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I have been using Linux on my desktop since about November/December of 04. (Used it as server since Apr 04) As of right now I've become a bit of a KDE fan, but I'm always open to check out other windows managers. As we speak, I'm installing Window Maker to test that one out. Here's where I've come to figure out so far:
Gnome (at least the Fedora Core 3 version) - seems to be for ex-Mac users. The programs are launched from the top left of the screen and the time and volume are up on the top right, just like Macs.
KDE - for Windows users. The K task bar looks exactly like the Windows one except a few pixels thicker
Window Maker - for unix users. The screen shots I've seen look exactly like the Unix machines we use here at Cornell.
I have a two tiered question to ask of the community.
1) Are there other window managers out there worth trying? These three seem to cover the basics of the three major non Linux computers
2) Why do you like the one you use best?
This isn't about starting a flame war or whatever. Just as people are intensely defensive about which distro they use, they are probably the same with their Window Managers. However, if one happens to have a feature that I have overlooked and is so amazing, I would definitely be willing to switch over.
I can't answer 1 because that's part of the point of this thread. However, as far as 2 goes - I like KDE for 3 reasons.
(A) For some reason I cannot scientifically quantify, I hate the "Mac way" of launching programs. Thus I choose KDE because it most resembles Win, which I have grown up on since Win 3.1
(B) I love the eye candy available through Super Karamba. It is cool-looking and, in the case of system monitors and weather widgets, very useful.
(C) I also like the way that KDE handles the file->open and file->save dialogs. They are much easier to use and, again, enough like MS that I can figure out what to do in an instant.
Ok, maybe not the BEST reasons for loving KDE, but perhaps someone will offer compelling reasons for me to switch to Gnome or some other WM. Since I have all of the libraries installed from both WMs I am able to use the programs of each on the other so "availability of this program or that" probably won't get me to switch.
it all depends on what you want. keep in mind both kde and gnome are configurable to a point where they look and act nothing like the do by default. As oneandoneis2 mentioned, check out fvwm, and fluxbox, blackbox, afterstep, etc.. the list goes on and on. Also, some like different versions over others. Sometimes I feel like gnome-2.8, other times I feel like gnome-1.4 ( I install both for this reason). primarily I use enlightenment, but I tend to change often. Choice is what it's all about...
I checked out those two - screenshot-wise for now. They look really neat. I guess the next question that presents itself (even as more people may present their fave window managers) is, do my kde and gnome programs work within enlightenment or do I have to find replacements for it all?
Although I didn't like Window Maker that much, Enlightenment shows a lot of potential! I'm pretty psyched about it. I was curious about these epplets. On http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=2
near the bottom is an rpm of epplets 0.7. Then under E16 there is epplets-base-0.5.tar.gz
Do I need to install the base before the other one? I have had like 500:1 better chances installing rpms over source files. For the imlib2_blahlblah_jpeg and png, the source files wouldn't work, but the rpm worked in one shot.
Also, a lot of the desktop screenshots I've seen have a bar containing cpu usage, mem usage, and disk space. Is this an epplet or another program? When I just installed Eterm and Englightenment, those things weren't on the desktop. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to get a program, epplets, or enable something.