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Ask Slashdot: Assembling a Linux Desktop Environment From Parts?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the gnome-panel-and-thunar dept.


paxcoder writes "Gnome Shell ... is different. Very much so. The fallback was inadequate. I suspect that many people, like me, turned to the alternatives. My choice was LXDE, which worked ok, until (lx-)panel broke in the unstable branch of the distro that I use. Tired of using the terminal to run stuff, I replaced the standard panel with the one from Xfce. That made me realize that we really don't need a packaged desktop environment, there are pieces ready for assembly. If you customize your graphical environment, what elements do you use? Which window manager, file manager, panel(etc.) would you recommend? Do you have a panel with a hardware usage monitors, how do you switch between workspaces? Anything cool we might not know about?"

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KDE. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460550)

'Nuff said.

Please, no WAAA KDE IS BLOATED AND BROKEN AND INCOMPLETE AND THIS AND THAT AND THE OTHER arguments because they've been proven wrong time and again.

It's sad that I have to post AC to defend KDE, currently one of the best desktops (okay, the best desktop) for GNU/Linux.

Re:KDE. (3, Insightful)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460764)

Wow...replying to TWO ACs in one's a new record for me! Anyway, I tend to agree with you. Now a days, with the average computer having 4 gigs of ram and at least a 512 meg video card, if not a full 1 gig, there is no reason to speak poorly of KDE. If I had to worry about how much video memory I was using, I might switch to xfce or something, but I don't. That excuse has been removed for all but the third world countries who can't get the latest new hardware or poor people who can't afford a computer made in the last three or four years. Just sayin'.

Re:KDE. (2, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460808)

That's an ignorant elitist point of view. I'm typing on a laptop with 1GB of ram and 1.8GHz processor. KDE is too bloated for this machine.

Re:KDE. (4, Informative)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460950)

Not really. It only has crap default settings. Deactivate Nepomuk, for instance, and you'll see memory usage plummet. I'm using KDE 4.6 and it uses only ~380Mb at startup. Even running Firefox and GIMP I rarely use 1Gb of RAM. KDE is very good when properly tuned, insufferable if not.

Re:KDE. (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460966)

No, it isn't elitest. It is a fact. And yes, KDE would probably not "Just work" on your machine. I said 512 to 1 gig VIDEO CARD, not total memory.

Re:KDE. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460972)

KDE runs fine on my netbook with 1 GB and a 1.2 GHz processor, with all the kwin eye candy enabled, so that's a little hard to believe. Maybe you are thinking of older versions of it?

Re:KDE. (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461130)

I have netbook with 512MB RAM and 1.6Ghz (not 1.66) and KDE is perfect on it. Only thing what slows down is that I replaced the 8GB SSD with 5200RPM 120GB drive what I had in closet so starting applications first time is slow.

And no, I am not trying to use this netbook (aspire one) as full blown laptop. It only has chromium, dolphin, kget, VLC, amarok (latest if you must know), konversation, kde-telepathy, kmail, digiKam and k3b (I do ISO's from photos and other media to be moved other computers via usb stick).

I have only two virtual desktops and I rarely run more than three of those applications same time. I have usually over 100-150MB free RAM to spare after those three so I dont see a problem.

I as well have a another netbook, Asus 1000HE what has 2GB RAM and 1.66Ghz CPU. With its original 160GB HDD it is great for 5-7 applications same time.

But when I want to edit videos or photos, I really want to power on my desktop computer.
Even my old 15" 1.7Ghz laptop with 512MB RAM and 60GB HDD is very well usable with KWin compositing enabled (all computers has so, as it speeds up a lot!)

And no, I don't use bloated Ubuntu (or any of its family).

Re:KDE. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461224)

I'm happily using Kubuntu 11.10 on a desktop with 512MB of RAM and a 1.3GHz processor. I don't know what's the matter with your computer.

Re:KDE. (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460876)

I used to be a minimalist .. using icewm mainly for many years.

Then I came around to this view point, and used kde3 for a while.

Then kde4 came out.. and while I hear it's somewhat usable now.. there was a good period of time where it wasn't. I got fed up and ended up switching to a combination of openbox and xfce4-panel, which gave me (most) of the functionality I loved from kde3. Being less bloated was secondary .. the fact that it actually worked was the main draw.

Point is, I probably won't be going back to kde4. What I have now works, and unless kde4 comes out with some killer feature, I see no reason to switch. I suspect I'm not the only one either.

Re:KDE. (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461014)

and unless kde4 comes out with some killer feature, I see no reason to switch

It uses less RAM.. no, really... It's always frustrating when people look at the 3D effects and assume that = bloat. I'm currently in the process of trying to finish a 64k demo for TUM party. It's fully openGL, and that part of the code is about 6k. Plus you get to offload all the graphics into the GPU and free up some RAM for other stuff.

Obviously, if you don't HAVE a GPU, or you have some ancient intel series 3 gfx controller, then that's all bunk.

Re:KDE. (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461206)

Yeah, but that's not a killer feature. Like many, I have enough resources that it has become a non-issue. Even if my setup used 3 times as much ram as KDE, I wouldn't care. I have 12GB of ram.. may as well use some of it.

When I gave up on kde4, it wasn't because of resource usage, it was because basic core features, like.. the menu editor and the control panel.. were completely broken. Stuff would crap out and you'd have to go delete some metafile (buried under gnome-style layers of meta folders) .. all kinds of annoying stuff would pop up and couldn't easily be disabled.. the CLOCK APPLET crashed! .. it was as I said, like a pre-alpha version.

Re:KDE. (1)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460938)

If only KDE had any decent replacement for GVFS, as KIO right now is nowhere near, fuse support is nonexistant, software that does not directly support KIO is stuck with perverse workarounds that upload the changes to the files only when the program opening it is killed, so it's XFCE for me for now.

Re:KDE. (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460954)

Using a custom desktop is not about being lightweight. It's about customizing your workflow.

Re:KDE. (4, Insightful)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461012)

I think you have nailed it. If your machine can't handle what you "like", then you need to do something about it, or suffer a loss of productivity due to the system not matching how you work.

