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#251 2012-03-14 20:34:36

Iranon
#! CrunchBanger
Registered: 2012-03-10
Posts: 248

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs wrote:

Do you know of any window managers that meet these criteria? I think pekwm comes as close as any I've seen so far. Lots of options, all controlled by text files (and graphics for icons and window elements). Fluxbox and blackbox come pretty close too.

I tried PekWM for a while and rather liked it at the time. Unfortunately, it wasn't as well-behaved as Openbox (especially with little external add-ons) and didn't seem powerful enough to satisfy me on its own.

Of the window managers I have tried, FVWM is the closests to my requirements, and it's what I use most of the time. I've heard great things about Sawfish and it seems very interesting... but playing with it properly is beyond my ability.


LEGO won't be ready for the average user until it comes pre-assembled, in a single  unified look, and glued together so it doesn't come apart.

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#252 2012-03-14 20:35:19

gutterslob
#! Resident Bum
Registered: 2009-11-03
Posts: 2,926

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

h8uthemost wrote:

Thanks for the info 2many and Ivan.

I haven't heard of Luakit. I used Uzbl for a while a few months ago. And it's definitely lighter, but I couldn't get things like an adblocker to work with it. And I need an adblocker. Can't stand those annoying things popping up everywhere.

Why not use a hosts file?



h8uthemost wrote:
2ManyDogs wrote:

I also have a suggestion -- if you try one of these WMs, or if you have experience with one of them, please start a "Getting Started with <wm>" topic.

That's a good idea since I'm really becoming a ratpoison fan, and we don't have much info on this WM here on the forums. Unfortunately... Maybe after I play with rp for a while more and do a little more to it(although there's not much that can be done to it, from what I can see) I'll start a thread. There's quite a few questions I have for the wm, but I'm not sure how many people here use it.

I used to be pretty big on Ratpoison till I went full auto-tiling. An overall great window manager, though imho it's more anti-mouse than pro-tiling.
Did a forum search and found this: http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic … n/?login=1


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#253 2012-03-14 20:40:39

ElderV.LaCoste
#! Die Hard
From: Equarico
Registered: 2010-07-15
Posts: 816

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

I'm several pages late with this but Big Ben August had a thread on JWM.  He made a really nice Crunchbang setup.  It's here:  http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic … wm-config/


Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise.
- Lankavatara Sutra

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#254 2012-03-14 20:45:53

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ thanks EVL -- I used his theme (and linked the topic at the end of my review) but I should have been more explicit. I'll change the link.

Does this mean you will start the "Getting Started with JWM" topic? And the "Getting Started with Fluxbox"? smile


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#255 2012-03-14 20:48:40

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

gutterslob wrote:

Thanks gutterslob. That's an awesome topic, especially the link to the Dion Moult blog.

And Mr. Slob sir, if I may ask, how long do I have to wear the "R*ght Sa*d Fred" badge of shame?

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-15 00:04:32)


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#256 2012-03-14 20:51:59

PackRat
#! Die Hard
From: USA
Registered: 2011-03-03
Posts: 1,102

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs wrote:

^ Thanks! And that works with WindowLab too. I updated the reviews for both WMs.

aewm has virtual desktops through "aedesk" but I didn't really do much with it. I tried aewm++ but it had some bugs I didn't like (but don't remember now -- they're all a little blurry hmm )

See, now I'm going to make you start the "Getting Started with aewm" thread smile

LOL - ok then;

If you (or anyone) id going to try out these minimal wm's; then install dmenu as well as xbindkeys and add it to your menu and keybindings. That and your review pretty much covers aewm.


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

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#257 2012-03-14 20:55:39

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

PackRat wrote:

If you (or anyone) is going to try out these minimal wm's; then install dmenu as well as xbindkeys and add it to your menu and keybindings. That and your review pretty much covers aewm.

Seconded. Without xbindkeys and dmenu I wouldn't have gotten very far with any of them. Did I not mention I had alt-F3 (and super-F3) bound to dmenu_run? If I didn't I'll change the reviews. All I really use most of the time is super-t to start a terminal, then I go from there.

