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Has the Development of Window Managers Slowed?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the when-updates-begin-to-slow-to-a-crawl dept.

News 437

al3x asks: "When I first got into Linux nearly five years ago, the new releases of competing window managers (like Blackbox, Enlightenment, Sawfish, etc.) were a constant thrill, and great strides were made with every release. I can't count the number of nights spent trying to get that sexy new E build to work, and what fun it was! But these days, window manager development seems to be stagnating. The last stable release of Enlightenment is from last year. Sawfish hasn't done much of anything in months, nor has Blackbox. WindowMaker had a recent update, but not with any exciting new features (it is rock solid, however). Now, verging from the paths of window manager favoritism or "they haven't been updated because they just work," why has development in this arena slowed to a crawl, and what's on the horizon?"

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yup (0)

Qwaz (250711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399537)

Becaue everyone is busy watching NASCAR and talking about it at

HEAR MY GNUHOLY WORDS NOW!!!!! (-1)

Allah_Spork (524500) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399555)

Today is a joyous day! Another of the BLESSED logged-in users has posted first! In MINE heaven, you shall be tended to by 46 Virgins (It was 50, but the Prophet Mohummad, peace on him!, decided to try woman-pussy for a while. It does not agree him, alas!).

I would enjoy now to entertain and enlighten you with ascii-art of the Prophet Mohummad, peace on him!, issuing an anal-fatwah to young muslims, but the Poster Comment Compression Filter, and infidel creation of THE DEVIL, prevents this.

Jihad on AC first posters!

Re:HEAR MY GNUHOLY WORDS NOW!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399588)

In other news:

Slashdot has renewed the "War on Trolls"
They are now reportedly banning entire networks.

Two words... (0)

zesnark (167803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399542)

Desktop environments.

One word. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399873)

Blech.

E17 (0)

psicE (126646) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399546)

Don't know about you, but I'm still urgently awaiting the release of Enlightenment 0.17, so I can finally use a file manager for Linux that's not a Windows 95 look-alike, but doesn't look like Windows 3.1 either.

Re:E17 (2, Funny)

grammar nazi (197303) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399564)

The reason that Blackbox hasn't changed in a long time is because you can't improve upon perfection!. I'm not sure why work isn't being done on the other windows managers. They still have a long ways to go until they are more like Blackbox.

</joke, not flamebait>

Re:E17 (2)

mattbee (17533) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399738)

There's a good reason [msite.sk] you don't want to refer to the next version of Enlightenment as E17 (at least if you were cringing at the music charts in the UK 6-7 years ago).

in the meantime..for good FM's try rox or gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399757)

no text lameness filter blah blah

Slashdot ate my link (-1, Offtopic)

Qwaz (250711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399548)

NASCAR forums for geeks [pentameter.org]

Enough already? (3, Insightful)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399551)

Could it be possible that yet-another-window-manager, just isn't a particularly interesting project to work on any more?

We've had the pre-cambrian explosion, time for the mass extinction.

Re:Enough already? (1, Redundant)

Jamie Zawinski (775) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399609)


Could it be possible that yet-another-window-manager, just isn't a particularly interesting project to work on any more?

We've had the pre-cambrian explosion, time for the mass extinction.

Absolutely! Now if only we could get people to stop writing IRC clients and curses-based MP3 playlist editors, we might be getting somewhere...

I haven't seen anything in a window manager that interested me since 1993. All I pray for these days is that whatever window manager that gets installed on my systems by default have the decency to put the "close" box in the same place as the last location I got used to, and that it not make me jump through too many hoops to turn off all of the keyboard equivalents that get in the way of Emacs usage.

Re:Enough already? - nope, still one to go: ION (2, Informative)

reneky (31046) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399722)

I haven't seen anything in a window manager that interested me since 1993. All I pray for these days is that whatever window manager that gets installed on my systems by default have the decency to put the "close" box in the same place as the last location I got used to, and that it not make me jump through too many hoops to turn off all of the keyboard equivalents that get in the way of Emacs usage.


Sounds like it's time to check out ion: http://www.students.tut.fi/~tuomov/ion/ [students.tut.fi] . It's based on non-overlapping windows, made for easy keyboard navigation. Supports prefix keymaps so you can easily avoid key binding conflicts. Give it a try!

Re:Enough already? (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399770)

not only that but not suck 300mb of memory, run slow as hell on a decent system, or look like shit.

Re:Enough already? (1)

Bob The Cowboy (308954) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399961)


Absolutely! Now if only we could get people to stop writing IRC clients


Good god no! There still isn't a decent IRC client for linux like there is for Windows!

Bitchx is nice, but a bit hardcore... everything else has a nice feature or two, but overall sucks.

xchat, ksirc, kvirc, ircII (or however its spelled)... all nice... but hold nothing to mIRC, for example

Bill

Re:Enough already? (1)

Djaak (59417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399637)

Who's talking about another window-manager project besides you ?

Re:Enough already? (1)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399736)

Not even me, if you'd actually thought to read my post before shooting your load.

