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Up until now, I had been pretty happy with Xmonad and Xfce. I wanted the power of a tiling WM, but I also wanted to keep a full desktop environment with all my panels and menus (lowers the learning curve). Xmonad, at the time, fit the bill because it had a special mode for Xfce. However, there are two reasons why I can not continue using it (and two reasons why I am posting):
Haskell config: Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea of having to know any programming language just to reconfigure a piece of software. I may make an exception if the programming language in question is something that I am actually interested in learning (like python).
Full screen apps: This especially a problem when I try to use the full screen button on YouTube, or try to run through an Impress presentation. Again, I shouldn't have to recompile, re-script the window manager to make these things behave properly.
Because of these two problems, I have to look for another tiling WM to replace Xmonad. Once again, I started looking for tiling WMs that were compatible with desktop environments like Gnome and Xfce. After spending a good chunk of time (3 days!!) rummaging through Google searches and forum posts, I came to the conclusion that a list of such software didn't exist.
I then turned to my package manager and found scrotwm. Despite it's weird name, I had heard good things about it, and gave it a try. It was a lot like Xmonad and only took a few minutes to learn most of the basic key bindings. The only thing I can't figure out how to do is get panels working. Xmonad did this automatically (think of this one as question on the side)
Now, are there any other tiling WMs that will work with Xfce or Gnome?
KDE 4.5 have a tiling mode, but it's new and not as good as Xmonad, DWN or Awesome. My personal favorite is Awesome. It use LUA for configuration. It is a programming language, but designed to be easy to learn. It is mostly a BASIC kind of language, so if you know one, you can use LUA without much learning curve. The code look like that
local netUpGraph = awful.widget.graph()
if client.focus then
But the reason I am talking about it is because it fit you other needs in two way. First, it have a bunch of extensions like your old menu, show desktop, clock with calender and those kind of stuffs. You can also integrate it with KDE, Gnome or XFCE. The process is documented in the Wiki. Here are some screenshots of my desktop. I am a little strange, but it show some of awesome advanced functions:
Wow, nice desktop!! A little too blue IMO, but close to what I want. So, is your desktop KDE, or Xfce? A little hard to tell. From what I understand, you're saying that I can use Awesome and tweak the config to get what I want. I will take a look at Lua and see if I can handle it (I dislike BASIC). If it can be configured to give me everything I want without re-writing half the source code, than I may switch to it. Would it be possible to use python to generate Lua code?
I use KDE under the hood, but the whole desktop interface is awesome (icons and monitors too). KDE is running, but without plasma-desktop and Kwin. Of course you can enable them Plasma or XFCE desktop too, but I find awesome + the shifty plugin much better than any other panel. You can group your applications per tags (like all tiling WMs) but also create tags and assign stuff to them on the fly, assign additional toolbars to a tag, like the media toolbar on my terminal and VLC tag (see above) or make the thermal/hardware monitoring toolbar go on only when a value go too high.
The config file is in /etc/xdg/awesome/rc.lua and need to be copied in ~/.config/awesome/rc.lua
A lot of cool stuff is covered on wiki, but the IRC chatroom and some forum are good too. Most Awesome user wrote some bits of code to make their desktop better. I wrote more than 6000 line, but I may have the biggest config. But most of the code is for small details, like controlling application using DBUS and integrating toolbar into Awesome to save some space.
For more info, look at the Arch Wiki, many of their user use Awesome, there is a dedicated thread too. I am more into gentoo, but it is a good place for ideas and extreme desktop http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewforum.php?id=47