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GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams

Alternative Applications

Debian has a mechanism for dealing with applications that provide the same functionality. We describe here how this mechanism works and how you can use it to tune your installation.

If you have more than one variant of emacs installed (e.g., emacs19, emacs20, and xemacs) then you can configure which one you get by default with:

  $ wajig updatealts emacs

You will be asked to choose from a list of alternatives.

To specify which window manager to use as the system default:

  $ wajig updatealts x-window-manager

Suppose the window-manager you want to use as the default is not listed as available. You can install it with:

# update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/x-window-manager \
                      x-window-manager /usr/bin/mywm PRIORITY

Where PRIORITY is a number higher than the highest existing priority for the x-window-manager alternative. You can get a list of priorities with:

# update-alternatives --display x-window-manager

To remove a Window Manager:

# update-alternatives --remove x-window-manager /usr/bin/mywm

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