View Full Version : what window/desktop managers have you tried ?

November 14th, 2006, 12:36 PM
I mean except from GNOME, KDE and XFCE that many people tried already.

check this site : http://xwinman.org/

and tell us more about what was good/bad and your experience in that manager.

in the past few days I've tried many window managers...some of them worked, some didn't.
try for yourselves... we need changes in life ;)

November 14th, 2006, 12:50 PM
I have tried a lot of them, Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Windowmaker, afterstep, enlightenment...
My faves right now that have not totally bugged me out now are Gnome, XFCE and windowmaker.
Windowmaker is actually kid of fun to toy with as it allows you to be the one who works it and makes it function, its not for beginners but I like it.

November 14th, 2006, 01:43 PM
Was going to say I've only ever tried GNOME and KDE, however I once had a look at DSL so I've tried whatever that defaults.

I'm happy with GNOME TBH, so I've never felt the urge or curiosity to try others.


November 14th, 2006, 01:52 PM
I tried only GNOME and KDE...

November 14th, 2006, 02:56 PM
Gnome, KDE, XFCE, CDE, Blackbox, Fluxbox, IceWM, Windowmaker, Enlightment.

Tried most just briefly. Prefer KDE & Fluxbox.

November 14th, 2006, 02:59 PM
I have used KDE, Fluxbox, Gnome, XFCE, Openbox, Enlightenment and Ion3 as far as I recall.
I pretty much like them all, but favor KDE and Gnome. Ion3 has a great idea of a desktop. Enlightenment is nice and good looking, but seems like a neverending project.

November 14th, 2006, 03:28 PM
I've used Gnome, XFCE, Fluxbox, Openbox, wmii, ratpoison and Ion.

I mostly use Openbox but have kept up with Gnome and XFCE development. The last week i've been running the RC2 of XFCE and i'm very impressed, such that I may even switch over to it. RC1 had some rather large bugs but RC2 has been flawless for me so far.

Openbox is beautiful and simple by design yet comprehensive in features. When I check out Gnome I can't go without replacing metacity with it, truly I find metacity awful to use.

The tiling managers aren't really my thing, but if they were i'd probably just use ratpoison.

Dual Cortex
November 14th, 2006, 03:40 PM
Gnome and KDE
First environment I used was gnome. I Preferred KDE for a while, but tried Gnome again and I'm permanently staying with it.

November 14th, 2006, 04:48 PM
Gnome and Fluxbox. i used both depending on my mood.

November 14th, 2006, 04:55 PM
GNOME, KDE, Fluxbox (or Openbox, cant remember.).
Currently running GNOME.

November 14th, 2006, 05:51 PM
fvwm (various versions)
rat poison
aewm and aewm++
9wm and w9wm
waimea (or whatever it's called)

i use openbox on my old desktop and gnome on my laptop. occassionally, i'll get a kde or xfce hankering, but it doesn't last all that long.

November 14th, 2006, 05:57 PM
Gnome - pretty good, but somewhat sluggish and has a lot of what I don't really need.

KDE - I don't like its look and feel, no matter what theme I use. Also slow and sluggish, even though a bit more responsive than Gnome.

XFCE - originally, I strongly disliked the interface. However, they are making changes constantly and it's beginning to look and feel better and better. However, it doesn't have too many features and is still somewhat heavy.

Fluxbox - very fast, but the idea of having no menu button anywhere is not a good one. When windows cover most of the desktop, you have to move them around just to launch an application. I like the concept of grouping windows together with `tabs'.

IceWM - very fast, and after I made my own IceBuntu theme it also started to look quite good. Feels snappy on older machines as well as new ones, easy launching apps using Ctrl+Space, good default keyboard shortcuts and easy to define new ones. The problem: doesn't behave 100% correctly with TwinView; when window is at the very edge of one monitor, a few pixels of the frame are seen on the other. This is a small problem, but annoying enough for me not to use it on my dual-display machine. I still use it on all of my other machines.

