Back on topic, I wrote this back in 2006: "What's old is new again, the quest for distraction-free writing" (http://therandymon.com/index.php?/archives/181-Whats-Old-is-...). The topic remains relevant, and maybe more relevant than ever. It's super hard to arrange time and materials and commitments so that you can concentrate deeply on the task before you. We are perhaps not making much progress.
Slashdot was fun while it lasted, there have been several attempts at a restart of similar communities (Soylent News etc.) but as far as I know none have managed to create the same 'feel of community'. Maybe that is because there is no real community?
Anyway, with more and more people getting access to true broadband the possibilities of decentralised hosting only increase so I still have some hopes for the future when it comes to building something interesting outside of the walled-and-fenced big-data farms so popular nowadays.
>all the real elite programmers are wobblies.
Hopefully the ugly self-hosted sites hosting bespoke evilwm patches, and troll posts about SCWM will be preserved for posterity. I'd hate to think young programmers are missing out on our rich heritage.
Well, Flash was there to ruin the party.
I only reluctantly leave the command line and feel like I only have X so I can have a reasonable browser.
And I kind of loathe all the popular browsers because I feel crippled without my cli tools and ability to script up solutions to my problems. Uzbl is the only browser that feels like I'm still in the cli but just happen to also have a window that renders the web.
I combined that with Gnome-Shell style infinite workspaces (switched by HJKL-based hotkeys), an EasyMotion-like hotkey to focus a desired window and Qutebrowser as my default web browser. I really wish I'd tried that combination years ago...
May I ask what you find yourself using tmux for within xmonad? I'm curious what I may be missing out on.
A thing I only realized after switching to a tiling/dynamic window manager (i3), as a tmux user, is that tmux complects two things:
* persistent pty sessions
* pty multiplexing
Oh also, it's the one thing that gives me terminal emulator (st) buffer history.
I also prefer to have one terminal window and organize it with tmux. Much like I only open one browser and organize it with tabs. Leaving my actual workspaces uncluttered.
FWIW, vimperator is awesome in FF, though I hear it's going away soon with recent FF updates.
My main complaint is that I just want a thin client over some rendering engine that I can easily script with bash or whatever. FF forces me to learn a whole new ecosystem and do things the FF way.
Don't get me wrong, if you love your browser then more power to you, but I feel like Uzbl has way too little exposure. Seems to me like most unix people would love it.
Additionally, I use It's All Text to write comments like these using Vim.
Every now and again I split the screen, but rarely in more than two.
With screen sessions running on my home server for most of my projects, I can also detach and close them and/or reboot my laptop and not lose state, so e.g. at the moment I just have one Chrome window and one screen session open (on separate virtual desktops).
I have a shortcut to bring up Nautilus to manage files, but I use it so rarely I often forget the shortcut (I've got a keybinding to bring up a help file).
I occasionally try new ones every couple of months if I start using a new machine or laptop, but I keep coming back to i3. It feels like it's the easiest to use/deal with and I like the tree/stack way it handles windows.
Having used a tiling window manager for years, I don't ever want to go back to overlapping windows. Even when I have to use my Windows machine, I tend to keep everything full screen in each workspace.
When I started using i3wm it was after a couple of years of realising I was running everything maximised anyway.
After almost 20 years of: Enlightenment, Blackbox, Window Maker, StumpWM (only tiling window manager I could stand to use until EXWM), too much twm, Openbox most recently, and a few others I forget, EXWM feels really refreshing.
Otherwise it is fantastic.
If you need to explore beyond the things that you have already figured out for to do it slows you down. Websites you need don't work in lynx, Android dev is slower to pick up console first, etc. People expect you to see the pictures and word docs on your mail, or contact you via WhatsApp.
You figure your way round these one by one, or give up after an hour and use the normal tool. And then onto tomorrows new distraction.
Eventually this is a time sink.
He's running X with a minimalist tiling wm with only one window at a time, not trying to live through a VT100.
Of course, some Hackernews is now going to tell me about how this setup falls down hard when you need to do real work and how sensible people just use KDE or GNOME -- or Windows.
Personally, I like having a few widgets on-screen all the time - a clock, a volume control - and I enjoy having two or three things open on-screen: a terminal and a browser, for instance, or two terminals ssh'ing to different machines. Having lots of display area helps. Pretty much every window manager can handle this, and it's just a matter of figuring out which one gets out of my way fastest.
There's little to no point in doing what you describe (and perhaps you have missed the author's point); having X available but using it sparingly is probably the most efficient way to get by.
i3 + tmux (it's the only sane way to manage servers.)
I'm a sysadmin (not a developer like most of the HN crowd) so I usually have 10+ terminal windows open (depending on what project(s) I am working on.
