January 2005, I developed a kiosk linux distribution with a look similar to Microsoft Windows XP.
The first objective was to provide the user with a realistic WinXP look&feel. The second objective was to avoid having the user modify the system configuration.
I tried different Window Managers, themes and patches from other people (fvwm, icewm, gnome, kde, etc).
Finally I decided to modify a Window Manager in order to adapt it to the project requirements. I preferred icewm due to the fact that it is developed in c++, it is easy to configure, it is lightweight and it is fast.
I modified icewm 1.2.20 in the following ways:
1.- Added support for mouse over-button pixmaps.
2.- Added support for pixmaps in the left side of menus
3.- The taskbar was split into two parts, the traditional and the notification area like Windows XP.
4.- Added new buttons with menus in the notification area for keyboard layout and switching locale.
5.- Added a new look for themes. This look (lookXP) has two modes: a pixmap mode (if the theme provides a pixmap for each component in the task bar, titlebar, and window frames) and a fast mode so the software automatically renders a look similar to Windows XP without pixmaps.
6.- Corrected minor bugs and added other features into icewm sources (transparent pixmaps, png icons, customizable size of taskbar, etc).
7.- Modified icewm-session, in order to launch a customized desktop manager to provide application launchers with icons and the ability to easily change wallpapers (added option -bg=command
8.- Modified icewmtray in order to notify applications about changes to the background color in the tray area and to capture the -HUP signal to reread the new configuration.
9.- Adapted all plugins (cpu, network, etc) to correctly display the background color and pixmap of the taskbar.
10.- Added a restart script that is executed when icewm is restarted or when the theme is changed.
11.- Finally I created various new themes for icewm: first the pixmap themes, WinXP-Blue, WinXP-Olive, WinXP-Silver. Then the plain no-pixmap themes, WinXP-Plain-Blue, WinXP-Plain-Olive, WinXP-Plain-Silver. Lastly, I created the double-height taskbar themes.Because icewm does not have a desktop icon manager, I decided to use idesk which I modified to capture the -SIGHUP signal and reload its configuration. Thus when icewm is restarted, it also notifies idesk to be reloaded.
I also needed a FileManager with an identical look to Windows Explorer. I added these features to xfe:
1.- Icons identical to explorer's
2.- A command line option to restrict the file system area visible to the user (option -r folder).
3.- If xfe is in restricted mode, some utilities are hidden (permissions, links, etc)
August 2006, LookXP begins as an OpenSource project.
- Registered lxp as a new project at: http://lxp.sourceforge.net and created the mail list: email@example.com and the lxp CVS repository.
- Created first scrips and utilities for lxp:
lxp-startup: this script creates icewm and idesk configuration files in the user's home
lxp-command: wrapper command utility to some icewm (calendar, run, etc)
lxp-icewm-keyboards: creates an icewm menu on the fly for keyboard switching
lxp.desktop: the configuration file that allows for starting lxp from the login screen.
- Added all my old work to the repository: icewm-1.2.20.LXP-LookXP_themes.tar.gz, icewm-1.2.20.LXP.patch idesk-0.7.5-LXP.patch README xfe-0.88.LXP.icons.tar.gz xfe-0.88.LXP.patch
- Created rpm packages for fedora and Suse.
- Created this web site with documentation and screenshots.
- Finally I reeleased the first version of LXP