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I've been reading as much as I can online, but none of it seems to work (i.e. changing ~/.config/awesome/rc.lua).

I've installed awesome window manager from the repos, and I log into it via GDM, and now I'd like to get it to start a few applications every time I log into the session.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Starting from a template

First you'll need to copy the template rc.lua file into your home folder

mkdir ~/.config/awesome
cp /etc/xdg/awesome/rc.lua ~/.config/awesome/

Defining applications to start

Now using awesome - edit config copy the following code at the bottom of your new rc.lua file

  local cmds =

  for _,i in pairs(cmds) do

In this example - firefox and xedit are run on startup.

An excellent wiki page describing this and much more can be found on ArchLinux

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Lines like these at the bottom of your .config/awseome/rc.lua will do the trick. If you want it simple. At least, that's what the awesome-wiki calls simple.

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After an upgrade of Awesome, the solution:

awful.util.spawn("nm-applet &")

make it crash (return to the login prompt).

However, it works great with:

os.execute("nm-applet &")

Related ticket: awesome crashes when using awful.util.spawn() on startup

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