Re:KDE. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460982)

I am NOT in a third world country. I dont consider myself poor even though i do live on disability benefits,
I last brought a full computer in 2003 ( the THEN new amd athlon 64 3000+ ) i have since managed to upgrade to 3gb main ram and a second hand
nvidia fx5200 200gig hard drive. i do not consider the machine slow by any means but it wont run any recent games ( not bothered im not a gamer )
i have tried the latest KDE and gnome offerings and could not stand either of them. and have stayed with debian and gnome 2 on the main machine. Playing about trying to get the red hat fedora xfce release to work correctly. But i do get peeved by nutters who think anything not made last week is no good etc....

If a desktop env runs slow then it has to be badly bloated period! , it is not supposed to do anything but launch required apps etc needing 500mb ram in a video card
for the desktop as stated in the last post is just plain stupid and i don't give a dam if its KDE gnome or ms-windows somebody lost the point of the os and or window environment is to run apps not need super computer powers just to run eye candy etc..

Re:KDE. (0)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461084)

Your opinion means nothing when you post it as an AC. Put on your big boy pants and voice your opinion or STFU. That being said, I was simply stating that if you are running a recent computer, it is normally not an issue to run KDE on it. I did not (even if you read it in) look down my nose at anyone for using a computer that is older than a few years. Hell, I use one myself that is from 1999, it runs Solaris very well...with Gnome! :o)

Re:KDE. (1, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461266)

Your opinion means nothing when you post it as an AC.

You tell him!. What good are valid opinions unless I have some random username to associate them with? Well said, Mr C Death. Well said.

Re:KDE. (1)

mbwjr12 (939334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461048)

I have 4GB of RAM and 512MB of RAM on an Nvidia 9800GT. I recently switched to LXDE simply because the entire KDE desktop lags graphically. I've tried turning on and off various KWin switches, and still KWin's FPS monitor often shows drops to > 24FPS when moving windows, etc. I've changed graphics drivers, Nouveau vs. proprietary, etc.

More importantly, I realized I use none of Plasma, and the KDE 4 series just has a certain feel to it that I don't like. Almost as if all of the widgets have too much margin around them, or something else that I can't quite put my finger on. Lastly, vertical panels / taskbars just don't work like I want them to.

Overall, I think they have the right idea. Plasma Active makes a lot of sense, and it's proving some of the logic in their strategy of generic reusable widgets so they can easily build environments to match devices, rather than one environment to fit them all. It just looks like it's going to take them quite some time to get there.

Re:KDE. (4, Interesting)

hazem (472289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461332)

> there is no reason to speak poorly of KDE.

There is if it just does dumb stuff.

I generally like the tools that come with kde... dolphin, the way its panel works, etc. However the latest versions do very annoying things. One in particular is that when copying large files (or many files) you no longer get a little window that shows the progress and gives you a "cancel" button. Instead the information is stuck in some little notification icon. This makes it difficult to monitor the progress of multiple coping/moving operations and I can't find a way to cancel the whole operation (it only cancels the current file it's working on). This one problem is enough of an annoyance that I've taken to installing gnome, then replacing the major tools with the versions from kde.

As for the memory/performance issue, the argument that kde is bloated and slow is not invalidated just because more memory and processing power is generally available. The truth is, given an amount of processing power and memory, other managers are more efficient, faster, or snappier. Some people like that. Plus, if you're not plugged in, all that extra memory usage and processing power costs battery-time, even if you're not in the 3rd world.

Avant (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460558)

I prefer avant-window-navigator. the only downside is it needs compiz to look nice. by default it has an osx look and feel, but it can be customized and it does have hardware monitoring applets

xcompmgr (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460756)

xcompmgr is a bit more stable than compiz in my experience, but it is much slower. but running awn it's not usually a big issue though.
cairo-dock / glx-dock is another one that has proven useful, and has slightly better hotkeys, but also has more bugs than awn.

Re:Avant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460908)

avant-window-nagivator + xfwm4 is a wonderfull mix. xfwm4 is quite fast, configurable and has a very good compositing support. Even under VirtualBox it gives me performance + eyecandy.

Haw. (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460566)


until (lx-)panel broke in the unstable branch of the distro that I use. Tired of using the terminal to run stuff, I replaced the standard panel with the one from Xfce. That made me realize that we really don't need a packaged desktop environment, there are pieces ready for assembly. If you customize your graphical environment, what elements do you use?

So we have an aspie here who would admittedly and uncompromisingly rather use an unstable mess of cobbed-together parts(including the distro itself), because that's the way baby likes it and everybody else is wrong.

That mentality is everything that's wrong with fostering acceptance of the Linux desktop.

Re:Haw. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460606)

If this was Facebook, I'd "like" your comment. I was coming here to post essentially the same thing.

Re:Haw. (3, Insightful)

denyingbelial (2014450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460678)

Wow, that's harsh. I don't see why you guys are ragging on him so much. Isn't this the point of linux? We do it our way, whatever that means? Personally I never went up to gnome 3, I use the shell as much as I can, and I often use AWESOMEWM. But I'm not one to fight with things, if it works I won't bother fixing it.

Re:Haw. (2)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460752)

How fortunate we are that this is not Facebook.

Re:Haw. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460626)

Yeah, how dare he try to use software that he likes! What a fucking asshole. Everyone knows that you just take whatever piece of shit Microsoft shoves down your throat and then you say "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Re:Haw. (5, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460630)

Back up a few steps. He's asking for suggestions on apps and configurations... how is that an "everybody else is wrong" mentality? You, on the other hand, are immediately leaping to the conclusion that HE is wrong.

It also sounds like he is experimenting just for his own personal use, not for creating a distro. His own personal configuration would hardly affect public perception of Linux.

Re:Haw. (5, Insightful)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461062)

So we have an aspie here who would admittedly and uncompromisingly rather use an unstable mess of cobbed-together parts(including the distro itself), because that's the way baby likes it and everybody else is wrong.

That mentality is everything that's wrong with fostering acceptance of the Linux desktop.

