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Ion3 does the job for me. I've set up one workspace with maximized & tabbed frames (IonWS) and one workspace with normal frames (FloatWS) for apps like Gimp that open multiple windows.
If I was allowed to vote a runner-up, that'd be Window Maker. (I occasionally run KDE replacing kwin with wmaker, hence giving KDE a NeXT-like look and feel. )
Fluxbox & Blackbox look cool but their root menus get crowded and difficult to navigate if there are lots of installed apps (at least this is the case with Debian's menu system that automatically lists all installed apps).
IceWM and ratpoison are nice, small and fast but they lack dockapp support.
Wmii is much like Ion but I've found it way too buggy (although I've only tested Wmii under Debian -- maybe it's just the Debian's version of Wmii that is too buggy to be really useable).
I think that Kwin beating Metacity is just the shift in mood away from Gnome and towards KDE, this being reflected in KDE's Window Manager getting more than twice as many votes as Gnome's Window Manager.
Fluxbox rocks because it is ultra configurable and appeals to the type of people who want Window Manager's rather than Desktop Environments (Usually the more technically inclined who don't mind hacking up bunches of configuration files...)
I like Fluxbox because there is no hub-bub associated with it -- unless you throw some in there yourself. It gets out of your way. Using a computer is about using the applications, so having a window manager/desktop environment that gets in your way subtracts from the user experience.
Fluxbox has a small, but useful taskbar: time, desktop switching, application switching and that's it. It takes up very little space, and in fact one of the things I really miss in my occasional forays back into gnome is being able to maximize my browser or e-mail window and fill the whole screen, so that the task bar is on top of that useless frame at the top of the browser window. That's one thing I liked about the Mac: that bar held the menus, so there was no wasted space.
I've also become a big fan of just right clicking on the desktop to get to my applications. It's so much nicer to write your own menu and have them available. I usually back this up with Gkrellm Launch, which is also nice.
Fluxbox is also fast and, as others have noted, very configurable. It does just what I need it to do to make using my applications easy, it's easy to extend, but comes without any extra fluff, cruft or distraction. It's the Slackware of Window Managers, which probably also explains why I like it.
Thanks for the reasons for liking Fluxbox, joe f. Your description of the things you like about Fluxbox apply to Enlightenment, except Enlightenment adds some snazziness, that isn't distracting or troublesome. E is fast, configurable, and has some really neat features.