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#51 2012-03-07 15:15:49

rhowaldt
#!*$%:)
Registered: 2011-03-09
Posts: 4,396

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

@Dogdude: you seem to be getting more thorough with each review. so much so that your Openbox-review looks pale in comparison to your coverage of flwm smile
however, i think we've covered Openbox to quite some extent on these forums already.

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#52 2012-03-07 15:19:41

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ I did not try be as thorough with openbox -- I think we are all pretty familiar with that one. hmm Maybe if I have time I'll go back and add a little more about the config files.

We'll see if I can keep up the standard I set with flwm -- it took a while, and I have to work today and Friday...

(edit) plus honestly, I like flwm and jwm more than I like openbox, and I'm trying to encourage people to branch out a little... smile

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-07 15:22:36)


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#53 2012-03-07 15:21:40

rhowaldt
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Registered: 2011-03-09
Posts: 4,396

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ yeah, i agree. well, in essence, all i'm saying is 'really thorough post on flwm, really worth the read for anyone considering trying this WM out. i'm sure the rest of your coverage will be just as interesting, and i look forward to reading it!' smile

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#54 2012-03-07 15:25:06

ivanovnegro
Ivan #000000
From: unstable madness
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 5,426

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Hey, I never used Openbox, hehe.

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#55 2012-03-07 15:26:27

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ Openbox is overrated bloat smile


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#56 2012-03-07 21:28:18

PackRat
#! Die Hard
From: USA
Registered: 2011-03-03
Posts: 1,326

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

RE flwm

What I Don't Like About It

You can't really change much about how it looks. It's kind of ugly. I wish I could arrange the menu in something other than alphabetical order. Requiring a title-bar click to bring the window to the top takes some getting used to.

I think that can be changed by editing the config.h file if you compile from source.

Nice write up on these wm's; and yes, much better than watching TV smile


"It does not require many words to speak the truth." - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce tribe

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#57 2012-03-07 21:47:10

rhowaldt
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Registered: 2011-03-09
Posts: 4,396

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ you're right. he mentioned that bit in the earlier 'configuration' section:

You don't "configure" flwm as much as set up its desktop and menu. Without recompiling from source you can't change the color, size, or font in the window title bar, and you can't change the buttons on the title bar. If you build the tiny-core version from the Arch AUR the title bars are smaller and black, but if you want anything else you have to get into the code and modify it yourself.

compiling from source to simply change some stuff is a bit of a 'big' thing to do, imo. i'd much rather just have a config-file. but, to each his own.

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#58 2012-03-07 22:08:05

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

rhowaldt wrote:

compiling from source to simply change some stuff is a bit of a 'big' thing to do, imo. i'd much rather just have a config-file. but, to each his own.

You're going to hate the smaller tiling window managers like dwm, catwm, and snapwm then -- you can't change much at all without rebuilding them. Luckily their source code is really small so they rebuild very quickly. Here's what the author of dwm has to say about rebuilding:

Because dwm is customized through editing its source code, it’s pointless to make binary packages of it. This keeps its userbase small and elitist. No novices asking stupid questions.

"elitist" is right sad

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-07 22:11:36)


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#59 2012-03-07 22:26:49

gutterslob
#! Resident Bum
Registered: 2009-11-03
Posts: 3,082

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^dwm isn't really that "elitist"
It's all pretty sensible if you spend a bit of time reading the documentation. The rebuilding and patching (for the most part) is pretty straightforward as well.

Now StumpWM and Sawfish ... those are elitist.
Crazy Lisp-Lovin L*onel R*ch*es, the lot of em!! mad


Point & Squirt

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#60 2012-03-07 22:30:06

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

I was joking about the elitist attitude -- I've built (and rebuilt) a few of the arch tilers; if I can do it anyone can...