Beryl - Expose-like effect is cool, and nice to impress people. However, it's distracting and I don't need the special effects.

At some point, I've tried pretty much all of the window managers, but there's nothing interesting to say about them.

November 14th, 2006, 07:14 PM
I tried out FVWM, Openbox, Fluxbox, E16, E17, various versions of GNOME and XFCE.

But I am mostly using KDE (99.x% of the time using Linux).

November 14th, 2006, 07:16 PM
Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Fluxbox, Openbox, Blackbox, Waimea, Enlightenment 16, Enlightenment 17, Window Maker, Afterstep, FVWM 2, IceWM, Ion, and Ratpoison.

EDIT: Oh, and some 3D window manager I forgot the name of and can't find now. It was before Compiz, and wasn't Looking Glass.

November 14th, 2006, 07:34 PM
KDE, Blackbox, IceWM, GNOME
But I always use KDE ... kinda liked blackbox though.

November 14th, 2006, 08:51 PM
I tried a lot, but the ones I found interesting and used at least a bit are:
kde, gnome, xfce, openbox, fluxbox, wmii, fvwm, windowmaker, enlightenment

Maybe I forgot a few ones, but I found all the above wm quite nice.

November 14th, 2006, 11:10 PM
there seems to be a lot of references to gnome being a window manager :confused:

November 14th, 2006, 11:13 PM
I've run e16 for a long while and tried e17. I also ran blackbox on my computer at work. Right now I'm running beryl most of the time.

November 14th, 2006, 11:21 PM
so many of you tried enlightenment 17 ?
I tried it too and I don't get one thing
were are the icons ? how do I get to "home" folder ?

justin whitaker
November 14th, 2006, 11:32 PM
I have run, at one time or another:


As well as DE's

I'd say my 2 favorites are wmii and windowlab because I really do not need a desktop per se, just access to the applications. My wife, however, needs a menu, so 90% of the time, it's KDE. :mrgreen:

Ramses de Norre
November 15th, 2006, 12:23 AM
Rat Poison

November 15th, 2006, 12:44 AM
there seems to be a lot of references to gnome being a window manager :confused:

Look at the thread title:
what window/desktop managers have you tried ?

November 15th, 2006, 04:29 AM
ive ran most of the stuff thats already listed here but the ones that i use mostly are

November 15th, 2006, 04:38 AM
GNOME, fluxbox, ratpoison, icewm, flwm

I like fluxbox best - stays out of the way, easy to customize.

November 15th, 2006, 04:40 AM
I've used XFCE, Fluxbox, and IceWM....too much like work to make them worth my while....my Gnome or KDE sessions keep me buzy with more than enough choices for me to make things work how I want them to.

November 20th, 2006, 06:01 PM
I've used just about every major WM/DM at one point or another: GNOME
Window Maker
Ion3At the moment I fluctuate between GNOME and Ion3. The latter is great for someone who suffers from ADD, as I do; no fancy effects and shiny things to distract you from the task at hand.

July 24th, 2007, 12:57 PM
the best ever is pekwm

July 24th, 2007, 02:23 PM
rat poison?! I got to try that one out

July 24th, 2007, 03:41 PM
In chronological order:

Gnome (Metacity) - Default for Ubuntu. I like the way the it looks and I really like Gnome's panel app. Gnome-panel does not have dead space, has text menus, and you can use a mouse scroll-wheel to cycle through open applications or workspaces. It just feels really complete. My computer was too slow to run it correctly though, so I didn't stick with it.

Ion - I actually tried several window managers before Ion (Fluxbox, Icewm, Twm, Pekwm, Mosquito, Ude, 9wm, KDE), but didn't spend enough time with any of them to get a decent impression. I like a lot about Ion. It does not waste resources on decoration. I like Ion's method of window positioning. (If you haven't used Ion before: it divides the screen into tile areas that do not obscure any part of each other. You can divide it however you like. If you multiple windows in the same area, the title bar will shows tabs for every window present in that area.) I like the run feature. The problem I have I with Ion though, is that many apps are written in ways that don't work with it's method. GIMP, Nautilus, and LyX all became very awkward to use.

