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Date:      Fri, 5 Aug 2011 17:23:08 -0600
From:      Chad Perrin <>
Subject:   Re: Alternative windowmanagers
Message-ID:  <20110805232308.GC44875@guilt.hydra>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Fri, Aug 05, 2011 at 09:12:14PM +0200, Christian Barthel wrote:
> I read on slashdot that Linus Torvalds moved from Gnome 2.3x to Xfce. It
> seems that he isn't thrilled by xfce, but it's far better than Gnome3.=20

As I recall, he made the switch from KDE to GNOME because of KDE 4 being
a steaming turd, too.  He must be getting tired of his favorite desktop
environments going south on him.

> As a Gnome 2.3x user too, I am also a bit nervouse. Gnome 3 is a big
> mistake. And there are also rumors that Gnome will be Linux only. Maybe,
> we will never see Gnome3 under FreeBSD, but this is not a tragedy :)
> I am not very interested in eyecandy: I want a stable and fast wm (less
> memory and cpu, quick access to important places), different workspaces,
> and it should be configurable with ordinary files. Of course, It must
> run under FreeBSD.=20

With these preferences, I wonder why you ever used GNOME at all.  I
commend your evolving preferences, though.  I, too, like a window manager
that stays out of my way and offers what I need to boost productivity
rather than to coddle a desire for bells and whistles.  Spinning cubes,
menu fade effects, and panels/bars/docks strewn about the edges of my
display do not serve those needs.

> I sniffed into AfterStep, fvwm2 and fluxbox (I don't want to use KDE). I
> think, fluxbox is a nice wm and for my future, it will be the default wm
> for me. It's also very fast and easy to configure.=20

Fluxbox is definitely a step in the direction you seem to want to take
with your future selection of window managers.  It tends to be very
"intuitive" to people who are familiar with the Windows, Icons, Menus,
and Pointers model, including taskbars -- even though it does not by
default support desktop icons (thank goodness).  As a way to move toward
less cluttered working environments, it is something I am often compelled
to recommend for those who are used to the common style of UI dominated
by panels/bars/docks and menus.  I don't think of Fluxbox as a
destination, though, so much as a stepping stone.

> Are there any other window manager worth looking?=20

FreeBSD, last I checked, has a rare window manager called AHWM in ports.
For floating window environments that interact well with the mouse, but
are lightweight, with heavy support for keyboard-driven operation (in
fact it leaves menu management up to third-party utilities, and otherwise
assumes you will configure keyboard shortcuts; I skipped the menu and
went with the keyboard shortcuts for everything), it is about as good and
get-out-of-the-way efficient as a window manager can get.  I'd bet money
it involves fewer lines of code, smaller binary size, fewer dependencies,
and smaller memory footprint than your terminal emulator; it's fast,
stable, and flexible, and pretty much offers no eye candy at all

After a long path from KDE through a dozen or so window managers over the
years, I ended up with AHWM in 2005 or 2006, and stuck with it until the
beginning of this year.  As floating window environments go, it is easily
my favorite window manager, period.  This year, though, I finally started
using a tiling window manager heavily.

> What is your window manager?=20

I use i3 these days.  It has some similarities to wmii, but i3 is pretty
much the ideal introductory window manager for someone new to tiling
window managers.  That doesn't mean it's only good for beginners, though;
it's really quite nice in its own right.  If you aren't ready for a
tiling window manager, or just don't like the tiling model, I refer you
back to Fluxbox and AHWM, depending on how far down the rabbit hole you
want to go.

I hope that helps.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]

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