WMaker as a golden mean (was Re: [linux-elitists] Re: GNOME > you)

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Mon Jan 5 20:26:21 PST 2004

on Sat, Jan 03, 2004 at 02:07:38PM -0800, Jim Richardson (warlock@eskimo.com) wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 04, 2004 at 05:58:30AM +1100, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> ><quote who="Chip Salzenberg">
> >
> >>According to Chip Salzenberg:
> >>> According to Jeff Waugh:
> >>> > nine times out of ten I ask the above question and the person says,
> >>> > "well, I don't use GNOME, I use fvwm or WindowMaker".
> >>> 

> Well, due in part to the discussion here, I installed GNOME last night,
> and played around with it for a while, then uninstalled it (I love apt) 
> I am, and have been using, WindowMaker for about 4 years. I don't have a
> lot of customization, but there's a bit, and I use keylauncher to do the
> kbd shortcuts. That said, I didn't really like GNOME. Observations
> follow. 
> Slow:


See particularly Nielsen regarding responsiveness.  For local
applications, 0.1 second is instantaneous, and 1.0 seconds is the
high-end for allowing uninterrupted work:


> Maybe it's my config (Debian Sid on an Inspiron 8100) but GNOME took
> forever to startup, and was quite sluggish in some operations. 


Incidentally, I've been playing with XFCE4 as an alternative I might
recommend to others, and found it's annoyingly slow to start,
particularly on the older HW I'd be recommending it on (P-133 and

> Now, this is a 1GHz machine with 512MB of RAM, not exactly a candidate
> for the scrap heap, but not the fastest system out there.

For a desktop replacement candidate, far more than sufficient IMO.

> GNOME terminal eats my keyboard inputs. 

I'll note that this is the sort of behavior which WMaker handles readily
with the "Advanced Options" window dialog:  "Do not bind keyboard
shortcuts" and "Do not bind mouse clicks".

> The GNOME panel is usable, but nothing special to me. 

My own biggest beef on any panel or taskbar is that most are designed
for horizontal, rather than vertical, orientation.  Vertical screen real
estate is scarce, it's eaten by many widgets (taskbar, panel, window
titles, drag bars, borders, toolbars, rulers, tabs, status bars....).
Whereas the left or right window boarder is accessible, often free, etc.

Even where panels allow for vertical placement, widgets within them
often fail to orient properly.  WMaker addresses this particular need
very well.

> How many config dirs do you need? 


I've been simmering over a ~/etc/ campaign for about five years yet....

> All in all, it was a repeat for me, of the same thing 6 months ago. I
> try GNOME, (and KDE and such) every few months, and allways wind up back
> at WindowMaker. It's not perfect, but it fits the compromise of
> configurability, and ease of use, that I like. 

WindowMaker is proof for me that it's not configurability,
nonconfigurability, spartenness, or frobtopia, that's the ideal.  It's
intelligent design.

WindowMaker doesn't offer much in the configuration of title fonts,
titlebars, or window widgets -- you can select color and gradient,
that's about it.

It _does_ provide both configurability _and_ accessible, but
unobtrusive, controls for setting window behavior, keybindings, and the

> I fire up an app, if I want an icon for it to stick around so I can
> click on it to start next time, I drag the icon to the dock or clip.
> Done. If I decide I no longer need that icon hanging around, I drag it
> off the clip or dock, and it goes away. 

...unless you decide you want to prevent mal-mousings to destroy your
configuration and you've locked the icon.  But yeah, it's grand.

Also the option of a global dock vs. workspace-specific clip, with
ominpresence to cover the middle ground, collapsable clip (configurable
by workspace), keyboard-based workspace nav, the Windows menu, etc.,
etc., etc....


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    I could give you my word as a Spaniard?
    No good. I've known too many Spaniards.
    - Princess Bride
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