I think it would make for an interesting poll to see what the demographics are like for the 'power-user' crowd that exists here.
Unfortunately, with most distros going to Wayland, it seems most window managers are going the way of the dodo. Very few have a sane migration path; Wayland's idea of what a compositor (the closest analog to window manager) does is pretty different. It's not like a libxcb/libx11 analog is a sane endeavor. I've found one thing that's a reimplementation of an existing, popular tiling window manager (i3): sway. 
I'll miss hacking the good hack.
So if you want to use Sway, you better get used to configuring your displays in a config file.
What about applications that need to set environment variables (e.g. gpg-agent, gnome-keyring) how do you launch them if your compositor doesn't launch and export them for you? (That said, I still can't work out where gnome-shell decides to launch gnome-keyring-daemon on login)
Ideally, I'd like a DE that provides display/audio/power/menu management, but with a (manual) tiling compositor that supports window stacking/tabbing (like i3/sway). And bonus points if it has a sloppy floating-desktop mode.
Shelltile kinda works, but shits the bed when applications set window size hints, and there's no window stacking/tabbing.
A deliberate design decision intended to keep context switches off the hot path.
It's one of those "just trust me; this way really is better" things. You're sacrificing very little to get an improved graphics stack.
What kind of setup should be used for this? I know I can do this with split screens on the Mac. But is there a minimal Linux setup which provides this kind of experience?
* My monitors are two Dell U2412M 24 inch 16:10 1920x1200 monitors.
* My distribution is Gentoo (https://gentoo.org/)
* My window manager is dwm (https://dwm.suckess.org)
* My terminal is st (https://st.suckless.org/)
* My terminal multiplexer is tmux when I use one,
(which is not very often at all).
* My menu is dmenu (https://dmenu.suckless.org/)
* My shell is bash
* My editor is vim (https://github.com/milesrout/.vim)
* My browser is Firefox, by far the most bloated programme I use.
The reason I comment is to share what took me too long to realize. If you want to resize the two full screen apps, the experience is much smoother if your browser is in focus first. Click browser, then drag to resize.
Something to do with the terminal trying to keep to character-width bounds, I think.
* Linux (linuxmint)
* mate-terminal, with the menu turned off
The browser has tabs, and tmux has windows, which are effectively tabs. I don't open new terminal tabs in the terminal, I open new windows in tmux.
Usually I just have the terminal and browser open. If I have something else, like Okular for pdf viewing, you can click on its icon in the top bar and make it disappear from the mod4-[jk] sequence.
I've used other twms in a similar way: xmonad, i3, qtile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiling_window_manager#List_of_...
I've also used more usual graphical shells in a sort of tiled way, like mate and cinnamon, but it's slightly more manual effort, and there's all that gui-cruft taking up space and attention.
I would say that the _only_ thing I'm missing in Gnome is the ability to fit a window to the quarter screen, although I believe there are some plugins that can do this.
I will never, ever go back to a windowed desktop. This just works way too well for me. I feel like I can focus, and I never, ever have to drag a window.
It's pretty awesome.
At least in the representative sample of 5 linux users around me, 3 are using minimal setups (not so representative I know).
Personally I use dwm with some shell scripts:
It fits my need well and I adapt it to new version once in a while, not a lot of time spent maintaining my configuration.
By the way, I love suckless projects (http://suckless.org/), one of my favorites is dmenu, so simple yet so efficient.
I also like surf, but I'm a bit too lazy to switch from chromium.
Agreed, but I know of precious few WM users who went back to a DE. It feels like it would be 100 more effort to do DE->WM then it was to do WM->DE.
IMO the best thing they can do for freshmeat is restore the old pages and layout. There was some really good, hard-to-find information on that site.
I don't understand this comment ...
First, my experience is that most open source software is now on github.
Second, I feel that github is infinitely better in every way than freshmeat was.
There was a lot of dreaming during that time (late 90s/early 2000s) of what we could accomplish in the OSS communities. Slowly community projects became part of foundations or startup/corporate controlled. Gimp never took the place of Photoshop, and many of the lofty ideas about open source really started to fade:
I love Github, but it doesn't serve the same purpose. (Neither does openhub).
What was great about Freshmeat was being able to go to the front page every morning and scan through the new releases and discover new cool projects or releases of important software.
If anything, while Freshmeat would be vastly harder to do right today, it'd also potentially be a far better project today given how much more open source software is out there, but it'd need to be run by someone willing to do a lot of work to either let people customise what appears on their front page or enforcing a strong editorial policy to pick the most interesting updates rather than just spew everything... That worked back when "everything" was little enough for people to skim through everything, but not today.
