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sorry if this sort of thing has been posted before but i couldn't really find the info i am after.
in the past i have been run debian and kubuntu, both with kde, but kde seems to have issues (audio mixing - linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?s=&postid=1615422#post1615422) with my onboard sound, which i have not yet been able to fix.
until i find a solution, i have installed gnome, but i'm really not that keen on it - it doesn't look very nice, and the file browser is annoying to use, etc etc
i am happy with ubuntu/debian but i'm thinking about changing the window manager. i have read about a few other windows managers, such as xfce, fluxbox, etc, but not enough to make a sensible decision on what would be best for me (i would be willing to change to a different distribution if it makes installation easy and keeps my system clean)
i was just wondering if people could give me some recommendations on window managers to use. i am not running a slow machine, but i'm not really bothered about have a really fancy looking desktop - i mainly want good usability, and a window manager that'll work (like gnome, unlike kde at the moment) with my onboard sound (nforce 2 chipset). also, do certain window managers restrict what programs you can install (eg. do all programs designed for kde work with xfce)
Common misconception here, your window manager has absolutely nada influence here. It manages windows, that's it. Desktop environments are window managers with extra stuff, control panels, extra programs to handle day-to-day tasks and stuff like that. Any program will run under any window manager
Now with your sound, same sort of story although KDE is an exception. ALSA is the kernel subsystem that controls your sound, irrelevant of what window manager/desktop environment/shell you use. As I said, KDE is an exception here though, it includes it's own sound daemon which tries to do tricky stuff like software mixing and crap before it sends the results off to your sound card. It's obviously not liking your chipset. If GNOME works then everything else will too
However, if you want ease-of-use etc and GNOME isn't holding up for you then stay as far away as humanly possible from thins like openbox, fluxbox, fvwm, windowmaker, pekwm, wmii. I'd suggest getting KDE sorted out (it's possible, search - I've seen threads on Arts and nForce2) or maybe getting a nice theme for GNOME because they are by far the two most fully featured desktops.
So say i wanted to use a window manager such as Fluxbox, would this run on top of a Desktop Environment, or do you use one or the other? What are the differences between using a window manager or a desktop environment?
Fluxbox would work fine as would any other window manager. Personally I fail to understand how Fluxbox isn't "easy to use". It's just another window manager.
Fluxbox is my favorite with WindowMaker being second. I would suggest you try out several and see what suits you best, much like trying different Linux distros it's a lot about personal taste.
Having several window managers/desktop environments on your box will cost you nothing but some disk space. I find myself mostly using Flux, but I do also use windowmaker quite a nit as well.
Whichever choices you try out, take the time to read the documentation for using them, and visit their websites to learn about them. Sometimes starting out with an unfamiliar environment can be a bit confusing and daunting until you learn the ins and outs of it.
Flux is very easy to use but sometimes the menus can be a little challenging for some people at first. You can either edit the menu file manually (my choice) or use an app like menumaker or whatever the fluxbox app is for that (the name escapes me).
In all honesty the manual edit is better because you have all the apps you want there without any you don't.
I just suggested staying away from fluxbox cause after Windows and KDE, it's certainly an entirely different take on your desktop. I'm personally a big fan of fluxbox, it is lacking in some areas so at the moment I'm looking for others that can do the job better but yeah, fluxbox and the fact that you really need to edit it's configs by hand may not be the best choice here.
Linux is all about learning, i think. while i have tons of wm's, 99.99% of the time i use flux, cuz it's...well, too sweet not to use. plus, in flux you can fire up the kicker/taskbar thingy from kde if you wanna have that by typing 'kicker' in a run command, which can make things easier for someone new.
it's totally configurable, which makes it nice too...i know nobody else in the world has my desktop lol.
Last edited by detpenguin; 05-04-2005 at 08:07 PM.
Originally posted by jonhewer So say i wanted to use a window manager such as Fluxbox, would this run on top of a Desktop Environment, or do you use one or the other? What are the differences between using a window manager or a desktop environment?
it runs on it's own, but it uses programs and libraries from kde and gnome and whatever else you might have on your box...it's independent tho, and very light, so it uses almost no resources and stuff at all, which also makes it very quick.
so if i decided to go for fluxbox, would the installation install the base programs and libraries, for example will it install a file browser, and other programs that are 'required'. i guess i'm trying to ask whether after installation is it all ready andl up and running, or does it require a lot of extra configuration and setup? (i would give it a go, but i'm at uni and my exams are soon so i dont wanna wase too much time playing around with linux)
Nope. As I said above, a window manager will manage your windows, that's it. A desktop environment will include file managers and all that extra stuff. Fluxbox comes with no such addons, you want them you'll need to install them seperate and edit your fluxbox menu file in a text editor to include a link to the file manager executable. You'll have to do that for everything. Fluxbox isn't like KDE/GNOME, most window managers aren't.
What this means is -
A desktop environment i exactly that: An environment. It binds all the features together. In Gnome, the file manager Nautilus is integrated as CD/DVD-burner as well, the calendar integrated in the status bar interfaces with Evolution - and so on.
The window manager does not address these needs. It is mostly an interface thing. It is possible to run KDE and Gnome programs while running a window manager - the program will then call the necessary libraries to run, which is usually a bit slow - but it is possible. I used Mandrake with Fluxbox for quite a while a couple of years ago with both (Gnome-based) Evolution and (KDE-based) K3B.
I would recommend Fluxbox. It is a very nice clean interface, but it can be made to look really sweet like this one or these.