Linux window managers

There seems to be a lot of resentment in regards to Ubuntu desktops decision to switch to unity as the default window manager in linux. The comments by Mark Shuttleworth are interesting:

“I admire and respect the fact that you can make free software do exactly what you want - that’s precisely what I set out to support in founding Ubuntu. What I did not set out to found was a project which pandered to the needs of a few, at the cost to the many. Especially when the few can perfectly well help themselves, and the many cannot.”

I think I sit in the few camp, which is why after trying unity, and not liking it, chose to run a different window manager and settled upon a tiling window manager (awesome) which is extremely light on resources and extremely configurable via a single config file (~/.config/awesome/rc.lua).

I’ve transitioned from:

This is the point of open source I can up sticks and move, but what I think feels alien to regular open source users (in this I really mean everyday desktop/laptop users) is that this decision has felt forced upon us, sure I can apt-get install alternative window manager but it still felt like the rug was pulled out from under us.

Saying that I’m happily in the few camp rather than the helpless camp, if anything it’s the real reason I use linux. It’s also encouraged me to look around at other options and this being open source there are plenty of other options, and I’m actually happier now with a tiling window manager, it doesn’t suck up much memory and cpu but the main benefit for me is that I tend to work much more from the keyboard, the mouse is used sparingly. The “Mod4” key (this is normally the Windows key on most keyboards) is your friend, one of the best resources I’ve found is the arch linux guide.

I’ve switched to awesome on an old thinkpad running gentoo and my desktop at home and work and another laptop which run Ubuntu 11.10.

The point is there is choice and if you are one of the few or even just started out using ubuntu or any other distribution and you don’t like this or you don’t like that, then look around for alternatives, there is normally someone else who has done the work for you and developed something which is more suitable.

Here’s my rc.lua config file, it does what I need it to do, so change it to suit your needs, and remember free software can do exactly what you want, and a little time is the only investment you need to pay.

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