yesterday i installed Qubes 3.0 with KDE as default on a new laptop.
Now almost everything is nicely done.
In this mail i want to outline some of the work i did in order to
satisfy my demands on my daily operating system. Maybe someone feels
inspired, maybe somebody has suggestions for me, maybe somebody finds
solutions to problems in this mail. :)
Setting up the Icons
After importing backups from qubes R2B3 (no serious errors here :)) i
assigned all my fedora-20-template-based-VMs to the new
fedora-21-template. If i understand it right there were big changes
made to core between Qubes 2 and Qubes 3. (check:
VMs with old qrexec don't work with Qubes 3.0.
I noticed that all imported-vm application-icons were messed up and/or
buggy. To fix it i changed the colors(labels) of all affected VMs and
changed it back to the original color. This procedure is described
somewhere in this mailing list. After doing this, i logged of and in
again and most the icons were new and shiny again.
I realized that there were still some icons in the wrong color. I
checked the menu configuration and detected, that the
still-buggy-icons or better there Application-links all had in common,
that they were not set up in the "Application"-tab in qubes-manager.
So i set them up; all icons are working again now.
Setting up the templates
Then i cloned provided template-vms. For example:
qvm-clone fedora-21 fedora-21-net-interim
qvm-clone fedora-21 fedora-21-app
This has some advantages: it's always possible to go back to the
original template, if something is messed up. I never touch the
Furthermore is my app-template very big and contains many programs i
really don't need in any networking-service-vm like sys-net or
Net-template is interim, because I'm waiting for a
fedora-21-minimal-template to rebase my net-template on the minimal
I did the same with the debian-template.
I also edited `/etc/vimrc` and `/etc/bashrc` in my templates. I want
my nice little aliases and vi-configuration available in every vm.
With the splitting of the template i was able to set up different $PS1
(bash) for different templates, so my command-prompt looks
differently. In my opinion it is important to identify the
corresponding VM to an window very quickly. Beside the window-colors,
which are enormously helpful, i try to create more difference between
VMs in "look & feel" in order to work more quickly with QubesOS.
After i did first first configuration, i started to customize KDEs
"look n' feel". Here are some screenshots:
* The background image is changing every 25sec. I `mv`ed all
non-qubes-wallpapers to another folder and set up diashow. The nice
wallpapers by Michał Kopczyński generate an awesome color-changing-effect.
* I changed many hotkeys in KDE and Qubes: moving windows to next
workspace, resize window to left or right half of the screen,
switching between workspaces, maximizing and minimizing windows,
showing the desktop (cause there are the shortcuts to my programs) and
i changed default copypaste-hotkeys. ( [qubes-users] Copy+Paste with
Meta+[cv] possible? )
* I installed `cowsay`, `sl`, `tilda` and `smooth tasks` in dom0. The
taskbar in the bottom is an `smooth tasks`-widget. As it is configured
it only shows captions of windows on current workingspace. That allows
me to keep track of all my opened applications but it isn't overloaded
like it would be, if all applications captions were shown.
* Icons on the desktop are grouped in simple "quicklaunchers".
Sometimes with caption, sometimes without.
* There are 4 terminal-windows in groups of two on the desktop:
* First shows `watch`es the `awk`ed output of my patched `qvm-ls`
output is augmented by `cowsay` i'll pipe some qubes-related-hints
into this in the future.
My little `qvm-ls` patch adds an option to suppress the output of
labels in `qvm-ls`.
@Developers: interested? I nether wasn't able to find the
according repository nor the according file in git.
* Second shows `tail -f /var/log/qubes/* & dmesg -wH`.
Maybe there is something more nicely than
`tail -f /var/log/qubes/*`
* Third shows `top`. I mainly want it for load average and
different system information.
* Fourth is a terminal. In the screenshots i executed different
commands in it. A basic terminal at this position is very useful
if you e.g. want to quickly `qvm-run something`.
All of them are driven by `tilda`. I played inside the gui
configurations so they look nicely and show up with the proper
commmand after reboot.
Transparency-settings in `tilda` cause gfx-bugs. It is better to set
transparency via KDE.
It is comfortable to right-click tilda, go "more"->"special settings
for this program"
If you want edit it later go to "KDE-settings"->"window behaviour"->
In this menu it is a good idea to:
* 1st tab -> program recognition by containing string, not by exact
* 2nd tab -> disable minimize
* 3rd tab -> keep in background
* 3rd tab -> disable tabbing
* 4th tab -> transparency if you want
* On screenshot 3 i use vim with syntastics + pylint. If vim is
properly configured and has the plugins needed, it can do the job of
a good IDE.
* I enabled 3d-magicbox for my workspaces as you see on screenshot 4.
I always liked it :)
In my opinion it's worth to dig into your window managers graphical
I hope this mail may have given an idea to some of you of how setting
up a desktop-environment with QubesOS could be. Generally I'm using
many hotkeys for many things. The problem with Qubes is, that you
normally have two many Applications to hotkey them. Names are normally
to long and difficult to type them in. So click the most used
applications to start them seems to be the solution. Most important
thing here is to have an hotkey to show the desktop.
Writing this mail, two more options for setting up a fast
working-environment, that would fulfill my demands, came to my mind.
a) hack bash-completion for `qvm-run`
hack bash-completion for an alias like `r` for `qvm-run -a --tray`
With this you could set up an always-visible-dom0-shell to start
b) set up application-links like i did, but arrange them in a grid.
Set up hotkeys for the grid like this:
This is actually from Starcraft2. It uses a 3*5-grid. But grids of
4*10 or 3*10 are imaginable too.
Second idea seams to be compatible with my basic-setup. Maybe i'll set
up things like this someday.
so long, Questions are warmly welcome,