I bet nobody was expecting this, but here is the first beta of another Salix edition, this time using Ratpoison as the default graphical environment. This is probably the first ever linux distribution release featuring Ratpoison. The aim of the Ratpoison edition is to create a system that is fully usable with the keyboard only, no mouse required! For everyone that is not familiar with Ratpoison, Ratpoison is a window manager for X "with no fat library dependencies, no fancy graphics, no window decorations, and no rodent dependence". Ratpoison uses a workflow that is similar to that of GNU screen, which is very popular in the terminal world. All interaction with the window manager is done through keystrokes.
The application selection for the Ratpoison edition is rather special. The main reasoning behind selecting any of the default applications included in this release is their ability to be used completely with the keyboard, not requiring any mouse interaction. To that effect, a lot of the included applications are actually terminal applications. The default web browser is Vimprobable2, a lightweight webkit-based browser that uses vim-style keybindings. The default mail client is Mutt, the powerful terminal based client with vim-like keybindings. Gnome Commander is the default file manager, while Midnight Commander is also present. You can play music with Music On Console and videos can be played with the Whaaw Media Player, which is not specifically targetted at keyboard users, but can be used only with a keyboard anyway. Gvim is included as text/code editor and Zathura can be used to view pdf files. There is no graphical package manager and Sourcery is absent from this release. Package management is done only using slapt-get from the console and slapt-src can be used to install software from SlackBuilds. There is no office suite included.
Other alternatives are available in the repository. Firefox can be installed and used along with the vimperator or pentadactyl addons so you don't have to use the mouse at all. XXXTerm and Jumanji are more webkit based browser alternatives. Thunderbird can also be used with the Muttator addon and also Claws-mail can be used mostly with the keyboard alone. For writers, PyRoom is available for full-screen, distraction free writing. Cmus is another great terminal based audio player.
A word of warning: this is not your average newbie-friendly distribution. There is no graphical login screen, when you login, you enter the linux terminal. You are expected to run "startx" to start ratpoison itself. Even then, it is not much more newbie-friendly than the linux terminal. You'll have to use keyboard combinations to do anything. Some hints:
* the "Ctrl-t ?" keyboard combination will show a screen with all available keyboard combinations. They all start with "Ctrl-t" and then another key/keyboard combination.
* you can get the ratmenu by hitting "Ctrl-t r". This menu is keyboard driven only as well.
* the Vimprobable2 browser is started with "Ctrl-t v"
* use "f" to follow links in Vimprobable2. Make sure you read the manpage too.
* the terminal is started with "Ctrl-t c"
* all ratpoison configuration is done in your ~/.ratpoisonrc
* the menus themselves are scripts in the ~/.ratmenu directory.
* run "man ratpoison"to get more information on setting up ratpoison. It can really be scripted to do just about anything with keystrokes.
After using ratpoison almost exclusively for the last months, I have to say that not needing to use a mouse does wonders for preventing RSI and it has been a great relief. I don't expect this to become popular at all by the way.
So, here is the first beta iso for the Ratpoison edition. Only 32-bit for now, it will probably stay that way due to low demand (I guess).
Salix Ratpoison 13.37beta1 (md5:15b8aa87849a3737fd7bad3f27933d2b size: 448MB)http://downloads.sourceforge.net/salix/ ... 7beta1.iso