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I tend to jump around every few months. I used XFCE for ages because I liked the minimalism and speed. Then I decided if I was going for minimalism and speed I should use Openbox, which lasted another few months. Then I took a shine to the sexy new KDE 4.10, which has been running flawlessly (thanks alienbob).
It HAS to be KDE!!! There are push and pull factors.
I am winning converts here in Indonesia ON MASS! Hooray! However, I am able to do so, to a large degree, by showing how similar KDE is to use to Windows. This soothes fearful victims, er, converts, and aids transition.
I will be demonstrating using Linux in my new job teaching ICT soon. The school is a Windows 7 shop. A totally different GUI will confuse.
KDE is relatively heavy (but less so than Windows XP so who cares?) but it looks cool. Indonesians are total suckers for eye candy and cannot face anything on a computer that looks old fashioned. KDE looks modern. XFCE, God bless it, does not.
So many of the other distros seem based on the MacOS which I loath. I would rather go Windows 3.0 in terms of interface than MacOS.
KDE is powerful. It enables me to get things done. I am far from a speed fanatic and don’t mind if the machine is a bit sluggish to respond as long as it gets the job down. KDE is a massive enabler.
KDE comes with a mass of useful tools and is quite a GUI standard. If I run KDE I pretty much guarantee I can run most GUI software with ease.
You can change the screen colours easily! This may seem like a small thing but a) It helps me win converts – I was demoing how to change screen colours to a potential convert only yesterday - and b) I can set colours that suit my taste and eyes. Black on white text increases eye strain due to glare. Select a light grey and feel the relief. Editing text files to punch in numbers is NOT the way to show off how easy Linux is to use to people!
People may say that KDE is ‘heavy’ but once you switch off desktop effects – which you have to do under Windows to get any speed – it runs very happily on even minimal hardware. Trust me, I run KDE on very minimal hardware!
I have tried the alternatives and gone, “Meh. Not for me.”
Another happy FVWM user here. It's a happily minimalist WM with all the configurability you can eat. Want to specify a totally different behavior for grabbing edges or corners? Fine. Want to shade/unshade on double-click to titlebar? Done! Want it to drop to the back instead? Can do that too! Want to mouse over the edge of the display to switch to adjacent virtual desktop? Can do that. Or can use the window pager instead, and leave the display edge solid. Or whatever behavior you can imagine.
So all of the mouse events do exactly what is best for me, I get whatever focus and bring-to-front behavior I prefer, a massive grid of virtual desktops, .. and when I just want to get work done, it stays out of my way. I don't have to think about it or look at it, because there's so little there.
Best of all, it's a very mature WM, which updates seldom and never introduces big changes. Unlike younger WM's which churn for the sake of churn, I know FVWM will be safe and sane FOREVER. Scripts I write today to interact with FVWM will continue to behave exactly as expected ten years from now. That's very important to me. I have been using Linux for seventeen years, and expect to use it for at least seventeen more. Making plans on that timeframe means finding tools which do what I need, and no shenanigans.
For a long time I used WindowMaker, because nothing beats the dock and clip concept and DockApps are great. Later I switched to Xfce, because it is better supported by application developers.
I tried KDE multiple times, but it wasn't reliable enough for daily use. I stumbled over bugs and instabilites all the time. And as soon as the thing has somewhat stabilized (like 3.5), everything is thrown away and the cycle starts again. Maintaining the cruft in ~/.kde over multiple KDE versions becomes tiring too.
I always bounced between fluxbox and enlightenment for years. Still happy with either on netbooks and older machines.
Kde 3 I always liked but kept getting bitten by some bug or another. Now machines are so fast minimalist desktops really makes no sense for me. My notebook is running KDE 4.10.4 on a fast SSD drive and its awesome. Very stable and so fast.
I've been using fvwm2 since some time in the 1990's.
There is a bug which causes focus problems with Java GUIs, which at least one of the fvwm2 developers vehemently claims is a bug in Java, and thus will not be fixed in fvwm2. (The developer claims other WMs have work-around.) Since I (grudgingly) have to occasionally use a couple of Java GUIs, I started looking around for another window manager.
For better or worse, I was not able to find any other window manager which had the configurability and flexibility of fvwm2. Some of the others no doubt work well if you like their "standard" configuration with only minor tweaks. And a lot of other WMs seem to have an amazing amount of bloat for what they give you. I can only assume that people are attracted to some of these other WMs because their default setups have lots of eye candy.
I have the feeling that if the default fvwm2 config didn't look so boring, it would be an order of magnitude more popular than it is now. But perhaps the developers are not interested in developing a user base that values eye candy more than functionality.