SEARCH

Enter your search query in the box above ^, or use the forum search tool.

You are not logged in.

#276 2012-03-15 17:50:58

ivanovnegro
Ivan #000000
From: unstable madness
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 5,419

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

@2ManyWMs: I think you covered the most important parts of my personal fav. smile

The #! Getting started thread is one of the best things to introduce one into Scrotwm and the man page is great.

Also if you screw up your conf and you cannot start scrotwm and you have no other WM or DE installed, it is easy to use nano and to edit the conf again, to smash the error and restart or log in back into it.

Offline

Help fund CrunchBang, donate to the project!

#277 2012-03-15 17:58:55

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Thanks.

ivanovnegro wrote:

Also if you screw up your conf and you cannot start scrotwm and you have no other WM or DE installed, it is easy to use nano and to edit the conf again, to smash the error and restart or log in back into it.

Do you speak from personal experience sir? smile

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-15 17:59:13)


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#278 2012-03-15 18:38:39

ivanovnegro
Ivan #000000
From: unstable madness
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 5,419

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ Yes, sir! If that happens I switch to tty and nano comes to the rescue.

Offline

#279 2012-03-16 17:37:33

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Day 12. Today we're looking at wmii, or "window manager imporoved 2" (window manager improved improved?). We're going to look at i3 tomorrow, and since i3 was based on wmii I thought it would be interesting to look at wmii first.

Wmii is in the Debian repos, and it creates its own .desktop file, so it shows up in the sessions list in GDM. Testing and sid have version 3.9, while stable still only has version 3.6. There is some difference in the default configuration between the two versions, but using and reconfiguring them is almost the same (unlike i3, as we will see tomorrow).

Wmii is usually listed with the tiling window managers, but it can tile windows:

2012_03_16_085823_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

Stack windows (where each window takes up the entire screen, but you can see title bars of the windows behind the top window):

2012_03_16_084854_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

Or a combination of the two (notice that there are two titlebars in the tile on the right -- it contains two stacked apps)

2012_03_16_085927_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

It can also manage maximized and floating windows, but it feels like a tiler, because it is mainly keyboard driven and its default mode is tiling and stacking maximized tiles.

When you first start wmii, it asks if you want to use the Alt key (mod1) or the Super key (mod4) as your "mod" key. When given the choice, I always specify the super key as this results in fewer conflicts with other applications.

In the default configuration, mod+enter starts a terminal, mod+p runs dmenu in the bottom status bar, and mod+a runs an "actions" menu that gives you several window-manager options, including "quit" and "showkeys" -- "showkeys" is especially handy: it shows a page containing all the default key combinations.

Even with the "showpage" menu option, it is still useful to read the man page and print some of the default key combinations before you start wmii. It has a lot of options and without a quick reference you may be very confused very quickly. Here are some of the default sequences:

* Mod+Enter -> Terminal
* Mod+p -> wimenu : a menu appears, just type the beginning of the name of the application to open it.
* Mod+d -> default layout : windows are divided on screen
* Mod+s -> stacked layout : the selected window take all the screen, we just see the title bar of the others.
* Mod+j -> select the window below
* Mod+k -> select the window above
* Shift+Mod+j -> move the window down
* Shift+Mod+k -> move the window up
* Mod+a -> Actions menu : choose "quit" to quit

Wmii keeps a history of the apps you run, and selecting mod+p and then the up and down arrow keys can be used to cycle through the history and select a recently-used app.

Version 3.9 keeps its configuration information in ~/.wmii/wmiirc. Copy the default file from /etc/X11/wmii to your home folder and modify the local copy.

When you start wmii, it starts in "stacking mode." As mentioned above, there are easy defaults for terminal, dmenu, and window-manager menu. In the default configuration there are also keybinds for all the window movement and positioning you can think of. Windows may also be resized with the mouse by clicking and dragging on the button in the titlebar. This is a window manager you will really have to use for a while before you fully understand all its capabilities.

