Windows Look-n-Feel

Windows Look-n-Feel

An important aspect is the appearance. Many users shy aware from Linux because it looks different. Although what most users are referring to is a specific windows manager (one of many, as opposed to the single, proprietary GUI provided by Windows), this is the visual representation of Linux that most users are familiar with. Because each of the different windows manager has a different way in which you interact, how familiar you are with that interface defines how well you can work with it, which in turn defines how comfortable you are with it. Since the default windows manager on many Linux systems has a completely different appearance from Windows 9x/NT newcomers are often confused if not intimidated.

The solution is to provide a window manager that is more familiar for the user. One alternative is the KDE or Gnome, configured as the default window manager by SuSE and RedHat, respectively. Both provide a similar look and feel to Windows. Although they are similar, there are enough differences to throw people off. Fortunately, there is help in the form of the fvwm95-2 window manager.

As it’s name implies, the fvwm95 is designed to look like the Windows 95. Although there are a few slight differences, to general look and feel is that of Windows NT (of course, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0, as well). If you take a quick look at Figure 1, it is likely that you think you are looking at Windows 95. However, the trained eye can pick up a few difference. (Such as the fact the button used to shutdown the system is actually called “Shutdown” and not “Start”.

The first step is to make sure that fvwm95 is installed on your system. Like the other window managers, fvwm95 resides in the bin directory under /usr/X11 (which may actually be a link to /usr/X11R). If the file fvwm95 is not there, you could search for it on your system, but it probably has not been installed (assuming all of the other window managers are located in /usr/X11/bin.

Check your distribution to see if you have it. Depending on the number of CD that you have, fvwm95 may not be included. If you cannot find it, it is often available on the FTP site for your distribution. However, many of them don’t. If you cannot find it, try the SuSE ftp site: As you can see, this is an RPM File, so just copy it to somewhere safe and run

rpm -i

to install it. You can also find it as a gzip-tar archive in

The files ~/.xinitrc and ~/.xsession check the value of the environment variable WINDOWMANAGER. This variable specifies, which binary (program file) will be started. If the variable isn’t set, the default value is used, which is typically the fvwm window manager. To set your window manager to fvw95, look in one of the two files mentioned previously. If the WINDOWMANAGER is not set, you can add a line that looks like this:

export WINDOWMANAGER=/usr/X11R6/bin/fvwm95