Golem (4, Interesting)

frohike (32045) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399552)

One of the promising window managers that's (IMHO) up and coming is Golem [sf.net] , being developed by a friend of mine. It's very simple but all of its features are provided by fast plugins. This is kinda like Sawfish, but without the overhead of a Lisp interpreter. Anyone looking for a new WindowManager to try out (and develop on) ought to check it out!

Damn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399607)

I was going for "First Plug" with this link [icewm.org] but you beat me to it with your so-called "friend's" project. :(

Couple possabilities (5, Interesting)

nuintari (47926) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399559)

I can't speak for all fo them, but AfterStep is undergoing a pretty big change, and as far as I know Enlightenment is getting a total rewrite. That'll slow down developement something fierce. Then ya look at some of the minimal ones, notably Blackbox and Sawfish, they both do what they were intended to do. new features aren't in the focus of some of the more minimalistic projects, so anything at this point is bug fixes. I don't know much about WindowMaker, but they could be working on a very new release, which could be in pre alpha states right now. Check the CVS of your favorites out and take a look, some of the code in the afterstep 1.9 is just great, but last time I checked, I still couldn't get it to compile completely.

Re:Couple possabilities (3, Informative)

Glytch (4881) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399826)

Windowmaker is pretty much in the "add little features, fix little bugs" category from what I've seen in the changelogs. 0.70 was just released a few days ago, and (just speaking anecdotally) it works flawlessly. I never even have to touch the config files by hand anymore, the WPrefs tool works fine. And coming from a die-hard Slackware control-freak like me, that's saying something.

I think the development team should just declare it to be version 1.0. Windowmaker is stable and full-featured enough for it. :)

They matured (3, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399561)

KDE today is as good as window manager as MS windows or Apple finder, Gnome is getting closer, WindowMaker is rock solid and is small and fast, as Kojima dreamt years ago.

Until someone comes with a unbelievable great idea, things will go slow for a while.

And since the window managers "market" (don't know if this word can be applied to open source) are stable now, only the best and most used WM (gnome, WindowMaker, KDE) sees any development.

Re:They matured (1)

zesnark (167803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399579)

Finder != window manager

Re:They matured (2)

firewort (180062) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399957)

Actually, it is - in the same way that Explorer is the Windows GUI and Desktop.

Finder also happens to be the name that is given to file browser windows, but Finder is the Mac GUI for all versions of 9.x and prior. (In OS X it was Desktop, but has been renamed Finder- although in OS X, it's a process. In 9.x and earlier, it's the whole GUI, and that's it.)

In Windows, Windows Explorer is the file browser, Internet Explorer is the Internet browser, and Explorer.exe is the whole GUI the mess sits on.

Somebody has to say it... (2, Insightful)

Djaak (59417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399655)

...KDE & Gnome aren't window managers but desktop environnements.
And the finder is yet something else (I'll leave to
Mac users to explain exactly what that thing is). I
know this rebuttal is annoying but hey, can't compare
apple to orange as they say !

yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399563)

FIRST POST!!!

Re:yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Luti (231772) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399811)

Stop smoking crack! Your not even close to the first post!!!

GO KDE! (5, Informative)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399567)

I think that this is primarily because desktop environments have taken over. The KDE folks must be hooked-up to caffeine IVs based on how fast they release updates and totally new applications. Ximian GNOME is also quite nice, and has a large following. Basically, "window managers" as we know them have been replaced by these more full-featured environments that are helping to bring Linux to the desktop.

Re:GO KDE! (0, Redundant)

zesnark (167803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399591)

As I already pointed out.

Re:GO KDE! (5, Informative)

Nelson (1275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399706)

That's correct. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the the very concept of window managers has been a hurdle slowing down the progress of the GNOME.


For a while there was a debate about "the GNOME window manager" and then there was the whole E thing when people were getting frustrated and quitting their jobs. Sawfish came out to fill a void and that's what it has done and now it doesn't seem as important that it get's all the newest wiz-bang gadgetry.


Newer versions of E are sounding more and more like they are trying to build a desktop or new environment than simply a window manager, that's great, more power to them.


But the essential truth is that for the majority of Linux users the window manager concept has come and gone and that desktops are where it is all happening now.

Re:GO KDE! (0)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399956)

Personally, i find all these "desktop environments" are too heavy for older computers... I would much prefer a lightweight window manager (in my case - windowmaker) with a small menu of common applications, and a terminal where i can start anything else i might need. Plus the heavy integration of kde apps.. makes using them under other window managers a resource wasting experience... gnome apps don`t seem so bad. Perhaps there should be a standard "menu" and "desktop" concept to be supported by all desktop environments and window managers. As the windows "start menu" is backwards compatible with the old "program manager groups" and all the explorer replacements i saw support the same standard, allowing program installations to give a "user friendly" icon, regardless of the desktop choice of the user.

Re:GO KDE! (2)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399849)

And according to the KDE 3.0 TODO list, KWin is undergoing a major overhaul.

Having poked and prodded the insides of KWin, it is a very nice window manager. Small, fast, elegant. The philosophy seems to be just manage windows, nothing else. (sort of like sawmill). I don't know much they could do to improve it.

Rick Harney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399568)

I bet it's because of Rick Harney.. just a guess though.