It's Linux, you can have it the way you want it. When he gets up tomorrow morning he will have a desktop that he likes. And you'll still be a flaming asshole.

Openbox (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460568)

Then find what works for you.

It works for me; but I have been using a computer for the better part of 13 years daily. For the last 10 more than 60 hours in a given week. So I have had time to see what I like and what I don't like.

Re:Openbox (3, Insightful)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460728)

I normally don't reply to ACs, but since you say you have been using a computer for 13 years, I figured it was worth it. You are on Slashdot. If you think that saying you have been using a computer for 13 years will get you any "Cred" here, you need to look around. There are people here who have been using them for FAR longer.

Re:Openbox (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460812)

I'd mod you up if I had points. 13 years is a drop in the bucket. Of that 13 years 10 or more 60 hours a week, how much of that was Windows computing, how much Linux? How much coding? How much playing games, updating Facebook and Twatter? How much was actual work?

Re:Openbox (2)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460840)

Haha, no kidding. I can't triple the user's number, but almost.

And WTF is he doing on my lawn, anyway?

window manager not desktop environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460580)

My desktop consists of openbox, wmclock, docker. I use openbox to bind a few keys, like the windows key which brings up an xterm.

I'm happily not involved in the desktop arguments.

xfce4.... (4, Interesting)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460590)

I use xfce4 with gnome-terminal. I don't mind other terminal emulators but gnome-terminal is nice.

And thats about all the customization I do.... I don't want my WM to do anything "clever" if I want some application I'll install it directly....

Then again, thats why I run gentoo and not some prepackaged distro which decides what I want to run.

Re:xfce4.... (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461142)

OK, I'll bite; maybe I'm missing something. I'm running Gnome2 on an RHEL6 clone. I use konsole and kate because they are far superior to gnome-terminal and gedit. Preferences aside for the moment, what about my "pre-packaged" distribution hinders me in any way from mixing pieces of various desktop environments?

I switched to xfce4 and I plan to stay (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461326)

As long as it stays stable, I will stay with xfce4. I need my computer to be...predictable. Gnome desktop is no longer predictable.

Parts is parts is parts (1)

MooPi (1235436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460592)

Openbox window manager, pcmanfm, feh for images and desktop background , htop for process monitor and uhhh that's it TaDaaaaa. Oh yeah for a little bling wbar dock !

Re:Parts is parts is parts (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461094)

+1 Openbox and wbar, plus conky on the right and a vertical tint2 taskbar on the left

Arch and ArchBang (4, Interesting)

macxcool (1370409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460614)

I like cobbling together my own desktop too... sometimes. I have a family computer at home with KDE, but my own laptop uses ArchBang which is really Arch Linux with Openbox. Openbox is very sparse though and you can use your own menus, taskbar, system tray, etc. etc. etc. I like the control and I like finding out what's out there and trying new solutions to the Desktop 'problem'.

Xfce and Cairo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460628)

Xfce works right out of the box. Add Cairo and a few other tweaks and you got a better setup then Gnome 2.xx. For hard core work environments, I would
probably not use Cairo and make Xfce behave more like Gnome 2.xx with a top and bottom panel. Sometimes the Cairo panel can be annoying when your trying to move between programs a lot.

FluxBox (5, Informative)

Katyrnyn (90568) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460654)

Years ago I was a BlackBox user. I've always preferred low-impact WindowManagers and never jumped on the Evolution bandwagon. These days I use BlackBox's primary fork, FluxBox, on both my primary desktop and my "Netbook." The menu format is easy to work with and the memory footprint is negligible.

I don't use a file manager, but I do build most things with GNOME support (if proper), so Nautilus is kinda/sorta there. I'm also not a big panel user - I don't like having tachometers, usage monitors, or any extra stuff filling up my workspace. (I take minimalism to new lows.) Others will have to help you in those respects.

Re:FluxBox (3, Interesting)

jtotheh (229796) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461270)

I also found fluxbox after trying to get used to GNOME 3. Fluxbox is really nice. I added some things I cobbled together for automatic hibernation upon low power, adding nm-applet to the flux taskbar,etc. The ease of use of multiple workspaces/desktops is great. I am however typing this on a Mac my work has provided me and it is kind of re-calibrating my perspective of what a good UI can be......

Re:FluxBox (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461316)

You might like OpenBox. Might not be enough of a difference from Fluxbox to bother changing, but check it out if you have not already.

too broad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460658)

question is too broad. There's gotta be a dozen variants of each tool you're looking for plus many more obscure or orphaned projects.

sawfish window manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460664)

Static configuration is the root of both inflexibility and complexity by trying to address the inflexibility with more static configuration.

if you have unlimited time .. (2)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460668)

If you have unlimited time, anything is possible. But sometimes, it's just nice to be able to give the installer a few simple bits of information and come back 20 minutes later with a fully functioning system. That's just me whining though because once the damage is done, it leaves the users with little other option but to kludge something together. I just don't understand why perfectly good stuff gets ruined -- and it isn't just linux. Look at iCal in Lion compared to previous versions.

Re:if you have unlimited time .. (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460998)

I did the whole roll your own thing back "in the day". Then I discovered kde3 and really got into the whole "wow, this just works" mentality.

Then kde4 came out and was a complete piece of shit (I hear it's better now.. but when it first came out.. it was like pre-alpha level messed up). I spend a fair bit of time trying to force kde4 to work in some kind of usable way.. but finally I grudgingly cobbled my own yet again and am now happily using a mixture of various bits (openbox, xfce4-panel, and a bunch of of ther stuff).

Re:if you have unlimited time .. (1)

gajop (1285284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461218)

That's all well in theory, but whenever I try to use one of those "Great User Experience" distros things just fall apart eventually.
They nearly always have bugs in certain essential system parts, like graphic drivers breaking (happened today on Linux Mint so it's rather fresh), printer problems (still can't make HP1020 work well in Ubuntu), proper home (static IP, routing, ethernet + wifi depending on connection) networking (was a problem when I last checked Ubuntu, hopefully fixed by now), working utilities (music, cd/dvd burning all broke on Ubuntu for me), working options (today, Linux Mint asked if I wanted to copy pidgin settings from Ubuntu, I said yes, it didn't work, my "cp $TARGET $DEST" did).

