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raymac46

Window Manager or Desktop Environment?

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raymac46

This is my take on the issue. Your mileage may vary.

  • If you have old or resource challenged hardware, a WM all the way. They are the basis for such distros as AntiX and Puppy Linux.
  • If you like to use keyboard and CLI, and want the O/S to stay out of the way you'll want a WM.
  • If you are a tweaker and customizer and don't ever use the defaults then again it'll be a WM for you.
  • If you prefer to click on icons and have a dock on your desktop, you'll be a DE type of person.
  • If you have other folks using your machine who are also using Windows, you'll have a DE - probably Cinnamon.
  • You are more likely to enjoy a WM if you started out with KDE rather than GNOME.
  • The more hardcore you are, the more spartan your WM will be.
  • If you migrated from Mac to Linux I think you'll want a DE like GNOME 3.
  • If you do choose a WM you'll be a real enthusiast for it.
  • If you want a DE with the flavor of a WM, then choose Xfce. It's always a great compromise.
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V.T. Eric Layton

Hmm... I prefer the simple life these days. I do customize Xfce somewhat, but I've always been very minimal when it comes to my desktops. I prefer to just have a simple launching panel at the bottom and one hidden on the left side. It allows me to enjoy my wallpaper more that way. I haven't had shortcut icons on my desktop since ol' Win 98 daze.

 

RBNLJka.png

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securitybreach

That is right on point Raymac :thumbup:

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securitybreach

Plus a tiling wm is much easier to manage when you have multiple monitors. Being able to assign each monitor a separate workspace makes things so much easier to manage. I couldn't imagine using a DE and having to move the windows around for placement. That would be very annoying to me.

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Hedon James
18 minutes ago, raymac46 said:

This is my take on the issue. Your mileage may vary.

  • If you have old or resource challenged hardware, a WM all the way. They are the basis for such distros as AntiX and Puppy Linux.
  • If you like to use keyboard and CLI, and want the O/S to stay out of the way you'll want a WM.
  • If you are a tweaker and customizer and don't ever use the defaults then again it'll be a WM for you.
  • If you prefer to click on icons and have a dock on your desktop, you'll be a DE type of person.
  • If you have other folks using your machine who are also using Windows, you'll have a DE - probably Cinnamon.
  • You are more likely to enjoy a WM if you started out with KDE rather than GNOME.
  • The more hardcore you are, the more spartan your WM will be.
  • If you migrated from Mac to Linux I think you'll want a DE like GNOME 3.
  • If you do choose a WM you'll be a real enthusiast for it.
  • If you want a DE with the flavor of a WM, then choose Xfce. It's always a great compromise.

 

I agree with most of these.  I might also suggest the following changes/additions:

  • If you have other folks using your machine who are also using Windows, you'll have a DE - probably Cinnamon, or KDE.
  • If you migrated from Mac to Linux I think you'll want a DE like GNOME 3, or Pantheon.
  • If you want a DE with the flavor of a WM, then choose LXDE, as it's very modular and allows one to pick & choose the components they're interested in without pulling in the entire DE.  Conversely, LXDE in its entirely is basically a "skin" for Openbox, invoked by the session manager, which also allows for a "naked" WM session.

 

Question on your statement:

  • You are more likely to enjoy a WM if you started out with KDE rather than GNOME.

 

I'm not following the logic on this one?  What's your thought process?  Care to share your thought process?  Otherwise, I pretty much agree with everything you said.  Even the XFCE comment.  I think LXDE is a "better answer", but I can agree with your XFCE statement.  JMO...

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raymac46

I think if you started out with GNOME 2 and especially if you continued on with GNOME 3 you would stick with the mouse-icon type of workflow. If you began with KDE 3 you already were in a very menu heavy environment. One might say "Death by Menu." In that case continuing on with nested menus and keyboard bindings would be second nature to you.

With KDE plasma the workflow (at least to me) is much smoother than it was with classic KDE 3.X so there would be less incentive to go the WM tweak route.

I have not tried Pantheon so I cannot comment.

I agree with you on LXDE. It's more a WM with a DE flavor and Xfce is more a DE with a WM flavor. So it depends how far you want to move on the spectrum I guess.

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raymac46
Quote

 I haven't had shortcut icons on my desktop since ol' Win 98 daze.

Me either but I do like the bottom panel-taskbar-dock with my favorite icons there.

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raymac46

I might add that I haven't seen a better distro lately than MX Linux when it comes to making a nifty WM option as well as a great DE option. Historically Vector Linux did this with Xfce and IceWM but hey have lost the crown to MX Linux. Back when I had the horrid old Compaq laptop, it ran OK with VL on Xfce but it was great when I used IceWM.

 

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V.T. Eric Layton

 

 

Well, let's see... I started out with Gnome 2 in Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake) in '06. I got used to Gnome and liked it, but when I started exploring other Linuxes, which happened very soon after installing Ubuntu, I discovered the joys of KDE. Unfortunately, when KDE went to v4.x, I was done with that DE. It just got to ugly, complicated, and I hated that stupid pistachio or almond or whatever the heck that thing in the upper corner of KDE was called. Also, all that fancy-schmancy carp in KDE 4 was a serious waste of resources. It was at this point that I went 100% to Xfce. 

