Alternative windowmanagers

Allen Unix.Hacker at
Fri Sep 2 07:56:06 UTC 2011

Apologies to anyone this message appears weird to up front; I'm doing
some work on my Windows 7 Partition, and though I'm going to try and
make sure this isn't a crappy email message, we all know how Windows can
be. I've made sure it's plain text and all but if this appears weird to
anyone, I'm sorry, but I have to be on Windows 7 until I finish up. Now,
on to my reply :)

On 8/5/2011 4:15 PM, Chris Brennan wrote:
> On 8/5/2011 3:12 PM, Christian Barthel wrote:
>> Hello, 
>> 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. 

I don't know a lot about Gnome3, because a lot of my machines aren't
very powerful by today's standards, and if what I read on RAM
requirements was true, I won't be able to use it on any machine except
this one anyway. I can't Believe how bad Gnome has become.... And KDE4,
though very pretty, is another one I don't like. I usually install KDE3
on BSD for when I want to use KDE as I like 3 better.

>> 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 also heard about that. If the people who work on Gnome are going to go
Linux only, than, f them. I use Linux, and I like it, but I also like
FreeBSD and PC-BSD. And for them to make a statement like that, they
might as well piss on their userbase at the same time. That's a huge
mistake. I agree with what you say about Gnome3.

>> 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. 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. 
>> Are there any other window manager worth looking? 
>> What is your window manager? 

I clumped those sections together, because I'd like to reply to
basically all of it at once, so, here is MY Opinion:

I'm a little weird when it comes to Window Managers. I always have been.
When I first started straying away from Windows, one of the things I
really liked about Linux and BSD, was that I could basically make my
desktop look however I wanted. I mean, I did use KDE quite a lot, but, I
found myself logging out and back in a lot to try a new one out.

I'm basically a user of multiple versions of Linux, and then FreeBSD and
PC-BSD (Which, really now, it's just FreeBSD with a paint job and a few
custom apps, but it's still cool lol) and I Honestly couldn't pick a
favorite Window Manager if I tried.

I really couldn't.... I like being able to change how my Desktop looks,
and I don't like being tied down to one Window Manager. I'll be sitting
here working on something, and, then, out of on where, I'll be like
"Hmm, I feel like making this look different" and then I'll save my
work, or stop what I'm doing, log out, select a different Window
Manager, and log back in, and pick up where I left off. I have ADD
pretty badly, so Unix in general has always worked well for me, as Unix
/ Linux / BSD, they all seem to have that magical ability to use any
Window Manager you want, and I like that a lot.

Even though I said I couldn't pick a favorite even if I tried, I DO have
a list of them that I use the most, and that I personally like the most,
so, I'll give you the names of some of them, and, maybe it'll help you
out :)

Now, as I said before; I do like KDE, and I also like Gnome, but from
what I understand, those are "Desktop Environments" and not Window
Managers in the true sense of the word. I don't really care a whole lot
about that, as it's nit picking to me lol, but here are the others I do

Window Maker. I LOVE Window Maker. It's nice looking, it fast, and it
has a lot of nice themes I saved, since, well, you can't seem to ever
find any of them anymore, except for that one web site where the guy has
like 10 or so of them that are like space and stuff, which I'm not into.
So, I grabbed my SUSE Linux 8.1 and 8.2 Professional DVDs, popped them
in a machine, and copied over the Window Maker themes those versions of
SUSE came with, as they are WAY nicer. So, once I did that, I opened up
the RPMs, and grabbed all the themes. So now I have them for any Linux
or BSD I use.

Window Maker in general is cool, and, it can look REALLY nice. And, it's
very simply. It also doesn't use up all your Resources which is a huge
plus as well.

FVWM - I'll lump FVWM, FVWM2, and FVWM-Crystal all in one here, and just
say I really like those too. I've used all of those, and also FVWM95,
but I didn't like 95 as much as the other ones. Again, these are very
fast, look cool, and use very little in resources.

I'd like to figure out one day how to configure the Themes and menus
myself, but for now, they rock either way heh.

Enlightenment - E16 and E17.... These are some of the best looking
Window Managers I've EVER had the Pleasure of using... I can't say
enough good about Enlightenment... I LOVE Enlightenment.... The look is
simply amazing, and the Special FX, awesome. And the fact that it
somehow managed not to use up all your RAM and CPU, amazes me even more.
I totally LOVE E, and I Hope they continue making it work.

You have a nice menu system, and you can also right click on the
background to pull up even more. You can configure everything on it very
easily, and, just all around, it's awesome. The Themes they have come up
with amaze me, and I LOVE it. And in E17, they have the Favorites menu,
which you can configure as well, which is great for someone like me who
uses a lot of different apps.

IceWM - IceWM is another one I've used countless times. I again, can't
say enough good things about it. It's fairly light on the requirements
as well, so, give that a try if you like. There are also countless
themes for it, so you can change how it looks with a few clicks.

AfterStep - AfterStep, which I see you've used, is another one I Love.
Basically, looking like Window Maker, made me happy with it.

TWM - I know TWM is dated, but when it comes to "Light on Resources"
it's hard to beat. I don't use it a whole lot, but when I do, it's
always been very responsive, and easy to keep the memory use low.

I know that FreeBSD has a metric ton of Window Managers you can install
very easily, and I couldn't tlk about them all, or remember them all,
even if I tried, but I know that it's pretty simple to basically do this:

pkg_add -r bunchOfWindowManagers moreWindowManagers

And so on. Or at least that's how I do it normally. I just went to the Web Site, and went into the Ports Section, and looked up the
Window Managers section, and started installing them to try them out.

Anyway, I don't want you to have to read a 300 page email as this has
gotten a lot of replies, but I Hope I've helped in some way.


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