Alternative Linux Window Managers?

I installed Suse Linux 9.1 SMP/AMD64, and I am not very happy with KDE. It seems like I left Windows, only to go straight back. Does anyone here use a window manager besides Gnome or KDE? Why?

Thanks a bunch –
Matt

my linux system isn’t working right at the moment, but I’ll ramble nonetheless

most people would not use kde or gnome because they have a lot of things people don’t use, as in, like windows they are somewhat bloated

people like ICE, blackbox, flux (I think, not sure if it is a window manager or what), xfce, window maker…

A different window manager will probably take some getting used to (as in, it no longer is anything like windows), but you ought to be able to gain some speed.

You may want to check out Enlightnment. I felt the same way about KDE.

Personally I’d recommend windowmaker. Small, sleek, and fast–and you can really move around quickly by using the middle mouse button to scroll through workspaces.

Cheers,

b01c

I’ll throw in another vote for Windowmaker. Fast, easy to customise and use. I selected it to install during my initial installation of Suse 9.0 but you might be able to go through Yast and do the same thing (although I don’t know if windowmaker shipped with Suse 9.1 or not)

Xfce is a nice one that is compliant with gnome and GTK libs, without being as much of a resource hog.

You still want to have gnome and KDE installed so you can compile programs with such dependancies and your software can load libs as needed.

Window Maker and AfterStep are both lightweight in terms of memory footprints, if you want something that feels like a NeXT desktop.

I use gnome. I gave enlightment another spin again recently, and was quickly reminded why I like gnome (dons asbestos suit).

And here I am actually recommending Enlightenment. The thing is, though, that I’m not sure how much I can recommend my setup to anyone else. I’ve set things in my system in such a way that it helps me work better/faster, my way. I can’t expect my configuration and way of working to be successful for other people.

That said, I’d recommend giving all of the suggestions above a try (and when I say “give it a try,” I mean more than a few hours of fiddling. Take a day or two and really try and get some work done) and seeing what you jive with the best.

It’s not that I hate enlightenment. It’s one of the coolest looking WMs out there but the lead developer actively goes out of his way to avoid making things work with other WMs. E also is more of a resource hog than other WMs. His libs haven’t been optimized in ages.

His new version seems to be in perperual development. DR17 is over two years overdue. Holy vaporware, Batman.

<purposely attempting to avoid wm holy war>

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. The 0.16.x series has recently undergone a number of improvements with some renewed development energy. e16’s resource hoggish-ness really depends on what theme you use (lightweight theme = lightweight wm) and the resources it uses pales in comparison to the desktop environments’ (kde/gnome) resource usage. As to the issue of e17… the wm side of that has indeed been slow, however there’s been substantial development going on in the foundation libraries (the dev mailing list is fairly active)… and they are quite slick and fast (from what I’ve seen) while remaining highly customizable.

That said, while I was initially sold into E by its looks, it’s features in terms of usablilty and customizing for workflow are what kept me using it. I honestly haven’t been able to find a setup outside of E where I’m nearly as productive.

Again, like I said in my original post… it works very well for me. I don’t expect to work well for anyone else. Hrm… that took a lot more words to put down than I’d intended.

I myself use XFce 4.1.90 “aka 4.2 beta1”.

It’s been labeled the most “@$$ kicking thing since @$$ kicking began.”

I do indeed concur.

For what it’s worth I’m more than happy with good old Fluxbox.


Brian

Thanks for the info, guys. I tried out a couple of those window managers, and found them intriguing. It might take a while, but I’m going to see which one I like best – I love the tabbed idea in principle, but haven’t tried it out yet.

Matt

Fluxbox is notorius for ignoring standards. Open blender with xinerama (twinview actually) and watch half of disappear of the screen.

I’m perhaps not the right person to answer since I went straight from Blackbox to KDE 1.2 (in the years 1 and 2 heh heh)… anyways, I’m curious.

why are you not happy with KDE ?
what would like you to be different?

.b

Disclaimer: I am pro-Linux, not anti-Linux. People at Princeton regularly call me an OSS freak.

That’s a good question, basse. Basically I’m not happy with the ease (or lack thereof) of customization. It seems that everything involves theme packs and all sorts of other stuff that has to be installed all in one huge chunk, and it seems (to me anyway – I am not really experienced in this area) that making those packages is a big pain.

I think the Crystal cursor theme (and all the ones that are installed by default) looks like crap, and I have a bunch of cursors that I like – including a spinning AMD timeglass cursor that I made. I don’t want to sit around for an hour putting together a package – I just want to mix and match my cursors and be done with it.

Also, KDE has (in my humble opinion) the world’s worst system monitor; the GNOME one looks a lot nicer, but I haven’t been able to get it to sit in the KDE system tray. I have Suse installed, which is a KDE distro, so the GNOME support is terrible. When I try to adjust GNOME fonts, they all switch to size 0 pt, and it screws up KDE too.