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-07 23:55:54)


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#61 2012-03-07 22:31:49

gutterslob
#! Resident Bum
Registered: 2009-11-03
Posts: 3,082

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Little Known Fact: Older versions of CrunchBang used to come with dwm included. cool


Point & Squirt

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#62 2012-03-07 22:39:19

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

PackRat wrote:

RE flwm

What I Don't Like About It
Requiring a title-bar click to bring the window to the top takes some getting used to.

I think that can be changed by editing the config.h file if you compile from source.

Nice write up on these wm's; and yes, much better than watching TV smile

Thanks PackRat -- I didn't realize how much of the config is specified in config.h -- I thought I'd have to go rooting through the code (duh, it's called config.h); you're right -- I just rebuilt it and now I can click anywhere.

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-07 22:44:42)


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#63 2012-03-08 04:38:51

cJones
#! Junkie
From: Oregon
Registered: 2012-02-21
Posts: 447

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Another good review 2Many, thank you


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#64 2012-03-08 05:14:26

orionthehunter
#! Constellation
From: Japan
Registered: 2011-04-09
Posts: 900
Website

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs wrote:

^ Openbox is overrated bloat smile

Never thought I would ever hear that!!!  lol

Did metacity, mutter, compiz, xfwm4, and kwin make your list?

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#65 2012-03-08 16:21:27

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Day four of the epic journey. Today we are going to look at fluxbox, but I'd like to write a little disclaimer first.

It should be obvious that one day is not enough time to really learn the ins and outs of any window manager. SabreWolfy probably had a better idea when he suggested using each WM for a week and then writing about it. But I'm not that patient, especially with window managers I don't really like. So that means that I may miss some important features in the window managers I look at and may possibly offend some users. I will apologize in advance.

I like to explain things with analogies, so here's one I've been thinking about: If these window managers were cars I was reviewing, I would be able to tell you what they look like and how they felt when I drove once around the block. I would be able to tell you about some of the factory options, but not much about after-market add-ons. I would be able to tell you how to adjust the seats and mirrors, but not about tinted windows or tuned exhausts. In other words, a fairly cursory look and just my first impressions. I've used a few of the WMs for longer (like spectrwm, jwm, and flwm) so I can tell you what a cross-country trip feels like, but most I have just tried for a few hours.

So, on to fluxbox. This is a complex window manager with lots of options. I know there are a lot of fluxbox users out there and I am sure some will feel that I have not done justice to their favorite window manager. I'll try not to offend anyone, but if I miss (or misunderstand) your favorite feature, please just post a comment and set the record straight.

Fluxbox is in the Debian repos, so apt-get install works fine. Fluxbox also creates its own .desktop file in /usr/share/xsessions, so once you install it you can log out and use GDM or LightDM to change to the fluxbox session. When you first start it, it looks like this:

2012_03_08_044143_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

It's using a style appropriately called "debian squeeze dark" and you get a panel with a desktop pager, a clock, and a taskbar. Right-click anywhere on the desktop gets you a menu. Slightly different from openbox, this menu stays up until you select something from it or click anywhere on the empty desktop (it even stays up if you go click in an open window). The default menu is the familiar "Debian" menu.

Configuration

Fluxbox puts its config files in a ~/.fluxbox folder (with defaults in /etc/X11/fluxbox). It uses several files:

menu        the main right-click menu
apps        controls what desktop an app opens on, minimized/maximized, etc.
init        controls toolbar behavior, sets the names of the config files, time format, all kinds of useful stuff
keys        keybindings and mouse behavior
startup        controls how fluxbox starts (a little like openbox autostart, with some differences)
overlay        allows the user to override style elements
windowmenu    sets the window-control menu (shade/stick/maximize/iconify, and other options)

These are all plain-text files (not XML) and they can be edited with any editor. The names of these files are set in the "init" file and can be changed. Here's how the menu file location is set in the init file:

session.MenuFile: ~/.fluxbox/menu

Here is a sample of the menu format (in the menu file):