It even gets worse when you do system updates such as 10.04->10.10 for Ubuntu, on systems that don't have a rolling release model. Then you will get a bunch of more new problems, many which will not get fixed by subsequent software updates but require settings fiddling or a new install.
Sure, I too tend to work on higher level (abstraction) programming tasks (best done by matlab like programs) mostly, and I'd love to be able to get rid of all the configuration fiddling when I'm not setting my own preferences, but it's just not possible now (when distros just announce new GUI toolkits instead of making the system more stable - Windows 7 is more stable than any GUI Linux I ever used, and I used a lot of them).

Used to do this (1)

panda (10044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460680)

I used to do this: running everything in blackbox window manager with different panels and other launcher applications. I actually stuck with blackbox for a long time because I liked being able to edit the desktop window in a text file and open applications just by right-clicking on the desktop and choosing from a menu. I gave up on using other launchers and panel applications. I really liked the minimalism of black box.

Now, I'm using Unity with the Launcher on Ubuntu. I find it usable for the most part, and once you alter habits to work with its paradigm, it doesn't really hinder productivity.

XFCE4 & xdm & idesk & terminator & (2)

mgpl777 (1621457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460702)

Had the same problem as you. I removed all gnome packages. Now I'm using xdm, xfce4 with all plugins and extras, idesk, thunderbird (a.k.a icedove), terminator. After logging htop shows ~100MB memory usage!

Awesome WM (5, Informative)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460704)

I use Awesome WM. It's a tiling window manager, and it lives up to it's name! I use it both on ArchLinux and OpenSuse, and the stock configuration needs very little configuration to be perfectly useable. The configuration is written in Lua, so it takes a little time to master, but the amount of customization you can do is unbeatable. Screenshots []

Re:Awesome WM (4, Informative)

nem75 (952737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461146)


I actually liked Unity very much, but in it's latest installment it became a sluggish PITA, so I started looking for alternatives. After using lxde-dekstop on the existing Ubuntu for a bit. Then I scratched that and started to build a complete custom install on the basis of the ubuntu minimal install CD.

So now I use lightdm, awesome wm with xcompmgr for basic drop shadows, Ambiance themes, Faenza icons and everything Ubuntu has to offer in the way of clear, smooth font display. Only gnome-settings-manager and gnome-keyring are left from Gnome Desktop.

This is the snappiest, fastest and most usable desktop environment I've worked with so far. I use it on my work notebook, with two 90 degree tilted external displays, and everything works without a hitch, even switching from rotated displays to the notebook screen and back (thanks to xrandr -o and disper).

It's geeky and a bit of a learning curve if you want to customize, but I'd definitely recommend giving it a try.

(And - on a DE unrelated note - if you work with code everyday tilting your display and seeing the code over the full _length_ of your monitor is like a breath of fresh air. ;))

xfce4 (1)

WhitePanther5000 (766529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460714)

I have gotten very comfortable and efficient with my Gnome 2 setup over the years, and I recently switched to xfce. The setup is almost identical and I've been very happy. All I had to do was customize my panels and apt-get a few add-ons (like the Orage clock/calendar and system monitor). Xfce has come a long way since I last used it.

Fear and loath... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460718)

Just guessing what might be to administer 100, 1000 or more such frankeistenized boxes...
What if an 'ol good lib does makes you receive 328 assistance ticket at once... Back to terminal in 23? Your' fired at once!

Re:Fear and loath... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460778)

most places I've worked won't support Linux desktops and leave engineers on their own to do their own administration. My current place requires that I have a Linux desktop, but IT does not support it past the hardware.

Re:Fear and loath... (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461212)

Yep, and if they did support it, they would have a standard build. You probably wouldn't have the ability to customize much at all and would have updates pushed to you from whatever patch management system they use. I don't understand why anyone would even attempt to use that argument, if you use a system in a corporate environment, it isn't just for security reasons that they have a standard build, it is for ease of updates and support.

Slightly modded XFCE (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460736)

I dislike Gnome Shell too. I switched to XFCE, but Thunar is nearly unusable for what I need, so I am using Nautilus. It was not easy to switch, and it still takes 15-20 seconds to load Nautilus AFTER completing XFCE panel loading.

As for panel, I use a CPU/mem load meter, a desktop switcher (I use 10 of them), windows list, pomodoro applet, notification area and clock. I also have a "main menu" icon, but rarely use it, preferring gmrun bound to the Menu key on the keyboard. I do most of my work thru keybindings

Re:Slightly modded XFCE (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460916)

If you want a nice light GTK based file manager, I've found emelfm2 to be excellent. The shell will always be the best file manager, but a commander style file manager does come in handy occasionally.

Enlightenment and aterm (0)

SocPres (743965) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460740)

If I wanted the crappy look and feel and overhead of MS Winders, I'd use KDE and/or GNOME. But since I don't, I use Enlightenment E16. Very clean and highly customizable. And no effing start bar or task bar or other acreage-nabbing gadgets if I don't want them. But instead of using Enlightenment's eterm (or the GNOME/KDE ones), I opted for aterm. It's much faster at scrolling than eterm, it's fairly flexible on configuration, and I don't need 400MB of libraries just to install it.

I may have to take another look at E17 someday, but for now E16 does everything that I need and want (e.g. compositing) without baggage. And I also run this on Gentoo, with all of its faults, because I still find it easier to maintain media-driven applications and their codecs without the hoops necessary on RPM/APT based distros.

My $.02.

Happy hunting!

fvwm+gnome panel+conky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460742)

Been using for 16+ years fvwm for WM, it is now polished for my needs. Added a gnome-panel some years ago, mainly to embed notification icons. The Gnome2->3 transition broke the hardware-monitor that I was using 2 months ago, so I had to find a replacement for it, and settled for conky, which is very nice.

lubuntu (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460746)

Ubuntu got too heavy so now it's Lubuntu [] . Which is now an official fork, officially solving the problem of Ubuntu being too heavy :) Then if you just avoid installing anything that depends on Mono (use Rhythmbox and not Banshee, use the C++ port of gnote if you must, etc etc) then you avoid the worst cancers. As long as you use a Lubuntu session and don't load any GNOME apps then those libraries etc don't need to load.

