Table of Contents:
After login, you will be presented the SXMO interface as follows:
The status bar located at the top displays the various workspaces that you have in the form of the numbers 1,2,3,4. Tapping one of these numbers will take you to that workspace. Right next to it (the three lines) indicates the dwm layout that is activated (see layouts). The default layout is a vertical stack.
At the top-right you see the status menu, holding various symbols:
The dwm window manager was patched with (among other patches), the multikey patch. This patch allows dwm to recognize rapid successive (e.g. double/triple clicks) button presses to trigger different actions. The three hardware buttons on the Pinephone thus can trigger 9 different actions.
The default button bindings are:
In addition to the button bindings provided through dwm, a custom application called lisgd was developed to provide touchscreen swipe gestures within Sxmo. These gestures are sensitive to the edge of the screen where the gesture is initiated or where they end up, and some are sensitive to the length/distance of the swipe. Gestures in the main part of the screen, staying clear of the edges, are usually not interpreted and passed to the underlying application unmodified (assuming it has gesture support).
The SXMO gestures are visualized in the following schematic:
The default swipe gestures are:
There are various default gestures that translate to keypresses for the underlying application, this facilitates navigation in a variety of applications, including terminal-based applications, without needing the virtual keyboard:
The sensitivity of the gestures can be controlled, see: user-customizable functionality.
Menus are a central feature of Sxmo and are navigable through using the Pinephone's 3 hardware buttons. Also you can use the touchscreen to tap your selection if you'd like as well. The menus are essentially scripts around a custom patched version of dmenu. Note that while using a menu, dwm's button bindings won't be triggered as these grab's are setup to be mutually exclusive from X's point of view.
The default menu bindings for the Pinephone buttons are:
1. Application-specific context menus
The application-specific context menu (triggered by single tapping the volume raise key) lets you you access application-specific features of the currently focused window. For example while using mpv, the application-specific context menu lets you pause the video, increase/decrease volume, seek, etc. You can reference the sxmo_appmenu.sh script for a full list of functionality.
2. Global system menu (Sys)
The global system menu (triggered by double tapping the volume raise button) lets you launch applications, toggle system preferences and more. This is probably the closest thing to 'homescreen' in traditional phone OS's in that it can be the starting point to access much of the functionality in Sxmo. This menu lets you:
3. Global config menu (Config)
The global config menu is accessible by launching the global system menu aforementioned and selecting Config. This menu let you:
DWM is a dynamic window manager with a master-slave stack layout. As such, the window manager automatically decides where windows should be placed. The algorithm used to decide where windows should be placed is governed by the icon to the right of the 4th workspace icon. Open some windows and you should get an understanding of the various layouts. By default, the layout is set the vertical stack layout and tapping icon representing the current layout will cycle through the available layouts.
When the monocle layout is active, it will only show one window that takes up the entire workspace. By tapping the left and right hand side of the title bar, you can cycle back and forth between the windows that are open.
For more info on DWM and other layouts that you can patch in, see the upstream website for dwm.
If you are in a call, the length of the call will be display adjacent to the title bar.
A custom application (sxmo_screenlock) enables you to lock the screen so no tap events are processed. This application also allows you to enter suspend (deep sleep / CRUST). You can activate the screen lock by tapping the volume raise key three times quickly or holding the volume raise key down. You will see the Pinephone's blue LED indicator activate.
The Screenlock has three modes:
While using the Screenlock, only the following bindings apply (and override the default dwm button bindings):
When you are in deep sleep mode (entered by tapping volume raise 3 times), you can exit this mode and restore the above bindings by clicking the powerkey once. After exiting deep sleeep mode, within 5 seconds you should either press the volume lower or powerkey 3 times to switch modes or exit. After 5 seconds, the blinking stops and you will be kicked back into deep sleep mode. The purpose of this 5 second timeout is so that if you accidently press the powerkey when the phone is in your pocket, you won't inadvertently be kicked out of CRUST.
Sxmo take care of making cron jobs to works. We use a little program called mnc to wake the phone up before the next planned cron job. We also wrap some sxmo logics in a dedicated script to :
* */15 * * * DISPLAY=:0 sxmo_rtcwake.sh sleep 10
This example will make a quick wakeup every 15 minutes. The
DISPLAY variable here is mandatory to allow the script to handle screen lock state.
Calling and texting is fully functional and should work out-of-the-box. Make sure you have the modem killswitch in the enabled position and wait a little bit after booting before trying modem functionality to allow the modem to connect.
