MDVL GUI Configuration Package


This package contains dotfile-like configuration settings for Linux GUI programs. It is intended to be installed on MDVL systems but may not be suitable for general-purpose Debian installations given that some changes deviate far from the defaults and do not integrate well unless many other MDVL packages are also installed.

Configured Programs

Here is an overview on the files provided and the programs configured.


The following files configure GTK (2.0 and 3.0) to use a dark theme and set GUI fonts to Terminus:

Feh Keybindings

File /etc/feh/keys reconfigures the keybindings of the feh image viewer to be similar to See also: image_viewer(32).


File /etc/i3/config configures the i3 window manager to use the [WINDOWS] (aka. [SUPER]) together with certain keys to manage windows. It is mostly based on an old i3 version’s defaults with notable changes being described in the following:

bindsym $m+Shift+h        move left
bindsym $m+Shift+j        move down
bindsym $m+Shift+k        move up
bindsym $m+Shift+l        move right

All movement commands are configured to use VIM-style [H]/[J]/[K]/[L] keys:

bindsym $m+Escape         mode "passthrough"
mode "passthrough" {
    bindsym $m+Escape mode "default"

A passthrough mode is provided to be invoked by [WINDOWS]-[ESC] which disables all keybindings. This may be useful when interacting with Windows VMs and such.

bindsym Mod1+F1           exec /usr/bin/materm
bindsym Mod1+F2           exec /usr/bin/dmenu_run
bindsym Mod1+F3           exec /usr/bin/materm -e vifm /data/main
bindsym Mod1+F5           exec /usr/bin/materm -e d5mantui
bindsym Mod1+F7           exec GTK_THEME=Adwaita:dark /usr/bin/firefox
bindsym Mod1+F9           exec /usr/bin/materm -e htop
bindsym Mod1+F10          exec /usr/bin/virt-manager
bindsym $m+Shift+Delete   exec /usr/bin/q

Various programs are configured to be assigned to [ALT]-[FX] combinations where X is one of the F-keys’ numbers like X=1 for [ALT]-[F1] to invoke a materm. The settings used here are expected to be changed by users to their respectively used applications. The defaults provided here are used as a reference across multiple systems. E. g. Ma_Zentral DVDs assign F1, F2, F7, F9 to Windows programs that perform similar tasks to their Linux counterparts configured here.

# requires xdotool, .mdvl/scrroot.txt, maim
bindsym --release Print   exec "/bin/sh -ec 'dnam=\\"$(cat \\"$HOME/.mdvl/scrroot.txt\\")/$(date +%Y%m%d)\\"; [ -d \\"$dnam\\" ] || mkdir \\"$dnam\\"; fnam=\\"$(date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S).png\\"; maim -i $(xdotool getactivewindow) > \\"$dnam/$fnam\\"'"

An elaborated screenshot function is assigned to the [PRINTSCREEN] key. This setting invokes the maim tool to take a screenshot of the currently active window and saves it into the directory path specified in $HOME/.mdvl/scrroot.txt. It automatically ensures that screenshots are stored into different subdirectories depending on the current day.

exec /bin/run-parts --exit-on-error --regex=".*" --verbose /usr/lib/mdvl-gui.d

This line enables the scripts from below /usr/lib/mdvl-gui.d to be automatically invoked upon GUI startup.

font -*-terminus-medium-*-normal-*-16-*-*-*-*-*-iso10646-1

# class                  border   bg       fg       split
client.focused           #cc4040  #cc4040  #ffffff  #ff0000
client.focused_inactive  #806060  #806060  #aaaaaa  #bb0000
client.unfocused         #201818  #201818  #505050  #400000
client.urgent            #ffaa00  #ffaa00  #ffffff  #ffaa00

bar {
    font -*-terminus-medium-*-normal-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-iso10646-1
    status_command /usr/bin/mai3bar --json
    position top
    tray_output primary
    colors {
        #                   border  bg      fg
        focused_workspace   #cc4040 #cc4040 #ffffff
        active_workspace    #806060 #806060 #aaaaaa
        inactive_workspace  #201818 #201818 #505050
        urgent_workspace    #ffaa00 #ffaa00 #ffffff
        background                  #000000
        statusline                          #ffffff
        separator                           #333333

This block configures a color scheme that is based on red colors. Additionally, the i3bar is populated by mai3bar – see i3bar(32). Additionally, the GUI is configured to use Terminus for all window manager parts.

GUI Autorun Scripts

Directory /usr/lib/mdvl-gui.d is checked for scripts to automatically invoke upon starting i3 with the configuration described above. Relevant default configuration is found in file

# -- Keyboard --
setxkbmap -layout de -variant deadgraveacute
# Speed up key repeat
xset r rate 270 30
# disable bell
xset b 0

# -- Theme for password-gorilla --
if [ -d /usr/share/tcltk/awthemes ]; then
    echo "*TkTheme: awdark" | xrdb -merge

# -- Background Processes --
/usr/bin/screenindex -l -g &

if [ "$(head -c 3 /etc/hostname)" = "vm-" ]; then
    /usr/bin/spice-vdagent &
    xrandr --dpi 109
    /usr/bin/xscreensaver -no-splash &

The keyboard configuration is set to German keyboard layout, faster repeat rate and all bell sounds are disabled. For details on the effects of the keyboard configuration, see also: linux_x11_keyboard_configuration(37).

Afterwards, some optional components are invoked depending on whether they are present:

The advantage of the run-parts-based approach here is that system-specific additional GUI startup scripts (like e.g. nm-applet for laptops) can be provided by separate packages.

Changes to /etc/skel

In the past, most dotfiles were configured in /etc/skel – a directory that is taken as a base for creating new users. Given that this makes updates slow (new settings are only applied upon re-creating the user!), this approach is newly avoided whenever possible.

Currently, the following files are provided for /etc/skel:

Default configuration for xscreensaver
Default X11 session set to i3 Website 5 (1.0.2) – no Flash, no JavaScript, no Webfont, no Copy Protection, no Mobile First. No bullshit. No GUI needed. Works with any browser.

Created: 2021/02/02 20:45:11 | Revised: 2022/09/18 21:17:53 | Tags: mdvl, conf, dotfiles, gui, mdvl-conf-gui, x11, linux | Version: 1.0.0 | SRC (Pandoc MD) | GPL

Copyright (c) 2021 For further info send an e-mail to

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
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