Openbox and xfce4-panel (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460784)

I use openbox with xfce4-panel and a number of other odd programs (some I wrote, some from other environments, some standalone).

xfce4-panel is critical to my happiness because it handles multiple monitors very well (seperate panel for each window.. no glitches.. just works). This seems to be a feature lacking in a lot of panels/window managers.

I use dolphin for file browsing (I do most file management from a console but find dolphin is nice for browsing around my vast media collection).

I'm not an minimalist. I used kde3 for a long time and was happy with it (before that it was icewm). I like lots of clutter and silly apps that don't really do much. I've got lots of screen real estate (6 monitors) and usually have them plastered with all manner of stuff.

I use gkrellm for resource monitoring. I know.. kind of kiddie ish.. but I like that it can do remote monitoring. I have 5 "stacks" that monitor 5 different machines. 2 of those machines are only on periodically, so I wrote a patch that adds an option to gkrellm to display "offline" instead of going into alarm mode when a box disconnects.

I don't bother with desktop icons, but do use a homebrew app for desktop wallpaper. There are lots of wallpaper managers.. but I honestly couldn't find anything that did what I wanted. Everything was either too simple (and couldn't handle multiple monitors) or insanely over-complicated. Was easier to just whip up an app that randomly cycles through images in a directory than try to sort through all the options out there.

This one is gonna cost me some geek cred.. but I use... xchat! Used to use bitchx, than irssi (and still do occasionally).. but xchat is where it's at.

Really (2)

joh (27088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460810)

If you could be happy with a cobbled-together environment you still have to invest non-trivial amounts of time and effort in, why don't just install whatever ready-made environment comes along the way and be done with it? Chances are that it is better, smoother, prettier and more capable than what you can get together by yourself with reasonable effort.

Or start out with FVWM, Gkrellm and a bunch of terminal windows. Or go nostalgic and get a copy of OL(V)WM and all the old SunOS/OpenView desktop stuff to go along with it. There are long days and nights waiting to be wasted on that, believe me. I did all of that 10 or 15 years ago and today I miss nothing of it.

Don't waste your time on solving problems that were already solved in a thousand ways 10 years ago. If you're serious try to develop your own DE which is really *NEW* and not another bad copy of Windows95 or CDE or NeXTstep. Windows with a title and a frame and buttons in the title and a desktop with icons on it and a panel with a bar of window titles on the top or bottom of the desktop are so *boring*.

Re:Really (1)

xpurple (1227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461096)

I use fvwm2 and it works very well. Quite snappy. I have the KDE and gnome libs installed so all those apps run fine.

openbox with fvwm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460850)

Desktop environments are soooo 2000's and bloated. Come back to using a Window Manager and control your own settings for everything. A single text file isn't hard to manage or learn.

wmii (1)

mothlos (832302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460852)

Since I don't mind fiddling with things to get my environment working the way I like, I have had great success with wmii [] , a tiling window manager [] which uses a very accessible runtime interface to allow for all sorts of scripting in a variety of languages. The normal usage of this sort of window manager is to use key commands to launch your apps. When windows get created they are automatically arranged either using scripted setups (like to arrange all of the sub-windows in GIMP) or to a default space where you can move them around, once again, using your keyboard. Development versions of wmii have a built-in dock which integrates into the information bar.

You don't!! (4, Interesting)

phlawed (29334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460854)

I. Do. Not. Get. It.
It is beyond me why people want to emulate the clutter they have on their physical desk, on their computer.
One does not need a "Desktop Environment".

What I want is a window manager that allows me to set the only sane focus policy (focus follows mouse, click to raise), maintains the user experience and config-file compatibility from release to release and otherwise stays out of the way. Not having to choose between 42 different plugins/extensions/addons and whatnot is also a good thing.

A couple of years ago (*cough*) when IBM killed OS/2, I made the transition to Linux. I soon landed on icewm as my preferred window manager, as it had a "OS/2 Warp" theme. I believe I at one time played with a Presentation Manager-like desktop, but I soon realized it was more hassle than benefit.
icewm has a fully configurable "context-menu" on the entire desktop background (right-click mouse for *your* selection of files, programs, folders, etc), ditto menu for windows (left click), configurable hotkeys (I hit F12 for a terminal), a toolbar with the regular stuff, workspaces and so on.

And for any newbie out there: not running gnome or kde or whatever does not prevent you from launching gnome or kde programs.

Now, please tell me again about the added benefits of having a zillion garish icons on your desktop background?
Or, by the way... don't bother,...

Desktop environments a dumb idea (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460856)

That made me realize that we really don't need a packaged desktop environment, there are pieces ready for assembly.

This used to be the Unix Philosophy, before someone decided that it would be really cool to force everyone to use your own specific applications rather than building independent apps and window managers with some kind of standardised communications for anything that needed two apps to talk to each other. If developers had stuck with that I'd be able to run KDE apps in Gnome without crashing or having to continually click 'Oh my God, KBollockManager is not running' dialog boxes.

Why they did this, I don't know. I guess they decided it was easier and shinier to build everything from scratch than to negotiate with other developers so that their apps would interoperate easily.

Compiz, tint2, kupfer, conky, pcmanfm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460864)

I came to the same conclusion last spring. I'm on arch linux and my desktop is as follows:

Window Manager: Compiz (though this could easily be openbox if you don't want the shiny... I keep it for the window management plugins)
Panel: tint2 (when I last looked it didn't really support multiple viewports in compiz well so I patched in the support (they're hesitant to officially add support))
Launcher: Kupfer (I don't really like menus)
System Info: conky
File Browser: pcmanfm
Editor: vim

I use xautolock to lock my screen (via slock), and suspend my PC. I don't currently use a login manager, as it is easy enough to "startx" when I want a graphical session. Switching between viewports (compiz only has one "workspace") is done in the normal way. I also use the put and grid plugins to rearrange windows via the keyboard. The system was originally based on a lxde desktop so lxsession manages auto-starting programs.

