AfterStep destop in CDE

KeRNeL PaNiC (
Sun, 11 Jul 1999 18:01:54 -0500

Sorry it has been soo long since I said that I would provide information on
how to add AfterStep as a desktop to CDE on Solaris, but the Sparc20 that
used to be my machine was reformatted and had Solaris 7 installed on it.
This is all out of my control since I no longer work in that area.  I had to
dig through backup tapes to find the one (my bad for not really labeling
them but they were for my personal use and not critical to the main system).
So now that I have found the information I was looking for I shall list
below what is needed to add another desktop to CDE.

The system wide default files for CDE configuration are located in
/usr/dt/config and Sun recommends that if any personal customizations are to
be done that they be placed under the /etc/dt/config directory (which does
not exist by default).  The first an most important file in adding new
desktops to the system is located in
/usr/dt/config/<LANGUAGE>/Xresources.d/.  It is here that you will see a
file called Xresources.ow (this is the entry for OpenWindows).  It must
start with Xresources and can have any meaningful extension.  For myself I
called the AfterStep file Xresources.step.  There are four key resources
used by dtlogin that go in this file.  They are as follows:
Dtlogin*altDtName    ----->   This is the name of the new desktop
Dtlogin*altDtKey       ----->   This is what window manager to run
Dtlogin*altDtStart      ----->   This is the configuration script
Dtlogin*altDtLogo     ----->   This is the logo that appears in the dtlogin
window and
                                                  is a 237x237 XPM file
located in
                                                  (If that is not correct
just do a find on the logo in the
                                                  .ow file in the /usr/dt
directory.  NOTE: These files have
                                                  an extension of .pm not
.xpm, don't ask me why but
                                                  that is the way Sun does

Now the configuration file indicated in the Xresources.step file is located
in /usr/dt/config.  I stuck to Sun's naming convention and called mine
Xsession.step.  You can just copy the Xsession.ow to Xsession.step and
customize it.  There are three areas that I modified.  The first was the
environment variable SDT_ALT_SESSION and had it point to
/usr/dt/config/Xsession.step2.  You can also customize the hello message via
either the DTDSPMSG or SDT_ALT_HELLO environment variables.  The
Xsession.step2 file is next called and is where the .Xinitrc file is run
from.  You can just copy the Xsession.ow2 file to Xsession.step2 and modify
it to just run the .xinitrc file from the user's home directory or run a
system wide .xinitrc file.  On Solaris 2.5 the default .Xinitrc file is
located in /usr/openwin/lib/Xinitrc while on Solars 2.6 it is in

There are two other things you can modify in CDE.  There is a directory
/usr/dt/config/images.  In that directory there are about 5 Sun raster
images.  The one that is of interest here is Solaris.im8.  This is the image
that displays the Welcome to Solaris in different languages.  It is a
549x515 image and if you place any raster image of similar proportions in
its place, it will be displayed instead of the one with the multi lingual
welcome message.  I would of course recommend keeping a backup of the
original and just making symlinks to the images you want.  Finally the file
/usr/dt/config/<LANG>/Xresources contains some basic resources for the
dtlogin window.  You can change the messages displayed.  I will leave that
up to you as an exercise to figure out what the strings are and to have fun
customizing your CDE desktops.  I will also write back if anyone is
interested in how to add more wallpapers to the CDE style manager (dtstyle).
I hope this was helpful for all who needed it.  If there are anymore
questions feel free to email me at work.  My work email address is or .  Please
include the afterstep mailing list in there as well for replies so that they
may go to the list and.

Matthew R. Hamilton   Sun Certified Solaris Engineer
Applications Software Engineer -- Lockheed Martin Corp. Mission Systems
Kent State University Alumni 1995  -- Computer Science