Custom key bindings can be added to wmiirc. This code sets iceweasel to start with the sequence mod+shift+w:

Key $MODKEY-Shift-w 
    eval wmiir setsid "iceweasel" &

Window-element colors and other default behaviors may also be modified by changing wmiirc, but it is not a simple text file like the configuration files for many other window managers.

One very interesting feature of wmii is the ability to "tag" windows and workspaces. You can move to a new workspace by pressing mod+n and move apps to a new workspace by pressing mod+shift+n (where n is a workspace number), but you can also create a named workspace by pressing mod+shift+t and then entering a workspace name. This will create a named workspace and move the selected window to it. You can move back to other workspaces by using the mod+n or mod+t+name sequences. You can move another app to the named workspace by using the mod+t+name sequence again. Applications may also be tagged in the wmiirc file so that they start in a specific named workspace. This rule starts iceweasel in a workspace named "web":

/Iceweasel/ -> web

More than one app may be given the same tag so each will start in the appropriate workspace. You may also specify the mode in which the app will start (for example, you can start the gimp in floating mode).

Another interesting feature is that wmii uses a virtual file system for its visual elements (statusbar, window title, and so on). You can access this filesystem with the wmiir command. For example:

wmiir ls /

client/
colrules
ctl
event
keys
lbar/
rbar/
tag/
tagrules

Writing text to /rbar can produce visible text, but a file must be created first. This example adds "#! Linux" and the kernel number at the end of the status bar.

echo "#! Linux `uname -r`" | wmiir create /rbar/test

Once the "/rbar/test" file has been created, its contents can be changed with "wmiir write" to change the displayed text. There are several examples in the Arch wiki showing how the wmii bar may be used to display status information, and examples showing other uses for the file system.

Final screen shot:

2012_03_16_102354_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

This is the "showkeys" screen showing the default shortcuts. Iceweasel is running on the "web" page, and thunar and sakura are running on page 3. Notice the status bar -- wmii is only using ~120 MB.

What I Like About It

As I mentioned, this is a powerful and complex window manager. It can do a lot of things, and do them well. It has many very usable built-in defaults so I did not need to modify it much at all before I was happy with its configuration. The built-in up-down arrow menu made custom keybinds almost unnecessary.

What I Didn't Like About It

This is a powerful and complex window manager. smile It would take a while to learn to use well and I did not find it as intuitive as some of the other tiling window managers I have used. Default behaviors I did not like were not as easy to modify as in some other window managers.

So who wants to start the "Getting Started with wmii" thread?

Links

"man wmii"
wmii home page
wmii in the Arch wiki
wmii in the Debian wiki

And it can even look like this in case you think my scrots are ugy (thanks gensym).

tomorrow: i3
back to the top

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-17 16:37:04)


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#280 2012-03-16 18:17:07

gensym
#! Junkie
Registered: 2011-10-17
Posts: 447

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Nice review 2ManyDogs!

Here some side notes, that might be of use:

The default configuration is done in bash, but it is also possible to configure wmii in a wide variety of languages including python and ruby. (for those who are interested in changing the fugly defaults)
As mentioned before, as the default configuration is done in bash auto-starting applications is very easy (just by adding a couple of lines to the config file).
The development (hg) version, also offers a system tray, which might be useful if you are using an application like Skype, which minimizes itself to tray.

Last edited by gensym (2012-03-16 19:20:57)


'Multiple exclamation marks,' he went on, shaking his head, 'are a sure sign of a diseased mind.', {Eric}

Offline

#281 2012-03-16 18:27:12

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ Thanks. It was a lot to get my brain around in a day.


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#282 2012-03-16 18:29:07

ivanovnegro
Ivan #000000
From: unstable madness
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 5,419

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Good review @2ManyWMs. The defaults seem to be fugly, yes. For me it has many things I probably would never use.