KDE (1)

peripatetic_bum (211859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399569)

Im not sure what you mean by lack of development of window managers, but have you looked at KDE
and how it is advancing much faster than anything else out there?

thanks for reading

Re:KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399670)

I would have moderated this as "Dumbass"....

Re:KDE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399812)

Why? Because he's smarter than you?

Hmm... (2, Insightful)

Phasedshift (415064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399570)

Perhaps because the economy sucks right now? I imagine more people are worried about their jobs and paying rent then developing a window manager that they aren't making any money off of (or very little)...

Either that or they are really busy watching pr0n...

Re:Hmm... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399647)

Speaking of pr0n, have you spanked off [spankoff.com] , lately?

Re:Hmm... (2)

dragons_flight (515217) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399711)

On the other hand, if you are out of work then you might do some free development to pass the time. After all most people aren't spending every waking moment looking for the next job.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399932)

As depressing as that sounds.. it creates a bigger open source community when all the programmers are sitting at home with nothing else to do.

e17 (3, Informative)

technomancerX (86975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399576)

Seems like following the progress of e17 is interesting enough in and of itself... something about a multi-threaded open gl accelerated window manager what also includes a file manager and full widget library strikes me as 'making progress'. Not to mention the coolness of the underlying libraries...

.technomancer

good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399596)

The answer is obvious though - virtually all former window manager developers have given up XWindows to use Windows 2000. Or, have a job now and can't justify wasting time over an open source project.

It'll happen to you once you leave college and enter the real world.

Re:good question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399851)

Fug j00, Micro$loth troll

Why E has slowed (3, Insightful)

Raster Burn (213891) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399597)

I've been lurking on their devel mailing list (check out their project page [sf.net] ) and E's progress has slowed because of the recent downturn the tech industry. Open source programmers need jobs too....

Re:Why E has slowed (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399603)

Surely if they're unemployed, they have more time to work on open source projects? Or do they just spend all their time wallowing in a mire of self-pity.

Re:Why E has slowed (1)

Raster Burn (213891) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399617)

Well, they say they're looking for jobs :)

Re:Why E has slowed (4, Funny)

cymen (8178) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399674)

They just loose hope, fire up Windows and load PowerPoint to start a job presentation, and then get a deadly macro virus that kills their hard disk with the dreaded click of death hex code patch...

Seriously - whenever there is a problem just look to Microsoft for the cause.

[note: for the human impaired this is a joke, of course it may or may not be funny]

Re:Why E has slowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399761)

They spend their time job hunting and flipping burgers. Whatever pays the bills. Although I have a job now, my open source projects have been on hold for a while. The tech boom is over, for now.

IceWM? (3, Insightful)

X-Dopple (213116) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399604)

I've been following IceWM rather closely for the past year, and it's at 1.0.9 - released a week or so ago, IIRC.

Really, though, what features are there to add to window managers? If you add too many features, then you end up like Enlightenment, which IMO is more like a desktop environment than a window manager.

Re:IceWM? (2)

glitch_ (48803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399830)

I've never been quite clear on the distinction between a window manager and a desktop environment. What does a destop environment have, that a window manager doesn't?

UGH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399608)

the worst terrorist attack in history occured last month, and WW3 is starting today, and people in Afganistan are getting killed...and you're talking about the development of window managers!?! i'm sure the people who were crushed under 100 stories of steel would be very interested in window managers. or the people who are getting bombed now too.

my god,get your priorities straight!

Go away, troll. (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399661)

To anyone taking this guy seriously: don't waste your time responding. Instead, grab a brewsky, kick back, turn on the tube, and watch the unfolding progression of America's shiny brand new war!

Re:UGH! (1, Offtopic)

bjtuna (70129) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399663)

My priorities are where they should be... focused on me. Like everyone else, I am deeply saddened by the events of 9/11, and I think sorrowfully about it at least 30 times a day, but I am not letting it consume my life. I have not quit school and work so I can go on a 24/7 worry binge.

Course thats just my $0.02.

Re:UGH. (1)

mjfgates (150958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399669)

Would you prefer that we talked about terrorists, all the time, to the exclusion of all other subjects? Oh, wait... when I say it that way, the inherent silliness of the idea is a little too clear, isn't it? Sorry.

Re:UGH! (1)

kalanar (469957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399786)

These kinds of posts make me wonder if the person is a miserable typer and was trying to get to CNN instead of /.

The only articles that should ever be submitted to slashdot is tech articles about how x military is using x technology for x.

So my question is, why do you come to slashdot for international news.

Everyone is saddened by everything that has happened. But everyone also needs to move on and get on with life. Look up the meaning of terrorism and understand that if everything changes to being scared and ducking under cubicals.

Windows Managers are something slashdot should be talking about.

Fvwm2 (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399616)

I don't know what the problem is. I am still pretty satisfied with fvwm2. And some features you don't get in. e.g. KDE. Like the virtual desktop (FvwmPager) with the individual desktops actually being next to each other. Great for very large windows! And the switching mechanism (hit the border with the mouse) rocks!

I don't need all these graphical, slow and unintuitive menues. I am completely satisfied if I can add the shortcuts I need in 5 minutes to the pop up menues and have all the desktop space for my own use.

