Linked by Ian MacGregor on Thu 3rd Dec 2009 20:40 UTC
Window Managers Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world.
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Need a desktop environment
by vivainio on Thu 3rd Dec 2009 21:16 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

Unfortunately, these days many of us need a desktop environment instead of just plain window manager.

- What happens if you plug in an usb stick? Or usb hard drive?

- Can you mount a windows partition without command line (or entry in /etc/fstab)?

- How easy it is to set up your wlan? Do you have to fire up wicd?

Reply Score: 4

RE: Need a desktop environment
by strcpy on Thu 3rd Dec 2009 21:34 in reply to "Need a desktop environment"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

Fortunately, these days many of us still use the command line environment instead.

Unfortunately, these days many of us need a desktop environment instead of just plain window manager.

- What happens if you plug in an usb stick? Or usb hard drive?

- Can you mount a windows partition without command line (or entry in /etc/fstab)?

- How easy it is to set up your wlan? Do you have to fire up wicd?


I don't believe that automounting, setting wireless connection with fancy but constantly segfaulting GUI tool that only works in Linux, or the ability to not edit fstab, are the selling points of bigger desktop environments. The applications are.

Actually, the renaissance of "just" window managers continues to flourish.

EDIT: By the way, nice article. Reminds me of the good old days of OSNews.

Edited 2009-12-03 21:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

The WM doesn't make much difference to any of these things. Use Fluxbox, for instance, and when you fire up the file manager, whichever you want, you'll see the usb stick automount.

The main difference is how much clutter there is around the place. Fluxbox seems about right, you do have the bottom task bar, but the rest is pretty clean. You have to hand edit the menu file if you want to change the levels where things appear, but the rest is point and click.

Mounting windows partitions. Well, whatever you use, you mostly have to create a link to them. But you do that in the same file manager.

Do it with fluxbox, you will still have to spend a couple hours with your user, but you will have to do that just as much with gnome or kde. Try it out sometime, and you might be surprised how the user is actually pleased to get rid of all the clutter and just have simple apps, right click to select them, and get on with the work.

Now, you want minimal, then WMII is the way to go....

Edited 2009-12-03 21:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Need a desktop environment
by itomato on Thu 3rd Dec 2009 21:56 in reply to "Need a desktop environment"
itomato Member since:
2006-05-18

The *advantage* of using a window manager, as opposed to a desktop environment is agnosticism.

If you like the wifi tool of KDE - use it.

If you like raw 'iwconfig' - use it.

If you like to create wrappers for your own commansds - you may easily do that as well.


-----
It comes down to this:
If you want to run a tool, you may. DND works. You may run Kicker, BB, or GNOME-panel in conjunction with Window Maker.

Me, I'm fine with Window Maker and yaquake. If I need mouse-driven file management, I'm free to use Konqueror, Nautilus, or a Directory Opus or Midnight Commander clone, or 'mv', 'cp', and 'rm' directly from the 'Run...' menu option.

Can it get any better? Yes it can, because if I want multiple desktops, all I need to do is visit wmprefs, and scroll on the (always uncluttered) desktop.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Can I recommend Thunar instead of Nautilus ?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Need a desktop environment
by cerbie on Thu 3rd Dec 2009 22:39 in reply to "Need a desktop environment"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

Mounting: we have this cool thing, at least in Linux, called automount. You get things set up as a service, not dependent on a DE or anything. All done.

WLAN can be done many ways, but again, is not a DE issue, unless you make it one. Wicd, FI, doesn't even need a GUI, but if you have one, just add a tray, and you're done. Of course you have to fire up Wicd. That's what startup apps are for, and even all the WMs have that feature.

Reply Parent Score: 6

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

And while you are cobbling and hacking that Rube Goldberg contraption together, modern Linux users are getting real work done.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Need a desktop environment
by i92guboj on Fri 4th Dec 2009 15:16 in reply to "Need a desktop environment"
i92guboj Member since:
2009-07-16

'- What happens if you plug in an usb stick? Or usb hard drive?'

That's what hal and udev are for, the desktop really does nothing but to put a GUI in top of that... Just google for "writing udev rules" to know how to do that without a single extra megabyte of desktop installed.

'- Can you mount a windows partition without command line (or entry in /etc/fstab)?'

Yes. ntfs-3g is a FUSE based fs, and FUSE is kind of an acronym for "filesystem in userspace". And, more importantly, if the Desktop can do it: you can do it... There's nothing magic about a desktop, or a WM, the desktop is not a piece of your kernel so it can do exactly the same things than any other kind of userspace software. No more, no less. The only difference is the way you do it.

'- How easy it is to set up your wlan? Do you have to fire up wicd?'

It depends on the application you use for that, only that. The desktop has nothing to do with that.

I admit I am higly biased because I just dislike this model of doing everything in your desktop... Call me old-fashioned, but I am one of these animals that believe that the management of the hardware should be in the hands of the kernel and the core system tools, and not in the hands of a desktop. This is bad for many reasons. First, and very important, it makes the software difficult to port to other architectures, second, it makes the software incredibly complicated, it duplicates functionality that's already there in lower layers. It's not really the *nix way to reinvent the wheels once and again and again, when there's already a tool that does the task, and does it very well.

This also makes standarization very difficult, because each desktop likes to do things in its own particular way. I find it really ridiculous that you need to enter X to bring up your network. Ridiculous, really. Good luck when X breaks and you need internet access to download a fix or an update... Insane. And much more these days that the graphics drivers and HAL seems to be having fun with every human being using Linux hehe.

All you need for that is a driver for your hardware and ifconfig or whatever is used to manage your concrete lan interface. Again, if the GUI can do it, then you can do it as well.



Now, about WMs vs DEs, I really find the native window managers for kde and gnome really limited, compared to what fvwm, xmonad or openbox can do, just to name a few... Kwin still stands to some point, but metacity (gnome) is really the dumbest WM ever, only comparable to windowlab or evilwm. It can move, maximize or minimize windows, little more. The rest of the desktop are just applications, and these applications can be used under any WM. Using fvwm or windowmaker really doesn't mean you can't use gnome-panel if you want, or nautilus, or konqueror, or xfce-panel... and so on.

So, using a standalone WM is not only possible, but it's also the best thing you can do if you really need some advanced window managing features. I will continue to use fvwm just because there's no way that kde or gnome can do even a 10% of what fvwm does in which regards managing windows. I use lots of gtk, qt and kde apps inside fvwm, it doesn't limit my scope, in fact, it broadens it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

sulimir Member since:
2009-10-11

I'm late to the party on this one. As far as wireless goes, let me put in a plug for Mandriva. In the world where everyone is going to NetworkManager, they have a UI for the configuration files of the more standard command line tools. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but it works, and it will keep you connected even when your not in X.

Reply Parent Score: 1