The main AfterStep resources on the net are below.
The official WWW page is at http://www.afterstep.org
The web site has again lost its home, and may not be currently available to the public. It should be under new administration soon.
The FTP site, ftp://ftp.afterstep.org/pub/, is the best place to get AfterStep. It also supports uploads: ftp://ftp.afterstep.org/incoming/. Please read the instructions about uploads before asking why your upload is not immediately available. Some links to the FTP site are provided from the Web site.
Please note that the FTP site has moved to a new server under new administration. Any questions about the current status of the FTP site should be directed first to the mailing list.
There are several sites which have been generous enough to act as developers' sites. Note that you can expect development-level support for development-level programs. That means that if you aren't willing to fix it yourself, you mustn't complain! (You are, of course, encouraged to make detailed bug reports.) You can find links to the development sites from the main AfterStep WWW site. That site is accessible through lynx, so anyone with a UNIX-type networked system should be able to get AfterStep.
Here is the list of developers' sites:
the-SITE: Linux: AfterStep Page
There are also some useful things to be found on the following pages.
The first is the current, official AfterStep Customization Page; it includes
a web-based BBS with helpful suggestions. It was originally designed around
AfterStep v. 1.4.x; but the remarks are, on the whole, applicable to v.
1.5.x. The second is a page offering help to new users, maintained by Tomas
email@example.com). It is, again, designed around v.
1.4.x, but is nevertheless useful for users who have v. 1.5.x. The last is
a page which centres around AfterStep-Classic, but which will still no doubt
offer help even to people who are working under AfterStep v. > 1.0. It is
important to note that any one of these may offer information which is not
perfectly current with the present development of AfterStep: for the very
latest, official word, subscribe to the AfterStep mailing list. Still, any
one of these sites will be a helpful resource to any AfterStep user:
AfterStep has a presence on IRC, through EFnet. The channel is #afterstep. If you need to find a server, try irc.txdirect.net.
The latest official version is 1.4.5, released in April 1998. A development release, 188.8.131.52N6, was widely considered to be a true stable release; it has, in fact, fewer bugs than 1.4.5.
Version 1.5.0 should be available by the time you read this. If you are contemplating installing a version of AfterStep, it is worth either waiting for the release of version 1.5.0, or installing the latest beta version of 1.5. Any version of the 1.5 series is a significant improvement over any 1.4.x release.
There is also a current development effort around the old version of
AfterStep (v. 1.0). This effort is called AfterStepClassic. It is
primarily directed towards fixing bugs in the old 1.0 release of AfterStep,
and is not always compatible with new developments in AfterStep. It uses
only the .steprc-style configuration, so if you are looking for
information on how to configure AfterStepClassic, you should assume that the
information about versions < 1.2 apply to you. The lead developer for
AfterStepClassic is Stephen Ma (
AfterStep is an X window manager. So, you need to have an X workstation. It will apparently compile against, and work with, X11R5, but for optimal performance, it is preferable that you use X11R6. In order to compile AfterStep from the source, you need (apart from a C compiler, like gcc) the X developers' libraries on your system. The most common problem that people have in compiling AfterStep is as a result of not having the required libraries on their system. In particular, XFree86 lists the necessary libraries as an "optional" package. As a result, many people do not install them, and so cannot compile AfterStep. You should be able to get the libraries wherever you got your distribution of XFree86.
AfterStep is known to run on Linux, FreeBSD (not all modules work), HP-UX, and Solaris. For the latter two, you should read the relevant READMEs before trying to compile.
X, and hence AfterStep, is really designed with an eye to the assumptions of multiuser systems like UNIX or VMS. If you are using X on some other platform, and particularly, if you are trying to run X atop any version of Windows, you will have to do much of the porting work yourself. There is a link above offering advice on getting AfterStep to work under Windows; but this practice is not encouraged. You are likely to get greater ease of use by using LiteSTEP.
AfterStep is an X window manager and cannot be run from the terminal. It must be run through X. The easiest way to do that is to create (or edit) your own .xinitrc file (which contains a list of the programs you wish to load upon startup) and to add the line exec afterstep to the end. This last exec'd line is significant in that it says to shut down X when that program is terminated. Now that you have that file, simply startup X in your customary manner (most likely by issuing "startx" or "xinit"). Now you're off and running. Good luck!
If you are using xdm, you will need to put the call to afterstep in your .xsessions file.
This is fairly easy, but you must be sensitive to the version you are using.
You will have to install all the files under your home directory. The usual recommendation is to use the same directories as suggested in the installation procedure, but replacing /usr/share, usr/local, or whatever you like by your home directory. For example, if you home directory is /home/blah you would use directories like /home/blah/bin, /home/blah/etc, /home/blah/lib, and the like.
Compile AfterStep following the standard installation procedure (i.e the one described in the README) until the install step. Then, do the following (make sure to create the destination directories first if they don't exist. All the source paths are relative to the AfterStep source directory):
You should be set. Feel free to modify this procedure according to your particular needs or the particular setup of your machine/account.
You should note that, during the 1.4.5.x series, the source paths changed. If the changes are not transparent to you, you should probably move to the 1.5 series anyway. The 1.5 series includes an install script that allows you to set the install directories to whatever you want. Even though the instructions say you should have root access, you can install AS under your home directory. The trick here is to specify only directories to which you have write permissions. Importantly, you must specify the full path on most systems. Otherwise, there is a good chance that something will not read correctly; this will affect your installation of AfterStep. On some systems, you may also have to add the new subdirectories to your ".profile", ".cshrc", ".xsessions", or other such file. If you don't know what this means, you should either contact your system administrator, or read a good book about your operating system or X windowing system.
The most common reason for problems compiling is that you do not have all the necessary libraries and headers available on your system. This often happens to people who have recently upgraded their distribution of XFree86. The necessary libraries are included in an "optional" file which matches the version of XFree86 in question; the most recent of these is X332prog.tgz (for XFree86 3.3.2). You should be able to find the file you need wherever you obtained your distribution of X.
This FAQ file is maintained in SGML according to the Linuxdoc DTD; some version of the FAQ is included with every AfterStep distribution. In order to make it easily readable, a program called sgml2html (part of sgmltools) converts the file to HTML. A script, afterstepdoc (by default, the first button on the Wharf), should open a browser and allow you to read the FAQ. Unfortunately, not everyone has sgmltools; and even if they are installed, they are not detected correctly at install time. As a result, the HTML version of the FAQ is now shipped with the latest versions of AfterStep. The SGML source is still included with the AfterStep source, however, so if you want other versions of this FAQ -- dvi, PostScript, or even plain text -- just use the sgmltools package to convert the SGML source to whatever format you like.
The problem here was tracked down and reported by Benjamin J. Tracy
firstname.lastname@example.org) and (independently) John Koch
JKOCH1@Tandy.com). The ordering of the libraries in the link command
is wrong. Just make sure that the afterstep library appears before
the -lX11 argument on the link command line (in the Makefile). Everything
should work after that.
AfterStep itself works fine on FreeBSD, but some as-apps will not work. In particular, there are some that depend upon a Linux-type /proc filesystem. That filesystem is very different on BSD-type system.