start apps at boot?

Forum: HD Install
Topic: start apps at boot?
started by: tjwoosta

Posted by tjwoosta on April 20 2008,18:27
i dont know if this is the right place to post this question but here goes.

I downloaded the fonts package dsl-artwiz to a hardrive install of  dsl4.2.5

in the info for the font it says to type this into the terminal to make it run.

Code Sample
xset +fp /opt/fonts/artwiz-aleczpka

the problem is i have to type that code in every boot

it says also in the info that i can it to .xinitrc to make it start on everty boot, but i dont know what to put?  
do i just type exactly whats i put  above or do i have to add anything to it or what?

also i would like to have xscrensaver start up at boot also, would i do this the same way?

one other thing is ive seen some other linux distros where you can set everything up so that certain programs come on at startup but are on the specified desktop
(like i want to make firefox come on at startup on desktop2, and have a terminal window on desktop 1, and abiword on desktop 3)

the reason for this is that my computer has a very slow cpu and it takes firefox alone like 30 seconds to open up, but once open i can navigate the web fairly easily

Posted by lucky13 on April 20 2008,19:20
This isn't about starting at boot, per se, but rather when X starts.

Add this to your .xinitrc for the artwiz fonts:
Code Sample
xset +fp /opt/fonts/artwiz-aleczpka &

Yes, do similarly with xscreensaver (which only works when running X):
Code Sample
xscreensaver &

You can also append various options before the ampersand (which you need to add before commands or else X will hang at that spot). Look up the xscreensaver man page.

You can add commands to your .jwmrc to start apps. I don't know how you're fixed on RAM, but that's probably going to be a bigger issue than CPU speed if you get gung ho with opening all this stuff when you startx. These things -- xscreensaver, abiword, and firefox in particular -- use LOTS of RAM when running by themselves. Running them all simultaneously when you start will *not* speed things up but slow everything down. Significantly. Depending how much RAM (+swap) you have, perhaps it will slow things down very drastically. Your choice, but mine wouldn't be to start so much that I end up swapping in my first few minutes (or even hours) of uptime without a good reason.

You can find all the jwmrc variables on this page (start up commands is in the "other settings" section):
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Posted by tjwoosta on April 20 2008,20:25
ok thanks lucky,

i gonna try it tonight when i get home
(by the way i forgot to mention that i am using fluxbox, i notice that you said .jwmrc is it the same file if i use fluxbox?

i see what you mean about the ram, but right now what i do is open all of those things manually at startup so i can just switch to the destop that there on anytime i want with alt-(F1throghF4) it makes it alot easier to do do stuff when i just leave the most used apps open even when im not using them rather than starting up apps everytime i need them.
(also i leave one desktop clean so theres no clutter when i want to open a new app)

currently with all of the apps running at once it only uses about 1/4 of my ram (while loading webpages and doing homework) and i can instantly swith desktops with no lag.
yet if i were to close firefox and open it again it would take about 60 seconds to completely load up again

(so im sry maybe its not the cpu speed thats slowing things down, but the rate at which data is transfered from the harddisk)

basically i want to take advantage of the extra desktops and use them kinda like a speed dial to my most used apps

o by the way, just to show how much better dsl is than other operating systems.   this computer has a 400 mhz intel celeron and 156Mb ram with a 3.5 GB harddrive, and with the speed dial setup i mentioned above i can navigate the web, check my mail, and get homework done faster than i could with my other computer when i was running vista with an intel pentium dual @1.46 ghz and 1GB ram
(im now running ubuntu on that machine and its a different story)

Posted by lucky13 on April 20 2008,21:33
No, jwmrc works for jwm. I don't know how to do that with fluxbox short of opening everything via .xinitrc and then moving to different desktops. There are other tools that might work if you insist on using fluxbox and it doesn't let you set up specific window:desktop relationships.
Posted by lucky13 on April 20 2008,21:41
I just looked at the fluxbox documentation and I see third-party utilities to do that but not within fluxbox itself.

This has some hefty requirements that you might not care to install just to open a few apps up at boot. Then again, the priorities of some users never cease to amaze me. If you want to run python scripts (think in terms of RAM and CPU cycles) and imlib2 just to have more control over a window manager, more power to you I guess. You may think jwm is kind of pedestrian in comparison, but one of the reasons I prefer it to fluxbox is because it's much more functional out of the box.
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Posted by lucky13 on April 20 2008,21:52
Here. You're lucky the Lakers are blowing out the Nuggets and AI was ejected. Otherwise, I wouldn't have looked. I don't know if it works with the version in the base, but it might with one(s) in MyDSL.
Sometimes, you want to force an application to have always the same dimensions, position, and other settings. It is now possible with the new window-submenu called 'Remember...'. Settings are saved in the ~/.fluxbox/apps file. You don't have to edit the file yourself as all manipulations can be done using the 'Remember...' submenu.

Workspace [0-N]
   Force the workspace of the application to be the current one, even if you launch the application from another workspace.
Dimensions [Width Height]
   Remember the current dimensions.
   Remember the current position. X and Y are relative to e.g. WINCENTER .
Shaded state [yes|no]
   Remember the current shaded state.
Tab state [yes|no]
   Remember the current tab state.
Decoration state [NONE|NORMAL|TOOL|TINY]
   Remember the current decoration state.
Sticky state [yes|no]
   Remember the current sticky state.
Jump to workspace [yes|no]
   This one is only useful if 'Workspace' is set too. The workspace is changed to the workspace containing the application being launched.
Save settings on close [yes|no]
   By default, application settings are not saved when a window is closed. Set this option if you want previous settings to be saved when the window is closed.

The apps-file also allows to specify applications that should be started on fluxbox start using [startup] (options) {application} lines . options could be used to specify the screen, not the workspace, on which the application should started. startup is not yet setable by menu.