That said, like others, I too miss it in a mostly abstract way, in that I first realised it had stopped updating long after it happened - like e.g. Slashdot, I'd slowly checked it less and less and until it stopped being part of my daily routine. I'm glad they've kept it there as a historical artefact at least, and hope it stays as a reminder.
I use a fairly boring WM, too. spectrwm doesn't have a lot of config, it Just Werks, and lately I've been using a WM in wrote myself in Rust.
- twin, vwm (curses based window manager)
- dvtm (similar to tmux)
There is plenty of stuff you can do without X. Some of them:
- Web browsing (e.g: lynx, links, etc)
- music (e.g: mp3blaster)
- videos, surprisingly (e.g: mplayer + aalib)
- KWM https://github.com/koekeishiya/kwm
- Amethyst https://ianyh.com/amethyst/
I stopped using Linux on the desktop before tiling WMs were a thing, and was kinda fascinated by what i read about them, as i've always seen the overlapping windows GUI idea as somewhat broken. (what's the use of a window if it's even partially hidden, appart from clutter ??)
Well those 2 projets really bring tiling to osx, not just as in "resize windows with a shortcut" like spectacles, etc, but as the real i3/xmonad deal : windows are mostly managed for you, using a BSP for kwm.
I use kwm, it's beta quality, it has a few issues and i spent a few evenings tinkering to wrap my head about the concepts but ... it works, and it rocks !
Suddenly I can have 10 usable windows on my dual screen setup, focus follow mouse, etc. It feels so much peaceful having everything on your screen that being searching for windows all the time...
X11 apps are usually designed with a typical, windows-like environment in mind and tweaks may be required to accommodate for an unusual desktop environment, if at all possible.
Typical problems can be :
- The title bar isn't visible, and there is important information in it
- No system tray, which can mean no menu and no notifications
- Normally small windows displaying full screen (ex : GIMP)
- Key binding conflicts between the window manager and the app in use
For anyone who's reading this, I highly encourage you to try i3 (a tiling wm similar to that in the article.) It even gives you a guide on keystrokes on first setup, and it's by far the most efficient for me.
I keep wanting an Apple/Windows/Linux manager that really embraces the flexibility and size of a giant 4k screen (I'm using a 55" 4k TV as a monitor that's cheap in both current and real dollars than the 21" monitor I had in 2002).
I've hacked together a system that works well for me on OS X with Divvy, but it still feels non optimal.
You can try using one for terminals on xquartz for osx. There is nothing close for non-X windows.
The hardest part is to pick one ;)
But for me I picked a setup liked this because I was simulating it with a regular WM anyway by running almost everything maximised because that's how I liked it. I was happy to squint at tiny text when I was younger, and I used to care more about having a desktop that looked cool, and spent endless time on themes etc., but I got tired of it, and now I want functional. I still care that it looks good, but with less window-chrome there's less effort involved: I have a background image that's part visible behind my terminals; I have a theme I like for Chrome etc., and that's about it.
If you meant machoism: This kind of set up is far less flashy and in your face. If you mean masochism: For me at least this setup has removed friction and lowered the effort of managing windows, not increased it. I'm not using this setup to make this unnecessarily austere and minimal, but to remove stuff that got in my way.
I can understand the feeling though: It used to be painful to run these kind of setups. When the article was written there was definitively more applications that worked poorly with that generation of tiling window managers etc.
I'm starting to believe more in 'no pain, no gain'
If I wanted pain, I'd use a desktop environment.
Of course it's more suited to someone using the cli than say someone doing heavy photo editing so your mileage may vary depending on your typical workflow.
For me it's tmux and cwm but the result is very similar to the article.
That having been said, I tried using an iPad+bluetooth keyboard for a little while as a "workstation" and the inability to switch or launch apps from the keyboard doomed it for me.
Apparently the dev had a bad experience with open source and refused to continue working on it or something like that. I don't think it's around anymore.
What I ask of a desktop is not to annoy me while I'm doing stuff. Presently very happy with Xfce and desperately hoping they don't fall prey to the awful concept of "desktop innovation".
i just keep coming back to fvwm again and again. the hobbit within me would say "there and back again" ;)
seems like even with wayland, X will not be ripped out, and window-managers can run alongsides (ref: https://wayland.freedesktop.org/faq.html#heading_toc_j_4)
X11 is deprecated.
Kinda reminds me of https://xkcd.com/1806/
One of the nice things about Linux is that you can do this. Download and compile dwm, put it in $HOME/bin, edit ~/.xinitrc to run it, and Bob's your uncle.
Oh and the university also had xauth open on every computer, which meant that you could ssh into any other machine in the room and simply run 'DISPLAY=:0 firefox lemonparty.com' whenever someone turned their head away from their computer for a second. I wonder if they've ever fixed that.
Why would anyone care to print this out on the top of the page, right after the first sentence, destroying the text formatting?