Trying XFCE again
#292 Henry, Monday, 19 October 2015 11:14 PM (Category: Linux)
(Tags: kde xfce)

I've been using FVWM2 as my window manager since 1995. Long time. I've configured it over the years to be very effective. I love some aspects of it. Being able to modify the root window image in cron jobs. The big pager with plenty of desktops. So much clean desktop space to use. So fast.

There's a few things I don't like. Notifications and mounting and some of the clever little things like that. I use dunst as a notification center and it works pretty good. But maybe I need to try something more modern.

I decided to give KDE and XFCE another try today. I usually try them out once a year and see if I can work with them. So far no. But I'm willing to try it again for 2015.

KDE, good grief it's slow. Just overblown and slow. Just felt sluggish. Gave up after half an hour.

XFCE. It's fast and lightweight. I lose some things (mentioned above) but get some advantages. Nice fonts. The fonts under FVWM2 seem really ugly by comparison. I'm still using it at work, and set it up at home tonight too. It hasn't lasted this long before. I'll keep working with it.

I need to find ways of automating some stuff. Under FVWM, I control all the system menus and have customised them over 20 years. I have one menu option that opens 7 xterms on a specific desktop, in specific sizes and locations on the screen, connects each one to a different server, logs in, and starts a monitor running on those remote desktops. Another menu option does something similar to a second set of four Solaris servers. I don't know how to do that sort of thing in XFCE yet. I'll keep researching.

I know I can't change the root window through cron jobs. XFCE has a fake root window that it controls. I'll have to give that idea up, unless they have a utility that lets me set their fake root window.

I have got one rant to get off my chest.

When I discuss my attempts to try out KDE or Gnome or XFCE with Linux guys, I get a certain class of response. I get the same sort of response from Mac guys. I've been doing this stuff a long time. Programming for a living for about 40 years. Playing with computers for about 50 years. After all that time, I have my likes and dislikes and my preferences. I have also developed a lot of routines that really make my work easier, and more pleasant. Both the Mac and the Linux people I discuss this with seem to have the same response. "Why do you want to do that?" The Mac does lots of good things, but not the things I want for daily work. Modern Linux desktops do interesting things too, but not the things I like to do in my daily work. Their response is "Why do you want to do that?" I got that today from two Mac guys and one Linux guy at work. How about because I can do it already and I want to continue doing it because it makes my daily work easier and more pleasant. Because I want to. That should be enough.

This 1994 book has been a great help over the years - The Shell Hacker's Guide To X And Motif: Custom Power Tools & Window Manager Tricks. 1994. 21 years old.

The Shell Hacker's Guide To X And Motif