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Posted by tjwoosta on April 20 2008,22:23
yea i looked everywhere and i cant find a remember submenu or an apps file in .fluxbox  

if i upgrade my fluxbox in mydsl is it going to slow things down?

cuz if its going to be that big of a deal i will just manually open the files like i have been.

Posted by mikshaw on April 20 2008,22:38
There is no apps file for DSL's version of fluxbox
Any of the fluxbox 0.9.x extensions will have support for it, although I believe you have to create the file yourself.  One of these days I might make a 1.x version of the extension, but I haven't been very interested in Fluxbox lately.

The newer fluxbox is slower, but depending on your hardware it may not be noticeable. Newer pixmap themes and large background images take up a lot more ram, so that can be a factor as well.

Posted by lucky13 on April 21 2008,00:41
This is going a little off topic but I think reducing bloat is worthy of discussing even when it applies to other operating systems...
i can navigate the web, check my mail, and get homework done faster than i could with my other computer when i was running vista with an intel pentium dual @1.46 ghz and 1GB ram

You just need to learn how to set up Vista for better performance. When you have time, use Google to look up 'vista speed hacks' and you'll find plenty of tips for better performance. Most of them start with disabling Aero features (choose Vista Basic or Vista Standard), which really shouldn't be that bad on dual anything with RAM measured in GB.

I'm running Vista on a single core 1.4 ghz box with 768MB RAM (and video card with 512 MB RAM) just fine -- but I don't run any special effects, pretty spartan. Last person who asked me to check out a Vista laptop because it was running "slow" and draining her battery had a big fancy high-res 1.25 GB wallpaper and all kinds of special effects running. I scaled the wallpaper and turned off some effects and everything was okay again.

Many cases of "poor" performance are related to video-related bloat -- big fancy graphics, high resolution icons, etc. That's affected me using supposed low resource-oriented distros like Vector more than in Vista (one setting to manage in Vista versus editing menus to remove icons in Vector). YMMV. At least DSL lives up to the billing by keeping substance above style -- great for people who wanna get stuff done, maybe not so great for people more interested in eye candy.

Speaking of which, if you can live with screen blanking and not the intensive graphics of xscreensaver, I submitted slock to testing a couple months ago. It blanks the screen -- not fancy, but it works. You type your password (set one if you haven't already) without any console feedback; if it's good you resume X, if you fail it beeps and you're locked out. Neither xscreensaver nor slock is a security feature -- ctrl-alt-backspace kills X and takes you to console. Then it's just a matter of "startx" and anyone has access to your X session (dittos for full control of the system in the console since dsl has full root privileges via sudo without any need for password -- something I always change on hard drive installs).

Posted by tjwoosta on April 21 2008,03:20
yea your probly right about the visual effects being what caused my vista to run slow, and i may have been exagerating a little, but it really is amazing how smooth and fast dsl is on my old machine. Also with the fluxbox window manager dsl can look pretty spiffy without it noticably slowing my stuff down

anyway i have already ditched vista on my new computer and installed ubuntu over it, just because of all the problems vista gave me.  I had the computer for about 2 months before i installed ubuntu and in that 2 months i had to run system restore 3 times.

and with ubuntu i can have far better visual effects with compiz fusion than vista offers and it doesnt slow my computer down in the least bit, not to mention that i have been runing it for about 4 or 5 months now without any problems!
( id say the only downside of not running windows would be the fact that most good video games that come out are designed for windows)

Posted by curaga on April 22 2008,14:54
A bit late I s'pose, but what you want could have been readahead.
Over half of the long firefox starting time comes from reading all those files of it, totaling about 16mb plus all the other libs it uses. So if you use readahead to read commonly used files to cache during boot, they can be accessed instantly from ram, and firefox starts up in ~3 secs too.

The C code of it is in a thread titled "Speeding the DSL boot with readahead", I don't remember which section though.

Posted by lucky13 on April 22 2008,17:24
Doesn't readahead slow down boot noticeably?
Posted by curaga on April 23 2008,14:44
No, it's not blocking if ran in the background, and if started when the HD is not accessed, there's no slowdown at all. Even doing it the Ubuntu style, always in the background and so slowing HD accessing processes a bit, can drop boot time to near half (when used for boot files of course).
Posted by lucky13 on April 23 2008,14:59

It's been my understanding that readahead really slows things down on lower-spec machines (such as when booting a live CD):
"Normal KNOPPIX" with less than 256MB memory was faster than "KNOPPIX + readahead".
"KNOPPIX + readahead" became faster if there was more than 384MB memory.

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Posted by mikshaw on April 23 2008,16:52
Caching things is always going to necessarily increase ram use, which is always going to affect performance unless you have more ram than you need to cache+run the rest of the system.  I never could understand the "feature" that some application have that keeps them open in the background to speed up their startup.  It wouldn't be bad if they were like Linux in that it releases cached memory when needed for other purposes, but apparently this is not the case. What they should focus on instead is making their applications lighter, in my opinion.

Also, backgrounding *anything* during boot sounds like a really bad idea to me. A boot failure may take down the backgrounded processes, and likely not do it safely. This is particularly troublesome if you're backgrounding other parts of the boot process, but I guess that's not the issue here.

Posted by curaga on April 24 2008,14:01
@lucky13: Ah. I first thought that link referred to cloop-readahead, but it was the "actual" one. Well, I took a look at that, and it is done the "ubuntu"-way - it starts early with a list of all files accessed during boot, reading them all in sequence - which isn't too good for low-ram machines, if the file is read too early or too late. Slow cd drives may also not benefit from this continuous read, slowing other cd-accesses.

When used in an appropriate spot, and timed right, it results in a speedup.

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