• The Windowmanager

    Mon, 17 Jun 2013 12:48:43 +0200Posted by Andre Landwehr


    I admit it, my early motivation to become what is nowadays called a geek was simply laziness. There's a computer sitting there in the corner, so how can it do my work for me or at least help me do my work more efficiently so I'm done with it earlier?
    This lead to the neverending search for (and writing of) efficient tools. Furthermore, as a software developer my brain quickly learned to structure things and build up hierarchies. Combine the two and you arrive at a set of tools I like to have on all computers I regularly use. An important part of this is my windowmanager, wmii.
    No, wmii cannot draw fancy colorful frames with strange shapes and flowers on them. And it cannot move windows half-transparently still animating their content around with wobble-effects. But it can do the one thing that all the popular windows managing frameworks like Gnome and KDE can't: actually managing windows.
    Wmii is a tiling window manager, meaning it will claim the most screen real estate possible for each window without overlapping anything. This implies that there is actually no use for a desktop background picture since the very first window will immediately fill out the whole screen. The screen can be separated into multiple columns when needed. Each of these columns can take up an arbitrarily large number of windows, which are rendered either in full height, all with the same height (can be adjusted manually) or stacked, meaning the title bars of all windows are displayed and the rest is filled with the last active window of that column. The sequence of windows, the layout and changing between windows as well as between different screens can be achieved by mouse or, a lot faster, with configurable keyboard shortcuts.
    I'm using wmii for several years now and I can't imagine working on Linux desktops without it. It is so much easier and feels so much more productive to have all open windows structured and easily accesible within a few keystrokes. Due to its fundamental role on my desktop, it is probably the most used tool in my daily work.