Offline

#283 2012-03-16 18:35:19

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

cool. i especially like the /rbar-thingy. and with gensym's addition, i also like how the configs are written in bash and can also be written in other languages. really cool. thanks for another great review!

Offline

#284 2012-03-16 18:37:53

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

ivanovnegro wrote:

Good review @2ManyWMs. The defaults seem to be fugly, yes. For me it has many things I probably would never use.

I agree. It's interesting about the defaults -- the older version in the stable repo looks a lot more like i3, and I think it looks nicer. Maybe they decided they didn't want to look like i3...

I'm using snapwm right now; it's a tiny little tiler that does just what I need and no more. We'll get to it next week.


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#285 2012-03-16 19:09:11

Forthy
#! CrunchBanger
From: Warwickshire, UK
Registered: 2012-01-16
Posts: 181

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Another great review - I might have to apt-get this one and give it a play.

Offline

#286 2012-03-16 19:16:45

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^  Wait until you see i3 tomorrow -- you might like that one even better.

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-16 19:17:00)


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#287 2012-03-16 19:21:30

Forthy
#! CrunchBanger
From: Warwickshire, UK
Registered: 2012-01-16
Posts: 181

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

lol - how you tease. smile

I'll be patient!

Offline

#288 2012-03-16 19:52:42

gutterslob
#! Resident Bum
Registered: 2009-11-03
Posts: 2,924

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

gensym wrote:

Here some side notes, that might be of use:

The default configuration is done in bash, but it is also possible to configure wmii in a wide variety of languages including python and ruby.

That's the main allure of wmii. It's scriptable in any language (though some languages work better than others). Here's an old perl config I used to roll with: http://crunchbanglinux.org/pastebin/1541

Note: It's been a couple of years since I used that, so no guarantees how well it'll work today. Just posting it to give people a rough idea. No support provided. Btw, the "statuses" related parts in the config were stolen from somewhere on the web, so credit to the maker for that bit.

Also had a .rb version, but can't seem to locate it right now. Will update this post if/when I find it.


Point & Squirt

Offline

#289 2012-03-17 02:21:53

PackRat
#! Die Hard
From: USA
Registered: 2011-03-03
Posts: 1,097

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Nice review of wmii 2ManyDogs - I may have to try it out again; dropped it pretty quick for i3 so looking forward to tomorrow's review.


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

Online

#290 2012-03-17 06:14:35

h8uthemost
#! Junkie
Registered: 2011-08-09
Posts: 291

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

I remember trying this tiler for a while when I first started getting into them. What I really liked about it was its stacking mode. I like how it shows a bar for each window when they're stacked. I wish Scrotwm did this...

Maybe I'll give this another shot. See how difficult the configuring really is.

Thanks for another very informative review. Hopefully you'll let us know what stacker/tiler wm you personally liked best at the end of the 30 days.

And oh yeah, can't wait for your snapwm review. Never even heard of that one(ah, nevermind, it's not in the Stable repos, that's a shame...).

Last edited by h8uthemost (2012-03-17 06:17:26)


We are a nice, friendly community here and I hope we stay that way.

Offline

#291 2012-03-17 10:35:08

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

^ what surprises me though, is how many of them are in the repos.

Offline

#292 2012-03-17 12:30:19

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

h8uthemost wrote:

I remember trying this tiler for a while when I first started getting into them. What I really liked about it was its stacking mode. I like how it shows a bar for each window when they're stacked. I wish Scrotwm did this...

Maybe I'll give this another shot. See how difficult the configuring really is.

Thanks for another very informative review. Hopefully you'll let us know what stacker/tiler wm you personally liked best at the end of the 30 days.

And oh yeah, can't wait for your snapwm review. Never even heard of that one(ah, nevermind, it's not in the Stable repos, that's a shame...).

Don't worry -- it's very easy to build, and has to be built after configuring. Several of the reviews coming up require a little building -- it's not hard.