Gnome (Openbox) - One window manager that seemed interesting before was Fluxbox. When I found I could replace metacity in Gnome with a window manager forked from the same project as Flux, I tried it out. This is the first setup that I think I would feel comfortable recommending to someone else. Openbox does not waste resources, looks nice, and is very functional. Hotkeys are easy to change from a text editor, windows can remember their position, and no extra panels are included with the window manager.

Gnome (Compiz) - XFCE felt pretty fast in a previous distro I had used, so I decided to try it out along with Ubuntu's own compositing manager. Compiz is very fast; makes the ugly, dem-round metacity theme look good; and comes with some nice features (cube animation for switching workspaces, expose);, but it felt too clunky. There are many things like minimization that work in odd, awkward ways.

XFCE - Too heavy. Didn't feel a whole lot lighter than GNOME. I'm not sure what causes Wolvix to feel so fast. It's really easy to customize though.

Openbox - I gave away my scrolling-mouse, so a lot of the usefulness of Gnome-panel was reduced. The Gnome keymapping tool is irrelevant with Openbox. So I decided to try doing a server install, with just Openbox and the apps that I need. This is still how I have my machine set up, and I really like it. Boots fast, runs fast, works well, and doesn't crash. I'm putting together a set top box for a new apartment. I plan on using Openbox with that as well, perhaps with XFCE's panel.

July 24th, 2007, 07:28 PM
I have tried Gnome/Metacity, KDE, XFCE, Openbox, Fluxbox, Window Maker, Fvwm, Fvwm-crystal, blackbox, enlinghtenment (e16 and e17), IceWM, and perhaps a few others I can't remember.

I generally only use Openbox, though I also like Gnome or Xfce at times.

July 24th, 2007, 09:11 PM
KDE, GNOME, XFCE, Fluxbox, Blackbox, Openbox, Hackbox, Sawfish, 9wm, TWM, CTWM, MWM, DWM, ION, WMII, PWM, AEWM, LWM, FLWM, FLVWM, IceWM, JWM. I've tried lots.

July 28th, 2007, 06:39 PM
I've used a lot of WMs and DEs over the years ... here are my impressions. This is by no means supposed to be a complete feature list, just what I came away with after using them. Some I used for weeks or months, some only for a few hours or days. My impressions of some of them may be outdated due to lack of recent use, so feel free to disabuse me of any incorrect notions. Your mileage may vary. In no particular order:

The Good:
User is in complete control of just about everything
The Slit!
"Remember" features of windows
Window tabbing
Can do just about everything through keybindingsThe Not So Good:
No ALT-TAB window list. For some reason, this really bugs me about Flux.Window Maker
The Good:
You can really load it up with dockapps
Very customizable through wmakerconf GUI
Unobtrusive session management (which I don't use)The Not So Good:
AFAIK, can't customize window buttons
Can't bind keys to certain common window functions, such as moving a window to a different workspace
Doesn't seem to work with any contemporary pager dockapps (they seem to either think it only has one desktop, or they show all the desktops but not what's running on them)
Hasn't been updated in like two years
The Good:
Fairly easy to set up with Compiz/BerylThe Not So Good:
Ubuntu causes XFCE to auto-start stuff I don't want auto-started, so I have to hunt them down in session manager and disable them every time there's an updateKDE
The Good:
Consistent look & feel
Many cool docks and panelsThe Not So Good:
So much going on under the hood, I don't feel I'm quite in complete control of it. (You may have started to guess that I'm a control freak who loves dockapps and applets.)
Compositing seems slow on my machine, even with 512MB AGP nVidia cardGNOME
The Good:
Many cool docks and panels
Many, many cool docklets
Easy to get working with Beryl/CompizThe Not So Good:
I found I kept having to go into gconf and hack entries to make it act the way I wanted. This is way too much like the Windows registry for my tastes.
Same auto-starting complaint as XFCEIceWM
The Good:
User seems to be in complete controlThe Not So Good:
No matter what I do to it, it always reminds me of Windows 95Metisse
The Good:
Very cool effects, like window peeling, rotating, perspective, etc.
Good performance given the compositing that it doesThe Not So Good:
On my machine, leaves an Xmetisse process hanging around that I have to kill manually.FVWM/FVWM-Crystal
The Good:
Fast and extremely customizable
FVWM-Crystal is gorgeous right out of the "box"The Not So Good:
I know a lot of people swear by the FVWM configuration files, which seem to be practically their own programming language, but I could never quite get my head around themE17
The Good:
Cool applets
Animated wallpapersThe Not So Good:
The programmers are evidently brilliant and know it, and so are constantly reinventing the wheel
Lots of strangely proprietary stuff, like .edj and .eapp files
Occasional severe breakageCompiz/Beryl
The Good:
Loads of cool (and some useful) effectsThe Not So Good:
Even with the aforementioned 512MB AGP nVidia card, takes up 10-15% of my CPU (Athlon 64 3000) just to run the window manager

