Ratpoison, Screen, SSH

I’ve spent a lot of time this past week (and weekend) using the same screen session on my primary computer remotely from my laptop. This has allowed me to do things like compile without burning up my laptop (it gets VERY hot compiling), run the same session of naim, etc., and check back in as I can. No down time between travel, commuting, work, play, etc. I pick up everything right where it is no matter where I go.

I’d installed ratpoison on the laptop when I first installed Vector Linux. At that time, I was willing to give XFce a fair shot against window managers with lower system requirements (not fluxbox, more like jwm). I liked it, but it wasn’t as lean as I thought it should be. Then I installed KDE for a bit. I really like having a fully integrated system, but my laptop isn’t really up to running that.

So I’ve removed both XFce and KDE. I’ve been using JWM with a lot of my anti-WIMP mods from Damn Small Linux as my primary window manager. I’ve been using ratpoison more often again lately.

Not just on my laptop — I went ahead and installed it on desktop, too. I installed ratpoison on this computer because I noticed my USB mouse kept locking up and dmesg informs me that Linux can’t enable port 2 and maybe the USB cable is bad. Yep. After 10 years of abuse, it probably is. Once again, the mouse is unplugged and I’ve set things up so I can live without it (but I did plug it in so I can scroll while I edit this online).

I removed 9menu, which installs with ratpoison via Debian testing, and installed ratmenu as well as xbindkeys. I would’ve compiled xbindkeys on my own if I’d noticed the Debian version requires libguile-ltdl-1, libqthreads-12, and guile-1.6-libs — 2.654 MB(!!!). Ouch. I might go ahead and do that but I have this thing down to under 1.5 GB of disk use now.

What’s not to love about that?! It’s just vim with my ratmenu running in screen. I have a dark-ish grey (grey33) background and default grey text (good old size 10 fixed font!) in aterm. That’s the same screen session that’s been running for over a week, detached and re-attached probably 200 times locally and remotely.

I’m not anti-WIMP. I know there are people who carp on icons and menus and say they get in the way. Do they? Or are they really any different from shell wrappers and aliases? I don’t think they are. I think of that when I edit menus and aliases and write wrapper scripts.

Let me give an example. You probably can’t read the second to the last line clearly in the menu: it says “screen-scaled.” I wanted the ability to produce a scaled screenshot on the fly. So I appended an ImageMagick import line with convert to produce a 400×300 shot suitable for posting on blogs. I write the command(s) once either way whether it’s a wrapper script or a menu item or an alias. Let’s say I alias it as “scaledshot.” When I type sc-TAB, I’d get 28 possibilities for autocompletion. Add the l-TAB, four possibilities. So I’m already at five keystrokes and in need of another e-TAB — seven strokes. I know I can limit that with zsh by TABbing until I find the right one. That still would put me at six anyway.

How much of a barrier is my menu? Ctrl-z-y (I rebound my escape to z) give me a menu. Two up arrows take me backward to that line. Return. Done. Five strokes. Too many? I can bind that to shift-print (print is taken up for the full shot) or something else. If I were so inclined, I could bind it to an icon in another window manager and with one short motion and one click I’d have my stupid 400×300 screenshot to show the world how boring my computers are most of the time.

Anyway, I’m not getting too carried away with filling in the menu. Most stuff will be console anyway and run in screen. The point is, there are plenty of ways to do things. Right now, this is mine. At least til I go buy a new mouse.

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2 Responses to “Ratpoison, Screen, SSH”

  1. linuxam Says:

    Hi, I can’t seem to get ratmenu to work. I installed it properly. I have ratpoison.

    I type ratmenu and get this:

    usage: ratmenu [-display displayname] [-style {snazzy|dreary}]
    [-shell shell] [-label name] [-align {left|center|right}]
    [-fg fgcolor] [-bg bgcolor] [-font fname] [-back prevmenu]
    [-persist] [-version] [-io offset] [menuitem command] …

    I tried doing a few configurations but it wont show up anywhere inside ratpoison! How it works?Do I need a .ratmenurc file?

  2. lucky Says:

    I put together a little tutorial:
    https://lucky13linux.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/a-quick-ratmen-tutorial/

    This works pretty much the same for ratmen and ratmenu since they’re based on the same code base.

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