I'm not sure what I'll end up with, but I'll let you know smile


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#293 2012-03-17 13:11:24

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

rhowaldt wrote:

^ what surprises me though, is how many of them are in the repos.

That is pretty crazy, isn't it? I never would have done this topic if there weren't so many already in there.

I bet someone could do a 15 editors in 15 days thread -- nano, vim, leafpad, mousepad, gedit, geany, it's one of the things I like about Linux we have so many options...


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#294 2012-03-17 13:11:59

h8uthemost
#! Junkie
Registered: 2011-08-09
Posts: 291

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs wrote:

Don't worry -- it's very easy to build, and has to be built after configuring.

Would you mind covering this when you do the review? I'm probably the worst person on building/installing from source in Linux history(admittedly though building was so much easier for me with Ubuntu, a lot of the dependencies that are needed for packages just aren't available in the Stable repos, or if they are the correct versions aren't, and that's what always sets me back..., this is why I need to 'upgrade' to Testing). But I know others also struggle with it. So a small guide on what to do with it will most surely come in handy.

And yeah, rhowaldt, it surprised me too how many were available in Stable. There hasn't been many at all that I've came across that weren't.


We are a nice, friendly community here and I hope we stay that way.

Offline

#295 2012-03-17 13:12:59

el_koraco
#!/loony/bun
From: inside Ed
Registered: 2011-07-25
Posts: 4,747

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

2ManyDogs wrote:

I bet someone could do a 15 editors in 15 days thread

hmm There's only one editor in the Linux world. Plus the GNU Desktop Environment.

Offline

#296 2012-03-17 13:31:29

xaos52
The Good Doctor
From: Planet of the @s
Registered: 2011-06-24
Posts: 4,595

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Right. Emacs is an OS. big_smile

Offline

#297 2012-03-17 16:08:41

PackRat
#! Die Hard
From: USA
Registered: 2011-03-03
Posts: 1,097

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

@2ManyDogs - the last link in your wmii review goes to the debian wiki, not a second entry in the arch wiki.


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

Online

#298 2012-03-17 16:17:37

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Fixed. Thanks. It was supposed to go to the Debian wiki, just a C&P error on the text.


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

#299 2012-03-17 16:28:39

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

Day 13. Today we are going to look at i3 (window manager improved^3?). I know there are some i3 users here, and I hope they will remember these are my first impressions after using the WM for only a short time. I hope someone will step up and start a "Getting Started" thread after this review.

I3 is usually considered with the tiling window managers, but like wmii it can tile:

2012_03_15_115234_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

stack:

2012_03_15_115358_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

and even tab windows:

2012_03_15_115451_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

It can also manage floating windows and full-screen mode, and can be used in almost any combination of tiled, stacked, tabbed, or floating:

2012_03_17_073029_1280x1024_scrot.jpg  2012_03_17_073614_1280x1024_scrot.jpg

I3 is in the repos, and it creates its own desktop file so it will show up in your GDM sessions list. A brief word about versions. I3 Version 3.6 is in the stable repo and version 4.1 is in the testing and sid repos. These versions look very similar and their default behavior is very similar, but version 4.0 and up becomes much easier to configure. After version 4.0, when you first start I3 it asks whether you want to use the alt or super key for your "mod" key and adjusts its config file accordingly. The format of the config file after version 4.0 is also easier to read and modify. I won't tell you not to try version 3.6 if you're on stable, but if you can get version 4.0 or better you'll have an easier time with it. I'm also going to only talk about configuring version 4.0 or better in this review. Again, default behavior for version 3.6 is almost identical; it's configuration where your issues start.

This is another one where you should really read the man page (and probably print it) before you start trying to use the window manager. It has a lot of features and a lot of bound keys. Luckily there is an excellent I3 User's Guide online, complete with keyboard layouts showing the default keys.

