“IceWM is perfect for Windows’ ‘immigrants’ especially for users with older computers. IceWM will be suitable for advanced users who are looking for a lightweight and simple window manager.” More here.
IceWM: a Desktop for Windows Immigrants
About The Author
Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli
2007-04-06 10:16 pmreduz
– nevermind, posted in the wrong article –
Edited 2007-04-06 22:17
2007-04-07 5:08 pmraver31
Ooooh, someone has more than one account here.. can we get him banned for violation of the terms and conditions ?
2007-04-07 7:41 pmSaidinUnleashed
I should think that having more than one account would be fine, as long as you don’t use them for sockpuppetry, etc.
There are lots of sites that I have multiple accounts, for example, Slashdot, because I use several boxes with different browsers that have varying limitations in their rendering abilities, and I use the accounts’ preferences to keep each browser usable.
Besides, the rules say nothing about being limited to a single account~ Check it if you don’t believe me.
2007-04-08 6:42 amraver31
Here is one of the first answers from the FAQ;
In order to register, you must have a valid email address. In order to prevent abuse, you must have a valid, unique email address. OSNews will not use your email address for any reason without your authorization.
Note where it says “unique email address” and three times in that statement it says email address, not email ADDRESSES.
The idea is to stop abuse, and someone with multiple accounts can vote up posts that others vote down…. for some sad strange reason.
Maybe Thom can clarify this please ?
I’ve been using it for the last 5 years, first because i had an old box with little ram, and now that i got a new box with tons of ram, i use it because it weighs little and it flies.
I use it with no titlebar and the taskbar on auto-hide, keybindings make it easier to work with, winoptions launches all my apps full-screen, it really is designed for work.
2007-04-07 3:00 ambackdoc
I’ve used IceWM in past. It was great on an old laptop with little resources. So, I have a lot of respect for it. Since you have more experience with it, you should write an article about how you use it and get some screenshots. I would enjoy reading it. You comment about “it really is designed for work” resonates with me. It’s very hard to quantify that. But, it’s one of the things that I despise about windows and love about Linux. You can be way Way more productive, after you get settled in.
Taskbar is usualy associated with MS Windows, because it was the first OS that used it in this form. But, it is quite clear, that taskbar has evolved from panel, that existed before, in other environments. Many X window managers have different kinds of panels.
I don’t think that being compared to Windows GUI is neccessarily a bad thing, because many people in the world find that interface acceptable, although not perfect. But, it does not make IceWM more Windows alike
then KDE or GNOME.
Compatibility of configuration files between versions is high, so one can use the same files for years, spanning many versions of IceWM. Personaluy, I don’t like third party configuration tools, but configurations files are easy enough to be edited with simple editor.
I have tried WindowMaker, Xfce, CDE, KDE and Gnome so far, but IceWM is, in my opinion, still the best choice for the person who realy makes living with PC.
2007-04-06 11:00 pmDoc Pain
“Taskbar is usualy associated with MS Windows, because it was the first OS that used it in this form. But, it is quite clear, that taskbar has evolved from panel, that existed before, in other environments. Many X window managers have different kinds of panels.”
While the “Windows” taskbar unites application starter, switcher for currently running applications and some extra stuff, the equivalents in most X window managers work more differentiated, separating application launcher from window list etc. KDE and Gnome, on the other side, work the way the “Windows” taskbar does. Same for IceWM.
“I don’t think that being compared to Windows GUI is neccessarily a bad thing, because many people in the world find that interface acceptable, although not perfect. But, it does not make IceWM more Windows alike then KDE or GNOME.”
This is correct. Using proper key bindings, window decorations, color scheme and mouse behaviour may lead nearly every window manager to have a look & feel of “Windows”. Even fvwm95… And when they’re presented, they usually look like one of these “Windows”… 🙂
“Compatibility of configuration files between versions is high, so one can use the same files for years, spanning many versions of IceWM. Personaluy, I don’t like third party configuration tools, but configurations files are easy enough to be edited with simple editor.”
IceWM’s configuration files are well documented, making it easy to change settings. It’s more comfortable than editing XML files. Allthough it may be seen as a disadvantage to use another application to modify IceWM’s settings in X (dialog driven), it may be seen as an advantage that such a program is not neccessarily needed. File layout and content are easy to understand. I used the IcePref utility sometimes, but still did changes to the configuration file myself.