Modem functionality is based on using the dmenu menu system and accessible through the global system menu. You'll need to explicitly toggle the modem there to receive calls/texts. If your SIM is locked, you must unlock it manually. The scripting behind the scenes works via ModemManager using the mmcli command line tool.
SXMO ask for your SIM's PIN code using dmenu (since sxmo 1.4.1).
Alternatively, you can do so from the command-line as follows:
mmcli -i 0 --pin 1234
You could put this in your unlock sim hook (
~/.config/sxmo/hooks/unlocksim), but there is of course a
significant security risk involved if your device gets compromised!
To place a new call, you can use the Dialer entry in the global system menu. You will be prompted for a number to dial. Once the call connects, a menu will automatically be launched which let's you:
To view existing text message threads you can use the Texts entry in the global system menu. This menu will let you tail follow a logfile for your conversation with each number. When a new text is sent or received; the tail will automatically be updated with the new text contents.
While displaying the conversation you can pop out a contextual menu with power up button to reply by text or to start a call with the number.
You can also compose a new text message, from the Texts entry you will see a
Send a Text entry which first prompt you for a number. After entering
the destination number you will by default be dropped into a vim-like editor
(vis) to compose your message. Once
your message is as you'd like it, exit the editor using
by holding down (or triple clicking) the volume down key. You will
now be taken to a new menu to confirm your message from which you can
edit/send/cancel the message.
Monitoring for Incoming Calls/Texts
A vital feature of a working phone is being able to receive new texts and pickup calls. This functionality is made possible through a script that monitors the modem activities and vibrates the phone and blinks the green LED when there is an incoming text/call. This functionality is optional and can be toggled on/off (e.g. to have a 'silent' mode) via the Config menu. You can tell if modem monitoring is on with the dedicated icon that appears in dwm's bar.
While a call is incoming:
When a new text message comes in:
The Sxmo contacts system based on a plain TSV file that can be placed at
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/contacts.tsv. This TSV file is expected to have
two columns: phonenumber, and contactname. Upon receiving a call if you
have a contact stored associated with the incoming number, the contact
name will appear instead of the number. Also contact names will appear
in the Texts and Dialer menus if they are present in the contacts TSV
file. If no
contacts.tsv is present, or the number is missing from
this file; the contact in menus will show up as
contacts.tsv example might look like:
+122345628 John Smith +128371642 Jeff Foo +31612345678 Jan Janssen
There is a script named "Contacts" accessible from the main menu to manage those contacts. You can add, edit and delete all of your contacts.
Note that you should always prefix numbers you call out with, text to,
or add to the contact system with their international prefix code
and with the initial plus sign. Behind the scenes for
mmcli, numbers always
come into the system with international prefixes from my testing. So if
you receive a call from the number
54321 for example; it would come
into mmcli as
+154321 if this was a US number. This means if you dial, text, and store contacts with
the internationl prefix, you can be assured that texts / outgoing /
incoming calls will line up in regards to deduplication of contacts in
menus and text message threads will stay intact.
In the global system menu there are entries for both applications and scripts.
At the time being the primary way to get connected to the Internet in Sxmo
is through wifi. There is a menu entry in the global system menu to connect
to wifi. This is essentially this is just a wrapper to launch
nmtui. Make sure
the killswitch for Wifi on your Pinephone is in the enabled position.
Mobile data should be manually for now (there is no built in menu to do this); so refer to postmarketos pinephone documentation for that aspect.
You can use the Audio entry in the global system menu to toggle which audio output you want to send sound to.
Note that when in a call, the audio device selected in the global system menu won't automatically apply; rather audio will automatically be initially routed to the earpiece and then changeable through the in call menu. Upon the call ending, audio is always routed back to the headphone jack.
Sxmo's packages are currently distributed through packages in pmOS so when new package versions are periodically pushed; your install can be
To update run:
apk update apk upgrade -a
There is also a menu entry within the Config menu to update as well which runs the same commands as above.
For details on what changed between package versions or image releases refer to the changelog.
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/xinit||Automatically executed script executed upon starting X.|
TSV file wherein each row is: contactnumber TAB contactname
If unset all contacts will show up as 'Unknown Number'
All phone numbers must be full phone numbers startings with + and the country code
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/sfeedrc||Sfeedrc file (see sfeed documentation used by RSS script)|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/userscripts||Directory to place user scripts which will automatically appear in the menu system|
Executable script to run when the phone is receiving a call / rings
This script is called with "$1" set to the incoming number and contact name.
Executable script to run when the phone is accepting an incoming call
Executable script to run when the phone missed an incoming call
Executable script to run when the phone is receiving a text
This script is called with "$1" set to the incoming number and contact name.
