Posts tagged window manager
I run across people that get confused as to what a GUI is. Of course a GUI stands for Graphical User Interface and can be applied several ways and methods, but I want to focus on 3 things for this post. I want to keep this simple so new people don’t get lost. There is plenty of articles on the internet that can go much further into details. The 3 I want to hit on are Xorg, Desktop Environment and Window Manager. Some believe that KDE is an Operating System when in fact it is a Desktop Environment.
Lets Start with Xorg via gentoo documentation
The X.org project created and maintains a freely redistributable, open-source implementation of the X11 system. It is an open source X11-based desktop infrastructure.
Xorg provides an interface between your hardware and the graphical software you want to run. Besides that, Xorg is also fully network-aware, meaning you are able to run an application on one system while viewing it on a different one. Source
So in a nutshell, it allows you to have a Desktop Environment/Window Manager.
Desktop Environment from the wiki:
A desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, and desktop widgets.
Software which provides a desktop environment might also provide drag and drop functionality and other features which make the desktop metaphor more complete. On the whole, a desktop environment is to be an intuitive way for the user to interact with the computer using concepts which are similar to those used when interacting with the physical world, such as buttons and windows.
So in a nutshell it is like a complete suite of applications with all having graphical interfaces. You are no longer stuck in a shell looking at a blinking cursor. This is where your KDE, Gnome, and XFCE come in at. You can find others here. Don’t forget, these all depend on Xorg being installed.
Window Manager from wiki
is computer software that controls the placement and appearance of windows within a windowing system in a graphical user interface. Most window managers are designed to help provide a desktop environment. They work in conjunction with the underlying windowing system which provides required functionality such as support for graphics hardware, pointing devices, and a keyboard, and are often written and created using a widget toolkit.
So in a nutshell it works with a Desktop Environment allowing you more options. A great example of a window manager is compiz-fusion. You can’t install compiz-fusion on top of Xorg and have a working GUI. There is a lot more window managers than desktop environments out there, find more here.
This stuff goes way more in depth, like window managers for X and the debates of WM vs. DE etc… but I just wanted to let the new people to linux get an understanding of this. So to keep things straight, you have an operating system in which you install Xorg onto. You decide which Desktop Environment you want to run and install it on top of Xorg. Than if you want, you can enhance your Desktop Environment with a Window Manager.
I myself use a Desktop Environment of Gnome with the window manager awesome. Now you take a look at the screenshot of awesome and wonder how that can be an enhancement. Well for me, I prefer to use commandline for a lot of stuff and use some GUI tools. awesome allows me to do both without fully loading the Gnome Desktop Environment. So it’s all about preferences and if you have a machine with low resources, a window manager makes a great alternative as it will eat lesser resources.
So now when someone asks you which linux distribution you are running, you know now not to say KDE. You can state Sabayon Linux with KDE. You may think it’s crazy that linux does this, but in reality it all applies the same with Microsoft Windows. If you ever saw Windows 3.1 or 3.0, you would know exactly what I mean. You can use window managers to change Microsoft desktop environment. As you learn linux you see how it applies to Microsoft, but you just didn’t know as Microsoft is proprietary and in control, whereas with linux you have options.
So the million dollar question, which is best to use. There is no right or wrong answer to this. You have to try em out and decide which one works for you. Don’t jump on a bandwagon and bash the others, respect that others have different preferences. They all have their glitches and benefits. New people do tend to find KDE easier to adopt to, but give them all a try. If nothing else, it’s a great learning experience learning a new DE or WM.
I’ve never seriously give enlightenment a serious look before, but you can’t help but wonder with everyone talking about e17 to take a look at it. Nobody seems interested in e16 and e17 has been in production for as long as I can remember it seems like. Maybe some year they will release a stable version. I will go through a howto install e17 on Sabayon Linux
Thanks to bearbonez on the Sabayon Linux forum for providing the links to get one started in the right direction. The first thing we need to do is create a folder in your home directory, I called mine e17.
- Open terminal or konsole, should be in your home directory and use $ mkdir e17
- $ cd e17
- $ wget http://omicron.homeip.net/projects/easy_e17/easy_e17.sh
- now we need to change to root in terminal/konsole so su and enter your root password
- # chmod +x easy_e17.sh
- Now before we run the script, make sure you have libmpd installed first, if not:: # emerge media-libs/libmpd
- than continue as normal
- # ./easy_e17.sh -i let it do it’s thing – this will take some time to perform. You will get a message when it is done.
It took me about hour and half to compile all those packages, they go quickly. After that I was faced with how to get it to work with gdm/kdm. The solution:
- # nano /usr/share/xsessions/e17.desktop
- add the following:
- [Desktop Entry]
Comment=Log into e17
- Save and close the file
- #/etc/init.d/xdm restart
- Under Session manager on your GDM or KDM login select e17
An Alternative is to use entrance which will replace your GDM or KDM and is actually pretty nice, you just need to add DISPLAYMANAGER=”entrance” to /etc/rc.conf It’s your choice
To keep yourself updated just run # ./easy_e17.sh -u
I found it very easy to work with, just got to explorer a bit to find the stuff. It’s easier to configure than fluxbox and has more eye candy than fluxbox. It does animated backgrounds OTB and you can even download animated backgrounds through the background configuration. I can still run my gnome applications and kde applications in it. There is even a way to get compiz-fusion working with it. You can even grab themes for it also.