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Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:42 am UTC
by Aglet
What is the best graphical user interface in *nix systems?

Personally, I use GNOME, but I'm looking into other options. Post your opinions.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:47 am UTC
by OOPMan
Personally I like KDE, although I really wish Enlightenment would get on and release a new version already. AfterStep was also cool, in a painful way :-)

Alas, I have a fair bit of loathing for Gnome, all things said and done.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:58 pm UTC
by xyzzy
Well, I've played with a lot of them. Some opinions for you:

aewm: Nice, easy, clean, lightweight, hackable. One of the few floating wms I really like
evilwm: An aewm derivative. Much the same, but a little less friendly and heavier on keyboard controls
wm2: Ultralight floating wm. Doesn't do anything apart from manage windows, so you'll be wanting to work with other apps as well
Ion: I liked this a fair bit. It's a very nice tiling manager, and the tabs are excellent
larswm: Another tiling window manager, but quite different from Ion. Does floating and sticky as well, can mix them
dwm: Tiling, and much like larswm in how it manages things. Does tiling or floating at any one time, not both. Also very lightweight.
Enlightenment 17: Very nice, my favourite of the full desktop environments. Can be unstable.

There are of course dozens which I've forgotten, but those are some which I would recommend right now. I'm currently using evilwm, btw.

Edit: Hell, I'll just post opinions on all the ones I can remember offhand. God knows I've tried enough.

blackbox: Reasonable. I tend to prefer fluxbox, but it's quite neat.
fluxbox: The heaviest manager I have installed right now. I only prefer it to blackbox because it does tabbing
pwm: Ion without tiling. Sucks, IMO
Gnome: Well, I prefer it to KDE. But that's mostly because I prefer GTK to QT. Far too bloated for my taste though
KDE: Don't like this either. At least as heavy as Gnome, still not as easy or sensible to use as some of the lighter ones.
XFCE: About the heaviest I can tolerate. This is pretty neat, but I'm not a great fan.
flwm: I can barely remember this. I seem to recall it being fairly good, but not world breaking
ratpoison: Not keen, but there are people who swear by this. I don't like the over heavy keyboard emphasis
wmii: Not so keen on this, but I swore by it for a while. Tiling, and could be worse
9wm: No thanks, unless you really have some perverse desire to make things behave like Plan 9
twm: Basically default, I really don't like this.
AfterStep: I didn't like this - couldn't really get how it worked, for a start
WindowMaker: See above
WindowLab: This is quite neat, and very different. Couldn't manage menu configs.

General comments: I like things to be very lightweight. I like both floating and tiling, for different reasons. Tabbed is good. Things have to be 'sensible' - it can draw a window for the first time without asking me for the shape and size. Keyboard controls are vital, but never make it so that you can't interact without the mouse. There are different mouse buttons - use them.

Second Edit: Hey, I remembered some more! You have to wonder how many there even are.

Matchbox: Interesting. It's nice for small screens, but does feel wasteful on a big one. I like it though.
JWM: I didn't like it. Unsurprising, as I didn't like IceWM either
IceWM: I didn't like the style - too Windowsey
fvwm: Classic, but I didn't like the way this worked either.

I've heard good things about both Ion3 and Xmonad, but have never used either.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:04 pm UTC
by Will
Did E17 ever get out of the "eternal beta" phase? I loved e16 but it was just a window manager, not a full-fledged desktop environment.

But yeah, Enlightenment FTW.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:12 pm UTC
by xyzzy
Will wrote:Did E17 ever get out of the "eternal beta" phase? I loved e16 but it was just a window manager, not a full-fledged desktop environment.

But yeah, Enlightenment FTW.