[begin] (fluxbox)
      [exec] (terminal) {sakura}
      [exec] (edit menu) {geany /home/bsh/.fluxbox/menu}
      [exec] (mail) {sylpheed}
      [exec] (web) {iceweasel}
      [submenu] (applications)
        [exec] (geany) {geany}
        [exec] (file manager) {thunar}
        [exec] (terminal) {sakura}
        [exec] (viewnior) {viewnior}
        [exec] (grsync) {grsync}
        [submenu] (office) {}
            [exec] (abiword) {abiword}
            [exec] (gnumeric) {gnumeric}
        [end]

If you remember the JWM menu format, you can see that the fluxbox format is very similar (although JWM uses XML and fluxbox does not). It was easy for me to "port" my JWM menu file over to fluxbox by using search and replace in the editor to change XML tags to the appropriate fluxbox tags.

The startup file is a little different -- it can be used to run things before or after fluxbox starts. This is explained in detail in the fluxbox wiki.

If you don't like the default toolbar you can set it to autohide, or turn it off completely and use another panel. Tint2, fbpanel, and conky all work well with fluxbox. feh works better than nitrogen for setting wallpaper; fluxbox has a sort of built-in mechanism for using feh (described well in the fluxbox wiki).

Window and menu styles are controlled by files in /usr/share/fluxbox/styles or ~/.fluxbox/styles. I'm not going to say much about styles here; there is plenty of information in the fluxbox wiki and also in the fluxbox-style man page. There are many "after market" styles out there, and they are easy to download and install. I think many of the default styles are ugly, but there are lots of others out there.

Here is what my menu looks like now, and the style I am currently using.

2012_03_08_074710_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

I have seen some awesome fluxbox configurations, and I'll link to a few screenshots later in this review. I have not yet been able to produce a fluxbox config I am really happy with, probably because I haven't tried hard enough, but also because there are so many options and an unbelievable number of styles out there. As a friend of mine liked to say "I'm paralyzed by choice." I could spend days (maybe weeks) tweaking the config and probably still not be happy with it.

What I Like About It

It's reasonably fast and light. It's almost infintely configurable using easily edited plain text files. It has a large user base and excellent online documentation. It's easy to find many new styles and configuration options. It has a cool name and a long history.

What I Don't Like About It

It's not as light on system resources (memory and CPU) as Openbox or JWM. Window motion "lags" on my old Celeron box (but it was easy to turn off opaque window moving to solve this). It's almost infintely configurable, so I still haven't been able to produce a config I really like on my install, and I'm sure I don't understand even half of the options.

Links

Here are a few screenshots I like:

http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/post/197130/#p197130
http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/post/183145/#p183145

I'm sure there are lots more out there. I know fluxbox can be beautiful.

Because fluxbox has been around for a while and has many users, there is a lot of online documentation for it. Here are just a few links:

fluxbox home page
fluxbox wiki
fluxbox on #! forum
fluxbox in wikipedia
fluxbox in the Ubuntu wiki

Tomorrow, pekwm.

back to the top

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-26 01:40:26)


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#66 2012-03-08 16:48:11

CBizgreat!
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2011-07-27
Posts: 1,505

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^Thanks for the review,

Just reawakened an interest in fluxbox, those default screenies ya took, look pretty decent to me. Like the splash of color that redish tint makes. Thinking about going ahead and installing the sucker to play with it. Went through a fluxbox stage for a bit. Not sure if like the idea, that you must have a bunch of time to kill on your hands too 2Many. But tis your time to do with as ya please and think it's neat to see you working your way through so many gnu/nix WM's.

Hope ya learn alot ... who knows, hopefully pays off for ya down the road. Am curious about output of free -m, top ( CPU usage) and df -m (  size on disk blahblah). <Sure that would give ya too many butt pains n headaches messing with tho. Have become an uber resource miser or fanatic ... doubt will ever reverse the trend either. Am fascinated with the idea of doing more with less here. You're giving some good interesting content to the #! forums it seems. Bound to inspire some users to get off da beaten path and dig around in all the GUI/WM options out there too. Which think iz kewl ... gnu/nix gives us sooooo many options makes a person dizzy thinking about.


