Window manager or a full desktop environment?

In connection with this topic, the following question arose in me: who favors which and why?

I have used both quite extensively. These days I favor a full DE. On decent modern hardware, I haven’t seen any noticeable performance impact and plasma is totally customizable like a WM would be. Of course, you also get all the nice to have stuff that comes with a DE.

That being said, I advise everyone to try em’ all and see what they like best.

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I am using both occasionally, mostly just wms though. What I don’t particularly like about DEs is that they do too many things automatically and when something goes wrong it’s not easy for the user to figure out what exactly is broken. It’s enough to read the Desktop Environments section to see that. Also, they usually rely on the mouse too much imo, I know that setting shortcuts is possible, but still, you need to access all those nested menus somehow.

Although I used XFCE for a long time, I now prefer Openbox. I install only the things I want. It’s very reliable. I have also played around with a few WMs and I favour bspwm or xmonad - I haven’t made up my mind which is best. I like the pure WM for occasions when I just want two or three main programs (e.g. a web browser, neovim and terminal) up if I’m pretending to learn some programming or doing a bit of Django. For that I just logout from Openbox and back into bspwm.

I’ve yet to try it. Do you need to know Haskell to properly configure it?

So far, I’ve still used full DE, or just a command line in the beginning.

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I use a DE (Plasma) and there’s honestly just two answers to why:

1.) I want the things I surround myself with to have a simple beauty to it. If I’m going to look at something for a long time I want it to be pleasing to the eye, and set up (more or less) the way I want. Plasma seems to hit the sweet spot there.

2.) I’m a lazy sod and I don’t want to spend time learning key bindings right now, and I simply don’t have time to get in to learning from scratch using a WM. Work, the kids, and my partners seems to prevent me from achieving that pure geeky bliss. :wink:

With that said, I have tweaked everything else in my live to my liking, and I’m far to curious not to try one out, and I will sooner or later.

BTW, is it silly to want to try a specific WM just because it’s name; “Herbstluft” has such a lovely air about it?

There was a bad joke in here somewhere, but I have to admit that it’s true. :disappointed_relieved:

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No, I don’t know any Haskell. Does anyone? I tried xmonad twice and the first time I got so far and then couldn’t work out how to configure it properly. The second time, yesterday, I watched Derek Taylor’s excellent video on YouTube (distrotube) and he explained how to get it properly installed with xmobar. From there, I have used the Arch wiki for both xmonad and xmobar to get example configurations and used the xmonad documentation for helpful tips and tweaks. The beauty of Haskell is that I can’t program with it and have no interest in doing so, so I simply use somebody else’s config and tweak it to see what will work and what won’t. Occasionally, the xmobar just disappears as I make a mistake. So do one thing at a time and you can go back to correct it.

I don’t know yet which I prefer out of xmonad and bspwm. Bspwm needs an external bar so I have a polybar configured and saved to drop in. The two WMs work slightly differently so it’s just a matter of preference really.

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Thank you for the reply @davidw , I don’t know Haskell either, it’s nice to know that it’s doable without knowing the language. I quickly browsed the arch wiki article and it doesn’t seem overly complicated, although it’s probably only basics.

No, it’s not :slight_smile: I’ve tried my current favorite because of its name too (which is not very lovely though and the origin of the project explains it (and many other things) quite a bit :sweat_smile: ).
As to the keybindings you’ll get used to them more quickly than you think. Many wms use vim-like keys for moving around for example, so if you’ve ever used vim you already know them. Also, I saw someone here using a conky with keybindings for their wm :wink:

And no more bad jokes about Herbstlufwm, I promise :smile: