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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RE[2]: Mouse-less interface
by Moonbuzz on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 10:25 UTC 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[3]: Mouse-less interface
by Doc Pain on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 11:14 in reply to "RE[2]: Mouse-less interface"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

First, a mouse-based interface has been proven to be faster than a keyboard-based interface.


That heavily depends on what the interface... interfaces to, what kind of program or functionality. But I'll assume that you don't make a generic claim here (which would obviously be nonsense), but consider the operations of a window manager, which is managing windows (and maybe applications).

The keyboard removes the requirement of nearly pixel precise movement of the mouse. For example, a common way to move a window on the screen is pressing the Alt key and clicking somewhere into the window, then dragging it. In case a window manager uses title bars or tabs to move a window, you need to place the mouse pointer into it, which requires more precision. Resizing a window by "picking" its narrow border also requires precision. Alternative? Press Alt, hold down the right mouse button anywhere inside the window and resize the window as you like.

The concept of "pointing anywhere into a window and then pressing a key for a certain action" (where "key" may refer to a key on the keyboard, or the combination of a modifier key of the keyboard and a mouse key click, e. g. Alt + right mouse button) is very comfortable, especially if you consider the enormous amount of X window managers, compared to what "Windows" can do. Foreground, background, focus (yes, independent of each other!), maximize, restore, minimize, roll up, hide, move to different virtual workspace, close, capture, window overview, send to printer... lots of things that would take more time to achieve using a mouse. Just imagine every window would require 20 buttons for just the "average" amount of functionality in the title bars, or those functions had be listed in some lengthly menue... oh, and add buttons for virtual workspace management and so on.

I may add an individual note: I like window managers that provide a good combination (!) of mouse interactions and keyboard shortcuts. Currently I'm using WindowMaker with a "programmable keyboard" (Sun USB Type 7), using the 2x5 matrix on the left for window managing functions primarily. So I'm not advocating a mouse-less interface, just as I don't recommend a keyboard-less interface, but in my opinion and experience, the key to productivity is a good and reasonable combination of both. This combines both the power of a window manager with easily employing that power in everyday use, which traditionally benefits productivity in general.

Especially on small-sized displays, e. g. "service laptops" (often netbooks) where you have to deal with 800x600 or 1040x600 (or something in that relation), you will be happy to be able to manage your windows using the keyboard. Why? Because - 1st argument - the available pointer, typically a glide pad, is very unprecise to "pick" things like window corners or tiny buttons, and - 2nd argument - you don't have screen real estate to waste for control elements, because the screen appears to be too small anyway. (I'm still using a 500 MHz AMD laptop with a 800x600 screen for diagnostics and setup, and it works excellently with a manually configured version of fvwm2 with good keyboard and mouse controls setup.)

As you mentioned that you're not going to challenge the massive impact of learning, I won't provide arguments for that; I'll leave it to the educated reader as an exercise. :-)

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.


This is something I won't argue with you. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Mouse-less interface
by tux68 on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 19:01 in reply to "RE[2]: Mouse-less interface"
tux68 Member since:
2006-10-24

First, a mouse-based interface has been proven to be faster than a keyboard-based interface.


You're over generalizing. There are definitely cases where a mouse-based interface is dog-slow compared to keyboard interface. In fact I'd be willing to challenge you to a text editing contest where you use the GUI of your choice against my use of the Linux TUI with tools such as vim etc.

Having said that, there are many cases where users can communicate their intentions more efficiently with a GUI. It's just far from a universal truth.

To bring it back to the topic at hand; my feeling is that the Calm window manager allows users to be very efficient, perhaps much more so than say the new Gnome WM.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Mouse-less interface
by phoenix on Thu 24th Nov 2011 05:54 in reply to "RE[2]: Mouse-less interface"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

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.


Citation needed.

I have yet to find a heavy-mouse user who is faster than a heavy-keyboard user. Especially when it comes to "typical" secretary work (document creation, document formatting, file management, e-mail, website updates, accounting, etc). A steno who knows keyboard shortcuts for everything is many, many, many times more productive than one who only knows which icons to click on.

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.


I strongly disagree. A mouse-based interface is easier to learn, but a keyboard interface to the same mouse-based interface will be faster.

For example, to save a file in a word processor:
ALT+F, A
type filename
enter

Is much easier/faster than:
mouse hand to mouse
move mouse to top-left corner of window, click on File menu
move mouse down to Save as, click
type filename
move mouse to OK

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;


That's a poorly thought out interface then, and not the fault of the entire category. The same can be said for mouse-based interfaces where sometime single-clicking activates an item, sometimes double-clicking activates an item, sometimes drag'n drop activates a menu, sometimes drag'n drop doesn't, some apps have menus, some have icons, some have ribbons, etc.

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.


And that's different from mouse-based muscle memory? You ever watched a very proficient MS Word 2003 user switch to 2007 the first time? Or an MS Word 6 user siwtch to 95+ the first time?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Mouse-less interface
by Moonbuzz on Thu 24th Nov 2011 08:49 in reply to "RE[3]: Mouse-less interface"
Moonbuzz Member since:
2005-07-09

Alright, first, the obligatory links:
http://www.asktog.com/TOI/toi06KeyboardVMouse1.html
http://www.asktog.com/TOI/toi22KeyboardVMouse2.html
http://www.asktog.com/SunWorldColumns/S02KeyboardVMouse3.html
http://www.plan9.bell-labs.com/wiki/plan9/Mouse_vs._keyboard/index....

Second, cwm is a window manager, not a text editor, a terminal etc. While I'm sure find /foo/bar/*.c | grep baz | xargs whatever is a zillion times faster than doing that using a GUI, this isn't what we're discussing here (or at least isn't what I'm discussing (; ). A window manager, by definition, manages windows, for which a mouse is, again, proven to be faster than keyboards, and more ubiquitous. You may try to exaggerate with "you have to learn to click this button for this and that button for that", but that's not what the interface is, what you have to learn is left-click, right-click, double click, maybe wheel-scroll, and this applies to windows, menus, tabs, inside a browser, in an editor, you name it. And while I'm also sure someone who uses Xwm (replace X with your own flavour) for 3 years can make windows dance around with his keyboards, that is an edge case, which doesn't apply for the other 99% of cases.

Again, I'm not suggesting that you should do your coding, sysadministrating, dba-ing, or whatever in a GUI, I "live" inside screen, bash, and Emacs because these give me the superior environment for what I do. But I run all those inside Gnome-Shell because it does what I need, window management wise, and doesn't interfere with anything else. Same reason I use Firefox rather than, dunno, lynx. Choose the right tool for the right job. You won't code with your mouse, and you, I think, better with a mouse when you use a GUI.

Reply Parent Score: 1