HOWTO: Ratpoison basic configuration

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  • This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated Jul 25-9:09 am by masinick.
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  • #39271

    HOWTO: Basic Ratpoison Configuration

    This is a basic configuration, I haven’t learned all the tricks to it but i do
    know what works for me smile.

    Ratpoison (rp) is not for everybody, eye-candy, icons, title/taskbar are absent. It’s
    all business, uses every pixel of space and uses 1 MB of RAM. Apps are maximized
    by default. If you spend time comparing desktops with your buddies to see which is
    prettier, stop reading, this is not for you.

    Gamers, devs, and all sort of miscreants love rp.

    #apt-get install ratpoison dmenu

    The way it works is: you press a ‘bind’ key plus another letter you
    assign to a package you want to launch.

    The default keybind (or bind key) is C-t (Control + letter t) but to me, it’s
    cumbersome and painful on the wrist or fingers. If you google you’ll find tons
    of material on ‘.ratpoisonrc’ or ‘ratpoison configuration’.

    Other examples of bind keys are: C-z, C-a, C-d …etc

    I found this article by Dion Moult which explains how to change the bind key to
    the Caps Lock (the key next to your left pinky finger). It’s a very good
    article, you should read it. It explains how to make the Caps Lock key your bind

    IMHO, the easiest way to configure rp is from another wm/DE you’re using at the moment.

    Create the file .xmodmaprc in your /home:

    $ touch .xmodmaprc

    Once created, enter it with favorite editor:

    $ nano .xmodmaprc

    And paste this:

    remove lock = Caps_Lock
    keycode 66 = F13

    Put xmodmaprc in your .xinitrc:

    $ nano .xinitrc

    Paste this:

    xmodmap .xmodmaprc

    You can launch rp from your .xinitrc, here is mine:


    setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp
    xsetroot -solid black
    xrdb -merge .Xdefaults
    unclutter -idle 2 &
    numlockx &
    xmodmap .xmodmaprc
    exec ratpoison


    It’s called .ratpoisonrc, so you create it:

    $ touch .ratpoisonrc

    Then you enter it:

    $ nano .ratpoisonrc

    You’ll notice is blank, then paste and post something like this:
    Here’s my .ratpoisonrc:

    alias term exec lxterminal
    escape F13
    unbind k
    bind j focusdown
    bind h focusleft
    bind k focusup
    bind l focusright
    bind J exchangedown
    bind H exchangeleft
    bind K exchangeup
    bind L exchangeright
    exec /usr/bin/rpws init 2 -k
    exec rpws 1
    exec /usr/bin/rpws init 6 -k
    bind F1 exec rpws 1
    bind F2 exec rpws 2
    exec xsetroot -solid black -cursor_name left_ptr
    bind semicolon colon
    set winname class
    set fgcolor yellow
    set bgcolor black
    set bargravity sw
    defborder 0
    defpadding 0 0 0 0
    defbarpadding 0 0
    definekey top M-Tab next
    bind space exec lxterminal 
    definekey top F2 exec xfe
    bind f exec firefox
    bind b exec brave-browser-stable
    definekey top F4 kill
    definekey top F7 exec mirage
    definekey top F8 exec hexchat
    definekey top F9 exec geany
    definekey top Print exec lxterminal -e scrot -cd 10  
    definekey top C-Down exec amixer -q set Master 5- unmute && ratpoison -c "echo Master Vol Down"
    definekey top C-Up exec amixer -q set Master 5+ unmute && ratpoison -c "echo Master Vol Up"
    bind d exec dmenu_run
    bind r restart
    bind w windows
    bind Escape abort
    bind q only
    bind b banish
    rudeness 12
    #Run box (sudo and apps launching)
    definekey top C-space exec



    To launch a terminal: press bind key (caps lock) and the spacebar, a white small square will
    appear , and the xterm (or whatever terminal you
    specify in .ratpoisonrc) will appear. Ditto for all the other apps.

    You want to abort in the middle of an operation? Bind key + Escape.
    Close an app? F4
    Want to know what windows you got open? bind + w
    Want to go to one of them? bind + the window #
    Want to launch dmenu? bind + d
    After every change ‘restart rp’ with: bind + r
    What time/date is it? bind + a
    Snapshot? press the key Print.
    You miss fbrun? Control key + Space bar
    If you want to split the screen horizontally: bind + s
    Vertically? Bind + S
    Go back to normal? Bind + q
    alt-tab as usual OR tap the bind key twice

    Play with it, it’s addictive.
    Happy trails,

    PS: Contrary to common wisdom, you CAN use your mouse as in any other wm.

    • This topic was modified 2 months ago by macondo.
    • This topic was modified 2 months ago by macondo.

    antiX Core 64 Bit Runit XFS JWM

    "Sometimes a man finds his destiny on the road he took to avoid it."


    Thanks for the information and your sample setup. I like your simple, straightforward setup.

    Brian Masinick

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