The nice thing about rolling your own desktop environment is that you can switch out parts as you like. I've specifically chosen these apps to avoid installing a majority of the gnome/kde subsystems. This keeps my system quick to boot even on four year old hardware.

Finally: if you don't want your panels breaking then stay off of the unstable branch.

Re:Compiz, tint2, kupfer, conky, pcmanfm (2, Informative)

Narksos (1111317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460878)

(one more time, but logged in) I came to the same conclusion last spring. I'm on arch linux and my desktop is as follows: Window Manager: Compiz (though this could easily be openbox if you don't want the shiny... I keep it for the window management plugins) Panel: tint2 (when I last looked it didn't really support multiple viewports in compiz well so I patched in the support (they're hesitant to officially add support)) Launcher: Kupfer (I don't really like menus) System Info: conky File Browser: pcmanfm Editor: vim I use xautolock to lock my screen (via slock), and suspend my PC. I don't currently use a login manager, as it is easy enough to "startx" when I want a graphical session. Switching between viewports (compiz only has one "workspace") is done in the normal way. I also use the put and grid plugins to rearrange windows via the keyboard. The system was originally based on a lxde desktop so lxsession manages auto-starting programs. The nice thing about rolling your own desktop environment is that you can switch out parts as you like. I've specifically chosen these apps to avoid installing a majority of the gnome/kde subsystems. This keeps my system quick to boot even on four year old hardware. Finally: if you don't want your panels breaking then stay off of the unstable branch.

Ironically, FVWM2 (2)

undeadbill (2490070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460866)

I've put my own DE together with FVWM2, which is pretty much designed for that sort of thing. It has the ability to take Perl scripting for almost every feature you want, and works well with integrating services to the DE. I've been able to create dynamic menus from it, with button options for other activities (ex, listing and acting on mail, for one; also, popping up new dynamic DEs based on nagios messages for host troubleshooting, complete with relevant schematic on the root window, etc). The great thing about it is that you can program in the behavior of pretty much any other desktop feature you want, mixing Windowmaker features with XFCE, etc. Plenty of apps out there will work with it as well.

avant + compiz or kde (1)

McLoud (92118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460870)

Last time I used that, I was using compiz, avant-window-manager and gDeslets. I used nautilus as filemanager, but keep in mind this was in the gnome2 days where all you needed was to lauch gnome-settings-daemon and you was set. At this day and age, I use a customized kubuntu, and plasma makes very easy to move stuff around the way I like to do, kwin is working great in 4.7.6 as window manage. The only complaints I got is kopete protocol stability (only recently msn got back to working for me) and lack of a descent SIP phone, so I got to use ekiga for that. I always used thunderbird as mail client and that's unlikely to change since it is mostly desktop-safe, same for chrome (konqueror or rekonq are still too slow;/buggy for general usage)

Thats my 0.02 brazilian cents

Mouse = a device for focusing xterm windows (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460880)

WMX []

- Lightweight (size measured in Kb, not Mb)
- Unobtrusive. Uncluttered appereance (we need no friggin' icons on our desktop)
- Left-side titlebar preserves space on wide-screen displays
- Multiple desktops
- Root menu for quick launch of applications (just put scripts/symlinks in a directory, the contens will be displayed as a menu)

Right Idea, Wrong approach (2)

pyronide (2440046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460884)

IMO, I think that a linux user trying to cobble together unstable releases of DE software would consider attempting to fix the software that one likes - I'd make a safe wager that most of one's problems stem from configuration issues. I say that because with my 4 years of limited experience with the linux desktop, I spent plenty of time distro/DE-hopping to find a remedy to having to edit default settings to get usability to the point were I like it. Then I learned that not all software is created equal, and not a single developer out there has the ability to read my mind. I tend to find - in my limited experience - that linux software tends to not "break", but is simply mis-configured for my unique situation by default.

Try Haskell (2)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460902)

Recently I've been using the XMonad window manager with the XMobar status bar. Both are written in Haskell and are extremely minimal. XMonad is tiling so it's a joy to use on a laptop as you never need to use the mouse.

for years, (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460904)

slim+fluxbox, no panels. lots of conky instances for monitoring EVERYTHING in the house.

good people are noticing (3, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460926)

It's good people are noticing that the Linux desktop is largely going to hell, being destroyed by developers ignorant of user needs working in a vacuum. It's good people want to come up with solutions to giving the user control of workflow and configuration. Things were looking bleak.

CLI Linux (4, Informative)

gajop (1285284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460930)

TL:DR [] read the information below the screenshots and take your pick! Your realization is what people were doing for many years now.

The answer is clear, if you want a complete "build it yourself" distribution, with parts hand choosen, just go for one of the command line interface based distributions, such as Arch or Gentoo, which come with a bare system.
F.e by just following Arch Linux' wiki for system installation you will get familiar with all the WM/DE choices, and depending on what you pick there you can get further specific information on the Arch wiki or specific WM, regarding systray/pager/filemanager and other utilities that work well there.

I for one have openbox with tint2, conky and pypanel, with thunar as filemanager (although I often just use coreutils when it's faster/easier). Of course, no one is forcing you to choose Arch or Gentoo, Ubuntu is fine but to me it makes no sense to choose a GUI distribution which comes hand polished for GNOME/KDE/*DE usage when you will just clean it all and install ratpoison.

Re:CLI Linux (1)

WhitePanther5000 (766529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461176)

I used Ubuntu for awhile, but I just switched back to Debian. Ubuntu tends to break when you do weird stuff, or run a vanilla kernel... and Debian is a nice middle ground. Fairly bare bones, easy to configure, but doesn't require you to compile almost everything. Gentoo was fun though when I had the time to mess with it.

