All there is about customizing MID

POST installation / Companion Applications


Note: Commands and package names are from a CentOS 7.7+ Distribution. Translate to your fav. Linux Distribution

Screen Saver : classic xscreensaver
$ su 
yum install xscreensaver xscreensaver-base xscreensaver-extras xscreensaver-extras-base xscreensaver-gl-base xscreensaver-gl-extras
Sound Audio Mixer : Pulse Audio Control
$ su
yum install avucontrol
Web Browser : firefox or google-chrome 

(firefox is already installed and it's a personal preference really!)

$ su
yum install google-chrome-stable
Image Editor : gimp
$ su
yum install gimp
Office Suite (Text, spreadsheet, etc) : libreoffice
$ su
yum install libreoffice
PDF Viewer : xpdf or evince
$ su
yum install xpdf
Multi-Media (audio, video, etc) : vlc
$ su
yum install vlc vlc-extras
SGI Open Inventor
$ su
yum install Inventor Inventor-data Inventor-examples Inventor-Xt
Blender (download from is always recommended)
$ su
yum install blender blender-fonts
Vector Image Editor  : inkscape
$ su
yum install inkscape
Useful X11 Apps : <must have really>
$ su
yum install xorg-x11-apps
X11 Development Apps : <must have really for MaXX Dev.
$ su
yum groupinstall "X Software Development"

Desktop Background Color

Change the Desktop background color

Temporary solution until IRIX fm is implemented in MaXX Desktop

To change the color used for your backgrounds:

1. Move your mouse cursor over an unoccupied area of your Desktop(free of icons), and Right Click to open the desktop's popup menu and then select ROX-Filer and then Options...


2. Select Pinboard from the left navigation menu panel.



3. Click on Background color chooser button and make a selection. Press OK when finish.


4. Press OK button to confirm your new selection.


If a background image is selected for your Desktop, the background color wont show. You must clear the Background image. Follow this guide .

Desktop Background Image

Change the Desktop background image

Temporary solution until IRIX fm is implemented in MaXX Desktop

To change the image used for your backgrounds:

1. Move your mouse cursor over an unoccupied area of your Desktop(free of icons), and Right Click to open the desktop's popup menu and then select Backdrop... 


2. The Set backdrop Window should appear momentarily.



3. There are many ways to select an image for your background:

4. Select the image file and drag it back to the Drop an image here  area of the Set backdrop window we opened previously.



5. Chose the layout style for the image and press the Close button to complete.





Schemes and Themes

First, let's look at how MaXX Desktop is managing both GTK+ Themes for GNOME applications and SGI Schemes for X11/Motif applications.

 MaXX Desktop Scheme

The current MaXX Desktop Scheme setting is store in the file $HOME/.maxxdesktop/MAXX_THEME

$ cat $HOME/.maxxdesktop/MAXX_THEME

This setting is and must be one word and one line. No special character. 

We recommend to use the instead of manually editing the file.


Change the Current Scheme

1. Open a Winterm session and type: and press ENTER


2. Make your selection and voila! Both the desktop settings have been updated and window manager restarted with your new selection.

3. Older X11 applications are not aware of the change, therefor you needs to restart them if you wish to use the new Scheme.


Current supported SGI Schemes/Themes in MaXX Desktop v2.1

(Which is all of SGI Scheme found on IRIX 6.5.30 plus a few new customs)

  • Arizona
  • Bayou 
  • BlackAndWhite
  • DarkBliss
  • Gainsborough
  • Gotham
  • IndigoMagic
  • Inverness
  • Lascaux
  • Leonardo
  • Metropolis
  • Milan
  • Pacific
  • Potrero
  • RedGreenSafe
  • Rembrandt
  • RoseGarden;
  • Sargent
  • VanGogh
  • Willis
  • Buckingham
  • GrayScale
  • KeyWest
  • Mendocino
  • Monet
  • Print
  • Rio
  • Titian
  • Turner
  • Vancouver
  • Whistler


Improve Modern Look and Feel

You can customize even further the Modern look and feel by editing the Xdefaults.modern

Adding a modern flare to the widgets.

1. Open the Xdefaults.modern file in the text editor.

 $ xnedit $HOME/.maxxdestop/Xdefaults.d/Xdefaults.modern

2. Add the follow entries.

!! Modern Look and Feel Tweaks

        *XmList.shadowThickness:    2

        *XmFrame.shadowThickness: 1
        *XmMenuShell*shadowThickness: 1

        *XmScale.shadowThickness:       1

        *XmText*shadowThickness: 2
        *XmTextField*shadowThickness: 2

        *XmScrollBar.shadowThickness: 2
        *XmScrolledWindow.shadowThickness:       2
        *XmScrolledWindow*XmScrollBar.shadowThickness:   2
        *XmMainWindow.XmScrollBar.shadowThickness: 2

        *XmPushButton.shadowThickness:    1
        *XmPushButtonGadget.shadowThickness:    1
        *XmPushButton.highlightThickness:        1
        *XmPushButtonGadget.highlightThickness:        1

        *XmPushButton.marginHeight: 6
        *XmPushButton.marginWidth: 7
        *XmPushButtonGadget.marginHeight: 6

3. Save and exit the editor

4. Update and restart the Desktop

$ update-desktop 
$ tellwm fast_restart

Note: existing applications must restart in order to take into effect the changes.

