Cooking with Linux - Can't Get Enough Desktops!
From that command line, start your window manager or desktop simply by typing its command name, such as xfce4-session for XFCE, amiwm for AmiWM and so on.
After you've played with several window managers in this manner, you may find yourself faced with a bit of a roadblock. Sometimes, in doing this, I ran into a message (particularly from GNOME) that it could not start, specifically gnome-session: you're already running a session manager. As I knew this wasn't the case, I checked to see what the SESSION_MANAGER pointed to:
$ echo $SESSION_MANAGER local/ultraman:/tmp/.ICE-unix/3132
As you can see, I had leftover session information from a prior run with a nested window manager. One option is to unset the SESSION_MANAGER variable. Another is simply to remove the troubling files, assuming, of course, that you are no longer running your window manager:
$ rm /tmp/.ICE-unix/3132 rm: remove socket `/tmp/.ICE-unix/3132'? y
It would appear, mes amis, that closing time is approaching rapidly, so it's time for la pièce de résistance—your desktop dessert, if you will. Some of you may be asking, “if I can run one nested server, why not two or three?” Starting a second nested server is simply a matter of assigning a different display number. For the second, type Xnest -ac :2 or Xnest -ac :3 for the third and so on. In fact, you can run an Xnest inside of another Xnest. Figure 3 shows an IceWM session running inside a GNOME session, running inside a KDE session.
As you can see, mes amis, there is enough here to satisfy the greatest desktop gourmand among you, non? As Robert Heinlein might have said, “to enjoy the full flavor of life, take big bites” or in this case, run many different window managers and many desktops.
And now, closing time truly is upon us, but spend a little more time exploring. François will refill your glasses one final time before you go. Until next time, mes amis, let us all drink to one another's health. A vôtre santé! Bon appétit!
Marcel Gagné (firstname.lastname@example.org) lives in Mississauga, Ontario. He is the author of the newly published Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! (ISBN 0-321-15998-5) from Addison Wesley. His first book is the highly acclaimed Linux System Administration: A User's Guide (ISBN 0-201-71934-7). In real life, he is president of Salmar Consulting, Inc., a systems integration and network consulting firm.