you can find the buttons to start the apps by a single click : the toolbar at the bottom of the screen for the top-ten apps. The menu you can open with a click on the ConnochaetOS logo in the lower left corner of the screen. The menu has a tree structure, so there can be theoretically appended an unlimited number of apps. However, at the moment new entries to the menu are added automatically by the installer of the specific application. Any manual modification of the menu file will be overwritten and erased at the next icewm start. Comment the ”/usr/bin/icewm-xdg-menu” line in the .xinitrc file of your home directory to disable the automatical adding of menu entries.
The menu is often populated automatically by programs during the installation. In these cases, the program installer stores the predefined icon for the app in a predefined place of the menu (and sometimes even in the toolbar) without any question or notice. This holds particularly for the “major” apps. For the others you must implement this by hand. That means, by editing the files ~/.icewm/toolbar and ~/.icewm/menu in your home directory. The syntax of an entry is described extensively in the icewm help and documentation; here follows only a shortcut :
add a new line of the format
prog <name/tag of the program> <icon> <starting command>
to the main body of the file. The order of the entries here is also the order of the icons you see on the screen. The name/tag appears when you move the mouse cursor on the button.The icon is of size 16×16 pixels, of format .xpm or .png and stored in the ~/.icewm/icons directory or the subdirectories of the /usr/share/icons/… folders. The starting command is the usually the name of the program + the parameter you want as default.
To start console applications by a single mouse click, you must add the command for starting a terminal window ahead of the true starting command. This is an example with a Xterm window :
prog <name/tag> <icon> xterm [-maximized][-bg black][-fg white]... -e <starting command>
For the available options of Xterm see its man-pages. Only the -e option is mandatory and must be the last one before the true starting command.
As Connochaetos is made for machines with low resources, the option you have to pimp the outlook of your desktop are “somewhat limited”. Actually, there is not much more than changing the look of your desktop. This results in modifying the settings in the ~/.icewm subdirectory of your home directory. Here you find a very small number of style themes and wallpapers. Read the manpages and the help of Icewm to learn how to apply the chosen changes. For more variations visit the homepage and forum of Icewm ( http://www.icewm.org )
there are several ways to reduce the occupied percentage of your hard disk significantly :
* install the package localepurge from the connos-extra repo, configure and run it. It removes the unused parts of the localized menus, docs and man-pages. Repeat the application of localepurge after a new installation or updating of packages.
* pacman stores a copy of a downloaded package in /var/cache/pacman/pkg/ on installation (except during the first OS installation) or updating. The version currently used does not offer any longer the option for cleaning the cache. So you should check this directory occasionally and remove the packages by hand.
* several packages provide not only the mandatory man-pages but additionally documentations and extended help files. However, usually you can find these infos (often in an updated version) on the homepage. So it is up to you, whether to keep or remove this doc files on your system. Most of these kind of documents are in the folder /usr/share/doc/ .
* remove the video drivers of cards others than yours as you cannot use them. But be carefully not to delete those drivers you don't use at the moment, but are very important as a fallback in case of problems with your video card. So, keep at least the VGA, VESA and their framebuffer drivers on your system.
* ConnochaetOS comes not -as other distros- with tons of icons and themes. However, even then you have more icons and stuff than you are ever capable to use. To search for the icons and themes directory and to remove the unused ones doesn't save that much disk space, but in case of really old hardware, a few MB are worth the effort.
* in /usr/share/src you find the configuration settings for the Connochaetos kernel. These infos are not needed for running the computer. If you have no intention to modify and recompile the kernel you can delete the whole directory.
* on the other hand, building a kernel of your own and without all the modules will save you several MB, too. Of course, the most efficient way is to combine the two steps.
on the machines with low resources ConnochaetOS is aimed at, the speed performance depends not only on the CPU usage but heavily on the Swap usage. So, besides the usual ways to improve the performance of the PC (settings in the BIOS, management of the process priority etc.) it is essential to reduce the RAM load as much as possible to avoid the time-consuming Swap usage. Some of these hints are obvious but listed as a reminding :
* don't populate the daemon section of your /etc/rc.conf extensively. These programs usually use only few resources, but may matter with an increasing number
* use console applications instead of the GUI versions, especially for those tasks possibly running in the background (downloads, compiling, etc.). Sometimes it is a good idea to boot into a console, start this app here and open another console to start the GUI desktop. Or run the console program in a Xterm window of the GUI desktop (example : E-Mail client).
* plan the usage of the different apps you need in this session. Organized resource consumption is the most efficient method of speed improvement.
* sometimes a program starts another one as a child process, which is then independently running. A good example is the download manager of a web browser. On shutdown of the browser the downloads are running with more resources available and therefore often significantly faster.
Especially for laptops running on battery the reduction of power consumption is essential to extend the available work time of the machine. ConnochaetOS offers two packages for this purpose : cpufrequtils and laptop-mode-tools (at the moment in the “incoming” folder – see the forum for more infos)