Improve Font Rendering in Modern Look and Feel

This page will assist you improving the quality, clarity and crispiness of text rendering. This is a very important aspect of the user experience that is over looked and, when properly configured, can yield better results considering the fact that the Font Engine that is currently shipped with every Linux Distribution has some limitations.

Tip number one - Pixel Density

The first trick when it comes to improve text rendering is to increase the pixel density of your monitor by using the highest resolution possible. The more pixels per square/inch(DPI), the better chance you have at improving the text clarity. Apple did it and even made up a new technology called Retina Display®, which is basically ultra high resolution monitor for the same physical size.  In the rest of the world, we call it HiDPI. It's more complex under the hood because UI components must now deal with variable font sizes and be able to adjust live the changes in pixel density.

Find out your native DPI by calculating it from this website. Keep that DPI information close because it will be used to adjust your X Display Server and in a XFT hint further down below.

What's my Reported Pixel Density

Now let's find out how the X Server is configured. One reliable way to find out is to use the xdpyinfo command as demonstrated below. From the output below we can establish the monitor resolution, its reported sizes and dot per inch, aka DPI.

$ xdpyinfo | grep -B 2 resolution
screen #0:
  dimensions:    3840x2160 pixels (1219x686 millimeters)
  resolution:    80x80 dots per inch
Adjust your X Server configuration

Editing your X Server configuration file is the simplest and most reliable way to adjust the desired DPI and to provide your  monitor(s) true physical dimensions.

You will need superuser access level for this manipulation

This tutorial is not a HOW-TO xorg.conf. Google is your friend in case you need to learn about the xorg.conf file content.

The example below is for a Linux system configured with a single xorg.conf file located in /etc/X11 directory. 

$ cd /etc/X11
$ su -                           // or sudo -s depending on your Linux flavor
cp xorg.conf xorg.conf.1         // making a backup first
/opt/MaXX/bin/xnedit xorg.conf

Below is the Monitor Section of a xorg.conf configuration for a TCL 55" 4K HDR 60Hz Display.  Don't use as it is, but adapt yours :)

From the Monitor Section, in the first highlighted line we notice the DisplaySize attribute and values, they are the physical dimensions (in mm) of the viewable area. Not the monitor itself.  Add this line into your Monitor Section. 

Second line of interest, is the Option attribute with its values that instructs the X Server to not use the Monitor's EDID DPI, but rather the provided DPI values at the the line below.  This line is optional but relevant in many scenario where the reported DPI is wrong of off by any margin.

Third line of interest, is the Option attribute that specify the monitor's DPI value to use.  Add this line with your previously calculated DPI values.  

It is important to note that all those Monitor values are tied up to a Monitor Identifier and can be referred to later in a later configure section.

Save and Exit.  The best way to apply your settings is to either restart the X Server or simple Restart the system.

To Revert Back to your previous Configuration
$ cd /etc/X11
$ su -                           // or sudo -s depending on your Linux flavor
cp xorg.conf xorg.conf.2         // making a backup of your second file
cp xorg.config.1 xorg.conf       // restore original file

Save and Exit.  The best way to apply your settings is to either restart the X Server or simple Restart the system.image-1594297932360.png

Tip number two - Tuning

By tuning up your Font Engine with custom hints, that are relevant to your reality (monitor hardware specs, its size and resolution), it can better render texts for you . 

Test you current monitor

User the following monitor test page to see where your monitor fit and which hints works best for you. This site is a gold-mine of information as well...

Tuning Font Rendering Engine

To give you all the possible chances, let's adapt the default values of the MaXX Desktop XFT/FreeType specific configuration file Xdefaults.xft file found in your MaXX Desktop $HOME/.maxxdesktop/Xdefaults.d configuration directory.   

Open the configuration file with the TextEditor and adapt the configuration based on your need.

From a Winterm, run xnedit Text Editor. You can refer to our Hints & Shortcuts page for alternative ways

$ cd $HOME
$ cd .maxxdesktop/Xdefaults.d
$ xnedit Xdefaults.xft

Below are the optimal settings we recommend for running MaXX Desktop in Modern Look and Feel. Apply the calculated DPI value and the optionally the subpixel mode found during your monitor testing (at the beginning of this guide).


!!! Font options - ~/.fonts.conf seems to override this

!! Resolution for Xft in dots per inch (e.g. 96 in my calculated DPI)
Xft.dpi:        96

!! Type of subpixel antialiasing (none, rgb, bgr, vrgb or vbgr)
Xft.rgba:       rgb

!! What degree of hinting to use (hintnone, hintslight, hintmedium, or hintfull)
Xft.hintstyle:  hintslight

!! Should always be left at false
Xft.autohint:   false

!! LCD Filtering to use (lcdnone lcddefault lcdlight lcdlegacy)
Xft.lcdfilter:  lcdnone

Xft.hinting:    true
Xft.antialias:  true

After you done with editing, save your changes, exit the TextEditor and run the commands below to update the desktop and restart the window manager with your new settings.

$ update-desktop
$ tellwm fast_restart

image-1594297932360.pngTip number three - Install better Fonts

Make sure you have installed the Noto-Font packages as per our Guide's Prerequisites section

Refer to your Linux Distribution Guide Prerequisites for the exact package names and instruction.  This step should already be done at the installation of MaXX Desktop v2.1+

Confirm that the Noto Fonts are installed

Open a Winterm from Toolchest, and type the fc-list command to query the system.  You should see something similar to the picture below. If not, go back to previous step, do not claim 200$ and install the fonts.