Trying to use a different window manager

I wanted to try out a different window manager (or three), but ran into problems. This is on 12.04.5 32bit on an Asus Eee PC 1000HE (1). I’ve never changed a window manager before.


  1. The window manager setting in Menu>Preferences>Desktop Session Settings/“Advanced Options” seems to not work, or I’m using it wrong somehow.
  2. I worked around #1 by editing desktop.config files, which worked for fluxbox but caused breakage with i3 and pekwm.


I went to Menu>Preferences>Desktop Session Settings/“Advanced Options” and replaced “openbox-lxde” with the package name of the window manager I wanted to try, but when I logged out and back in, LXLE still used openbox.

I found an old LXDE thread where the poster had the same problem. They figured out this:

I got two folders in .config/lxsession, each containing a desktop.config file. One folder called LXDE, where in desktop.config already compiz was defined as window manager (probably again because of desktop session settings) and one called Lubuntu, where still Openbox was selected. Changed the second one to Compiz, now everything is working as it should.

So I looked in ~/.config/lxsession and found those 2 folders plus some for the LXLE paradigms. I checked desktop.config in both Lubuntu and LXDE (I assume one of them is for the XP paradigm, which is the one I modified, since there isn’t a separate folder for it), and the one in LXDE only had this in it:


(actually I found something else at first, but that’s maybe a side issue)

Nervously, I went into the Lubuntu folder’s desktop.config and changed “windows_manager/command=openbox” to “windows_manager/command=fluxbox”, logged out & back in, and — it worked!

But neither pekwm nor i3 worked. Windows had no title bar or buttons (i3 doesn’t have buttons anyway, but pekwm is supposed to); clicking windows did not raise or focus them; windows didn’t show up in the taskbar; and I had to close PCManFM to type in Gedit. With i3 the windows all floated, so I think LXLE didn’t use either pekwm or i3 when I told it to, and maybe I was seeing some kind of bad openbox fallback?

If anyone can help me solve these mysteries, I would greatly appreciate it :)

Probably not important, but:

  • I found no reference in either desktop.config to “openbox-lxde”, only “openbox”.
  • The LXDE folder had no autostart file like the other folders have.
  • In this other LXLE window manager thread, I see that they had to enter “compiz ccp”, and in Synaptic I see that there is no openbox-lxde package, so maybe I need to put something after the window manager’s package name? I also saw the advice to run “compiz –replace” afterward, but I don’t see any similar option in the i3 man page, and neither fluxbox nor pekwm have a man page.


  1. This is my backup computer that I’m testing on before upgrading my main one, which is an Acer Aspire One waiting for an overdue upgrade from 12.04 to 14.04 64bit.
  2. I found no reference in *either* desktop.config to the WM I’d set. While writing about it, I looked at those files again for reference and found the situation described above. I don’t know if something changed during the many login/logouts I’ve done, or if I accidentally looked in the wrong folder before.

[Discuss at LXLE Support Forums]