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/apps||Executable script to run when display of the app menu is requested, outputs to stdout and allows you to override the default app menu (see sxmo_appmenu.sh)|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/scripts||Executable script to run when display of the scripts menu is requested, outputs to stdout and allows you to override the default app menu (see sxmo_appmenu.sh)|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/presuspend||Executable script that is executed prior to suspending the device. If the exit code of this script is non-zero, suspend will be cancelled|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/postwake||Executable script that is executed after waking from suspension.|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/rtcwake||Executable script that is executed every time the device temporarily wakes. You can use this script to check notifications from whatever back-end you desire. The temporary wake interval (in seconds )can be configured using the environment variable $SXMO_RTCWAKEINTERVAL . If this script exits with a non-zero exit code, suspension will be cancelled.|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/lock||Executable script that is executed prior to locking the device|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/unlock||Executable script that is executed immediately after unlocking the device|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/lisgdstart||Script that is executed to start the gesture deamon, overrides the defaults (see ``sxmo_lisgdstart.sh``). This allows defining custom gestures.|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/gesture||Script that is executed when a gesture is to be interpreted. It is passed the WM_CLASS of the active window as first parameter and the identifier/name of the gesture (or command to run) in the second argument, as configured with lisgd. See ``sxmo_gesturehandler.sh`` for details. This script allows you to define your own context-sensitive (i.e. application specific) gestures.|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/notification||This script will run whenever any kind of notification is received. It can be used for example to blink the led if you want to override the default behaviour|
|$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sxmo/hooks/unlocksim||This hook will run when your SIM needs to be unlocked with a PIN code. You can consider putting something like ``mmcli -i 0 --pin 1234`` in it to unlock automatically, if you don't mind the negative security implications that carries in case your device gets compromised.|
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME by default is equal to
dwm log contains the standard error output of everything launched from your dwm session, so any scripts launched by sxmo will also log their output to this file.
dwm.log is helpful for debugging if your hooks are not working
|$XDG_CACHE_HOME/sxmo/youtubehistory.tsv||This log file will save all the terms you've searched for using the youtube script.|
$XDG_CACHE_HOME by default is equal to
The following environment variables can be set:
|$TERM||Terminal to launch on double-clicking power button and used in scripts. Defaults to `st`.|
|$BROWSER||Browser to launch on triple-clicking/holding power-button and used in scripts. Defaults to `surf`.|
|$KEYBOARD||Keyboard to launch on single-clicking power button and used in scripts. Defaults to `svkbd-mobile-intl` or `svkbd-sxmo`|
|$EDITOR||Editor to use to handle files (partial support; full support plans for composing texts etc). Defaults to `vis`.|
|$SXMO_RECDIR||Directory that the Record script will save recordings to.|
|$SXMO_SUBREDDITS||Subreddits (comma-separated) to appear in menu for Reddit script.|
Files of GPS coordinates to populate the locations menu in the foxtrotgps menu.
Each file is expected to be a tsv; the first entry being the location; the second being lat, lon pair.
|$SXMO_RTCWAKEINTERVAL||Integer specifying the interval in second for a temporary wake when suspended (e.g. to check notifications). Set to 0 to disable (default)|
|$SXMO_LOCK_SCREEN_OFF||Boolean, set to 1 to immediately turn the screen off upon locking (this skips the default first stage)|
|$SXMO_LOCK_SUSPEND||Boolean, set to 1 to immediately suspend the device upon locking (this skips the default first two stages)|
|$SXMO_NO_ICONS||Boolean, set to 1 if you don't want any icons shown in the menus|
|$SVKBD_ENABLEOVERLAYS||Boolean, set to 0 to disable the overlay functionality on the virtual keyboard (svkbd) (enabled by default), the overlay functionality is responsible for showing input variations such as diacritics when holding a key with a long press.|
|$SVKBD_LAYERS||Comma separated list of layers to enable on the virtual keyboard. See the svkbd source for your layout for a definition of available layers.|
|$SVKBD_HEIGHTFACTOR||Integer value expressing a height fraction, a one key row of the virtual keyboard takes 1/x of the screen height.|
|$DMENU_WRAP_AROUND||Boolean value specifying whether dmenu interfaces should wrap around to the top/bottom of the list while scrolling. Set to `true` to enable (disabled by default).|