Nope, but it's really quite damn usable and stable, as long as you don't mind reconfiguring occasionally to work around the latest change.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:05 pm UTC
by zombie_monkey
I voted Xfce, but I've wanted to try Ion for a while now, just because tiling seems like a really good idea, it seems "cleaner" in a way, and I've liked it on the few occasions that I've used one. My formative years were in a CLI so I think I might be more comfortable with tiling and several workspaces; I almost never use multiple workspaces meaningfully with a floating window manager. Also, I often find myself trying to emulate tiling manually, which is pretty ridiculous :)

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:21 pm UTC
by Alpha Omicron
Bets on how fast this will turn into "distro wars"?

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:59 pm UTC
by cymon
Right now, I'm using AfterStep. It was kind of painful at first, coming from fluxbox, which I also keep installed. However, I like AfterStep. I was always interested in the NeXTSTEP UI, it looked really cool. It took a while for me to get used to it, but I like it now. I also intend to try out fvwm in the future. The least favorite that I have used was GNOME. Too clunky, and too much like windows. AfterStep and Arch go together very well, in my experience.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:45 am UTC
by OOPMan
I've just tried Ion3 and I must say, it's very cool. It's going to take a little getting used to and the keyboard shortcuts will probably keep me bouncing for a little, but I like it :-)

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
by FACM
I prefer KDE, slightly. I'm hoping for good things out of KDE4. Kicker finally gets the makeover/replacing it needed, but I'm really hoping it does more than the beta screenshots have been showing.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:57 pm UTC
by space_raptor
I have only dabbled a little, but I liked KDE. Can't really justify it, just suited me better.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:50 am UTC
by DesperatMezures
I use GNOME, but never really got to like KDE. I can't get over the naming scheme for 80% of the programs... Is that K required?

Although, I guess I am kinda biased only because I never tried KDE with Ubuntu, only KDE with Sabayon Linux. Ubuntu just works better for me, because it actually gets all my hardware. I can't say the same about Sabayon, which is pretty, but too bloated for my tastes.

Summary, GNOME.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:28 am UTC
by Will
You think KDEs naming scheme is bad, you should see Enlightenment's. Everything starts with an e. EVERYTHING.

Anyway, after some beating my head against the wall and some well-placed posts to the Ubuntu fora, I'm now running E17 instead of Gnome! Hurrah! While it's still obviously incomplete, it's quite stable (so far) and very, very pretty. I'm not seeing myself switching back to Gnome anytime soon...

My only complaint is that there's no volume control and my keyboard volume buttons (which worked peachy under GNOME) don't work anymore. I'm sure there's some way to get that kind of stuff working, I just don't have time to futz with it right now.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:01 pm UTC
by xyzzy
Will wrote:You think KDEs naming scheme is bad, you should see Enlightenment's. Everything starts with an e. EVERYTHING.

Anyway, after some beating my head against the wall and some well-placed posts to the Ubuntu fora, I'm now running E17 instead of Gnome! Hurrah! While it's still obviously incomplete, it's quite stable (so far) and very, very pretty. I'm not seeing myself switching back to Gnome anytime soon...

My only complaint is that there's no volume control and my keyboard volume buttons (which worked peachy under GNOME) don't work anymore. I'm sure there's some way to get that kind of stuff working, I just don't have time to futz with it right now.


Dig in the configs a bit, there should be a volume control module. Try looking under the add to panel dialog.

http://plughole.sdf-eu.org/misc/screens ... eencap.png <-- bottom left corner (that's my system from quite some time ago. IIRC, the white E theme, Epiphany, XChat, Gray Gnome theme, and one of the provided wallpapers. That was on Ubuntu.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:31 am UTC
by cacp
E is by far the best. I ran E16 on a PII 266 and is was prettier than Vista and a hell of a lot more stable (and 5x as fast).

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:56 am UTC
by chan the evoker
Ion is nice for text editing, web browsing, and bash: It has tiles and tabs, is frugal with pixels, launches quickly, and is highly configurable.

Fluxbox makes a good lightweight window/desktop paradigm window manager.

I haven't used gnome much, it seems nonconfigurable and windows-like.

XFCE: see gnome

KDE: Sluggish, memory intensive, feature rich and configurable.

Beryl/Compiz: Like kde but more so. It provides the ability to do things like zoom in and out, invert colors, watch multiple desktops at once, and most importantly, throw jello windows around on the surface of a cube. Not advisable when running on batteries.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:38 am UTC
by Oblivious Bear
cacp wrote:E is by far the best. I ran E16 on a PII 266 and is was prettier than Vista and a hell of a lot more stable (and 5x as fast).
What is E?

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:51 am UTC
by Will
xyzzy wrote:
Will wrote:You think KDEs naming scheme is bad, you should see Enlightenment's. Everything starts with an e. EVERYTHING.

Anyway, after some beating my head against the wall and some well-placed posts to the Ubuntu fora, I'm now running E17 instead of Gnome! Hurrah! While it's still obviously incomplete, it's quite stable (so far) and very, very pretty. I'm not seeing myself switching back to Gnome anytime soon...

My only complaint is that there's no volume control and my keyboard volume buttons (which worked peachy under GNOME) don't work anymore. I'm sure there's some way to get that kind of stuff working, I just don't have time to futz with it right now.


Dig in the configs a bit, there should be a volume control module. Try looking under the add to panel dialog.

http://plughole.sdf-eu.org/misc/screens ... eencap.png <-- bottom left corner (that's my system from quite some time ago. IIRC, the white E theme, Epiphany, XChat, Gray Gnome theme, and one of the provided wallpapers. That was on Ubuntu.


I found it, but it crashes Enlightenment every time I try to use it. And that still doesn't make the keyboard controls work.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:15 am UTC
by crazyjimbo
Heh, it's funny that Gnome has almost half of the votes yet only one person has said anything positive about it in this thread.

Motto: Gnome users don't need to boast.

As for sticking up for it, it's well featured, configurable, and sure it's bloated, but on todays (or at least my) hardware it's hardly slow. I know that isn't a good precedent to set for software in general, but it certainly doesn't hold as a strong argument against it in my book.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:04 am UTC
by xyzzy
crazyjimbo wrote:Heh, it's funny that Gnome has almost half of the votes yet only one person has said anything positive about it in this thread.

Motto: Gnome users don't need to boast.

As for sticking up for it, it's well featured, configurable, and sure it's bloated, but on todays (or at least my) hardware it's hardly slow. I know that isn't a good precedent to set for software in general, but it certainly doesn't hold as a strong argument against it in my book.


I'd bet that most people use Gnome because it's the Ubuntu default.

And there's also a lot of us here who like to keep bloat down - I'm on quite an old box, so Gnome is laggy enough that I want something much lighter.

Will

Crashes E every time? Hm. BTW, can you currently not display desktop icons? I seem to recall there was a while where they were compulsory.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:34 pm UTC
by cacp
Oblivious Bear wrote:
cacp wrote:E is by far the best. I ran E16 on a PII 266 and is was prettier than Vista and a hell of a lot more stable (and 5x as fast).
What is E?


Short form for enlightenment desktop. E16, E17 "etc"

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:48 pm UTC
by Will
xyzzy wrote:Crashes E every time? Hm. BTW, can you currently not display desktop icons? I seem to recall there was a while where they were compulsory.


I think when I first added it, it worked decent enough, but later it would constantly crash E, so I took it off. If I had time to kill, I might try writing a patch for it myself, but I don't these days.

I'm not displaying desktop icons, no. I don't particlarly like having anything on my desktop, so I'm happy with it like that.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:56 am UTC
by OOPMan
Eeek!

As I said before, I started using Ion3 and I like it...

However, there's a problem...

When I try to go back to using KDE it hurts :-(

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:16 pm UTC
by d0rk
I've used KDE, Fluxbox and Gnome, and I really prefer Flux. KDE takes ages to load on the uni systems (network boot) and is waaay to bloated. gnome is a bit better, but I really like the amount of configurability of Fluxbox... a keys file with the hotkeys, a menu file with the menu entries, a style file with the definitions of the styles. it just works for me..

