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andrewcooke 524 days ago | link | parent

can someone explain what the advantage of a tiling wm is? here people talk about not using the mouse, but i don't use the mouse with kde most of the time (maybe i am already "tiling" as as i have my xterm and browser side-by-side, or an ide window that's full screen, and simply alt-tab).

also, when i look at tiling wm screenshots, they often look terrible, with things like huge clocks, apparently because of horizontal/vertical stacking. are there any that are flexible enough to look attractive?

finally, can i still use applications like amarok (the kde music player) in a tiling window manager? what about all the kde infrastructure for sound management (phonon etc) that amarok depends on? what starts that? does the tiling window manager run in kde?

sorry for probably clueless questions. have used linux/x for decades, but always with a "normal" wm.

update - this seems to have some answers (not great - i am starting to think it's mainly a group signalling thing, which is cool - i am writing this wearing a band t-shirt..) http://superuser.com/questions/52082/why-use-a-tiling-window...

edit: another q - how do things like vms work? is there some way to integrate windows from a vm?



tych0 523 days ago | link

I wrote a nice long response to this, but HN apparently ate my comment :-(. Here's a second try.

> can someone explain what the advantage of a tiling wm is? here people talk about not using the mouse, but i don't use the mouse with kde most of the time (maybe i am already "tiling" as as i have my xterm and browser side-by-side, or an ide window that's full screen, and simply alt-tab).

Sure. Need your web browser? Mod-W. Need your chat client? Mod-C. Need your terminal? Mod-Enter. Need to close this window? Mod-X. Need this window to be full screen instead of side by side (or any other layout you've defined)? Mod-L. Have you ever spent more than 10 seconds fiddling with gimp's multi window design? Problem solved with a tiling WM.

There's another advantage which isn't necessarily a tiling WM specific thing, although it is typically only implemented by tiling window managers. Your windows are grouped by screen, not by screen set. This means you can have your web browser on screen 1 and your terminal on screen 2. You read the tutorial from screen 1, get an error on screen 2, bring up IRC on screen 1, paste something in, talk to someone, get your error fixed, then switch back to the tutorial. Most traditional window managers (compiz/beryl is/were a notable examples) don't have screen independence, so you need a terminal for each viewport.

> also, when i look at tiling wm screenshots, they often look terrible, with things like huge clocks, apparently because of horizontal/vertical stacking. are there any that are flexible enough to look attractive?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some people think simplicity is beauty. That said: there was a fantastic talk that Matt Harrison gave about qtile at pycon a few years ago. He ran the test suite, which uses xclock as a window to test things. Hopefully that's not what you're basing your conclusions on.

> finally, can i still use applications like amarok (the kde music player) in a tiling window manager? what about all the kde infrastructure for sound management (phonon etc) that amarok depends on? what starts that? does the tiling window manager run in kde?

Yep, they all work fine. I use clementine as my media player on a daily basis. I use a custom X session to start qtile and I do a few other things beforehand, but you can run it directly if you want, or start it within some other DE.

> another q - how do things like vms work? is there some way to integrate windows from a vm?

A tiling WM doesn't change how you interact with your software, just how you interact with your windows. Thus, you get one big window, same as you always did. I think qemu allows you to run apps in their own window, though I've never tried it.

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zalew 524 days ago | link

> also, when i look at tiling wm screenshots, they often look terrible

the explanation on the rat poison page http://www.nongnu.org/ratpoison/ probably says everything about that.

tilers are not for decoration, they are for functionality and performance. there is an option to replace xfwm with xmonad in xfce to get good tiling and save the looks, but I didn't have time to try it. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4722201 (btw that x-tile app is crap)

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andrewcooke 524 days ago | link

i'm sorry, but that doesn't explain why you'd want to use one, unless you have a really slow machine. it just says that they use few resources and you don't need to use the mouse. but i have a decent machine and, as i said, already alt-tab between windows.

i realise appearance isn't everything, but if you had the choice of dating two people, otherwise equal, one who was ugly and the other cute, what would you choose?

i also realise i may be coming across as a troll (that wasn't my intention, but your reply seemed to wilfully ignore what i asked). i really am interested in what the advantages of one of these would be (since if the reason is convincing i would try one).

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zalew 523 days ago | link

> wilfully ignore what i asked

I answered what I knew the answer for. I have no idea about kde and its apps, never used it, as I said, I use Xfce. And on my laptop I use Openbox. On both of them I too switch between desktops/windows with my keyboard. I tried AwesomeWM once for a moment (very hyped recently), but pure tile seems too crazy for me and by their nature those wms are very raw out of the box (read: nothing there. DIY).

> i'm sorry, but that doesn't explain why you'd want to use one, unless you have a really slow machine.

It's one of those things where there isn't one true answer, it's just a matter of preference - good looking 'desktop metaphor' or highly script-customizable tiles. There should probably be some religious battles about it in the deep meanders of the interwebs. The most flagship usage of decent tilers is those sysadmin dudes with 40 terminals on 5 monitors rotating them all around between a dozen of workspaces like mad. I use 4 to 7 workspaces tops on a single monitor in xfce and openbox, while f.ex. awesomewm sets default workspaces to 9, I think that says pretty much about the workflow of the tiling userbase.

tldr: idk, whatever floats your boat.

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mharrison 523 days ago | link

It depends on your usage patterns. I found myself having tons of slightly overlapping windows, and that I was using the mouse too much to rearrange and move them. There are other "solutions" to this problem, but tiling seemed like the right one for me.

Tiling allows me to quickly max/min windows, quickly change desktops, and layout the apps I want. Is it the one true way? No. There are others means to that end.

If you are referring to my video of clocks, that was a test case for 4 monitor support. Yes xclock looks horrible in tiled fashion, but it is an app that tends to be installed so and thus gets used in tests.

I use kde apps in qtile all the time. It is just a wm and can replace metacity or kdewin if you please.

YMMV and you should use what you feel most productive in. I used KDE for years, then Awesome, and preferred hacking qtile in Python rather than Awesome's Lua.

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