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-14 20:59:52)


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#258 2012-03-14 22:22:05

dubois
The Old Codger
Registered: 2010-09-03
Posts: 2,238

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs I just stopped by to see if you're keeping your level of enthusiasm up where it was when you first began this project.  wink

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#259 2012-03-14 22:30:27

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

dubois wrote:

2ManyDogs I just stopped by to see if you're keeping your level of enthusiasm up where it was when you first began this project.  wink

haha yeah, I could see this getting pretty tedious...especially if you found one you really liked and didn't want to move on to others


d(o_O)b

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#260 2012-03-14 22:45:45

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

dubois wrote:

2ManyDogs I just stopped by to see if you're keeping your level of enthusiasm up where it was when you first began this project.  wink

Thanks dubois. It's still interesting, but mostly I feel pressure to not miss someone's favorite feature in their favorite WM -- that's why I keep asking other people to chime in and start their own how-to when I get to one they feel strongly about. I should probably change the tile to "First impressions of 30 WMs in 30 days."

(edit) "asking" instead of "pushing" smile

But it's keeping my brain occupied, so that's good right now...

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-14 22:57:01)


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#261 2012-03-14 22:53:03

ivanovnegro
Ivan #000000
From: unstable madness
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 5,420

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ I would say, you just calm down, take the time, no one is pushing you. smile Do not forget the fun. wink

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#262 2012-03-14 22:57:29

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ thanks Ivan. it's still fun.


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#263 2012-03-14 23:04:51

dubois
The Old Codger
Registered: 2010-09-03
Posts: 2,238

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs wrote:

<snip>

But it's keeping my brain occupied, so that's good right now...

We all find the therapy that's right for us when we need it most.  Enough said.  smile

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#264 2012-03-15 01:14:08

gutterslob
#! Resident Bum
Registered: 2009-11-03
Posts: 2,926

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs wrote:

And Mr. Slob sir, if I may ask, how long do I have to wear the "R*ght Sa*d Fred" badge of shame?

LOL - I didn't even notice till you mentioned it. I ain't a mod and have no power to brand a person . You gotta ask them. Be happy dude. You might have made the corniest 1-hit-wonder on Earth, but it's been ingrained in nearly everyone's psyche (whether they like it or not).

Mods: If you're reading this, I think it's safe to say he's reflected on his actions and should be let free.


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#265 2012-03-15 01:16:54

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

gutterslob wrote:
2ManyDogs wrote:

And Mr. Slob sir, if I may ask, how long do I have to wear the "R*ght Sa*d Fred" badge of shame?

LOL - I didn't even notice till you mentioned it. I ain't a mod and have no power to brand a person . You gotta ask them. Be happy dude. You might have made the corniest 1-hit-wonder on Earth, but it's been ingrained in nearly everyone's psyche (whether they like it or not).

Mods: If you're reading this, I think it's safe to say he's reflected on his actions and should be let free.

It was not the great and wonderful mods; I branded myself in shame sir, and I thank you for releasing me. I will go now, and sin no more...

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-15 01:18:28)


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#266 2012-03-15 01:23:51

Iranon
#! CrunchBanger
Registered: 2012-03-10
Posts: 248

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

I think you're doing fine.  Guessing users' favourite feature will be nigh-impossible at least in the extensible ones, as I assume the finer points of Lua or Scheme are beyond the intended scope. However, it's nice to know when something uncommon obviously got priority, as is conspicuously absent functionality.

Giood job on giving us quite a bit of information about the configuration methods. Some pointers to how much DIY is expected, how easy it is and how it compares to using  preexisting solutions would be nice, where not obvious (e.g. if I get xml files I bloody well hope there's a usable wizard for it... but there may still be a need to get one's hands dirty for more obscure bits).

But a new WM every day is quite a brisk pace... I'm surprised at the quality so far.

Last edited by Iranon (2012-03-15 01:25:53)


LEGO won't be ready for the average user until it comes pre-assembled, in a single  unified look, and glued together so it doesn't come apart.

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#267 2012-03-15 01:36:03

damo
#! gimpbanger
From: N51.5 W002.8 (mostly)
Registered: 2011-11-24
Posts: 2,192

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Iranon wrote:

(e.g. if I get xml files I bloody well hope there's a usable wizard for it... but there may still be a need to get one's hands dirty for more obscure bits).

