Saturday, October 09, 2004


If you're running Linux or BSD on a low end machine you may not want to deal with the overhead of a full-blown desktop environment like KDE or GNOME. KDE is even starting to feel sluggish to me on Gondor, my P3/733, after getting used to how responsive my work Dell P4/1.4 Gig laptop running XP is. So, this morning I decided to try out a couple alternative window managers on Gondor.

I've mentioned my use of Fluxbox, which is very lightweight and suited for olde hardware like my P2/366 laptop. I don't have Fluxbox installed on Gondor and didn't feel like downloading it. I do have FVWM2 installed, and briefly gave that a try. It's lightweight but SUSE's default setup is fugly. I'm a bit tired today after being up in the middle of the night with Amanda, so I didn't feel like dinking around trying to make it look decent. Perhaps another time.

Another fairly lightweight (although not nearly as so as Fluxbox) desktop is Windowmaker. I already had it installed and it's one I've used before.

Windowmaker is a descendent of Afterstep, which was intended to be a clone of the NeXT GUI. AAMOF, Afterstep was the first Linux GUI I used, back when I bought Rivendell in May 1998. Both Afterstep and Windowmaker are very easy on the eyes. In the words of its developers:

Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP[tm] user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world.
Definitely check it out if you're running Linux or BSD on an older machine.

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