And I don't want to redo customization all the time. Basically I have had the same Fvwm2 configuration for years, with only small modifications. That means I can find everything very fast, because I know where things are!

Re:Fvwm2 (5, Interesting)

Rich (9681) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399773)

You might like to try using the NET enhanced version of FVWM. This adds supports for the extended WM hints specification agreed to by both KDE and GNOME. The homepage is http://fvwm-ewmh.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] . The existence of this extension also shows that while WM development might have slowed, it hasn't stopped.

XFce development is still proceeding (3, Interesting)

Stinking Pig (45860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399622)

XFce.org -- mostly incremental improvements, as you'd expect from an aim of small and fast, but recently anti-aliased display is supported and a migration to the ROX filer is about to be completed.

new ones to try... (2, Informative)

jptxs (95600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399624)

i agree that the big names have slowed =[ , but if you get a thrill from trying out new fun widgets (as I do as well) there have been some good ones suggested and I'll ad flwm(http://flwm.sourceforge.net/) to the list -fastest one I've ever seen. Also has a super-keen set of buttons to size windows and the title bars are sideways!

Fox News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399629)

Watch Fox News Channel.

Linda Vester is a hottie!

CNN suxx0rz

Re:Fox News (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399676)

Fox news has more hot news chicks than all the other news networks combined. I would love to blow my load into the tight confines of their soft snatches.

PS - what the fuck is up with all these Clinton retreads coming out of the woods saying the terrorist attacks weren't they're fault? stick a fork in it Sandy Berger, you spent 8 years sitting on your ass, fucking up, and denying it was your fault. The adults are in charge now, go sit in the corner and shut the fuck up!

Because nobody's willing two do two things. (5, Interesting)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399630)



Here's why the mainstays for Linux development have ground to a halt:

1) Nobody is willing to work on something, pouring hours upon hours of work into it, only to have someone working in Company X take their code, and make a living off of tweaking it. Suppose you're writing a windowmanager for Linux. In order for your windowmanager to succeed, it probably has to be GPL in order for it to really catch on. And if its GPL, surprise-surprise, there are employees of parasitic companies like VA Linux Systems who make a nice living playing with your code. No one in their right mind is going to do something for free, working side by side next to someone who is getting paid to do the same. By simple virtue of the fact that parasitic GPL companies exist, you're effectively letting someone else make the money off your work by making it GPL. This is why companies who capitalize on Linux software development are a (tm) Bad Thing, because they assert a choking influence over the entire community. It stops becoming an exercise in fun, and rapidly becomes an exercise in profiteering.

2) Nobody is willing to think about doing anything different, more useful, or more ergonomic right now. The main driving force driving Linux UI development is "lets make it look like Windows!" which is a horrendously bad move. Instead of giving Linux its own face, its own appeal, and its own distinct look, we're playing Poor-Man's Explorer with X11. Instead of putting our own talents to work, making something useful for us, we're playing second fiddle to a third rate design by copying it.

Now, rather than purely bitching, here's what you can do about it:

Start at the ground up. Get ahold of the source of a weak windowmanager like fvwm, that has all the basic guts you need to work from. Ask yourself what makes sense to you as a user, NOT what makes sense because you've seen the same thing in Windows. Give Linux its own look. Try to avoid imitating other platforms. Build it because it makes sense to build, not because "Windows has it". The sheer number of things that Windows has wrong with its UI would require a completely separate article to discuss them in detail. Think about how to represent things differently. Is there a better way to represent the same information? Do you really want an OS that resembles a browser? Think, ask, and move. Learn, modify, and repeat.

Cheers, (and yes, Propaganda is still running..)

Re:Because nobody's willing two do two things. (3, Interesting)

BenHmm (90784) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399657)

1) Nobody is willing to work on something, pouring hours upon hours of work into it, only to have someone working in Company X take their code, and make a living off of tweaking it. Suppose you're writing a windowmanager for Linux. In order for your windowmanager to succeed, it probably has to be GPL in order for it to really catch on. And if its GPL, surprise-surprise, there are employees of parasitic companies like VA Linux Systems who make a nice living playing with your code. No one in their right mind is going to do something for free, working side by side next to someone who is getting paid to do the same. By simple virtue of the fact that parasitic GPL companies exist, you're effectively letting someone else make the money off your work by making it GPL. This is why companies who capitalize on Linux software development are a (tm) Bad Thing, because they assert a choking influence over the entire community. It stops becoming an exercise in fun, and rapidly becomes an exercise in profiteering.


Why do they start in the first place, then?

If a developer of a GPL project stops working on it, because a co-developer is in the lucky position of being paid to work on it, or because a company takes their great code and incorporates it into the product they need to sell to stay in business, then why did they start working in Open Source to begin with?

I'm not being stroppy, I just don't understand the psychology.

Re:Because nobody's willing two do two things. (2)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399688)



Why do they start in the first place, then?

If a developer of a GPL project stops working on it, because a co-developer is in the lucky position of being paid to work on it, or because a company takes their great code and incorporates it into the product they need to sell to stay in business, then why did they start working in Open Source to begin with?

I'm not being stroppy, I just don't understand the psychology.


