Linked by ddc_ on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 21:29 UTC
Window Managers Calm window manager (mainly known for its shorthand name cwm) is a member of a once-powerful and now-declining family of minimalist X11 window managers. It is relatively unknown outside the OpenBSD community, but it deserves more notice.
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Mouse-less interface
by Moonbuzz on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 09:08 UTC
Moonbuzz
Member since:
2005-07-09

"The main goal of every minimalist window manager is to get out of the user's way"

Sadly, with a keyboard interface, a window manager does exactly the opposite, by forcing the user to learn all the invocations she needs to get stuff done. It's slower, and demands more of the user than a simple point-and-click interface. The idea of a mouse-less graphical interface is an anomaly, which doesn't prove correct.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Mouse-less interface
by tux68 on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 09:15 in reply to "Mouse-less interface"
tux68 Member since:
2006-10-24

forcing the user to learn all the invocations she needs to get stuff done. It's slower


It may take longer to learn, but can often be much faster to use in practice. Plus, cwm gives visual feedback by narrowing your choices to those selected by your search input. So this does not equate with a return to the command line where your argument is more applicable.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Mouse-less interface
by Moonbuzz on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 10:25 in reply to "RE: Mouse-less interface"
Moonbuzz Member since:
2005-07-09

You misunderstood me, I'm not referring to slowness of learning, but to slowness of usage.

First, a mouse-based interface has been proven to be faster than a keyboard-based interface. While I'm sure that constant use of a specific interface over a long time can get you to be very fast on a given application, but across the board, mouse-based interface is faster.

Second, a mouse-based interface is ubiquitous. A click on a window is the same in a window-manager, a browser, a media player etc. Keyboard-based interfaces each have their own choice of shortcuts; so you have a situation where the same action might have different shortcuts in different applications, and the same shortcuts can perform different actions in different application. It gets worse when, as mentioned before, some frequently-used shortcuts become wired to your muscle memory and you start performing them everywhere, to hilarious results.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Mouse-less interface
by ddc_ on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 11:09 in reply to "Mouse-less interface"
ddc_ Member since:
2006-12-05

Sadly, with a keyboard interface, a window manager does exactly the opposite, by forcing the user to learn all the invocations she needs to get stuff done.

Well, with any piece of software You have to learn something. With point-and-click interface You still have to learn the types of action invoked by right/left/middle click (or modifiers on Mac), menu structure, wordings and so on. It's less visible, but still relevant. And it is plain wrong that point-and-click interfaces are easy to use. Eg., my father gets very puzzled with everything in Windows, while he was very comfortable with DOS and NC.

For me it was easier to learn Vi keys and install the software which knows that. That said, my first computer was running brand new Windows 3.1 (not 3.11), and I switched to UNIXes after a couple of years in XP.

It's slower, and demands more of the user than a simple point-and-click interface.

So true, and there were even several studies on this. But this is only valid for newbie users, as the rest of us have their habits.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Mouse-less interface
by gan17 on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 12:08 in reply to "Mouse-less interface"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

"The idea of a mouse-less graphical interface is an anomaly, which doesn't prove correct"

It's "correct" enough for me, and that's what matters to most people. Some like keybinds and some like clicky-clicky, horses for courses.

Cwm has become my primary WM, meaning it's the WM that's set in my ~/.xinitrc to launch when I do a "startx", but I tend to rely of ScrotWM more often (which I can launch from within Cwm via the "exec WindowManager" option) these days. Personally, I tend to get stuff done much faster with their keyboard driven setups, especially combined with other Vi-like programs (Vim, Uzbl, Vimperator, Tmux...etc). Only times I see myself reach for a mouse or stylus is when I'm on graphics apps like Inkscape, GIMP, BibblePro or Photoshop (Wine).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Mouse-less interface
by reez on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 14:38 in reply to "RE: Mouse-less interface"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

Only times I see myself reach for a mouse or stylus is when I'm on graphics apps like Inkscape, GIMP

That's funny. I think there aren't any applications (well besides web browsers) where I enjoy shortcuts more than in these two.

I have been using i3/wmii/xmonad (and similar window managers) for a very long time. It all looks awesome when you start with, but then you launch your first applications, open an ssh connection, start tmux inside and so on and suddenly your shortcut does three actions at once. And then the problems begin. You change key bindings, but then their interfere in other situations, so you make more complicated key bindings, holding down more buttons and in the end you have real problems because of your brain has problems to keep up with all this short cuts and you somehow decouple from what your fingers do there. In the end you give up and find out that things looked faster, because you constantly hammered on the keyboard, but efficiency decreased. Then you start to learn all these nifty ideas people had for interfaces using the mouse. You regret that you didn't learn these things earlier.

My conclusion (until now) is that you have to use the right tool for the job. For example stuff like vim are nice and alt-tab is cool, because you use both of them without interrupting your thought process, but when you switch between something like programming and chatting then the mouse seems to be the right approach. The same is true for lots of other things.

One of the best approaches so for is the way Plan 9 and a lot of its applications do it, but the "modern world" sadly doesn't fit with this. I really would like to see something like acme in the real world. It also supports HTTP/basic WWW, but you can't really use it for your every day stuff.

I have also been a great fan of browsers vimperator and conky for a while. Sadly they interfere with web sites that are already developed for efficient use. Oh and using them together with an "efficient" window manager is an absolute hell. Way too many key bindings with the same meaning.

Edited 2011-11-23 14:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Mouse-less interface
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 16:16 in reply to "Mouse-less interface"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Please ignore.

Edited 2011-11-23 16:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Mouse-less interface
by M.Onty on Thu 24th Nov 2011 16:14 in reply to "Mouse-less interface"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

To add my tuppence worth;

I habitually use keyboard shortcuts where ever I can for GUIs (with a lot of mouse pointing to, certainly) and I would say that the advantage isn't necessarily to do with speed, so much as rhythm. For anyone who spends most of their work time writing in one form or another, taking hands off keyboard and onto mouse feels like a break, rather than a continuation, of your work. Its generally faster to use the mouse (for me at least), but its less jarring to use the keyboard.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Mouse-less interface
by Moonbuzz on Thu 24th Nov 2011 17:38 in reply to "RE: Mouse-less interface"
Moonbuzz Member since:
2005-07-09

For the record, if you read the links I supplied what you, and others refer to with "feels like a break" unlike using keyboard shortcuts is a result of an Attentional Blink (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attentional_blink) where the cognitive retrieving of a keyboard shortcut causes you to feel like it's faster, while the mouse, with no need for a cognitive retrieval of a shortcut feels slower.

Reply Parent Score: 2