July 28th, 2007, 06:55 PM
so many of you tried enlightenment 17 ?
I tried it too and I don't get one thing
were are the icons ? how do I get to "home" folder ?
I use Enlightenment17 as my main WM.
Either e17 make the the icon file and puts it in the "Application" menu, or if e17 doesn't find any pre made icon file, you can run make a new one inside "Configuration | Configuration Panel".

You can access your home folder like in any other WM, open up you filemanager :).


August 29th, 2007, 01:20 AM
Window Maker, BlackBox, Fluxbox, Flwm, Twm Jwm, Icewm, Enlightenment, Fvwm.. etc... technicaly all of them

my preference is Xfce on PIII and up... and FLWM for the rest.

March 25th, 2008, 03:12 AM
VTWM (right now)

I could really get used to VTWM, it's really fast...

March 25th, 2008, 03:21 AM
I could really get used to VTWM, it's really fast...

Fast but it looks like we're back to 1988.

I tried :


Using Gnome with Metacity so I think Ubuntu made a good decision. I love how gnome works but I'm having a hard time to make it beautifull. =(

March 25th, 2008, 03:38 AM
KDE, gnome, XFCE(which I prefer, just can't get it to work like I want on ubuntu), Fluxbox, E17. ATM I am using Gnome.

March 25th, 2008, 03:44 AM
Gnome, KDE, XFCE, openbox, fluxbox, awesome, dwm, icewm, pekwm, wmii, xmonad.

A fluxbox session is all I have used for months and can't foresee changing any time soon.

March 25th, 2008, 03:45 AM
Here goes:


My favorite is IceWM. Lightweight and stays out of the way. it can be made to look goodwith a little effort.

March 25th, 2008, 04:13 AM
Does anyone know how good / easy PekWM is?
I'd like to use it for a while...

March 25th, 2008, 04:39 AM
First experience with a Linux desktop environment. I found it intuitive and friendly. I liked its eye candy and its customization options. This is still my everyday DE and I just as so use to it that I don't want to give it up (unless something better comes along)

Run this DE on my older computer right now I have a Gobuntu base install with XFCE4 over the top. I like it for its minimalist attitude while still giving you plenty of Graphical power. I can easily navigate and things are more or less the same amount of difficulty as with Gnome. Its a bit more ugly in my opinion. Also I have a hard time Customizing it from time to time but I think thats just due to my lack of experience.

This is a great environment runs very smooth and quick on older computers. Although I liked my experience I found it hard to customize with graphical tools and I had to go into the command line a lot. especially when it came to using USB devices as it doesn't detect them automatically. However if you are comfortable with Terminal and like a fast and relatively nice interface its great.

