Installation of ratpoison in debian/ubuntu

How to make Ratpoison your only window manager:

a) Go through the distro installation process as you typically would. Once you reach the desktop, open up a Terminal.

b) Update your system:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

c) Install Ratpoison, misc softwares and create the .ratpoisonrc file:

sudo aptitude install ratpoison alsamixergui bpytop brightnessctl catfish dialog gir1.2-xfconf-0 gmrun gsimplecal libfltk1.1 libjs-jquery libjs-sphinxdoc libjs-underscore libxnvctrl0 neofetch python3-dbus python3-dialog python3-pexpect python3-psutil python3-ptyprocess rxvt rxvt-unicode unclutter viewnior brightness-udev chafa fonts-dejavu fonts-ipaexfont-gothic fonts-ipafont-gothic fonts-ipafont-nonfree-jisx0208 fonts-liberation fonts-mona fonts-takao-gothic fonts-umeplus-cl fonts-vlgothic javascript-common libu2f-udev locate mlocate plocate system-config-printer unclutter-startup 9menu cups-pk-helper fonts-ipafont-mincho ghostscript gir1.2-secret-1 gsfonts menu packagekit python3-smbc system-config-printer-udev dmenu fonts-droid-fallback libpaper-utils packagekit-tools fonts-noto-mono gdebi lintian bcc build-essential clang-11 clang-13 clang-9 fakeroot gcc gcc-10 gcc-9 libalgorithm-merge-perl libfile-fcntllock-perl libpackage-stash-xs-perl libref-util-perl libtype-tiny-xs-perl libxml-sax-expat-perl pseudo tcc elks-libc libalgorithm-diff-xs-perl libomp-11-dev libreadonly-perl libref-util-xs-perl llvm-11-dev llvm-13-dev llvm-9-dev

touch ~/.ratpoisonrc

d) Now, you want Ratpoison to be your default session. You can configure this in the .xinitrc file in your home directory:

nano ~/.xinitrc

e) If there is no .xinitrc file, creating one with the following command:

touch ~/.xinitrc

f) Insert the following line and save the file:

exec ratpoison

g) Give the .xinitrc file the necessary permissions:

chmod +x ~/.xinitrc

h) To ensure Ratpoison starts on boot, you need to install xinit and lightdm, which is a handy and lightweight display manager:

sudo apt-get install xinit

For autologin, edit lightdm as follows:

1. Open a terminal window.

2. To allow automatic login, you need to edit the 'lightdm.conf' file. If it doesn't exist, you need to create it. Use the following command: `sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf`

3. Add the following lines to the file:

[Seat:*] autologin-user=yourusername autologin-user-timeout=0

Replace 'yourusername' with your actual username.

4. Save the file and exit the editor (in nano, you can do this by pressing `Ctrl+X`, then `Y` to confirm saving changes, then `Enter` to confirm the file name).

5. Restart your system for the changes to take effect.

i) If you want to get rid of the existing window managers or desktop environments, starting with GNOME, execute:

sudo apt-get purge ubuntu-desktop gnome-shell

j) Following that, to remove all the related packages and dependencies, use:

sudo apt-get autoremove

k) To check if other desktop environments or window manager are installed, make sure Aptitude is installed:

sudo apt install aptitude

l) Then run a command like this for each potential desktop package:

aptitude search '?installed(?name(gnome-shell))'

Change “gnome-shell” to the package name of the desktop you are searching for. If it returns nothing, the package isn’t installed.

m) If you find another installed desktop environment or window manager, substitute “gnome-shell” in the purge command above with the corresponding packages.

n) Now, you need to edit the /etc/inittab file to enable automatic login. However, Debian 11 uses systemd by default, which doesn’t use /etc/inittab. Instead, you can create a service to autologin and start xinit. First, create a new service file:

sudo mousepad /etc/systemd/system/autologin@.service

Add the following content to this file:

ExecStart=-/sbin/agetty --autologin yourusername --noclear %I $TERM


Replace ‘yourusername’ with your actual username.

Save and exit the file.

Now, you should be able to enable the service:

sudo systemctl enable autologin@.service

Finally, reboot your system. It should now automatically log you in and start a ratpoison session.

Create ratpoison.desktop file in /usr/share/xsessions/

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Simple and fast window manger
[Window Manager]

Make a symbolic link of /usr/bin/ratpoison file in /etc/alternatives/

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/ratpoison /etc/alternatives/x-window-manager

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/ratpoison /etc/alternatives/x-session-manager