Enlightenment, Windowmaker, Blackbox, every single windowmanager in common usage today found its genesis in the days before the rampant carpetbagging that began in late '99 and early '00. Before then, we were all in it for the sheet fun of it, and money didn't matter. The instant the first GPL-involved programmer went to work for these companies, they began making money off of someone else's freely given work. The incentive for these guys to continue working for free vanished around the same time. Would you continue to code for free if you knew a group of half a dozen guys were fiddling with your code for $50K a year?

Hell no.

Thats why companies that try to make money off of selling GPL'ed software are an inherently Bad Thing (tm) for the Linux community. It destroys the very incentive that caused us all to start coding in the first place.

Cheers,

But if...then.... (2)

BenHmm (90784) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399725)

Thats why companies that try to make money off of selling GPL'ed software are an inherently Bad Thing (tm) for the Linux community. It destroys the very incentive that caused us all to start coding in the first place.


Does that include distros? Wouldn't the Linux community be so so tiny without them that no one would start such big projects in the first place?

I get the idea about not working on something when someone else is being paid mucho cash, but would you still bother if were asked to write a windowmanager for some other OS? One nowhere near as popular as Linux?

Re:But if...then.... (2)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399886)

Not all distros are like that. Redhat likes to stick its fingers in everything, but Redhat ain't Linux.

My favorite distro is Slackware. Just the basics. Enlightenment is enlightenment is enlightenment. KDE is KDE is KDE. Patrick does what he does best, and that's to integrate everything together into a system. There's no need for him to issue linux-2.4.10-pv9.4.2-pre6 kernels, or tweak the default themes because they aren't purple and gold, or green and white. GNOME and KDE don't get a million new menu items for all the stuff you never installed. etc.

fvwm weak? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399658)

fvwm weak? It's the best window manager out there for speed, effeciency, and customizability. It's not a "desktop environement" if that's what you mean, but some of us don't want sluggish desktop environments taking up our screen real estate.

fvwm has one of the most mature code bases of any window manager around.

Know what you're talking about before you start pissing and moaning.

Re:fvwm weak? (1)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399698)



You got it -- Its weak, generic, and untainted by modern ideas. Thats why it makes an excellent code base to start from.

Read what I wrote before you start pissing and moaning.

Cheers,

I disagree (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399774)

Very few of us have monetary motivations. If you think an OSS developer has monetary motivations, you really don't get it. If you're an OSS developer with monetary motivations, you really don't get it either.

The reasons, I think, are twofold:

1) It's been done. You can find a window manager out there now that can do just about anything. There's not a lot of "Interesting" problem domain left.

2) There is no itch. My current window manager suits me fine. It does everything I want it to do. I don't really see the point of starting from scratch to code a new one. If I were going to fork a window manager, I'd start with the one that was closest to doing what I needed done.

Re:Because nobody's willing two do two things. (4, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399781)

I hear over and over again this call to arms, "Design a desktop that makes sense. Don't just design one that looks and runs like Windows."

Well, what would that be, exactly? There are a few basic tennants of a GUI that appear similar on all platforms:
Text boxes
Combo boxes
Drop Down menus
Radio Buttons
Check Boxes
Scroll Bars
Buttons
Tab Panels
Icons
Shortcuts/Aliases
Start Menu/Apple Menu/KDE Menu/GNOME Menu
etc...

These are basic items that are the foundation of a GUI. Yet, when people implement these things we get the cries of, "That's just a poor man's Windows. Create what the users *want*!"

Well, what do the users want? Don't you think that Apple and Microsoft have invested quite large sums of money figuring out what the users want? Realistically, in this day and age, if you build a GUI that completely changes the paradigm of a desktop with items on it, folders, widgets, etc... you better have an idea that immediately resonates with everyone. Else it will look alien and nobody will use it.

So, why doesn't anyone ever list the items that would make a desktop that would be Linux's own? Isn't it about time for somebody to pony up with this grand vision, instead of just crowing about the fact that we should all be reaching for this mythic concept?

Really, what is it that we should be doing? Which path should we be taking to achieve this epiphany in UIs?

Re:Because nobody's willing two do two things. (4, Insightful)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399911)

I tried. Twice. Both efforts failed, largely because people can't seem to look past Windows as the one and only example of how a UI should be done.

For the record, the last "real" desktop I ever used was AmigaDOS 3.1. Fast, elegant, simple, all-encompassing, good design, clearly understandable, flexible, extensible and neat. The closest thing i've been able to look like it is WindowMaker, and even WindowMaker doesn't quite have it right.

A windowmanager need not occupy anything more than a single slat at the top of every screen. Why the top? Simple. The human eye, in Western cultures, tracks diagonally from northwest to southeast whenever it encounters an image. The flow of information should conform to that--Its absolutely opposite in Windows, where the origin of an action begins in the southwest corner (the Start button) and traverses awkwardly northeast. By the way, dont whine about "Well, what about non-Western cultures??? Are we just going to leave them out???" because the answer is YES. Let them come up with their own design. We do it our way, they do it their way.

A book is a perfect example of a proper user interface that has undergone hundreds of years of refinement. The title is at the top, relevant information is in the corners, and the page (or screen, if you will) is dominated by the body of the data. UIs should follow this convention.