(It('s(a(lot(easier(on(the(eyes(than(Scheme))))))))) !


Artwork at deviantArt;  Iceweasel Personas;  SLiM #! Themes;  Openbox themes

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#268 2012-03-15 02:38:14

DeepDayze
#! Member
Registered: 2010-07-02
Posts: 72

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Wow 30 WM's??? This is gonna be a fun ride, so subbed to this smile

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#269 2012-03-15 04:11:27

orionthehunter
#! Constellation
From: Japan
Registered: 2011-04-09
Posts: 899
Website

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

As he goes, and after he's finished, we should make an effort to provide good links to more in depth resources to each of the reviewed WMs, including other people's work where relevant.

Obviously some are already covered in depth, especially the ballsiest of them all Scrotwm.

Maybe if this thread inspires someone to explore something knew they could do us all the favor of writing up their own experiences as well.

Last edited by orionthehunter (2012-03-15 04:12:34)

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#270 2012-03-15 08:02:25

bj
Member
From: Hong Kong
Registered: 2011-12-10
Posts: 13

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Nice and interesting thread, 2Many! I have got addicted to reading your reviews.
Especially like the way you compare the behavior of different wms and the simple English used (it is my third language.

Looking forward to ratposion:)

Last edited by bj (2012-03-15 08:03:00)


sorry for my English. It's not my native language

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#271 2012-03-15 09:07:25

Iranon
#! CrunchBanger
Registered: 2012-03-10
Posts: 248

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

damo wrote:
Iranon wrote:

(e.g. if I get xml files I bloody well hope there's a usable wizard for it... but there may still be a need to get one's hands dirty for more obscure bits).

(It('s(a(lot(easier(on(the(eyes(than(Scheme))))))))) !

Agreed! However:
Without a friendly wizard, Lots of Irritating and Superfluous Parentheses still impy a land of untold possibility (though there be dragons). Xml would be more more like an industrial plot... still not very appealing for a casual stroll, but setting up useful automation should be easy.

Didn't mean to imply one is generally preferable over the other, just that there should be sufficient reason for choosing either over idiot-readable plaintext (which I generally prefer).


LEGO won't be ready for the average user until it comes pre-assembled, in a single  unified look, and glued together so it doesn't come apart.

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#272 2012-03-15 13:27:48

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Thanks for the comments everyone. Before today's review I have a funny story (at least it amused me). I came downstairs today and started the test machine to check on something for another thread, logged in and got a black screen, and I couldn't remember what window manager I was using last! I had to try a few things before I got a terminal and could tell which one it was and get on with my testing. smile


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#273 2012-03-15 13:46:24

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ that's what you get for your WM-madness! tongue

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#274 2012-03-15 14:36:05

DeepDayze
#! Member
Registered: 2010-07-02
Posts: 72

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

rhowaldt wrote:

^ that's what you get for your WM-madness! tongue

Quite an obsession I dare say! lol

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#275 2012-03-15 17:21:07

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

OK, finally the first of the tiling window manager reviews. Scrotwm has changed its name to spectrwm, but the version in the stable and testing repos is still called scrotwm, so that's what I'll use in this review. Another disclaimer -- this is a powerful and complex window manager, with many features. At the same time, it is simple to use. I use it every day, but I do not use all of its features and I cannot explain all of them in one short review. The best way to learn how to use this window manager (like most of them) is to install it, read the man page and config files, and play with it until you understand it.

According to wikipedia, "a tiling window manager is a window manager with an organization of the screen into mutually non-overlapping frames" and scrotwm does this, although it also allows for floating windows and dialog boxes (some tiling window managers do not). It uses the concept of a "master" area (which may contain more than one tile) and a separate area for individual smaller tiles, which can be swapped with the master area or added to or removed from it. By default, the active tile has a one-pixel red border and inactive tiles have a one-pixel gray border. The color and width can be changed in the config file.

Scrotwm can primarily display tiles with the master area in a vertical orientation:

2012_03_14_174454_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

In a horizontal orientation:

2012_03_14_174856_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

Or full screen (you don't need a screen shot for that, do you?). It is almost completely keyboard driven, with some optional mouse input. Many other combinations of tiled windows can be created with simple keystrokes. Scrotwm has ten workspaces, and by default each is opened in vertical orientation (large master area on the left, tiles on the right).

