Awesome(wm) Setup

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Revision as of 08:10, 3 May 2018 by Catatonic (talk | contribs) (Added the "Enable "alpine/v3.7/community" Repository" section, added login as root to the "install D-Bus" section.)
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Initial setup

Start by booting up Alpine (see these instructions on how to do that)
When Alpine is up and running, do the initial setup.


Enable "alpine/v3.7/community" Repository

In order to install the awesome package (see "Install packages" below), you need to enable the alpine/v3.7/community repository:

vi /etc/apk/repositories

Scroll down and delete the # symbol from the beginning of this line:


Save and quit (press esc, then type :wq, press enter).

Install packages

Install awesome, feh, aterm as basic desktop system.
This might take a few minutes depending on your network speed.

apk add awesome feh aterm

If aterm is not recognized by apk (Alpinelinux 3.2.x or above) instead of it you can install lxterminal.
On the same version of Alpinelinux (3.2.x or above) you have to install the package lua otherwise awesome will not start

apk add lua

Add other apps on need, eg. firefox, gnumeric, xchat, gimp, pidgin, geany, vim, etc.
For Alpinelinux 2.6.x add additional pkgs

apk add cairo-gobject pango

Optional packages

Video and Input packages

You might also want to install a package suitable for your video chipset and input devices.
For example, if you have an Sis video chipset install 'xf86-video-sis', for Intel video chipset install 'xf86-video-intel'.

apk add xf86-video-sis

and / or

apk add xf86-input-synaptics

Run 'apk search xf86-video*' to see available xf86-video packages.
Run 'apk search xf86-input*' to see available xf86-input packages.


If you installed your Alpine Linux as a VirtualBox or VMWare guest you might find it handy to be able send ACPI shutdown.

rc-update add acpid

Configure xorg-server

On most systems, xorg should be able to autodetect all devices. However you can still configure xorg-server by hand by launching:


Create user accounts

Create a normal user account.

adduser ncopa

Optionally, give that user sudo permissions in /etc/sudoers. When doing so, it is important to use the command:


This ensures that only one user is changing the file at any given time. Visudo has two modes: Command mode and Insert mode. To edit the file, use the arrows to navigate to the appropriate line and enter Insert mode by pressing the 'i' key. To save and exit, enter Command mode by pressing the 'Esc' key, then ':w' + 'enter' to save, and finally ':q' + 'enter' to quit.

Logout from root and login into new created account.

Start your desktop

echo 'awesome' >> /home/<newuser>/.xinitrc

mkdir /home/<newuser>/.config

cp -r /etc/xdg/awesome /home/<newuser>/.config

vi /home/<newuser>/.config/awesome/rc.lua

Replace instances of xterm with aterm or (if 3.2.x or above use lxterminal instead)

Start awesome.



D-Bus problems:

D-Bus library appears to be incorrectly set up; failed to read machine uuid: Failed to open "/var/lib/dbus/machine-id": No such file or directory

If startx fails and returns an error about D-Bus failed to read machine uuid, as shown above, proceed as follow:

Install dbus from apk (you must be logged in as root, as for the step below)

apk add dbus

Login or su to root account then launch the follow command (Note: sudo is not working for this step):

dbus-uuidgen > /var/lib/dbus/machine-id

Now if startx is launched it should load correctly the desktop