Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Year without KDE

I thought I'd give you a run-down of how it has been going. And it's been going great. Recently, I tried KDE again, because I have a new liquid cooling in place and wanted to generate some more heat from the graphics chip than my current minimalistic WM does (but more about that later) and after only a few hours, I got sick and tired of KDE again, because it was now too complicated for my taste! Can you believe that? As a matter of fact, I wasn't kidding when I said minimalistic. First things first though. After I threw out KDE, I tried Gnome for a few days, but I couldn't warm for that either - too clever, too overloaded, too many assumptions about what I want, too hard to do things my way, unless I were prepared to put in a shitload of work.

What next? I debated WindowMaker, but I was really fed up with frameworks and toolkits, I wanted the real thing, bare and basic, down and dirty. From my earliest linux days I remembered a lot of really bare-bones window managers, the ones I used to try back when getting KDE installed used to be as hard as getting rid of it is now. That I wanted! The good old stuff they had back in the eighties, back when Bill Gates was still a poor nobody. When anyone phantasizing about windows with graphical effects would still have been run out of town for wasting cpu cycles. Am I waxing poetic again?

Well, I did look around, and know what? They are still around. Debian packs several of them: twm, aewm, aewm++, evilwm... hmm - that name of course had a certain allure to an old goth. And, boy! was that thing simple! No menu, no desktop, no decorations, hell, not even a title bar! Perfect!

Yeees, yeees I can hear you: "Perfect?! That sounds like pure torture!" Well, it isn't. Actually, it is way more comfortable than most, and way quicker to handle. Ctrl-Alt-Enter to get a new xterm, Alt-LeftMouse to move, Alt-MiddleMouse to resize, Ctrl-Alt-LeftMouse to the foreground, Ctrl-Alt-RightMouse to the background. Note the last: that's a feature most WM's don't have. No, it isn't useless, try it for a week and you'll go mad without it. Big wonder: how often have you put the top sheet to the back of a stack this week? Can you count it?

Ok, ok, I admit it: there WERE times when I wished my kicker and my kmenu back. When I wished I could just minimize some windows to unclutter my desktop. BUT: So far, I haven't changed back, nor changed upwards. I've gotten so used to my beautiful, minimalistic WM that I simply don't want anything more complicated any more. And besides: all those tools that were there before KDE et al rolled it all into one big sticky ball are still around too. Some I use, e.g. bbrun so I don't have to keep an xterm open for every program running, xsetroot and xli to make my desktop pretty, and so on.

What can I say, it works! It isn't always convenient, it isn't always ideal, but it damn well is MINE, the way I chose it. And at least to me, that's what really counts.

1 comment:

  1. Well, that's what's important, man. Self-expression all the way. I'm pretty new to KDE--I've tried just about the Window Managers out there, and I hear ya about how complicated gnome and kde are.