Other Window Managers

If you decide not to use either KDE or GNOME, a variety of X Window system window managers are available. Essentially, your choice is about balancing beauty against simplicity.

♦ If resources are limited, one of the fairly minimal window managers may suit you. Also, if you are in the habit of starting everything from the command line, then complex menus and icons may not be so useful to you. At the very minimal end of the spectrum, TWM and MWM provide an environment where you can start an xterm and do everything else from there. Apart from the ability to move and minimize and maximize windows, there is not a great deal of other functionality.

♦ On the other hand, a window manager such as Enlightenment offers complex menus, a great deal of configurability, and a lot of "eye candy," but uses a good deal of resource and lacks the nice built-in file management capabilities of GNOME and KDE.

Window managers such as IceWM and Blackbox fall somewhere in between the two extremes. In general, if you use one of these window managers you are going to find yourself spending a fair amount of time doing configuration to get the look and feel the way you want and the menus the way you want: At least some of this work will be spent editing text files by hand.


MWM (the Motif Window Manager) is minimalism in action (see Figure 8-6). If you are installing a server and you just need to have X available so that (for example) you can run the graphical Oracle installer later, you may choose the Minimal + X11 installation option, which uses the FVWM2 window manager by default but also installs MWM. Figure 8-6 shows the MWM window manager.

Figure 8-6: MWM

A good site for additional information about the Motif Window Manager is www.plig.org/ xwinman/mwm.html.

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