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scrotwm - a new tiling window manager inspired by xmonad
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noosphere
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:17 pm    Post subject: scrotwm - a new tiling window manager inspired by xmonad Reply with quote

scrotwm is a new tiling window manager inspired by xmonad and dwm.

In this mini-review I'll say a couple of words about how scrotwm compares to xmonad, which has been my window manager of choice for the last couple of years.

Unlike xmonad, which is written in Haskell, scrotwm is written in C, which makes scrotwm much more responsive, lets it depend on far fewer packages than xmonad, and results in a binary that is much less of a burden on system resources. In addition, scrotwm's configuration file format is very simple (consisting of easy to understand "key=value" pairs), which is a huge win over xmonad for people who don't know Haskell (the language xmonad configuration is done in).

There is a price to pay for scrotwm's simplicity of configuration, which is that scrotwm is not nearly as tweakable as xmonad. In xmonad you have all of Haskell, a very powerful language at your disposal for configuring and interacting with the window manager. In scrotwm you are limited to what configuration settings are explicitly made available via its simple config file.

However, this comparative lack of configurability is really not as big a limitation as it may seem, at least not for those of us who don't know Haskell or may not have the time for endless fiddling with window manager configs.

My own ignorance of Haskell really made me feel crippled as to what I could do with xmonad, and was what eventually drove me to look for other window managers where I wouldn't feel afraid to mess with what had grown in to an incredibly complex and fragile configuration file, lest I break something. Of course, I could have just learned Haskell... but after two years I had to face the fact that that probably wasn't going to happen any time soon. Haskell is not exactly the type of language you can learn over a weekend, unless you've already mastered another functional language or two (maybe).

Anyway, despite the above differences, scrotwm has a feel that is very reminiscent of xmonad, with a look, default keybindings, and tiling behavior that will make xmonad users feel right at home.

For those of you who have not used xmonad or another minimalist, tiling window manager, you should know this means that there are no window decorations apart from a one-pixel border around the active window, that most everything you need a window manager to do (like opening/closing/re-arranging windows) can be done from the keyboard, and that almost all windows are automatically positioned according to a layout you've chosen, without needing user intervention.

By this time I hope you're eager to give it a try. So here's what I can tell you about installing it for yourself:

scrotwm was originally made to work on OpenBSD, so it was a little tricky to get it to compile on Linux. However, after a bit of trial and error I got it to compile on Gentoo and posted step-by-step instructions here:

http://code.frostglow.com/wm/scrotwm-gentoo.html

Hopefully someone who knows more about ebuilds than I do can package it up so more Gentoo users could enjoy this sweet little window manager.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a support forum. Appropriate places to post this would have been:


1. Tips & Tricks
2. Off The Wall


Oh, and dwm ftw! :)
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desultory
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moved from Desktop Environments to Unsupported Software, as there seems to be no ebuild, let alone one in the tree.
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