My system (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460944)

I think everyone does this to some extent although with my laptop being about 9 years old I try to keep it low on resources as possible. My system has Lubuntu as the baseline, Clementine for music, Picasa via Wine for photo control & editing, Opera for the browser & RSS feed, and Dolphin for the file manager. I used PCmanFM for a time but the split screen is a killer feature for me, even with it requiring Nepomuk for some god only knows reason. My only real complaint is Samba is STILL borked on Lubuntu which eliminates my access to the server.

openbox! (1)

mynis01 (2448882) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460974)

I've been using crunchbang openbox (debian base) for the longest time, but just recently switched to arch out of frustration with some of the debian wheezy issues right now. I'm still using the same setup for the most part though, openbox with some xfce apps and other stuff. Thunar file manager, terminator or urxvt terminal emulator, tint2 pannel (which I never use really), nitrogen for setting wall paper, and conky for system monitoring. A lot of that stuff you could replace with other apps, but two of those things which I can't live without anymore are terminator and conky. Terminator is great because of it's built in tiling functions (I really don't need tiled media player and browser windows) and conky is the most configurable system monitor out there. The openbbox rc.xml file is really easy to configure and once you set up your hotkeys to your liking, you find yourself not even needing the GUI or a mouse to swith between windows, open applications, resize windows etc. If you wanna try this setup with minimal hassle, you can check out the crunchbang distro from a live CD, it's debian stable based though which might not be your thing.

here is mine (1)

ladoga (931420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460992)

WM: Fluxbox and backgrounds with feh.
Audio: ALSA
Multimedia: MPlayer, SMPlayer, Audacious and Geeqie.
Messaging: Pidgin or irssi with irssi-xmpp plugin.
Photo editing: ufraw and GIMP.
WWW: Iceweasel(Firefox) and Chromium.

And no need to take part in DM fights :)

gkrellm (1)

hakova (930861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461006)

I don't have a strong feeling about any window manager these days, although KDE4 is more stable than ever, and TDE is very fast, stable and nostalgic. I prefer gkrellm somewhere on my desktop as a habit more than anything else. It helps me to keep an eye on the network and CPU usage (boinc runs continuously in the background, and sometimes a virtual machine too), as well as temperature readings.

Arch + Various (5, Interesting)

PhattyMatty (916963) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461022)

I just started building my own a few months ago and I'm pretty happy with the following:

Arch linux - has my favourite package manager (pacman + yaourt)
Xmonad window manager - tiling wm that doesn't get in the way, with some minor configurations
Stalonetray - has a clock (trayclock), sound (pnmixer), battery indicator (qbat), dropbox, etc.
ranger - vi-like file browser which is simple to use, runs in a terminal (urxvt), and I keep a regular filebrowser (nautilus) around just in case something needs me to drag-and-drop something.

non-visual things:
udiskie - automount usb drives and things

It's a very simple setup, though there are more things than what is mentioned here, and I love it. :)

A list of programs which I am currently using and why is here: [] Enjoy!


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461042)

I've tried a few other desktops and I've cobbled together a minimal desktop for resource reasons, but I always come back to KDE and its various parts for their great interoperability, features, functionality, and decent footprint (even with KDE4.5 on a P4 setup). I've only kept a non-KDE desktop for an extended period on one machine, a P3 laptop. []

KDE for power users and XFCE for lightweight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461050)

That's all you need to know. KDE is a fantastic poweruser desktop. Got all the bells and whistles, configurable to hell and back. Needs modern-ish hardware, say, last 10 years or so (runs fine on my old 32 bit Athlon XP with 1 GB, but much less than that and you might have problems). KFCE if you need lightweight for older hardware or don't want many features. It's minimal.

Those two cover 98% of your needs on Linux these days.

Fluxbox (2)

fwarren (579763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461066)

Fluxbox, just like Openbox, Blackbox and Afterstep has a dock/wharf/slit. Back in the day. Taking 68 pixles away from the right hand side of the screen was expensive on a 640x480 or 1024x768. However with the modern 16:9 aspect ratio 1366x768 can easily afford to give up 68 pixels for the slit region. My ideal setup is image []

  • Panel moved to the top
  • Panel resized to about 90% width of screen. Even with windows maximized there is always a clear spot in the top left and right hand corer to get a menu or scroll to a different desktop
  • Slit on the right top side of the screen. With wmbutton (launching apps) wmmsg (to know when text messages come in), wmix (to adjust volume), wmclockmon, wmkeyboard, (clock), (Internet Streaming Radio App), wmwesther+, wmbiff (to track incoming email) and wmauda (multimedia control app).
  • Below that wmbar running vertically.
  • Conky in the top right corner for system status

    Lightweight and fast.

A panel/launcher does not a desktop make (4, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461076)

There seems to be a lot of confusion about desktop environments. Adding a panel to a a window manager is not a true desktop environment. Desktop environments provide other services besides the ability to launch an application. Xfce, Gnome, KDE are desktop environments. Openbox, Fluxbox, etc. are window managers. While one can make a window manager look visually like a desktop environment, without the other services, it is not.

As an example, you can take Xfce, a desktop, and replace the window manager (xfwm) with openbox and you still have a desktop environment, because the window manager is only one piece of it.

While all desktop environments include a window manager, no window manager is a desktop environment. You can add all of the components on services to make your own desktop environment, however, that still doesn't make the window manager (or panel) the desktop environment.

Think of it like an automobile is a desktop environment. It is a complete package. You can swap parts out (tires, engine, transmission), but none of these parts is the automobile. You can even start with a plain chasis and add everything else custom the way you want. That is what happens when you take a window manager and start adding your own panels and services. Just as at some point your project car becomes a complete automobile, so to will your efforts lead to a complete desktop environment. But until that occurs, all you have is a bunch of parts.

Re:A panel/launcher does not a desktop make (3, Interesting)

gajop (1285284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461284)

And what are these services? All you've done is say multiple times how they're different, you even included a car analogy, but you failed to name a single service. Sorry, that doesn't work for me.

*DEs are just highly bloated WMs where all the choices have been made for you, but there's no reason your WM can't be as powerful as any *DE (it often is more).

I'm not alone. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461098)

Alright, well definitely felt the same sentiment.
I'm running debian wheezy (which used to be debian stable)
built from a net install. The only gnome stuff I've left is the
gnome games package, gdm3, and gvfs.