Scrotwm can also create and manage floating windows and dialog boxes, and tiles can be switched into and out of floating mode. Floating windows can be moved with the mouse by pressing the Alt key and left-click and drag, or resized with Alt right-click and drag (the key used with the mouse can be changed -- more on this later).

With most tiling window managers, it is difficult to talk about default behavior and configuration separately, as it is usually very important to understand how a tiling window manager is configured before you even start using it. Scrotwm is no exception, and for this reason I would highly recommend that you read the man page and the config file before you even start the window manager.

Scrotwm is in the repos, and it creates its own desktop file, so it will show up in the GDM sessions list. Once it is installed (and before you start it) please read the man page and the default config file /etc/scrotwm.conf. If you can keep these files open on a second machine while you use scrotwm on a test machine this is very helpful. If you have only one machine you may want to print both the man page and the config file before you start the window manager.

To quote Gutterslob on using scrotwm:

One look at the config file and you'll definitely figure stuff out.

Copy /etc/scrotwm.conf to ~/.scrotwm.conf so you have a local copy you can modify. When you open this file, you will see it is a very straightforward (and relatively short) text file. The first part of the file controls the window manager's appearance (things like the active and inactive window border color, the status bar font, whether the clock will be displayed in the status bar, and so on).

After appearance control comes the keybinding information. First the "mod" key is defined -- this is the key used with other keys for control. By default it is set to Mod1 (the alt key) but if you have a super (windows) key you will have fewer conflicts with other applications if you change this to Mod4.

modkey = mod4

If you have not read the man page, please do so now. You will see that the default key binds for window control are all documented in the man page. Here is a short excerpt (there are many more):

 The default key bindings are described below:

           M-S-⟨Return⟩     term
           M-p              menu
           M-S-q            quit
           M-q              restart
           M-⟨Space⟩        cycle_layout
           M-S-\            flip_layout
           M-h              master_shrink
           M-l              master_grow
           M-,              master_add
           M-.              master_del
           M-⟨Return⟩       swap_main
           M-j, M-⟨TAB⟩     focus_next
           M-k, M-S-⟨TAB⟩   focus_prev
           M-m              focus_main
           M-S-j            swap_next
           M-S-k            swap_prev

And so on. "M" is the mod key, "S" is the shift key, and lower-case keys are just keys. As you can see, there are also keybinds to make the master area bigger and smaller, and to add or remove tiles from the master area, as well as to cycle through the tiles on the current workspace.

In the default configuration, Mod-Shift-return starts a terminal. The default scrotwm.conf file contains lines for all these default bindings, with # comment tags in front of them. To change the terminal keybinding, simply find this line in ~/.scrotwm.conf:

#bind[spawn_term] = MOD+Shift+Return

and change it to

bind[spawn_term] = MOD+Shift+t

           
Note that the comment tag must be removed. Scrotwm can be restarted in place to make the changes take effect. In the default config (check the list above), restart is MOD+q; after you press the key combination you should be able to start a terminal with MOD+Shift+t.

Other key combinations are just as easy to change. Swap_main swaps the currently active tile with the master tile, and its default is MOD+return. To change it to MOD+z, just change the line in ~/.scrotwm.conf:

bind[swap_main] = MOD+z

If you make a syntax error in .scrotwm.conf, it can have unexpected reults. Sometimes everything will work up until the error (so if I made an error in the cycle_layout tag, terminal and quit would still work, but swap_main would not) or scrotwm may just stop working altogether. For this reason, it's best to make your changes a few at a time and  with restarts in between to make sure you have not broken anything, and to check your syntax carefully before each restart.

After the window control keybindings, you can add keybindings for specific apps. These have a simple two-line structure, where one line defines the term and the next binds a key sequence to the term. For example, this binds the MOD+w sequence to open iceweasel:

program[iw] = iceweasel
bind[iw]    = MOD+w

Finally, scrotwm allows you to specify "quirks" for apps like The Gimp and others that don't play nicely with tiled window managers:

quirk[Gimp:gimp] = FLOAT + ANYWHERE

This tells scrotwm that Gimp windows should not be tiled, but allowed to float freely, and adjusts size on transient windows that are too small. The quirks and options are described in the man page.