I3 has ten workspaces by default, and it can divide each workspace into "containers." Tiling/stacking/tabbing behavior is controlled at the container level, so you can stack one container and tile another. Each container can consist of one window, or some combination of additional windows and containers. If this sounds hard to understand, the online user's guide does a better job explaining it than I can (and it has pictures!). Containers can be split vertically or horizontally. When i3 splits a container "vertically" it means to split the container along the vertical axis, so there is a window above and below the line. This confused me at first because the line is horizontal -- but I just need to remember "vertical split" means "along the vertical axis." Likewise, a "horizontal" split splits the window along the horizontal axis into two parts left and right. A container that contains other containers is called a "parent" container, and tiling layout can be controlled by shifting the focus to the parent container before opening another container.

The key combination mod+n (where n is the new workspace number) switches to a new workspace, and applications can easily be moved from one workspace to another with the key combination mod+shift+n. I3 has a status bar along the bottom of the screen, and like wmii, only workspaces that have running apps in them are shown in the status bar. By default, i3's status bar shows the output of a built-in app called "i3status" but it is easy to modify the config file so that the bar shows a simple conky output.

In the default configuration, i3 has bound keys for almost anything you can think of. Windows and containers may be resized with the keyboard or simply with the mouse by left click and drag on their title bar or border. The man page and the online user's guide are very clear and helpful. I did not find i3 as confusing as wmii, but it's still a powerful window manager that will take you a little while to become proficient with.

Configuration

As I mentioned, when you start i3 it asks which key you'd like to use for your "mod" key -- if you have one, the "super" key usually produces fewer conflicts with other applications. If you change your mind, it is easy to change the modkey definition in the config file.

The default configuration file is at /etc/i3/config. Copy it to ~/.i3/config or ~/.config/i3/config before modifying it. It is a simple text file containing default values for most of the configuration options.

It is possible to change keybindings, window element colors, and many other features of i3 in the configuration file. For example, this line sets the key combination mod+shift+w to start iceweasel:

bindsym $mod+Shift+w exec iceweasel

and this line sets the default container orientation to vertical (new windows open below the existing window):

default_orientation vertical

Specific behaviors may also be assigned to window classes, and windows can be set to always open on a particular workspace. For example, this line causes iceweasel to always open on workspace 3:

assign[class="iceweasel"] 3

Workspaces may be given names in the config file. This line names workspace 3 "3:web" (you can name workspace 3 just "web" but it will still be workspace 3, and you will have to remember to use mod+3 to switch to it):

bindsym $mod+3 workspace 3:web

Default focus mode is "focus follows mouse" -- this can be changed so that you must explicitly focus a window with the keyboard (this can be more convenient if you have a touchpad):

focus_follows_mouse no

To put conky on the status bar, use this code with a simple one-line conky:

bar {
        status_command conky
}

Many other configuration options are described in the user's guide, including some interprocess communication which allows third-party programs to get information from i3. Unlike wmii, however, i3 cannot be configured with a scripting language.

What I Like About It

Another powerful tiler/stacker/tabber/floater. It has many options that are easily controlled from the keyboard. The "tree" structure of the containers is interesting and has many possibilities. The default configuration is prettier than wmii, and it was easy to put conky on the bar.

What I Don't Like About It

After using scrotwm for several months, I'm more used to the "master" window concept of tiling, and the container/sub-container concept was hard to understand and use at first. I know there are very proficient i3 users out there, but it has a steeper learning curve than I like.

Links

"man i3"
I3 User's Guide
the great #! forum i3 thread

tomorrow: wmfs
back to the top

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-03-26 12:31:52)


Be eggsalad to each other.

Offline

Help fund CrunchBang, donate to the project!

#300 2012-03-17 16:38:17

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

Re: 30 Window Managers in 30 days

tZDIxYg

Image of Encouragement and Motivation [Rated G]

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB

Copyright © 2012 CrunchBang Linux.
Proudly powered by Debian. Hosted by Linode.
Debian is a registered trademark of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

Debian Logo