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overview of different windows managers?

Topics/Questions/Guides about Windows Managers and Desktop Environments (other than KDE) should go here.
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overview of different windows managers?

#1 Postby csolomon » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:19 pm

I'm pretty new to linux and trying to figure out how I want the look and feel to be. I'm having difficulty understanding the difference between the options available to me and what they all look like.

Is there any site or guide that has screenshots and descriptions of the current windows managers? (not even sure if I"m using the correct term).

And what it is that makes a composite windows manager different than the alternative? Why "composite"? (I gather that stock KDE/Gnome is not "composite", but have no clear understanding why)

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#2 Postby cookdav » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:08 pm

To me, screenshots/descriptions aren't gonna do it...seeing is believing.

Just install them all and try them. [A perfect exercise as we wait for RC3...
then you can do a fresh install for final, once you've decided.]

This should help:

EDIT: Hint: To get gnome, install package 'gnome-core', not 'gnome', under 8.5.
Compositing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compositing_window_manager
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#3 Postby Brooko » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:59 pm


While Dave is right - you'll get a better idea from seeing the desktop in action - I understand you're pretty new to this, so I wouldn't be advising you to do this.

Easiest way to get a look at generic desktops and features would be to go their respective websites - I've listed a few of the more popular ones:

You can also download and run (livecd) Antix which is based on Mepis and will give you a look at Icewm and Fluxbox

All of above have screen shots etc. You can also use youtube to see some of the more popular desktops in action - although you will have to probably weed through a lot of garbage to get what you want :wink:

Hope this helps
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#4 Postby joany » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:19 pm

csolomon wrote:And what it is that makes a composite windows manager different than the alternative? Why "composite"? (I gather that stock KDE/Gnome is not "composite", but have no clear understanding why)

"Composite" window managers, such as Beryl (which is now defunct) and Compiz, provide 3D special effects, such as semi-transparent windows, wobbly windows, desktop cubes, etc. Some people call it "eye candy." Both KDE and Gnome will support Compiz.

KDE 4.3, which is the stock window manager for MEPIS 8.5, has compositing features built-in. The effects can be turned on and off with the click of a mouse, and KDE 4.3 compositing effects are very well integrated into actual desktop environment, whereas Compiz window manager is sort of an add-on.

... at least that's the way I understand it.

IMO KDE 4.3 is a giant leap ahead in terms of implementation of compositing.
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#5 Postby malspa » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:14 am

You might want to check out this website: Window Managers for X (http://xwinman.org/).

It's a guide to window managers and desktop environments. Includes links to screen shots, and to the websites of different WMs and DEs. Check out the introduction.

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#6 Postby Acesabe » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:05 am


sums it up nicely (I did write a more detailed reply - but 'database error' ate it grrr...!!)

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