 

Xfce was very similar to Gnome back then and it was one of the two packaged DEs that came with Slackware, which was by then my primary OS. Xfce is fun. It's highly customizable, but the means to do so isn't so obvious. You have to get under the hood a bit to really tweak Xfce, but that's OK. I'll stick with my Xfce from now on, probably. I'm too old and impatient these days to be tweaking and playing around with something like Erik's fav WM; too much work. ;)

 

Choices are good things. This is the strength and attraction of GNU/Linux for many of us. With the ol' MS Windows, choices were limited, purposely, as that OS was designed for dummies. It was purely a point 'n click operating system. MS frowned upon users getting under the hood, or even getting the hood open, for that matter. But hey, MS and Windows served the purposes of the masses. That's where the money was. That's where MS targeted its business plan. Nothing wrong with that. I just wake every morning and turn the ol' soul-sucking box on and than the Stars and the Fates and whatever else that a couple fellows (Linus Torvalds and R. Stallman) were born. I'm also forever thankful for a young fellow named Patrick Volkerding.

 

And that's the way it is...

 

Oh, and just for funzies, here's one of my old Ubuntu screenshots with Gnome. You can tell by comparing this to the screenie I posted here earlier that my tastes haven't change much. The Panel setup in Gnome back then is almost identical to how I still set it up in Slack/Xfce today.... a creature of habit, you might say. ;)

 

ZOWZhdC.png

 

Here's a screenie of one of my last Slack/KDE desktops from the time when Ian Chase and I were playing around with Conky:

 

W66JqZO.png

 

 

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abarbarian

Love that blue shot above. 😎

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securitybreach
2 hours ago, raymac46 said:

Me either but I do like the bottom panel-taskbar-dock with my favorite icons there.

 

What is this Desktop you all speak of? B)

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V.T. Eric Layton
2 hours ago, abarbarian said:

Love that blue shot above. 😎

 

Yup. That's a custom made (GIMP'd by vtel57) wallpaper. Wanna' copy?

 

34lYAkk.jpg

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securitybreach
10 minutes ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

 

Yup. That's a custom made (GIMP'd by vtel57) wallpaper. Wanna' copy?

 

34lYAkk.jpg

 

 

Very cool photo.

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V.T. Eric Layton

You can do wondrous things with The GIMP. :)

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V.T. Eric Layton

Oh, that wallpaper is called... what else? The Dragon Lady. :)

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abarbarian
14 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

 

Yup. That's a custom made (GIMP'd by vtel57) wallpaper. Wanna' copy?

 

 

 

Yup, 1920x1200 or slightly larger would be great. Ta. 🧐

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saturnian

Former Windows user here, started out in Linux with KDE 3 point something. I got along fine with GNOME 2 although it was never my favorite; I like GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell a lot better. But I enjoy having a variety of setups, and sometimes I'm logged into a DE, sometimes only a window manager session.

 

I recently installed Kubuntu 20.04 LTS. I think KDE Plasma is quite nice right now. Ships with too much extra stuff, though -- I still don't use any of that "Activities" stuff! That's okay, I can remove some things and ignore others. I turn off almost all of the Desktop Effects, and my customized desktop looks nothing like the default setup. A pleasure to use, IMO.

 

LOL -- Well, I'm typing this from Fluxbox in Buster. :lol:

 

Re: LXDE -- I've replaced that with LXQt. LXQt could still use some polishing up, but I love it.

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securitybreach

I liked KDE 3.x and Gnome 2.x much better than today's offerings. While they both look nice and all, KDE over-complicates things and Gnome tends to dumb things down so much that you can't tweak very much. Up until a year or two ago, you couldn't even change wallpapers without using the Gnome-tweak tool.

 

That said, its probably just me and my minimalist attitude. I went from full on compiz stuff to just terminals:

 

KDE 3.x

Gnome 2.x with Compiz

Xfce

Openbox

Fluxbox

Xmonad

i3wm

 

So I went from full on graphical eye candy to mostly terminals only besides the web browser. If TTY supported multiple monitors and tiling, I wouldn't even need a DE or WM.

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saturnian
On 5/8/2020 at 7:43 AM, raymac46 said:

I might add that I haven't seen a better distro lately than MX Linux when it comes to making a nifty WM option as well as a great DE option. Historically Vector Linux did this with Xfce and IceWM but hey have lost the crown to MX Linux. Back when I had the horrid old Compaq laptop, it ran OK with VL on Xfce but it was great when I used IceWM.

 

 

I'm playing around with the Fluxbox session of MX-19.1, the April 15 snapshot, and it's nice but I'd like it if they also had an option to log into a "stock" Fluxbox desktop. Either way, I'd completely change everything. I'm one of those who was wanting them to include Openbox or Fluxbox, a few years back. I'm glad to see that they've done it -- very nice move!

 

MX is really quite the impressive distro.