Suppose you want to do a simple action. Start a program. In Windows, there are no less than 7 or so ways to start a program. Sometimes its an icon. Sometimes in an icon in the Tray. Sometimes its an icon in the Quick Launch bar. Sometimes its in the task bar. Sometimes its in Explorer. Sometimes its in the Start Menu. Sometimes its in DOS. On, and on, and on, ad infinitum, ad stupiditum.

A computer's UI should look and react like a television set, where all the channels are nothing but top-down views of books. Each channel has a single line across the top. It shows memory usage on the left, a date-clock on the right, and a single [x] button to kill the whole fucking thing and drop down to console. The remaining 99% of the screen can be occupied with any number of windows. No Docks. No taskbars. no trays. No icons.

All programs that exist on the system can be listed in a single pull-down menu. Right-clicking anywhere on the backdrop of that "channel" (or workspace) will give you the option of selecting a program to launch from a menu. A single, authoritative way of launching a program, not 7 of them.

Suppose you want to delete some junk--Fine. You need a filemanager. Not a filemanager, a browser, a text editor, a Trashcan, and a "delete" command. The filemanager is listed no differently than any other program in the menu listed above. One way for all. If you dont like it, use another OS.

Those are just two simple little improvements that would simplify the task of using Linux with a GUI a hundredfold. More options don't always means more flexibility. More options ALWAYS mean more complexity, and more intimidation for first-time users.

What I basically described to you is AmigaDOS 3.1's appearance in a nutshell. Installation of new apps was a snap, and it all worked out of the box. Instead, Linux has two maddenly different standards that fight for the same square foot of turf and both look retarded in the process. Until that gets resolved, you and I are stuck.

Re:Because nobody's willing two do two things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399925)

So go fucking clone AmigaDOS.


The rest of the world isn't interested.

What? (3, Interesting)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399840)


I think this is a troll, but I think I should at least be a voice of dissent...

Lots of people, including me, work on software or do research for free, and don't mind when companies profit from our code or ideas. Mainly, this is because we believe that there is a great deal more work necessary to turn code or research into a product, and that work is primarily very tedious. I like the idea of a company using my code (I don't know of any who do, but I would) because they do work that otherwise wouldn't get done.

Second, I actually think the Windows UI is pretty good. More importantly, it is standard, which means that I can use KDE without reading any documentation. Regardless of how it might revolutionize the world (I don't think it would; the UI is pretty superficial and pretty subjective), new users are not going to switch to linux if they have to learn a lot just to use the UI.

So, I'm not saying that your opinion is wrong, but that asserting it as an "obvious" truth is.

Re:What? (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399898)

I don't think that it's really a troll, just somebody with an axe to grind. Mr. Poag is the creator of the wonderful PROPAGANDA [ibiblio.org] desktop backgrounds, and apparently feels that he's been screwed out of credit or reward for his work. I'm not sure exactly what his complaint is, but I've definitely heard him complaining about mistreatment (especially by Sourceforge, IIRC) in the past.

nobody cares about yer f'in tile Pogue (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399841)

eat a dick ya whiny turd swallower..oh yeah...don't use the gpl then fuckwit.

Do you really want an OS that resembles a browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399855)

and why the hell not?

you say that like there's something wrong with a browser.

Re:Do you really want an OS that resembles a brows (1)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399933)

A browser is good for viewing documents.

It is a tool designed for a specific purpose.

A browser is a poor tool to use to launch/run/encompass programs. Any chimpanzee can drive nails with a socket wrench. It takes a human to use the right tool for the right task.

I don't understand your critic to GPL (1)

DVega (211997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399926)

"By simple virtue of the fact that parasitic GPL companies exist, you're effectively letting someone else make the money off your work by making it GPL"

So ? Are you suggeting to use another license ?

If you use BSD license instead GPL, the "parasitic company" can take control of your work without even publishing source code.

And if you are thinking on a propietary license, then you are preaching in the wrong place.

Define weak. (3, Interesting)

ErfC (127418) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399963)

I use FVWM2 as my window manager of choice. It's fast. It gives me amazing and easily-customizeable control over everything. What's "weak" about it? What more do you need in a window manager? (I've never found myself saying "I wish FVWM could do foo...")


I'm not trying to disagree with you or berate you or flame you or anything. I'm honestly curious -- what's FVWM2 missing? What's wrong with it? What would you do to it?

Why, fvwm2 of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399632)

I think window manager developement has slowed because all of the newbies are finally starting to realize that nothing will ever touch the speed, effeciency, and flexability of fvwm2.

Hopefully (3, Insightful)

tjansen (2845) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399636)

Hopefully.. there's only so much you can do with a window manager, and 50 different should be enough for everybody, so people can now work on improving desktop environments or applications.

Who cares? (0, Troll)

FFFish (7567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399643)

I mean, really. WWIII is on the doorstep, and we're wanking about windows managers? Jaysus, people, getta grip on what's important!

[this message (C)2001 by KarmaWhore Unlimited.]

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399701)

it's not a war you dick, it's just some remote controlled missiles being shot at mud huts so that ppl who enjoy watching exciting news can enjoy themselves. we on the other hand enjoy playing with computery stuff, so you go fuck off and watch the news, and we'll play with our computers and everybody will be happy.

tits like you is who start fucking wars anyway cos you can't leave other ppl alone to do what they enjoy.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399769)

Me.