I have to admit I'm glad gnome 3 came around because I got to try something different,
as for my issues with the gui changes, I've switched to using a lot of cli apps (which ironically
I've had less trouble customizing things like color, I don't have to worry about #000 text on a #000 background
because I get to change the palette...)

Graphical Stuff
For the Window manager, awesome wm, frankly I don't care for LUA that much, but I've customized my rc.lua a bit,
because awesome is frankly just too awesome.

Browser: uzbl (with squid3 for cache, and privoxy for ad filtering and other goodies.)

Office stuff: duh LibreOffice

File Manager: Thunar

Music Player: Audacious or Deadbeef

Cli Stuff (yes I know some of these apps provide a graphical version too, take your pick)
Now for the fun stuff

Terminal Emulator

Terminal Multiplexor
Gnu Screen
I love gnu screen, if you don't like it, I've heard tmux is great.
I cannot imagine using cli apps with out it now...

Fantastic Web browser with a great text user interface, menus, and everything.
Writing this post within it (well actually pressing ctrl + t brings the editor I chose which is...)

Yes, I did switch to it (no more nano, gedit, or well there is another editor, but shhh shhh... Be quiet!)
Vim is fantastic, love the spell checker, great for working with multiple languages,
I use it more for writing than coding (usually simple bash stuff or messing with a stylesheet or something.)

Midnight Commander
Great file manager for cli

Alpine, yes I know... So damn easy to set up though.

Weechat and sometimes finch

News feeds

File downloads
wget, it has always worked well for me, and continues to do so.

CD ripping

Mplayer and vlc

mocp and weird stuff like adplay (for adlib stuff...)

Somethings I run at start up in my xsession are autocutsel (to make clipboard handling sane),
xinput for configuring my touchpad scroll,
and setxkbmap so I can toggle language layouts with a hotkey

I guess that's about it, running on a nearly 6 year old laptop, and it flies since this stuff is so light weight.
The advantage is I can have nearly the same setup on any sort of PC and it should run just fine. And no worries
for the license types, all these goodies are FOSS. Have fun, and use your system how you want to use it.

Fvwm (2)

lahvak (69490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461102)

I have been using fvwm for I guess almost 20 years now. During the time I tried a number of other window managers, and even several of those so called desktop environments, and I always end up returning to fvwm. You can configure it to do pretty much anything you want. I have my own vi based set of keybinding, minimal eye-candy (plain flat title bar on windows, simple frame,no 3d, no gradients). It may not be shiny and pretty, but it works.

In addition to that,I use stalonetray for tray icons, gkrellm for hardware monitoring, volume control etc, and dmenu for launching programs.

I do not use a taskbar, I tried several of them, but eventually I came to a conclusion that they just take space on the screen, and don't serve any useful need. I have fvwm show window list menu on rightclick in the root window, and also have a keybinding for that, but I very rarely use it.

E17 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461110)

The enlightenment, dr17, is one of the finest, nicest and fastest DEs around. It's built using its own sets of libraries (the EFL libs) and it's currently in BETA state. Even when it's being heavily developed, I've been using it for the last 4 years as a main desktop and it has always been very stable (even more than the first KDE 4.x releases!)

I salt it with some QT apps (dolphin, konsole, gwenview, kate, etc) for MY perfect Desktop =)

All broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461144)

They're all broken, and all the parts are broken. By making bad choices, or refusing to make choices, developers long ago condemned X11 workstations to working in ways that will never be as widely used and enjoyed as Windows and Mac OS. Maybe Wayland will get things right, but I doubt it; the problem isn't X11, but they way developers insist on using it.

FVWM2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461168)

AddToFunc InitFunction
+ I Exec gnome-session

+ with MWM theme, SloppyFocus, MoveOrShade, etc...

gnome-session gives me OSD, networking, automatic mounting and things that makes life easier with a modern laptop, while FVWM gives me the most productive window managment experience.

But, it's less stable than it used to be, currently I'm running on a thinkpad x220 and linux just can not keep up with ACPI and the latest intel graphics. Add to that the neglect of what used to be stable work horses (such as the uncrashable WindowMaker which is more fragile now, than...I don't know what...), it's as usual perhaps, things break left and right. So, it easily takes a week or two to setup a linux system that can be used :)


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461192)

Thanks for reinforcing the stereotype.Now go back down into your mom's basement and play with your X-box.

XFCE (1)

Krigl (1025293) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461208)

with compiz, avant-window-navigator (docky is probably fine too and it has that useful effect of _really_ zooming dock icons when you hover the mouse above, which I can't find in AWN) - while it's theoretically dependent on compiz, since XFCE's compositor reached mature level, all you actually need is xfwm, though eye candy's not complete, but I guess that's not your priority anyway. As a long time XFCE user, I still kept Gnome's evince, sometimes gedit (for quick point'n'click in file manager, for everything else there's vim anyway) or file-roller. I have quite strong allergy to pretty much every DE supplied music/movie player I've ran into, so Audacious and MPlayer it is. Switching workplaces is customizable, left click at the edge of screen to get to the next one or middle clicking desktop and dragging or rotating the mousewheel worked for me.
Also - don't take it too far with jigsaw puzzle approach, in my experience it's still better to have something as a base with replacing parts you dislike than completely DIY mess.
Oh, and all this ran on Ubuntu, then Debian (currently 64-bit Wheezy), and at the moment looks like this [] .
This setup's of course just a result of my preferences and idiosyncrasies and far from perfect, but it bugs me less than others I've tried.


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461260)

Unity looks like they are doing what Microsoft is doing, trying to make every computer a tablet, when in fact, it is NOT.

If I wanted a tablet interface, I would buy a tablet.

Linux has lost direction again. Fail for another 10 years arguing how to fix it.


computer specs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461324)

Are these people worried about "bloated/heavy" and using openbox the same that have i7's, 16GB of ram, an SSD, etc...? I hardly ever bother checking CPU or memory usage on my desktop since everything is always running smooth. Customizability is one thing to compare, but how your setup only uses 100mb? really?

work or play? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461330)

CDE with hpterm and xterm.

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