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V.T. Eric Layton
7 hours ago, abarbarian said:

Yup, 1920x1200 or slightly larger would be great. Ta. 🧐

 

So, resize it yourself you lazy penguin. ;)

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Hedon James
8 hours ago, saturnian said:

Former Windows user here, started out in Linux with KDE 3 point something. I got along fine with GNOME 2 although it was never my favorite; I like GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell a lot better. But I enjoy having a variety of setups, and sometimes I'm logged into a DE, sometimes only a window manager session.

 

I recently installed Kubuntu 20.04 LTS. I think KDE Plasma is quite nice right now. Ships with too much extra stuff, though -- I still don't use any of that "Activities" stuff! That's okay, I can remove some things and ignore others. I turn off almost all of the Desktop Effects, and my customized desktop looks nothing like the default setup. A pleasure to use, IMO.

 

LOL -- Well, I'm typing this from Fluxbox in Buster. :lol:

 

Re: LXDE -- I've replaced that with LXQt. LXQt could still use some polishing up, but I love it.

 

I'm using LXQt now also, with Fluxbox as WM (and Openbox and PekWM available), running on Debian Buster.  I agree it could use a little more polish, but I thought LXDE could use a little polish too.  IMO, LXQt is on par with LXDE, at least the features I care about & use.  I'm digging it too!

 

When I made the switch to LXQt, I made it a point to swap out as many former GTK apps as possible with Qt apps.  For instance, swapped out Banshee for Cantata; MPV for VLC; FoxitPDF for MasterPDFEditor; Shutter for Spectacle; etc...  My LXDE desktop was GTK based with some Qt apps; now my LXQt desktop is Qt based with some GTK apps.  Trying to be homogeneous as possible, but some QT apps just aren't on par with GTK apps yet; and vice verse.

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saturnian
50 minutes ago, Hedon James said:

 

Shutter for Spectacle

 

Screengrab, LXQT app, how do you like that one? Not as feature-rich as Shutter, but it's a nice app.

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Hedon James
1 hour ago, saturnian said:

 

Screengrab, LXQT app, how do you like that one? Not as feature-rich as Shutter, but it's a nice app.

 

Not familiar with Screengrab.  Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

 

Shutter was perfect for me, and I mean PERFECT.  But it's not available in Buster (no longer maintained?  or deprecated dependency?  can't remember) so I found Spectacle.  Spectacle is less than ideal, but I can work with it.  I'd prefer a QT version of Shutter, but that's just wishing.  I'll gladly look at Screengrab!

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securitybreach
1 hour ago, saturnian said:

 

Screengrab, LXQT app, how do you like that one? Not as feature-rich as Shutter, but it's a nice app.

 

Are these for screenshots, like scrot, but graphical?

 

 

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abarbarian
8 hours ago, securitybreach said:

 

Are these for screenshots, like scrot, but graphical?

 

 

 

https://shutter-project.org/preview/screenshots/

 

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Screen_capture

 

There is also Ksnip

 

https://store.kde.org/p/1156408/

 

I use " ss " from a terminal, it is an alias for "scrot -s".. I'm a simple guy so I keep it simple. 😎

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abarbarian
19 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

 

So, resize it yourself you lazy penguin. ;)

 Oh sorry I thought you were offering a download.🤓

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raymac46

From reading the above I concluded that these days using a window manager approach to Linux is more a matter of personal preference than actual need. I get it.

Back when I had really old or ugly Linux junkers it was quite often a necessity to get something really lightweight to even run on them. Early netbooks did a lot better with antiX for example. Today even my oldest rig has a dual core and 6 GB of RAM and handles MX Linux with ease. Another aging desktop has a quad core and 16 GB of RAM plus an SSD so it flies with any DE you want. I do have one old netbook with only 2 GB but Arch and plain old Xfce works OK there thanks to a cheap SSD.

Maybe it's because I am still a Windows user as well, but I never have felt a great need to tweak the basic desktop in Linux much. I am happy enough to change the walllpaper and have a few icon launchers on the panel or in a dock. Plasma, GNOME3 or Cinnamon do not feel bloated to me - and if they did I can use Xfce quite happily.

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V.T. Eric Layton
4 hours ago, abarbarian said:

Oh sorry I thought you were offering a download.

 

I did. Just Right Click on the wallpaper image above and choose "View". When it comes up full-sized, Right Click again and choose Save As (on your system). It'll be all yours then. Open it on your system with your fav image app and resize it to what you need it to be or just let your DE resize it for you when you choose it as the wallpaper. :)

 

 

 

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abarbarian
3 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

 

or just let your DE resize it for you when you choose it as the wallpaper. :)

 

 

 

 

I was just funnin. WM do not do auto resize, just about the only thing it do not do. 😎

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saturnian
9 hours ago, raymac46 said:

From reading the above I concluded that these days using a window manager approach to Linux is more a matter of personal preference than actual need.

 

Yep. I can usually get by with XFCE or LXQt on my slowest machines now, where in the past I would have turned to a WM. But it also seems that a WM beats a DE for setting things up for the way I prefer to work. Well, that falls under "personal preference," of course. But it kinda feels like a "need"!

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