2007-04-07 1:09 pmtrenchsol
Have you used old IcePref app ? It was GTK only and I liked it. I think that the author has given it up. Too bad…
2007-04-07 1:20 pmDoc Pain
“Have you used old IcePref app ? It was GTK only and I liked it.”
Yes, it was the “old” icepref utility (icepref-1.1_1), I said it was some time ago, I’m using UNIX at home for quite a long time. 🙂 IcePref version 1 was a python script importing Gtk bindings.
2007-04-07 1:45 pmtrenchsol
I think that there was an IcePref which was not written in Python around 1999 or 2000. I remeber that someone claimed to start “new” IcePref in Python, but I don’t remember when it was. I remember that author (Python version) was annoyed by some user that told him to “hurry up” 🙂
Yes, the time is running like hell, and it seems to me that it was yesterday 🙂
2007-04-07 2:35 pmtrenchsol
You are right. The first IcePref was written in Python. The header reads:
# This is (or will be) the best IceWM configuration utility
# known to man. It requires a recent version of python as well as Gtk
I don’t know much about Gtk, but I am good in Python. I might fix it to work with recent IceWm. We’ll see….
I think the original title was OK. Emigrant is the one who leaves one place for another (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=25362&dict=CALD), immigrant is the one who arrives at some place.
Edited 2007-04-06 22:55
IceWM is nice but for some reason I don’t use it more than a few minutes. To be honest, GTK and QT apps never feel at home with IceWM.
But it’s still a nice little WM. It can be handy if you’re using a low specs machine.
2007-04-07 1:19 pmtrenchsol
You probably mean Gnome and KDE apps ? Gtk apps (like Firefox) are pretty much independent, and could be controlled by .gtkrc files. I am not aware of QT applications which are not KDE applications, so I don’t know about that.
If one runs Gnome or KDE app from IceWM it is pretty much the same as running Gnome or KDE itself, because a lot of dynamic libraries get loaded and some daemon processes are started. You might run Gnome or KDE instead, as well.
I have tried to run Quanta from IceWM and there is a problem. When I undock some windows, I can’t make them docked again. They “dissapear”.
What’s missing is … high quality light weight applications that have a consistent look and feel.
I recently installed Debian on an old 500MHz system (which I upgraded from 333MHz), and 2x128MB (256MB total) of RAM (which I upgraded from 2x32MB).
Honestly, I was just experimenting with the old system to see what I could do with it. What I consistently found was that the operating system generally wasn’t a problem. I tried Win98SE, BeOS 4.5, BeOS 5.0.3 Pro, Zeta 1.2, Win2K, and Debian (whatever the weekly build was of Etch at the time.)
Except for Zeta and Win2K, all the other operating systems really did “fly” when doing basic operations. Especially BeOS 5.0.3 Pro.
Unfortunately, as soon as you load Firefox, Abiword, Thunderbird, or some of these other applications that are (at least were at one time) considered “light”, the machine just dies.
IceWM was one of the Window Managers I was running during the Debian install. So – I am in fact on topic here. But the main point I’m getting at is that you can run the lightest Window Manager of all time, or even no Window Manager at all with X11 (just use -geometry to place all your apps) … but are there enough light weight apps to compliment the light weight Window Managers these days?
The whole point of Phoenix (which became Firebird, which became Firefox) was to be a highly functional, graphical, and LIGHT browser alternative to Mozilla. But I think 1.0.7 was the last version that felt even remotely light weight.
leafpad/mousepad is probably my favorite graphical app. Seriously.
2007-04-07 1:30 pmtrenchsol
Blixel, we are all missing high quality light weight applications, even those without consistent look and feel. Regardless of window manager or desktp environment we are using.
I am afraid that we will be missing them in the future, as well. Heavy weight environments are “feature rich” and developers like them, they need to code less.
Perhaps we will end up using Java/Swing apps. They have slow start, but bigger apps are not much slower than smaller ones. As hardware grows more powefull, Java might become lightweight some day.
2007-04-07 1:36 pmSophotect
I can understand that perfectly. But…for systems with specs that low you maybe should build your own packages with optional dependencies left out like the minilivedistros like puppylinux or damnsmalllinux do. Or try something like zenwalk.
Even though it might look like Windows, I doubt Windows emigrants will enjoy using it.
