Window manager vs Desktop Environments

What made you choose a window manager instead of kde with krohnkite or gnome with pop-shell ?

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I can tell you why I like dwm.

It is minimalist. It contains 2000 lines of C code, that’s all. This minimalism allows me, a somewhat normal human being, to understand every line of that code, so I can know exactly what it does and how it does it. And I can modify it and hack it however I want. It’s easy.

On the other hand, I have no idea how KDE Plasma works. It’s too complicated for one person to understand. It has hundreds of modules and components, that depend on libraries wrapped around libraries. I don’t even know how to compile Plasma from source!

That said, I also use Plasma, mainly because of Konsole and Kate, which are, in my opinion, the best terminal emulator and text editor in existence. Of course, I can use them on dwm, too, but they have half of KDE as dependencies, so I may as well use Plasma as my desktop. It is very good: fast, light on resources, infinite customisability, wobbly windows…

Since dwm is such a simple program, it does not interfere with KDE, so one can have both.


Mmh, I use both! Depending on my mood either gnome or kde, then I install i3wm or qtile as second login session.

I am much more productive via vm to move quickly windows and workspaces using the keyboard and I can easily rice it via config file. Similar to @Kresimir I like the coding aspect and simplicity. Qtile for example uses python and uses very low resources, about 300 Mb RAM. I am considering trying dwm, C/C++ makes sense to me, but haskell and xmonad not so much.

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WM feels comfortable to me, because I don’t need to move my hands much. Keyboard shortcuts do the job of switching windows / workspaces. Moreover, most of the time I’m in a text editor and some terminals, so not being required to use the mouse is good for me.

That being said, I do keep a DE around (Xfce), because when working with graphic projects (gimp, bender, inkscape) or working on a presentation, I need to use mouse a lot. So just dedicate one hand to the mouse for all the window switching and other to software specific keybindings.

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Obviously, the advantage of window managers over desktop environments is that they require less resources. Nowadays, however, the line between them is small.


Indeed, the line is very thin.

I think that nowadays, resource usage is a very minor, almost negligible advantage of TWMs., given how the best DEs (e.g. KDE Plasma) are well optimised and light on resources anyway, and even a decade old hardware has plenty of resources for it.

So unless you’re using very underpowered hardware, the reason to choose one over the other is the preferred workflow and customisability rather than resource usage.


Is there any way to see opened apps on the bar? This is the thing that’s holding me back from window managers :expressionless:

Short answer: yes
Longer answer: it depends on the WM and the bar, etc, etc

There is this for example.


Tint2 maybe … think change mind fast after use wm for while :wink: :innocent:

I use lxpanel from LXDE with the Fluxbox WM. It functions as a normal panel and doesn’t slow anything down. The only addition I made to the WM which slowed things down was adding a dock (Plank). Also if you add too many things you may as well use a full DE anyway! :laughing:


True XD

What window manager are you using? Some of the wm i am testing don’t work well with tint2

for main i use i3 … also use sway+bspwm . like dwm ( no use much now ) Have zero need for icon ( thing open ) in bar so never tint2 .

Tint2 might fit your need …

if want use in i3?

exec --no-startup-id tint2

in your i3 config +

need # out or remove any section like bar{status_command i3status }

Thank you all for your suggestions but i just can’t get any good workflow with window managers and believe me i tried most of them

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