Setting default desktop on startup and a question about themes (and engines)

Daryl Van Humbeck dvanhumb at
Wed Jul 16 17:55:14 CEST 2008

Richard Querin wrote:
> Hi,
> I recently switched to Xfce on my Ubuntu Hardy box and I'm really 
> happy with it. Much more stable and much faster on my P4-3Ghz box. But 
> I have one annoying little problem and a more general question:
> At first I had trouble getting xfwm4 to manage my desktop (it would 
> always yield to Metacity at some point), but I managed to get it 
> working and I unchecked the 'save session on logout' option. It now 
> boots up under xfwm no problem. However, it always starts up onto 
> desktop 3. Even if I check the box to save the session settings on 
> logout and make sure I'm on desktop 1 when I log out, it still reboots 
> into desktop 3. Is there some place where this setting is stored? I 
> checked the session file but there is no indication in there about 
> which desktop it starts up with. It's only an annoyance, but one I'd 
> like to fix.
> Now a more general question.
> Is there some place that explains how theming and the theme engines 
> are supposed to work? I've got most of the theme engines installed 
> (dunno if that's right) but whenever I install the Murrine theme 
> engine, it overrides the shape of buttons on all my themes, no matter 
> what theme I'm choosing. I can only fix this by uninstalling that 
> specific theme engine and rebooting.
> And if I uninstall the murrine theme engine, I get all sorts of errors 
> about missing the Murrine  module thingy when I start a GUI app from 
> the terminal. It doesn't seem to affect the behaviour, but it's a bit 
> annoying to see those messages all the time.
> Should I have all the theme engines installed? Or should it matter? I 
> like to change themes once in a while, and I'm not sure which engines 
> I need to have installed.
> Is there some source of good info on this subject. I realize it's not 
> an xfce question per se, but likely more of a general ubuntu or gtk 
> question.
> Thanks. RQ
It almost sounds like you have a .gtkrc-2.0 file in your home folder 
(~/.gtkrc-2.0) that is overriding your theme choice.
(if you have a file called that, it will override your own theme's 
options unless it can't find the theme engine, hence those messages 
about missing the Murrine engine)

Otherwise, there is very little (if any) good documentation on how GTK 
themes work, unfortunately.

I hope this helps,
Daryl Van Humbeck.

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