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:43 am UTC
by aldimond
Where is the love for fvwm?

It has pretty reasonable defaults (if you remove all config files completely) for the most part, despite the horrible that the University of Illinois EWS lab folk unleash on their users, and is exceptionally configurable. You can make it do just about anything you want in terms of window management, so it's great for trying new ideas that you think will make you more productive... then when you realize you're wrong it's easy to go back.

Now... there are lots of weird and overly complicated FVWM configs out there. Some distros give a default config where everything is FFM except for like xterm and xcalc, which are click-to-focus. Blech. And that's maybe it's biggest problem: it's very easy to come up with horribly inelegant and hackish configurations. But the window managers I find to be more elegant (twm, WindowMaker, Plan 9's thingythingwhatever it's called) all have limitations or issues that annoyed me enough to make me get rid of 'em.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:23 am UTC
by OOPMan
I've never been able to run Plan 9 :-(

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:00 pm UTC
by xyzzy
OOPMan wrote:I've never been able to run Plan 9 :-(


Well, you can run its WM on *nix, look for 9wm.

As for fvwm, I didn't like the defaults, and didn't like the idea of having to hand write my config to make it look and behave like I chose.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:06 pm UTC
by rockintom99
I haven't played with linux a whole lot, but from what I've used, fluxbox is pretty shiny.

Re: Best *nix Desktop Environment/Window Manager/whatever

Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:02 pm UTC
by bavardage
I voted gnome originally, as that was what I used, just because it came default with ubuntu, but this thread inspired me to go searching, and now have a pypanel openbox setup :P as of this evening.

Am currently loving the speed of it, and the insanely low ram usage, but will have t see how I get along with it over the next week or so.

Desktops and UIs

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:27 pm UTC
by Hammer
Beauty and the Bloat.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:51 pm UTC
by zenten
I like gnome. I don't care if you think it's too bloated. Fluxbox just isn't usable.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:57 pm UTC
by b.i.o
The only desktop shell/environment I've been able to use for a while is Blackbox Lean. I've yet to find anything for Linux that is as nice looking and as functional and as fast. Fluxbox/blackbox for Linux isn't nearly as nice as it is for Windows, ironically enough, and Gnome and KDE are too slow and bloated.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:19 pm UTC
by d3adf001
i never saw what was so great with gnome. its 1 big tangled web AND it used GTK. im not a huge fan of kde but i like it more than gnome.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:49 am UTC
by Zanik221
zenten wrote:I like gnome. I don't care if you think it's too bloated. Fluxbox just isn't usable.

That's what xfce is for.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:09 am UTC
by Korandder
Gnome but mostly because I am used to it.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:20 am UTC
by photosinensis
GUI? We don't need no steeenking GUI. We've got vim, bash, gcc, and gdb. What more could you want? GNU Emacs?

Okay, GUIs are kinda nice for viewing porn on the Internet, and are required if you want to run a graphical web browser. But outside of that, why bother?

Yes, this was lifted from my response in the IDEs thread. It's only partially representative of my thoughts on yaoi: I do prefer GNOME when actually using a desktop environment. Just...get rid of Metacity, plzkthx.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:03 am UTC
by rwald
I've grown accustomed to ion3, but the developer is enough of a jerk to almost make me want to switch. And I'd just learned lua scripting, too...

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:23 pm UTC
by evilbeanfiend
with out a doubt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RISC_OS every other desktop is a pale imitation

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:28 pm UTC
by b.i.o
Zanik221 wrote:
zenten wrote:I like gnome. I don't care if you think it's too bloated. Fluxbox just isn't usable.

That's what xfce is for.


Hmmm, I'll have to try it out.

Re: Desktops and UIs

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:10 am UTC
by SimonM
GNOME

Its so easy to get used to. End of