|$LISGD_THRESHOLD||Integer expressing the distance a gesture much minimally have to be recognized (unit corresponds to pixels usually)|
|$LISGD_THRESHOLD_PRESSED||Integer expressing the distance a gesture much minimally have to be recognized for gestures that act when pressed (such as volume/brightness control and scrolling) (unit corresponds to pixels usually)|
For setting the above Environment Variables and also to launch custom
programs upon starting X you can use the user customizable
described in the Files and Folders section. You will automatically be
provided with a custom xinit based on the following template:
#!/usr/bin/env sh # Please modify this file to your liking # Important Instructions: # All processes you launch from this script must # be non-blocking: launch them in the background (using &) # or ensure they return quickly. Only after this script # finishes will the window manager be loaded # Set a pretty wallpaper feh --bg-fill /usr/share/sxmo/background.jpg # Show conky (the clock) conky -c /usr/share/sxmo/appcfg/conky.conf -d #12 hour clock (am/pm) #conky -c /usr/share/sxmo/appcfg/conky24h.conf -d #24 hour clock # Force audio over the main speaker # and set a sane default volume sxmo_audioout.sh Speaker amixer sset 'Line Out Source' 'Mono Differential','Mono Differential' amixer set "Line Out" 50% # Play a funky startup tune #mpv --quiet --no-video /usr/share/sxmo/startup.ogg & # enter SIM PIN (WARNING! SECURITY RISK!) # the sleep is there because the modem # might take a bit to be available # after first boot. #sleep 20 && mmcli -i 0 --pin 1234 # turn on modemmonitor on login # Note: if the modemmonitor is not on you can # not receive texts/calls! #sleep 22 && sxmo_modemmonitortoggle.sh on & ### Configuration Parameters ### # Note that this is just a subset of all available # parameters, see the sxmo documentation for more. # Use firefox as default browser if installed command -v firefox && export BROWSER=firefox # Prepopulate Subreddits menu with custom subreddits #export SXMO_SUBREDDITS="postmarketos pinephoneOfficial pinephone unixporn" # Temporarily wake every 5 minutes during sleep #(useful for getting notifications) #export SXMO_RTCWAKEINTERVAL=300 # Immediately turn the screen off when locking the device export SXMO_LOCK_SCREEN_OFF=1 # Immediately suspend the phone when locking #export SXMO_LOCK_SUSPEND=1 # When scrolling past the beginning or end of a menu, wrap it around: #export DMENU_WRAP_AROUND=1 # Enable audio feedback on keypress #export KEYBOARD_ARGS="-o | clickclack -f /usr/share/sxmo/keypress.wav" # Or, enable vibration feedback on keypress #export KEYBOARD_ARGS="-o | clickclack -V"
Place the contents above into
~/.config/sxmo/xinit and restart X and
customize away. Make sure that everything you launch from your custom xinitrc is either quick to run or launched in the
background, otherwise your window manager (dwm) won't be loaded.
A good alternative place to put environment variables is in your
~/.profile, the advantage there is that it will
also be available if you ssh into your phone.
Certain interface parameters, such as the font size for dmenu, can be configured through X resources. Create a file
~/.Xresources and you have the following notable settings to tweak:
Set to the font and fontsize you want for all menus (dmenu). Defaults to Terminus-30.
User scripts are custom scripts the user can run via the global
system menu. To add your own custom
userscript, create the
and place your
.sh scripts in the
userscripts directory. If the
userscripts folder is populated with atleast one script, a new
menu item called
Userscripts will appear in the global system
menu. Note, Userscripts should be set to
For examples of scripts Sxmo users have made for their mobile devices, see:
Much of Sxmo's core-functionality in regards to menus are built out via plain shell scripts. So further cutomization should be simple. See sxmo-util's scripts directory to get a better sense of how things are put together. You can edit the scripts on your system for temporary fixes and please consider contributing your changes if you believe your modifications may be useful to other users.
sxmo_files.sh script (accessible via sxmo_appmenu.sh) follows the
XDG MIME Applications
standard. We have our own custom xdg-open implementation called
that will parse the mimeapps.list files and open the default application
as set by the user. To change a default application review
of the mimeapps.list and edit
Our login manager - XDM's background can be set by changing the file
/usr/lib/X11/xdm/wallpaper.jpg to your desired background.
Further customization can be done by the user by cloning ~mil/sxmo-xdm-config, editing the files, and running make.
SXMO just provides you with a simple graphical environment on top of your favourite distribution, which by default is postmarketOS for SXMO. PostmarketOS is in turn based on Alpine Linux. You can install any packages your distribution provides from the command line as follows:
$ apk update $ apk add name-of-the-package
The built-in application menu of sxmo is only aware of a subset of applications, and will only show them when installed, feel free to add more tools to the menus and submit a patch.