Using dwm on My Laptop

I decided late last night to try dwm (thanks mikshaw). I’m still playing around with it. I compiled it to match the color scheme I’ve been using in jwm. My status bar matches my background color at the moment. Not exactly eye candy. Hey, it works for me and I like it better than the default blue and silver (is someone a Detroit Lions fan?).

My initial impressions: I like it a lot on my laptop. It accomplishes a lot of what I’ve done with my jwm config mods. It opens most apps maximized. I edited its config file with 0-pixel borders. Its binary is about 20% the size of my no-frills (all options disabled except confirm) jwm binary. Nice!

Peeve: It doesn’t use config files, so it has to be recompiled for any adjustments like colors, classes to float instead of tile, etc. Every time. That’s not too much of a hassle because it’s a tiny program.

I haven’t done much else in the way of configuration — just colors and borders so far. Most of its default keybindings are acceptable, but I’ll probably have to change them to some extent. I also have to decide if I care much for the split screens when I open new windows in the same virtual desktop. That’s what drove me from using larswm.

I also installed dmenu. I like it, too, (and have use it before with other window managers including wmii) but I really need to export some directories to PATH for it to be more useful for me.

One of the reasons I think I still prefer jwm is because I can edit everything on the fly, including the menu; alas, it also requires restarting for any changes to be made available. I’m going to stick with dwm for at least a week and see if my opinion changes.

I may also try awesome at some point. It’s a rewrite of dwm with the difference that it uses a config file and doesn’t require recompiling for changes to take effect. Then again, I don’t mind partaking in a little snobbery at such a small price. As its developers point out:

Because dwm is customized through editing its source code, it’s pointless to make binary packages of it. This keeps its userbase small and elitist. No novices asking stupid questions.

I’ve been a fan of other suckless projects like slock — which accomplishes in a very tiny binary what I’d otherwise use xscreensaver or xlockmore to do, which is overkill considering their bloat. The suckless goal of minimal lines of code works very well on my aged hardware.

One Response to “Using dwm on My Laptop”

  1. Bye dwm, Welcome Back ratpoison « lucky13 Says:

    […] dwm, Welcome Back ratpoison June 9, 2008 I wrote back in April that I would try dwm at least a week. I gave it quite a big longer. The experiment is over. […]

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