In the version of scrotwm currently in the testing and sid repos (0.11.0), default workspace orientation can be changed in the config file. I set my first three workspaces to horizontal orientation, because I have an older 4x3 monitor and horizontal orientation allows me to use the full width of the screen in the master area:

layout        = ws[1]:5:0:0:0:horizontal
layout        = ws[2]:5:0:0:0:horizontal
layout        = ws[3]:5:0:0:0:horizontal

The "5" after the workspace number increases the master area to slightly more than half the screen, and remaining zeroes specify default behavior for the other layout options.

If you have a 16x9 monitor you may want to use the default vertical orientation for everything, and if you have a tiny netwbook you may just use fullscreen at all times and switch from one workspace to another to switch applications. Unfortunately, in the scrotwm version in the stable repo (0.9.20) the default workspace orientation cannot be changed.

Conky On The Bar

The default scrotwm status bar shows the workspace number and orientation ([|] for vertical [-] for horizontal, and [ ] for full screen), and a clock (if clock_enabled = 1 in .scrotwm.conf). The bar does not indicate if any other workspaces have running apps in them. The status bar can also display the title of the current window, and it is very easy to add conky to the status bar. Simply change

baraction = none

to

baraction = conky

and create a simple one line .conkyrc file:

out_to_x no
out_to_console yes
update_interval 1.0
total_run_times 0
use_spacer none
TEXT
RAM:$memperc% | CPU:$cpu%

Of course other options can be added to the conky output. Scrotwm does not recognize conky's font or color tags -- to create a colored conky you will need to use dzen2 (this is described in some of the references in the Links section).

Scrotwm does not have an "autostart" file, so you will need to use a start script (as described for many of the small stacking window managers earlier in this series) if you want to set the background or run any other apps or daemons with scrotwm. In the default configurations, Mod+Shift+q exits the WM (logs out).

Using Scrotwm

As I mentioned, I think the best way to learn how to use a window manager (especially a tiler) is to open the man page and the config file and just try things to see what they do. There is no way I can explain everything these guys can do in a short review (even if I knew everything they could do!). I can tell you how I use this one though. As I mentioned, I have my first three workspaces set to horizontal. When I start the WM, I usally press Mod+Shift+W -- this brings up luakit, and I check to see what's going on on the forum. Then I press Mod+Shift+m to bring up sylpheed in the lower half of my screen. If I have mail I press Mod+z to switch Sylpheed into the larger master area, or Mod+Shift+2 to send it to workspace 2, then Mod+2 to go over there. If I need a terminal, Mod+t starts it and tiles it with Sylpheed in the lower half if I haven't moved it (Mod+t is float_toggle in the default config, but I changed that to Mod+f because it made more sense to me and I wanted Mod+t for my terminal start). I usually run stuff in the lower half and switch it up into the master area when I need it bigger, then back down when I don't. And that's only one way to use scrotwm, and may not be the best way for you.

Here's what it looks like with title_name_enabled turned on (so the window title appears in the status bar) and a simple conky running, and with a floating dialog:

2012_03_15_100559_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

What I Like About It

Scrotwm is very fast and light, and very easy to use and to configure without sacrificing features. The ability to restart it in place after making config changes makes configuring it even easier. It is very intuitive, at least for me, and does most of what I want and very little of what I don't. It is my default window manager right now.

What I Don't Like About It

Very very little. Any problems I have are very minor. Scrotwm occasionaly has issues with floating dialogs -- some apps open small secondary dialogs and because dialogs are usually centered, these small dialogs may show up behind the main dialog where they are invisible. The main dialog must be moved to make the secondary box visible, and until you do it may appear that the window manager is frozen. Also, buttons at the bottom of a window are sometimes not visible if the tile is too small.

One more disclaimer: I apologize if I missed your favorite (or least favorite feature). This is a powerful WM, and there are more to come I am even less familiar with. Please consider these reviews only "first impressions."

Links

"man scrotwm"
#! getting started with scrotwm
spectrwm home page
spectrwm in the Arch wiki

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Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-04-06 14:12:07)


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