WWIII isn't knocking our doors, you coward jerk.

Things are going pretty bad, but not so bad. It was YOUR WTC that implodes, not my or them.

Ok, maybe other countries suffer that kind of criminal attacks, but until that happens, WE ARE NOT IN WAR and Life goes on.

World don't ended with Saddan Hussein. It will not end with a bloddy bastard criminal like bin Laden.

FFFish you shitbag, should we join the service? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399857)

dumbass...oohh..let's all go to FFFish's house/trailer and sit round the 12" black and white tv of his biting our fingernails in worry....go fuck yourself

Configuring Window Managers (1, Troll)

Leif_Bloomquist (311286) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399644)

"I can't count the number of nights spent trying to get that sexy new E build to work, and what fun it was!"

And people wonder why Linux is (still) only for geeks!

This is such a ludicrous statement. I, like a lot of people, use my computer to do *stuff*, not just messing around trying to get it to work at all.

Development on window managers has slowed because: Despite all the gripes etc about Microsoft, their "window manager", while crude in some aspects, works. It just works when you install it. You don't have to mess around with editing config files and libs and all that. So why create new ones?

I recall installing drivers for my ati rage 128 a few months back:

Windows 98: 10 minutes
Xfree86: 4 full evenings

Linux will never be accepted by the mainstream until its developers realize that, to normal people, CONFIGURING YOUR WINDOW MANAGER is NOT FUN. It's infuriating. Most users just want to get on with whatever task they want to do.

Thank you.

Re:Configuring Window Managers (1)

foonf (447461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399685)

Don't know what driver you were trying. X 4.1.0 supports the r128 out of the proverbial box. Just compile the relevant kernel modules, and you're good to go. The only hang up for me was mesa version (had the sw rendering libraries installed, not the ones from the XF86 package, so even though dri was working no program used it...)...but if you are using a clean install of 4.1.0, you should have the right version.

Re:Configuring Window Managers (1)

samrolken (246301) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399763)

X isn't a window manager. Besides, email me with anything that you know about getting your r128 to work, as I am also having problems with it.

Re:Configuring Window Managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399864)

Are you new to Linux?

Re:Configuring Window Managers (5, Interesting)

MintSlice (34717) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399822)

I recall installing drivers for my ati rage 128 a few months back:

Windows 98: 10 minutes
Xfree86: 4 full evenings

I recall my recent attempts to install my new Nvidia Gforce MX 200

Linux: No reboots. The new card (the old one was a Voodoo 3) was detected during the boot sequence after adding the card. I configured the card for my setup and it started X using the new card without missing a beat. Time taken: 30 seconds (literally)

Windows: 4 reboots, two failed shut downs, a trip into Linux to download drivers because the ones on the disk didn't work, and finally it worked. Time taken, about an hour (including download time)

Granted, I then had to install the Nvidia version of the liunux drivers to get full value from the card, but that was relatively simple and didn't involve a reboot of the system to achieve, and took less than 30 minutes including downloading the drivers. This process wouldn't even be an issue if Nvidia would GPL their drivers so they could be included in the kernel and X. Yes, that's right, the only hick-up I had with installing a new graphics card under linux was problems caused by non-GPL software.

Here's another example

A recent change of network card on:

Linux: restarted computer, the change of network cards was detected during boot, the current network config was migrated to the new card (after asking me if I wanted too) and the connection to the network was made without a reboot. Time taken: 10 seconds

Windows 98: The new card was detected, a driver was requested (it was on a floppy) and the machine finished it's boot process. No network connection. I open the network config tools to find that a secondl network card config has been loaded (which doesn't work). I have to remove the original setup, config the new setup and reboot. Time taken: 10 minutes.

Still not convinced? Try it with a sound card.

Sadly, I think Linux gets a hard rap when it comes to hardware. Changing and installing hardware in Linux is exceptionally easy, and limited only by a lack of support by hardware manufacturers. Given support by manufacturers linux ability to hand new hardware or hardware changes leaves Windows for dead. I can even change my processor and motherboard anmd linux will get everything sorted out during the restart without having to reboot once. Try that in Windows!

Oh and before you start telling me that Linux doesn't support as much hardware as Windows, try installing windows on a Macintosh, or a mainframe, or a wristwatch. Many operating system companies won't even move to a new platform for fear of what new hard might do to their stability. Apple's reliability on Macintosh is often cited as a result of a limited hardware base (an that reliability isn't that good. Microsoft originally started NT on an Alpha and said they wanted a kernel that would be easy to port to different processors. They don't even support the Alpha chipset anymore and are having troubles getting Windows to run on x86.

We've got Linux running on three different platforms here at work (x86, PowerPC, M68K) and running well.

Re:Configuring Window Managers (1)

diamondc (241058) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399875)

Who cares if Linux/unix/some-os-non-windows goes mainstream or not. You are just different, as you say..... you just want to get work done. Personally, I think it is fun config'ing a window manager (sawfish is good at this.. ) and doing some cool keyboard combination that gets your work done faster and easier. Whenever I sit in front of a Windows box, my productivity goes way down from all the crowded windows.. no native multiple desktop support, no pager, etc.

