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Installing Qtile on Ubuntu 10.10

I decided to try the Qtile tiling window manager after hearing so much about it at PyCon. It’s kind of a pain in the neck to install the first time, though, and I thought I’d save everyone else from the mistakes I made along the way.


Starting with the official installation instructions, here are the modifications I made to that process to get it running:


Skip manually compiling libxcb. The version that ships with Ubuntu 10.10 is sufficient.


To install xpyb, first run

sudo aptitude install xcb-proto libxcb1-dev python-xcbgen

Replace the ./configure --disable-drm2 step with ./autogen.sh.


Before installing cairo, install a newer version of libpixman:

git clone git://anongit.freedesktop.org/git/pixman.git
cd pixman
sudo make install

Next, install the development packages needed to compile it:

sudo aptitude install libxcb-render0-dev libpng12-dev libfontconfig1-dev libxrender-dev

Now you have to choose which X11 library to use. libx11 is the standard. lib11-xcb is the young upstart. I started with libx11-xcb, but the Thunderbird email program wouldn’t start until I reverted to libx11. It may be working by the time you read this.

To use libx11, run this (noting that we still have to enable xcb for other stuff):

sudo aptitude install libx11-dev
./autogen.sh --enable-xcb # Instead of ./configure!

If you’d like to expirement with libx11-xcb, run:

sudo aptitude install libx11-xcb-dev
./autogen.sh --enable-xlib-xcb # Instead of ./configure!


Yep: replace ./configure with ./autogen.sh.


To start Qtile from the login screen, I create a ~/.xsession file:

xmodmap ~/.xmodmap
~/.config/qtile/session-startup &
exec /usr/local/bin/qtile

The session-startup script sets the screen’s background picture, sleeps for a little bit to give Qtile a chance to start, then runs a few handy applets and other programs:

qiv -z ~/Pictures/Backgrounds/NATURE-SunsetBlissII_1600x1200.jpg
sleep 3
nm-applet &
gnome-power-manager &
kupfer --no-splash &
dropbox start

Ta-da! Qtile on Ubuntu 10.10 without excessive hair-pulling.

  1. kirkstr posted this
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