"Best" New Window Manager?

"Best" New Window Manager?

Post by Edward Dodg » Wed, 24 Feb 1999 04:00:00



By "best" I guess I would mean:

1) fastest (like MWM)
2) low on memory usage (like TWM)
3) stable (like ???  -- do WM's contribute to the "stability" of a
system?_
4) nice looking/polished with virtual desktop a must  (up to but not
including KDE)

I'm using KDE presently and I'm not sure if poor memory-management is
contributing to the segmentation-errors I see occasionally in Netscape
4.05!  I even saw a segmentation error in the middle of a Perl script
once!  I use MWM at work,  but I'm not sure that the virtual desktop
deal is available for it.  I kind of like FVWM,  but I noticed it seemed
slower than MWM,  at least on an RS6000.

My current home machine is yer stock Rev-1 G3 running LinuxPPC 4.0
(kernal 2.1.124 or such).  Any help will be appreciated!

Edward

 
 
 

"Best" New Window Manager?

Post by Rod Smi » Thu, 25 Feb 1999 04:00:00


[Posted and mailed]



Quote:> By "best" I guess I would mean:

> 1) fastest (like MWM)
> 2) low on memory usage (like TWM)
> 3) stable (like ???  -- do WM's contribute to the "stability" of a
> system?_

Yes, window managers do contribute to system stability -- or at the very
least to what might be called "login stability."  I've been
unceremoniously "logged off" more than once when a window manager has died
on me.  While it's easier to recover from this than a true system crash,
it's no fun and just as damaging to whatever in-memory files you may have
been working on.

Quote:> 4) nice looking/polished with virtual desktop a must  (up to but not
> including KDE)

> I'm using KDE presently and I'm not sure if poor memory-management is
> contributing to the segmentation-errors I see occasionally in Netscape
> 4.05!

I doubt that. In theory, Linux is supposed to keep different processes'
memory management strictly separate.  I've found that Netscape tends to be
variable in its stability.  My copy of 4.08 occasionally just bombs, no
matter what window manager I use.

Quote:> I kind of like FVWM,  but I noticed it seemed
> slower than MWM,  at least on an RS6000.

I very much like icewm (http://www.kiss.uni-lj.si/~k4fr0235/icewm/).  I
don't know offhand if there are any pre-made binary RPMs for it for PPC,
but there are certainly sources.  I'm using it on my x86 Linux box.  It
meets all the requirements you lay out above.

--
Rod Smith

http://www.channel1.com/users/rodsmith
NOTE: Remove the "uce" word from my address to mail me

 
 
 

"Best" New Window Manager?

Post by Jeroen Scheerd » Sat, 27 Feb 1999 04:00:00



Quote:> 3) stable (like ???  -- do WM's contribute to the "stability" of a
> system?

Yes.  Everything a _user_ runs is child processes of the WM.  As far as
the user is concerned, the situation with X is pretty much on a par with
the situation under Mac OS, or Windows, for that matter; a central
instability jeopardizes all the users processes.

I'm quite often tied to using Solaris and Irix workstations.  WM crashes
-- with any of twm, tvwm, fvwm, fvwm2, afterstep, windowmaker, mwm,
olwm, 4dwm -- have never been rare, once one starts to use tools that
use more * X features.

As far as stability is concerned, twm is the only one I'd rate *above* a
decently installed Mac OS.  Then again, twm won't give you even a
remotely usable environment (IMHO).

AfterStep has been acceptable for quite some time already.  WindowMaker
is showing real promise lately, but it's not very sparse on memory
usage.

On no platform I tried it on (IRIX, Solaris, LinuxPPC) KWM even came
close to a satisfactory stability.  I've tried both the stable versions
(1.0 and 1.1, as I recall) and recent development versions, and looking
at the code and the architecture, it seems to suffer the typical
codebloat problems.  Even at that level it's too much of a reminder of
the MS catastrophe.

Vendor-specific WM's are obviously out of the question.  With
considerable effort, fvwm2 can be made workable, up to a point.

Funny thing about WM's: not one of them has grasped even the most basic
fact of interaction: clarity.  A user must know which window will
receive input immediately.  And it should not shift because of
irrelevant details (like mouse cursor position).  Now most of the WM's
have so-called Click-To-Focus and Raise-On-Focus functionality, and some
even combine these and call it "Click To Type", or whatever.  Now that
*could* have worked, if only, well, it would have worked.  But, alas,
WM's lose track of focus; applications cause focus changes, and so on.
Typically, this has the effect of dissociation.  Often, WM's get very
confused about setting focus and window raising.  Interface hell.

This is getting too long, and I haven't even mentioned window placement
yet.  Configuration file editing.  System dependencies in configuration
files.  Or everybodies favorite, that nice Mr. Color Cube.  :-)

I've yet to encounter the first *acceptable* WM.  I have serious doubts
whether the X interface experiment (that probably never should have
escaped the MIT labs in the first place) actually even conceptually
allows the implementation of decent, responsive, consistent and natural
human user environment; but even without that, a minimally acceptable
approximation of a user environment, not just some slap-on interface
gimmicks and hacks, would be quite something already.

For clarity, that's not to say Unix machines suck, or something to that
avail.  Unix machines have always been both great servers and lousy
desktop environments.  Good for daemons, bad for users.  The converse
could be said of Mac OS, of course, OS X excluded.

Closest to that -- but even they are not very close -- are (IMHO)
AfterStep and WindowMaker.  You mention MWM; I never got that to work on
IRIX at all, did not try on Solaris, and (a year or so ago) it wasn't
complete enough yet when I checked on i386 linux.  I'll be checking it
out again soon.  If it has good virtual desktops, and adequate stability
and completeness of features, and acceptable performance, it's bound to
be a major contestant in the race for WM world domination.  Ahem.

GNOME looks promising; and it seems to be fundamentally free from the
design flaws software like KDE/KWM is suffering.  But it's not up to it
yet.  And I simply don't know about Enlightenment, or Dark Whatever.

As for me, I think I'll smoothen out some glitches in WindowMaker for
now, and make do, shifting WM's as I go along, cursing each one along
the way...

-- J$
--
dash dash space
this is my .sig                                         it's not so .big