I’m no Unix newbie, so I grep’ed for ‘font’ in my personal folder, but I couldn’t find anything useful – so I ended up deleting (and therefore losing) all KDE settings twice.

Also, when I go to close a maximized window, I don’t want to think about it, so I ram the mouse to the upper left corner and double click, or ram it to the upper right and do the same. The only theme that I have been able to find that does this correctly is Plastik, which doesn’t look all that great, but I guess it gets the job done. However, its blue juiciness reminds me of Windows XP, and that’s not a good thing.

Furthermore, for some stupid reason I can’t get the Windows button on my keyboard to bring up the KDE menu. The Windows button does work; I can map Windows+M to minimize all, Windows+T to bring up an Xterm, etc., but a press and depress cannot be mapped. Does anyone know how to do this?

I also cannot stand the pervasive Mac OS X gel look on everything. I changed my KDE theme to something that I like, but the GNOME stuff looks completely different. I know that Red Hat got rid of this problem with Bluecurve, but I don’t like Bluecurve because of the ram-the-mouse-around problem (and also because it, too, looks like Windows XP). I tried installing some GTK-Qt hack library that draws GTK widgets with a Qt theme, but it doesn’t work correctly on my system.

The worst problem, however, is not KDE related. The fonts look downright horrible! I realize this is some BS patent issue, but the work-around is terrible. The free Bitstream fonts aren’t too bad, but I don’t want to be sitting around trying to read antialiased 10 point sans serif. If it’s not antialiased, though, it’s drawn as if it had been electrocuted – all jaggy and misaligned.

If any of you Linux crazy people have solutions for these problems, I will be much obliged. I will then become a Linux crazy person as well.

Matt

Fluxbox is wonderfully tweakable, and the themes aren’t any sort of package, and they’re easily modifiable. It’s popularity is easily measured by joining irc://irc.freenode.net/fluxbox and looking at how many people there are. Over 100! It’s a really great WM, if you spend at least half an hour finding a theme that’s close to what you want and tweaking the hell out of it.

>Basically I’m not happy with the ease (or lack thereof) of customization.
>It seems that everything involves theme packs and all sorts of other stuff
>that has to be installed all in one huge chunk,

funny :slight_smile: this was exactly one big reason why I like KDE, you can set colors, fonts, icons, mouse cursors, widgets and window decoratiosn all separately, instead of always downloading big theme pack … :slight_smile: weird. heh.

I know there is something like theme manager, or something… but I’ve never used that… so it’s definetely not necessary.

> I think the Crystal cursor theme (and all the ones that are installed by
> default) looks like crap,

i agree. I dont use it either… I have the Bluecurve icon set… they are in my opinion, simply the best available currently… actually, as I’m running debian it’s not called Bluecurve, but Clipperton… but it’s the same thing.
I’m also using widget set “qtCurve”, which is based on Bluecurve… so it’s flat and simple.

> Also, KDE has (in my humble opinion) the world’s worst system monitor;

hmm, I use gkrellm… if that is called system monitor?
never have tried KDE’s … didn’t really even know there is one. heh.

> Also, when I go to close a maximized window, I don’t want to think about > it, so I ram the mouse to the upper left corner and double click, or ram it > to the upper right and do the same.

why double click when you can click just once from the cross on top left?
oh, and what comes to plastik… it follows system color settings, so change those to get rid of blue…

>Furthermore, for some stupid reason I can’t get the Windows button on >my keyboard to bring up the KDE menu.

must be just a shortcut not set… works out of the box here.

I also cannot stand the pervasive Mac OS X gel look on everything. I changed my KDE theme to something that I like, but the GNOME stuff looks completely different. I know that Red Hat got rid of this problem with Bluecurve,

> but I don’t like Bluecurve because of the ram-the-mouse-around
> problem (and also because it, too, looks like Windows XP).

hmm… ram the mouse around problem?
i havent ever used XP but I’ve seen some screenshot…
and here is a shot of my system:
http://www.kimppu.org/basse/tmp/scrshot.jpg

as you see, qt and gtk apps look the same… the share fonts and colors, widgets…

I’m not trying to say you must use KDE, heh, use whatever you want ofcourse, that’s what it’s all about. freedrom…
just trying to cut out some of those things that usually seem to come out of people when they critisize gnome or kde… many of those simply are not true :slight_smile:

.b

Where do you do that? I can’t find the program (or the text file that needs editing) that lets me do that.

Matt

Gel?? methinks you mean aqua. But I guess it can get a bit tiresome. Then you can install themes:

http://www.interfacelift.com/themes-mac/

which requires this software:

http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/shapeshifter/

For just $20 you can even customise the interface of a single app. There might be free versions of the same thing.

I’m not sure if you can get a whole new window manager though. For that you could use the X11 software so you can install all those square-looking unix interfaces :P:

http://hometown.aol.com/tg3907/osx.html

I’m not much into customisation myself, though. I prefer the standard boring ‘gel’ look that everybody tried to copy when it came out ;).

in the kde control center… “looks and feel” I think would be the english term for the submenu there.

.b