As stated, it is only a window manager, and so it has no desktop icons. That also means it doesn’t have drag-n-drop nor does it have a built-in file manager (correct me if I’m wrong here).
It may be good for old machines, but what Windows emigrants really need is an explorer-like shell, and I have yet to see one.
2007-04-07 10:04 amSlapo
I think EDE is much closer to e.g. Windows 98 Explorer than IceWM in both looks and usability, especially when coupled with Xfe.
Unlike IceWM, it has desktop icons, and with Xfe, it flies. Just try STX Linux with EDE, you’ll see what I’m talking about
2007-04-07 3:28 pmSophotect
In my personal opinion these “lighter” desktop alternatives are almost useless. You know why? Because any distro with some lighter WM and maybe some pager and a few statusmonitors flies. But, does it “fly” also when i`m using some larger applications with them? No. When the swapping begins you have a problem. “Lighter” Desktops only give you some more time until this happens. I feel very ambivalent towards this. On one hand the bloat on the application side is getting worse and worse. Windows Vista comes to mind. On the other hand some desktop environments seem to get it right and actually use (at least a little) LESS memory than their predecessors. KDE comes to mind. Now, there is another solution, use a sourcebased distro and compile with -Os and leave out unneccessary dependencies. Not feasible for lower end systems? Depends on the sort of system i guess. Use something like a PentiumIII@1GHz with 256 to 512 MB Ram as a gauge. These are to be had refurbished with one year warranty for about 100 to 200 EUR including shipping, depending on harddisk capacity which ranges from 40 GB to 80 GB in that class. These systems work perfectly well with all sorts of comfort under KDE or Gnome for day to day use with at least a handful larger applications open. Which means browser with at least a dozen tabs open, IM, larger music/video/tv-player, some office apps. Even with integrated Intel810 onboard graphics which is common for such systems f.e. google-earth is no slide-show. The only thing which they cannot do is compile OpenOffice for themselves, but, there is always a binary package available or one could use KOffice or GnomeOffice instead. So. What did i wan’t to say with that? This is the 21st century. Get over it, despite Essays like “In the Beginning was the Command Line” from Neal Stephenson this is not the beginning anymore.
We don’t use punch cards. Not everbody is happy with some rudimentary WM with a Mangababe or psychedelic mushroom illuminated by black light as background and some x(whatever)terms, screened and running ssh-sessions with vi in them. It`s O.K. to know how to use that. But it’s also ok to not use that and have a comfortable desktop.
Edited 2007-04-07 15:47
2007-04-08 1:21 pmSlapo
“…any distro with some lighter WM and maybe some pager and a few statusmonitors flies. But, does it “fly” also when i`m using some larger applications with them? No. When the swapping begins you have a problem. “Lighter” Desktops only give you some more time until this happens.”
Which is the reason why the light ones exist, isn’t it.
Besides, being light on resources doesn’t mean they’re almost useless, it’s more like you need to do some things in a different way.
When I used to make embedded linux media centers, I made IceWM as my windows manager. It wasn’t the lightest-weight WM, but it had a great balance of features and flexibility. It was also super fast and responsive. I’m curious how its changed over the years.
“But the main point I’m getting at is that you can run the lightest Window Manager of all time, or even no Window Manager at all with X11 (just use -geometry to place all your apps) … but are there enough light weight apps to compliment the light weight Window Managers these days?”
I agree with you; the trend is to create apps that look pretty with a ton of useless, bloated details a la Windows.
I use IceWM with xfe, aterm, xchat, xzgv, and my editor Joe functions as my wordprocessor. As for browsers, Firefox is a hog, so i use Opera, it weighs half of FF and it’s faster. For mail, i use Pine (mail and newsgroups). Yeah, Opera is not free, but it’s what Firefox ought to be.
Windows refugees do not need useless crap like icons, wallpapers, Beryl, Compiz, Gnome, KDE, all that is a silly waste of resources. But hey, it looks pretty, it’s the latest. Keybindings are faster than icons, when i write something i save it as .txt, everybody can open it and read it. To read .doc files, i use antiword in Pine. Windows refugees are suckers for all this manipulation, every 2 yrs you need a new box, faster and with more ram. We are becoming Windows again.
how about a torrent link
I think anyone who says that Linux can’t look pretty or it’s interface isn’t sleek seariously hasn’t used Linux in the last few years.