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Window manager variety

Window manager variety

Posted Apr 22, 2012 11:40 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
In reply to: Window manager variety by dlang
Parent article: LFCS 2012: X and Wayland

But when the statements are from people who are using a tiling window manager saying "It's the best thign I've ever used", then you should just shut up because otherwise you are telling people "no, you don't really like what you think you like"

Nice strawman. I said, quite literally: the concept was quickly buried never to be seen on mainstream system again and today they are in position similar to other old rejected technologies (such as Acme or FFM): some old-timers still use them and even few newcomers are choosing them but most users don't know about them and don't want to know about them.

How exactly this went from this to "no, you don't really like what you think you like" I'll never understand. It's quite obvious that I'm not talking about individual preferences here.

We are used to having features as default (a desktop pager for example) that just aren't available (or only available via a third party hack) on Microsoft desktops.

Right. But mindshare of people like you is shrinking and it's not clear where is the natural limit of this shrinkage. If some tools are only used by people in some small group then it may find out few years down the road that they just don't have the hardware they need and they can't run the software they want (while staying compatible with the rest of the world). History is littered by examples: Lisp machines (they were all the rage back in the day), RiscOS (ARM is quite popular today and you can even run RiscOS today on PandaBoard… but how many former RiscOS users actually do that?), Amiga ST, Atari, etc.

The great thing is that on Linux, we don't force everyone to use the same thing. Even the distros that have a primary default allow you to switch to one of the other options (and in some cases, like Kubuntu, it's only barely a second class option)

This is greatest strength of Linux and also is greatest weakness. RiscOS fate looks more and more real as time goes on. There was time not so long ago when people used Linux en masses in the university. Today they use MacOS instead. Even if it does not have a tiling window manager.


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Window manager variety

Posted Apr 22, 2012 17:02 UTC (Sun) by apoelstra (subscriber, #75205) [Link]

>But mindshare of people like you is shrinking and it's not clear where is the natural limit of this shrinkage.

Tiling window managers have recently seen a spike in usage, due (I believe) to the sudden destruction of GNOME by folks like you, who argue "users don't want to know about that, so let's stop supporting it" and remove essential features.

There is no question that tiling window managers are more efficient. Nowadays the most common complaint about window management is that wide screens are too wide to read on, and it's a PITA to manually resize windows to look nice on them. So, in Windows 7 you can now drag windows to the sides of the screen, and they'll fill that half. So you can emulate tiling for its most common use case.

As for history, the furthest back I can remember tiling was in Windows 95. You could right-click on the title bar and click "tile". It was crap. Every window got roughly a square inch of screen space, you couldn't control which ones were visible, in what order, how much space to allocate. The default window decorations were still in place, and together they took up around half the screen area. So I wondered what the point of such a stupid feature was, and forgot about it until just now.

But nowadays, I have too much screen space for comfortable full-screen apps, no mouse (since this is a laptop), and I want my windows either 100% visible or 0%. So I've got a tiling window manager, and -now- I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've showed it off to many people, and they all thought it was very cool (though they were Windows users and didn't have the option to try for themselves). I have never heard of anyone saying they were crap, or restrictive, or useless, until you.

Window manager variety

Posted Apr 22, 2012 17:37 UTC (Sun) by kleptog (subscriber, #1183) [Link]

I think tiling windows managers are indeed a response to the fact that screen sizes are big enough now that you can comfortably fit 4-8 xterms on a screen and still be able to use them.

Fortunately things are not either/or. I have my xterms set to tile, because working with several machines at the same time it's useful to be able to see all the output next to each other at once, tabs just don't cut it. On the other hand, tiling makes less sense for the web browser or email. Hurray for configurability.

In my case since >80% of my windows are xterms it's more useful to have a tiling window manager that floats a few windows, than a floating window manager. But theoretically if a standard window manager had the option to enable tiling for a few applications you'd make 90% of tiling window manager users happy.

Judging by the comments on this thread though, I figure that's never going to happen.

BTW, there are tiling window managers for Windows, see the wikipedia article.

Window manager variety

Posted Apr 22, 2012 17:48 UTC (Sun) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"Tiling window managers have recently seen a spike in usage, due (I believe) to the sudden destruction of GNOME by folks like you"

Attributing to khim the decisions by GNOME developers is fair to neither since khim is not a GNOME developer and doesn't speak for them or even share their mindset in any real way.

"So, in Windows 7 you can now drag windows to the sides of the screen, and they'll fill that half. So you can emulate tiling for its most common use case."

Funny enough, so does GNOME which voids your earlier argument.


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