How to setup A Crash Bang Plus Plus 10 Linux Desktop for an HP Elitebook 820 G1. This guide gives some insight into my preferred Linux desktop configuration and also how to do some minor tweaks on Debian to optimise your install.

Step 1: Understand your Linux desktop requirements

My Linux window manager requirements for focused work:

  • Multiple desktops: I prefer having an application per desktop and using a hotkey to swap between desktops.
  • No desktop pager, no status bar, no taskbar, no dock, no nothing: Maximum real estate must be given to each application.
  • No title bars nor window edges: Since the application will be maximised or paged correctly on the desktop, and from there never move again.

My Linux desktop manager requirements:

  • Working device drivers: wifi, usb, bluetooth, video, webcam, keyboard, and mouse.

Step 2: Choose your distribution

I like Crashbang Plus Plus (CBPP), a minimal Debian distribution that has all the benefits of Debian, but with none of the bloat. The starting installation has very few installed components, but the XWindows desktop environment and window manager (lxde) is closest to what I like the most.

If you are not starting with CBPP, then an install of XWindows, with lxde is a good entry point to this guide.

Step 3: Make adjustments

  • Configure conky: Add battery stats and any hotkeys you might need to remember.
  • Update Intel intel xorg config to stop video tearing: See file.
  • Enable keyboard hotkeys that aren’t working by configuring showkey and lxhotkey: 
    • sudo showkey : get the keycodes for keyboard hotkeys that might not work (like mute microphone, volume up, volume down, etc.)
    • xev : check to see that XF86 can see the events raised by keyboard and mouse
    • lxhotkey : assign to missing hotkeys the features that aren’t working
      • Audio mute: pactl set-sink-mute @DEFAULT_SINK@ toggle
      • Audio up: pactl set-sink-mute @DEFAULT_SINK@ toggle
      • Audio down: pactl set-sink-mute @DEFAULT_SINK@ toggle
      • Microphone mute: pactl list sources | grep -qi ‘Mute: yes’ && pactl set-source-mute 1 false || pactl set-source-mute 1 true
      • ToggleDecorations to Decorate / Un-Decorate: assign it to Super+B
      • ShowMenu: Alt+Space
  • Get used to your keyboard shortcuts:
    • Run Application: right click on desktop to launch
    • Un-decorate application: use your hotkey or ShowMenu and select it
    • Maximise application: ShowMenu then Maximise
    • Move Application to Desktop X: ShowMenu and select desktop
    • Move Desktop left and right
  • Turn off tint2: When you are comfortable, issue killall tint2 on a command line. This will disable the status bar and desktop pager.

That’s it! You’re done!

NOTE: You can find more on my configuration here: