Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 31st May 2007 21:08 UTC
Window Managers "If you use a traditional desktop like GNOME or KDE, a keyboard-controlled desktop with a minimum of utilities may seem like stepping back 10 or 15 years in the history of interface design. Why bother, when traditional desktops are easy to use and RAM and disk space are so cheap nowadays?" On a related note, there is a new release of xmonad, a tiling window manager for X, written in Haskell. It now has full Xinerama and XRandR support, so you can add, remove, or rotate monitors on the fly.
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finally!
by broken_symlink on Thu 31st May 2007 21:51 UTC
broken_symlink
Member since:
2005-07-06

i'm glad to see that tiling wms and alternative window mangers are gaining in popularity. there is more out there than kde, gnome, xfce, *box.

Reply Score: 2

interesting
by krtekz on Thu 31st May 2007 22:08 UTC
krtekz
Member since:
2007-05-31

It is interesting to see at least 3 articles about tiling window manager lately on OsNews. This conincides with my recent switch to Ion. When I was using traditional WMs, I always maximize almost every window, except XMMS and a few others, and use keyboard shortcuts as much as possible. So Ion feels like designed for me ;) And with its tiling ability, I can split the whole screen into certain "frames", without manually arranging the windows, and without wasting any screen real estate. Furthermore, for programs don't work well in tiling style, I can put them into a seperate traditional floating style workspace. Simply put, it is very powerful, no-nonsense and productive! I love it! Would like to try other tiling WMs when I have time.

Browser: ELinks/0.11.2 (textmode; OpenBSD 4.1 i386; 88x31-3)

Reply Score: 4

v interesting
by krtekz on Thu 31st May 2007 22:10 UTC
Nice!
by ebasconp on Thu 31st May 2007 22:15 UTC
ebasconp
Member since:
2006-05-09

Keyboard oriented desktop are a must for, by example, my parents... My mother is not happy using the mouse and with a keyboard oriented desktop, she could have a list like:
- Type S to open the shell
- Type konqueror to run the web browser
- Type F to select the address
- Type google to open the navigator
- Press "1" to go to the search zone

etc.

It seems to be more intuitive and easier than "go to the blue K with the mouse, left click, select this, go with the mouse to ..."

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nice!
by Doc Pain on Fri 1st Jun 2007 21:43 UTC in reply to "Nice!"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

'It seems to be more intuitive and easier than "go to the blue K with the mouse, left click, select this, go with the mouse to ..."'

You're mentioning an aspect that you usually encounter when you need to instruct somebody. Today's manuals are full of pictures (like the books children "read"), but often reality looks a bit different and people find it hard to recognize what to do.

Giving a list of commands is usually easier. Just say: "Enter this in a terminal window and it will do the job", instead of describing the "pictures" on the "TV" leading the individual step by step.

Even older individuals, such as my grandma, who used typewriters (I'm talking about the real ones!) for many years, seem to feel more comfortable with the keys because they know about their never changing location and are able to connect them (in mind) to certain actions, depending on possible shifting modes (Ctrl, Alt, Meta) or combinations (Compose).

As you might know from powerful X systems, the middle mouse button can be used to copy & paste commands from the mail client to the console window.

I had an issue with my uncle yesterday, I needed him to do "pciconf -lv | less", but he could not - under any circumstances - get the "|" sign. He missed the key where this character should be created with. So I was glad to tell him hitting the Scroll Lock key in order to see more of the diagnostic messages.

Keyboards rock! Sun Type 6 USB, IBM 1391403 and 1391865 here. :-)

They're not obsoleted by GUIs, no, they can make them more powerful. WindowMaker and .xmodmaprc are your friends.

Finally, I'd like to add a psychological aspekt: While using the mouse requires more attention (motoric control - very precise, depending on the mouse's quality -, sensomotoric control for the eyes and sensoric processing from the eyes), the use of the keyboard does not require that much (just motoric activation relying on learned motoric programs). You don't even need to look at the screen because you can be sure that the desired action (character occuring, dialog window opened, program closed etc.) has been done.

Edited 2007-06-01 21:49

Reply Score: 3

Oops!
by krtekz on Thu 31st May 2007 22:15 UTC
krtekz
Member since:
2007-05-31

I thought I didn't post it successfully, so I did it again. Could somebody please delete one of them? Thanks! ;)

Browser: ELinks/0.11.2 (textmode; OpenBSD 4.1 i386; 88x31-2)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Oops!
by MORB on Fri 1st Jun 2007 00:19 UTC in reply to "Oops!"
MORB Member since:
2005-07-06

Ah, the joys of posting with elinks.
Real men use telnet.

Reply Score: 4

Alwasy with the vi
by transami on Fri 1st Jun 2007 00:09 UTC
transami
Member since:
2006-02-28

I like tile managers too. But a couple things irk me. The main thing is that the keyboard kungfu is almost always based on vi. I really don't care for vi, plus what if I use a Dvorak keyboard?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alwasy with the vi
by jessta on Fri 1st Jun 2007 00:31 UTC in reply to "Alwasy with the vi"
jessta Member since:
2005-08-17

You can reconfigure them.
Just read the documentation.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alwasy with the vi
by broken_symlink on Fri 1st Jun 2007 01:14 UTC in reply to "Alwasy with the vi"
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06

i use wmii with dvorak and it works fine. i swapped my caps lock and ctrl though. and wmii is supposed to be more like emacs than vi from what i understand. don't actually use vi myself, but i do use emacs.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Alwasy with the vi
by duncanbojangles on Sat 2nd Jun 2007 01:48 UTC in reply to "Alwasy with the vi"
duncanbojangles Member since:
2005-07-06

I changed the configuration of wmii so that the keyboard controls are more like the editor Joe and the GNU terminal program screen, ie type Ctrl+Q then the key of the command you want. It's the only way I would have continued using it since I also use the programs screen and joe all day.

Reply Score: 1

v 1
by shark12er on Fri 1st Jun 2007 01:46 UTC
Doing that mainly on OS X
by Wowbagger on Fri 1st Jun 2007 03:44 UTC
Wowbagger
Member since:
2005-07-06

I mostly use the mouse for drawing, for the rest LaunchBar (or Quicksilver or Butler whatever you prefer) and for most applications I use the (thankfully cross-app) consistent keyboard shortcuts.

I could go as far as accessing the dock and button bars with the keyboard, but who needs those anyway if you already have shortcuts for all important functions?

Reply Score: 3

Keyboard == awesome
by jessta on Fri 1st Jun 2007 04:18 UTC
jessta
Member since:
2005-08-17

I use dwm.
xbindkeys to map shortcut keys for opening my most used applications(firefox, xterm, irssi, nano) and dmenu for all my less used ones.

For basic window navigation and application launching the keyboard is optimal.

But there are many things that the mouse does very well:
- Selecting text for copy/paste
- navigating websites(most aren't designed for keyboard usage)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Keyboard == awesome
by Laurence on Fri 1st Jun 2007 12:19 UTC in reply to "Keyboard == awesome"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"

But there are many things that the mouse does very well:
- Selecting text for copy/paste
- navigating websites(most aren't designed for keyboard usage)
"

I do agree with what you're saying however I find the keyboard much more precise for selecting text than the mouse (as you suggest).
Using the keyboard you can select several words /and/ parts of the word. With the mouse most software only allows you to select several words /or/ parts of a word. (eg with a mouse you couldn't select "ith the mouse most softwa" from my sentence above)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Keyboard == awesome
by soapdog on Fri 1st Jun 2007 13:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Keyboard == awesome"
soapdog Member since:
2005-07-25

I just selected the part you said I could not with the mouse, so I don't understand your argument to disfavor it. really.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Keyboard == awesome
by zizban on Fri 1st Jun 2007 14:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Keyboard == awesome"
zizban Member since:
2005-07-06

I could do it too.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Keyboard == awesome
by bogomipz on Fri 1st Jun 2007 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Keyboard == awesome"
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

This is not a problem with the rodent device itself. I think the only place you'll see it is in Microsoft Word, which tries to be "intelligent" with its mouse input handling. It can be very frustrating when you wanted to cut/copy from the middle of a word to the end of the sentence, and Word insists that you must have all or nothing...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Keyboard == awesome
by Henrik on Fri 1st Jun 2007 22:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Keyboard == awesome"
Henrik Member since:
2006-01-03

Please don't use C-syntax like == in normal conversation, it's just silly.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Keyboard == awesome
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 2nd Jun 2007 02:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Keyboard == awesome"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a bad example, but the poster is correct - keyboard shortcuts generally are significantly faster/more precise for working with text. The text manipulation keyboard shortcuts are one of the few aspects of Windows that is actually clever (and, predictably enough, appears to be there solely as a hold-over from the DOS days). E.g., hold Ctrl and press the right/left arrow - the cursor jumps forward/backward by one word. Or the home/end keys, which take you to the beginning/end of a line - or to the beginning/end of a document, if modified with Ctrl. And all of those actions can be further modified by holding down the Shift key (E.g., Ctrl-Shift-Right Arrow or Shift-End) to select text in the same way.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[4]: Keyboard == awesome
by Moulinneuf on Sat 2nd Jun 2007 06:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Keyboard == awesome"
RE[6]: Keyboard == awesome
by Moulinneuf on Sat 2nd Jun 2007 09:23 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Keyboard == awesome"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

http://www.osnews.com/permalink.php?news_id=17976&comment_id=243165

Dont worry Its not me , you will se what I am driving at real soon.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Keyboard == awesome
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 2nd Jun 2007 17:24 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Keyboard == awesome"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

So you utterly missed the point of a sarcastic comment made more than a week ago, and now you're obsessing over it?

Guess I must have hit a nerve, eh?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Keyboard == awesome
by Henrik on Sat 2nd Jun 2007 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Keyboard == awesome"
Henrik Member since:
2006-01-03

I agree fully. But some of it is actually older than MS-DOS, borrowed from the "terminals" that were used before personal computers and, then, graphical interfaces became common.

As I see it, the most productive combination would be lots of standardized and fast keyboard commands coupled with a pen, that inherently would give a much better precision than the quite unatural mouse. The pen would be used for the few kinds of tasks (such as free hand drawing) that really cannot be done by keys only.

Strangely enough, many unix/linux fans for a long period of time (the last 20 years or so) seemed to prefer text-based interfaces (such as "terminal windows") but still using a mouse. More or less the worst of two worlds IMHO...

Don't take this the wrong way - I hate MS too - I just like some of their conventions ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Keyboard == awesome
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 3rd Jun 2007 01:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Keyboard == awesome"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree fully. But some of it is actually older than MS-DOS, borrowed from the "terminals" that were used before personal computers and, then, graphical interfaces became common.


Ah, that's interesting - I had always had the impression that that particular "style" of keyboard shortcuts was original to Microsoft apps. Although, I'll admit that impression was largely based on the contrast with the EMACS or vi style of keyboard shortcuts for text manipulation.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 1
by Dually on Fri 1st Jun 2007 05:31 UTC
Dually
Member since:
2005-07-26

Looks like someone needs to implement a security feature on the register section.

On topic: I think the simplified interfaces are very interesting. I hope that the concept can be modernized more yet keep its simplicity. Also make it easier for people to get into and remove some of the steeper learning curves. Then again maybe I am too easily confused ;)

Edited 2007-06-01 05:36

Reply Score: 1

Add more keyboard power to Windows
by TommyCarlier on Fri 1st Jun 2007 05:52 UTC
TommyCarlier
Member since:
2006-08-02

I've added more keyboard power to Windows by installing slimKEYS, a nice hotkey manager. To launch an application, I don't click on Start and try to find the app in the huge list; I just press Win+Space to launch slimLAUNCH, and then start typing ('no' = Programmer's Notepad, 'vs' = Visual Studio, 'sc' = Screen Capture 2, ...).
This has made me a lot more productive.

Reply Score: 2

krtekz Member since:
2007-05-31

Good to know. Will keep that in mind.

Reply Score: 1

Launchy
by gonzalo on Fri 1st Jun 2007 07:03 UTC in reply to "Add more keyboard power to Windows"
gonzalo Member since:
2005-07-06

I like this one. Launchy, http://www.launchy.net/

Reply Score: 2

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

That's one thing I really miss under linux. I use colibri under windows and quicksilver under OS X, but haven't found anything equivalent under linux. If anyone knows of anything please let me know.

Reply Score: 2

bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

Did you try gmrun? It displays a simple window where you can launch applications with tab-completion. Bind it to Mod4-r or whatever floats your boat, using xbindkeys or from your window manager.

Reply Score: 2

Keyboard controlled desktop in kde
by mariux on Fri 1st Jun 2007 09:48 UTC
mariux
Member since:
2005-11-13

A keyboard controlled desktop is entirely possible (i'd even say awesome) in kde. Here's is how i actually do stuff:

win+t Focus kontact
ctrl+2 Switch to the mailpart of kontact
ctrl+l Check mail
ctrl+alt+n launch konversation
win+k Focus konqueror
Ctrl+l focus addressbar
type url hit enter
Either:
Ctrl Shows 40 small indicators on the 40 first links on the page so that i can hit the corresponding key to open the link
Or:
Hit the ' key and type in the text in the link, F3 to cycle
(That's right, mouseless browsing)
alt+f2 opens run-dialog, start a new program (always faster than going to the K menu if you know what program you want)

Almost all controls in normal apps are accessible through alt+key shortbuts aswell.

This is just an example of how my workflow is, i rarely if ever use the mouse. At school i always get comments on 'movie like' it looks when i just hit keys on the keyboard and things happen that would normally need to be controlled by mouse.

Granted, things aren't perfect in kde, probably half of my 40 kde bugreports are keyboard related, but things are a lot better than what i have been able to accomplish on gnome. With the input action kcontrol thing, dcop and window specific rules-controlled keyboard shortcuts are amazing.

Once your used to hitting win+key to switch between apps you never want to go back to alt+tab or expose, they are just to slow.

Edited 2007-06-01 09:49

Reply Score: 4

IceWM trick
by zizban on Fri 1st Jun 2007 12:12 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

If you are using IceWM with the task you can hit hit the metakey+spacebar and type commands right into the taskbar. Makes it breezes to open apps.

Reply Score: 3

Vimperator
by maxauthority on Fri 1st Jun 2007 22:20 UTC
maxauthority
Member since:
2006-01-17

For all the keyboard loving people here, I can recommend to try http://vimperator.mozdev.org, a extension to make Firefox behave like vim to be fully keyboard accessible.

Maybe i should write an OSNews article about it some time.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Vimperator
by krtekz on Fri 1st Jun 2007 23:01 UTC in reply to "Vimperator"
krtekz Member since:
2007-05-31

Tried it. Cool!

Reply Score: 1

Hardware is *not* cheap
by CodeWarrior on Sat 2nd Jun 2007 23:24 UTC
CodeWarrior
Member since:
2006-01-04

Why bother, when traditional desktops are easy to use and RAM and disk space are so cheap nowadays?

They aren't. For people in the western world, they might be, but for people in places like China, India, and Africa, when the monthly income is not more than 60 $USD, paying thousands of dollars for a PC with the latest CPU, RAM, and GFX 3D card is not an option. People have low-end machines, with very little ram, and (most of the time) no 3D acceleration of any fancy features. We need to look into making the most of our hardware, and we need to allow those less unfortunate than us to still enjoy most of what we enjoy on modern fast hardware.

Reply Score: 2

Bloomberg terminal.
by Rcoles on Mon 4th Jun 2007 12:33 UTC
Rcoles
Member since:
2006-01-18

Whenever I read about keyboard versus mouse based navigation, the bloomberg terminal software comes immediately to mind. When people first start out with this, there is almost universal fustration that something that is so hyped and expensive can appear so "clunky" and that to use effectively you have to memorise long lists of keywords and options.. but within a year of spending 50-90% of their computing time working in the environment.. most people "get it", from the ability to manage contacts and email distributions rapidly and easily with a few strokes of the keyboard, to the fact that information, calculations and analysis are almost instant.
A good long term user Interface is not always the same as one with a short learning curve.

Reply Score: 1