Tiling Window Managers

When it comes to the average user, the window manager is something that you don’t have to think too much about. You install Gnome 3, KDE or Xfce and as part of that installation, you get a window manager.

From the most basic level, the window manager is what draws the application windows on the screen. When you open Firefox, it handles where the window opens to, the window dimensions, the title-bar, title and the minimize and close button. But, given that this exists in Linux, it never stays that basic.

This chapter serves as a general introduction to several tiling window managers in Fedora Linux. Its purpose is to provide you with a working understanding of what tiling WM’s are and how to use them, as well as guides to particular systems and how to develop them to fit your particular needs. Corollary to this, the guides also provide a path to finding practical intermediary projects for anyone wanting to improve their skills as programmers.

Note from Authors

In considering the scope of this chapter, it should soon become clear that it is the single most ambitious component on the Fedora Resources roadmap. In addition to the introduction and the guide to i3, which should cover basic concepts in setting up, administering and using tiling WM, we intend to provide thorough guides on implementing, developing and extending five window managers.

In addition to the various quirks of developing in each environment, this also means building for ourselves a fairly thorough understanding of five programming languages, four of which the authors have never before used in production.

We don’t find this very discouraging, given that the tertiary argument for adopting a tiling WM, (after improving system performance and personal productivity), is that it provides numerous intermediate to advanced projects in learning a programming language. However, it does translate to a particular limitation in the development of this guide. That is to say, it’s going to take us a long time before this chapter reaches a useful state and an even longer time before we expect to put it away and settle on the one environment that works best for us.

Below you’ll find a table that shows our rough plan in developing this chapter. In the event that you’re considering switching to a tiling WM on this list and the particular installation that interests you is towards the bottom, you may want to consider testing things out on your own rather than waiting on us. Depending on how things go, we may not find our way down to dwm until next year, (even though currently it’s the one we’re more excited about trying). In the mean time, we hope you enjoy and find useful what we do have ready.

Tiling WM Extension Language Begun Status
i3 Unix Config April 2016 Installed
QTile Python    
Stumpwm Common Lisp    
awesome Lua    
XMonad Haskell    
dwm C    

While it’s not ready yet, at some point in the not too distant we’ll set up a GitHub repo with Avocet Editors, to share our code with you.

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