Hope you ( 2Many) n others have a great time wading through all this kickbutt software. Now time to check out fluxbox ... yeppers ... VLL ! wink



Update: Looks good, probably keep flux as default Wm for awhile, looks full featured and seems it gives some eyecandy/color w/o adding a buncha overhead to the OS ... sweet, thanks for bringing this up. Now to try n tame it a bit, add shortcut keys and trim out the menu to only the junk I want there.

Last edited by CBizgreat! (2012-03-08 17:05:05)


Some common cbiz abbreviations. This will save me time and yet @ same time tell folks what the babble is supposed to mean.

Vll ! = ( Viva la gnu/Linux !)    Vl#!! = ( Viva la #! !)    Last but not least, UD ... OD ! = ( Use Debian ... or die !) tongue

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#67 2012-03-08 17:01:14

rhowaldt
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Registered: 2011-03-09
Posts: 4,396

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

CBizgreat! wrote:

You're giving some good interesting content to the #! forums it seems. Bound to inspire some users to get off da beaten path and dig around in all the GUI/WM options out there too.

without a doubt! really good review once again, and the disclaimer was a good idea as well. keep it coming!

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#68 2012-03-08 17:15:08

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Thanks both of you. I hope I inspire people to try a different window manager or three -- there are so many in the repo and they are so easy to install. They're like puzzles to me; once I've figured out how to configure them I usually move on to another one until I find one I really like.

And I'm writing this from Pekwm, so I guess I've decided what's next wink


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#69 2012-03-08 17:35:50

PackRat
#! Die Hard
From: USA
Registered: 2011-03-03
Posts: 1,326

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

RE Fluxbox:

Another nice review.

Some of the better styles

Just want to mention grouping (tabbing) windows by editing the apps file - one of the features that sets it apart from openbox.

Last edited by PackRat (2012-03-08 17:37:38)


"It does not require many words to speak the truth." - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce tribe

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#70 2012-03-08 17:43:25

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Thanks again PackRat. I'm actually using mydefcon_3 from tenr.de as my default now, so I'd agree those are some nice styles!


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#71 2012-03-08 18:22:50

lowrider
#! Die Hard
From: Germany
Registered: 2011-09-10
Posts: 657

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

@theflux. grouping/tabbing is one of what i like most about fluxbox. I know our elder statesman here on cbforums can tell yall much more about tweaking and configuring and ahh...
anyway @2many keep going. Great thing you're doing here cool can't wait for the tilers.


came for the distro, stayed for the community
streamripper :: smxi

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#72 2012-03-08 18:32:12

2ManyDogs
dv#!
From: elsewhere
Registered: 2011-11-22
Posts: 1,346

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

See, that's why I wrote the disclaimer. Fluxbox has so many features I knew I'd miss someone's favorite hmm

Having fun with pekwm right now. Lots of nice built-in key bindings..


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#73 2012-03-08 18:34:13

ivanovnegro
Ivan #000000
From: unstable madness
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 5,426

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

I always see Fluxbox appears in our screenshot section and I like what the people do with it. I think one of the masters here are @Elder & @vrkalak.

And I have to say due to the "over options" I like the simplicity of Scrotwm and still can tweak the things I need to be productive instead of general appearance. Though I think you have to live long enough in Fluxbox to make it entirely yours.

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#74 2012-03-08 21:24:44

doug piston
Member
Registered: 2012-02-11
Posts: 35

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

ivanovnegro wrote:
sqlpython wrote:

This would also make a great Blog/Review outside the #! forums..

That is true, we have already some Arch people lurking here because Scrotwm is not that popular over there. smile

smile

el_koraco wrote:
ivanovnegro wrote:

we have already some Arch people lurking here

Off with their heads!

sad


Switched to AwesomeWM anyways, look forward to that review.

Last edited by doug piston (2012-03-08 21:25:27)

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#75 2012-03-08 21:28:15

ivanovnegro
Ivan #000000
From: unstable madness
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 5,426

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ You switched to Awful, noo. smile

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