Re:Configuring Window Managers (2, Insightful)

B1ood (89212) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399944)

And people wonder why Linux is (still) only for geeks!
is your gripe really with linux?
This is such a ludicrous statement. I, like a lot of people, use my computer to do *stuff*, not just messing around trying to get it to work at all.
so your problem is with your computer, or maybe with your stuff?
Windows 98: 10 minutes

Xfree86: 4 full evenings
no... i guess your problem is with xfree86. seriously, if you are too simple to even know what components you do or don't like (or in this case, can or can't use), perhaps you should be using windows. there isn't anything wrong with it, at least with regards to the *stuff* you "use" it for. xfree86 is a very complex system, much more so than the parallel aspect of windows, and it isn't integrated into any kernel a fraction as much as explorer is (by design of course). there is nothing wrong with linux, at least nothing that you could point out.

until one body can take the linux kernel, the GNU tools, all the GPL'd libraries, xfree86, the apps you use, (/)etc and put them together in a way much more like MS does with the layers of windows and much unlike a modern distro, this is going to happen. nobody wants this though, sorry. geeks only for now.

Really though (1)

icedcool (446975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399666)

Well what is happening is we are apon a kind of mental block, with window maker being stable and easy to manipulate, E being sleek and neat, kde and gnome being kind of a standerd and each having there own area of speciality. Afterstep being so configureable. We really have window managers for almost every type of hacker/computer user. Basically What more could you want?

Honestly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399758)

Go ahead, nail me as flamebait, but it is true.

The honeymoon with Linux is over. It hasn't changed the computing world. It hasn't made it to the desktop, nor has it changed the datacenter in any real way.

Windows XP has had more planning and forethought to it's User Interface than all Open Source windowmanagers COMBINED.

Most WMs suck.
If I want fast, TVWM
If I want stable, fvwm
If I want pretty, e

sawbox, alterstep, blackfish, kde, whatever has no use. If I want a desktop OS, I use windows. If I want a server, I use a real UNIX. Real UNIX already come with their own Desktop Environments. They work.

Well.. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399799)

Perhaps it's because, in the last several years, unix went from having a few small window managers, to having many... many wrote wm's just for fun...

Then.. things stabilized.... I mean, if you wanted to make a new wm. how do you compete with E? nothing is that sexy looking (or that bloated.. of course).

There are basically enough window managers already... there's nothing else you need.

You want a new release of E? Why? is it a car, where the manufacturer has to release a new model every year? Come on.. they only do that to try to make you think your car is 'old'.

enlightenment and the future of window managers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399819)

Well from what I can understand Enlightenment is becoming a desktop shell, I really look forward to that. E17 will be the most eye-candy anyone can expect within the next year or so. But then we have to look towards the next step and that is 3d window managers and the 3d hardware market finally getting something else besides 1st person perspective games.

Who wouldn't want to wear 3d glasses and some virtual gloves and be in an interface similar to the covert government chem lab programs. Imagine just picking up your hand with a glove on, and seeing your hand in a 3d world, taking the window and moving it with your hand, then looking down and typing into a floating keyboard or perhaps a standard keyboard which you can also see in this virtual world. I remember seeing something on the Discovery Channel about the chem labs in some secret place and all the VR they deal with. When those systems become mainstream we will all be blown away, I was blown away by seeing these chemists twisting around chemical structures in a virtual world and using the computer to figure out the effect of those certain chemicals on the brain, cells etc.. This stuff is mainly used for chemical projects and some of those "cool" black projects. Very sweet.

New features? (1)

smkndrkn (3654) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399877)

Are you asking for new features for the sake of having new features or for something in particular that you think you can't find from the current offerings? As you mentioned many of the window managers are very solid. There are many to choose from as well.

afterstep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2399884)

ive been usin afterstep for a few years,
and i gotta say i got a whiff of 1.8 for
just a few minutes and i went right back
and compiled 1.6 again and started using it
again. the window management was horrid
compared to 1.6, or at least the defaults
were and i couldn't figure out how to change
them. i hate windows that snap to the desktop
edges, i require the ability to drag apps
with the mouse between desktops(my desktop
at work is 15 x 2). anyways, im sure it
coulda been fixed, but why bother when
1.6 does everything i want. ive never had
it crash. its stable, its mature, and i don't
see reason to use anything else even a newer
version of the same product. i just hope
that 1.6 compiles cleanly on debian long into
the future :) i heard from a friend that
windowmaker's defaults were like afterstep
1.8's and he was a long time windowmaker fan,
now hes using sawfish i think.

Be Unstable! (1)

Mandelbrute (308591) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399890)

The last stable release of Enlightenment is from last year.
Then be unstable!

Play with new versions of window managers that are in development. If they die on you you have nothing to lose but a single line in .xinitrc.

But beware - it is a good idea to start *nix up in text mode if you're going to use a window manager in development (or especially a video driver in development).

Ximian for Mandrake 8.1? (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2399930)

Anyone have an ETA for Ximian GNOME on Mandrake 8.1?
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