March 25th, 2008, 04:45 AM
GNOME, KDE, Xfce, Fluxbox, Openbox, Window Maker, JWM, IceWM, and Pekwm. My favorites were Xfce and Fluxbox.

March 25th, 2008, 05:00 AM
This is a great environment runs very smooth and quick on older computers. Although I liked my experience I found it hard to customize with graphical tools and I had to go into the command line a lot. especially when it came to using USB devices as it doesn't detect them automatically. However if you are comfortable with Terminal and like a fast and relatively nice interface its great.

USB not being autodetected is a likely result of HAL not being loaded in your startup.

You must remember, fluxbox is a window manager; it is not going to load all the usual/necessary stuff you expect. It is not a DE, which does that for you.

March 25th, 2008, 08:58 AM
great, specially like the themes available, but a bit sluggish in older machines. howeverm its my most used DE till date

some very good applications integrate well with it, kdevelop, k3b, amarok, but changing themes to my liking almost bugged me out. since i like my desktop good looking i didnt stayed in KDE for long.

fast, solid. liked it in zenwalk. didn't used for long though.

was good but used it at a time when i was pretty new to linux. didnt enjoy much then but will surely come back to it later

simple, minimalist, and highly configurable, almost like fluxbox.

my first tiling WM and liked it very much. still using it.

March 25th, 2008, 09:03 AM
GNOME. Love it and dont want to try anything else

March 25th, 2008, 09:58 AM

That's about it... Wanting to try WMII, but I've been really happy with awesome the past few months.

March 25th, 2008, 09:58 AM
Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Sawfish, Windowmaker, Enlightenment, E17, Fluxbox.

Generally use Gnome.

chucky chuckaluck
March 25th, 2008, 01:20 PM
on a number of occasions, i have opened synaptic, done a search for window manager and installed every one i could find. some of them would stay for a while, while others would last somewhere between 8 and 12 seconds. currently, i'm obsessed with wmii. now that i'm used to working with one, a tiling window manager makes so much more sense than a desktop where each newly opened app gets tossed on a pile of all the other junk.

note: if mrs. chuckaluck sees this, she'll probably want me to take this 'tiling' approach to the desk i work on.

March 25th, 2008, 01:47 PM

That's about it... Wanting to try WMII, but I've been really happy with awesome the past few months.
Also try ION, it's a nice tiling WM

March 25th, 2008, 04:15 PM
e17, fluxbox, icewm, jwm, kde3.5/4/mod, gnome2, openbox twm, xfce4.

My favourites would be kde3.5,icewm, and xfce4

March 26th, 2008, 11:35 AM
Does anyone know how good / easy PekWM is?
I'd like to use it for a while...

It isn't very hard, though some of its configuration files may initially be a bit more difficult to grasp than those of Openbox, Icewm or Fluxbox. Pekwm still has some rough edges (the harbour), but some great features as well (tabbed windows, configurability). There are no graphical configuration tools (like Obconf or Obmenu for openbox), but overall, I don't think it is more difficult than Fluxbox.

If you want to give Pekwm a try, have a look at my Pekwm guide on these forums (see my signature).

March 26th, 2008, 06:49 PM
I ended up finding your HOWTO on google, and it helped me setup PekWM. It's very nice.

April 17th, 2008, 10:17 AM
Every single WM and DE in the FreeBSD ports tree - and that most likely means in existence.

btw I am a FreeBSD fan but do have UB on my klaptop !!!

Here is my page about TWM :-


April 21st, 2008, 12:58 AM
i like blackbox and i like fluxbox, ive tried twm, windowmaker, enlightenment (e16 and e17)
id say that enlightenment is my fav one to use, either that or fluxbox, ive been using linux since the days of kde1, so ive tried most things =)

you can see a few screenshots of my desktop in my blog

April 21st, 2008, 02:03 AM
Every single WM and DE in the FreeBSD ports tree

You have just overloaded the forum servers.

April 21st, 2008, 03:31 AM
I've tried:

Enlightenment or E17

the only one i really really dislike is KDE..