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Desktop-hoppers unite! (Or: The pros and cons of dockapps.)
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pun_guin
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Joined: 06 Feb 2018
Posts: 188

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:01 pm    Post subject: Desktop-hoppers unite! (Or: The pros and cons of dockapps.) Reply with quote

Damn this community with its helpful members - I'm stuck in Gentoo and I just don't feel like leaving it for binary updating pastures. I'm the world's laziest distro-hopper, I guess. But I might or might not set up a small VirtualBox soon, for educational purposes. :wink: I still want to give GuixSD and, possibly, the Hurd a deeper examination - even with the burden of GNU, they offer interesting package (Guix) or kernel (Hurd) features which I'd love to see in action.

But I find myself desktop-hopping instead. Moving to Gentoo (and having initial problems getting StumpWM to build properly on it) made me reconsider my options, and I came to the conclusion that all my years with tiling window managers (I had been using awesome for quite a while, I moved to StumpWM just last year since awesome had decided to become awful) were basically wasted. My "tiling" workflow had only affected terminal windows, everything else - my GUI text editor, my web browser, my whatever - was used in full-screen mode anyway. I guessed what I need is a stacking window manager with a tiling terminal instead.

So I basically moved from StumpWM with Terminology on Void to Window Maker with Terminator on Gentoo (because, despite my early KDE fandom in the 90s and early 2000s, I accidentally noticed that I seriously like simplicity), and one of Window Maker's notable advantages, the dockapps, seems to make sure that every intent to move on will fail in the foreseeable future. Those are lovely - like a less boring Conky with much less poking around configuration files.

However, Window Maker has its quirks, the most obvious being its missing capability of starting multiple instances of an application from the dock without using tricks like "/bin/sh -c <whatever> &" as the particular dock icon's command. As I do not intend to either install and annoyedly configure a third-party panel thingy or lose the easy access to my WiFi stats, running applications, the clock et cetera, my choices were limited - I thought. Even with a sense of asthetics and simplicity, dockapps have become an important part of my desktop by now. No "panel" I have seen so far has beaten their visual flexibility.

Then I did some reading and it looks like both Fluxbox and FVWM support dockapps as well. Feature-wise, it looks like FVWM would be the saner choice since it has a lot of Window Maker's features, including a pager and not too much wasted space without actually requiring it. Since FVWM's dock seems to be able to run as many instances of a pinned application as I want, it might be a "better Window Maker" for me. If it just had a wprefs-like tool ... its configuration seems to be SNAFU to me, but I haven't spent much time on it yet.

I guess the hunt for the perfect desktop is even more complicated than the hunt for the perfect distro. I should just jump into the cold water - and, probably, find out that a different window manager than both FVWM and Window Maker would have been the better choice anyway. So much stuff, so little time!
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Ant P.
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Joined: 18 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago I used to have my own setup for this kind of thing - custom info display scripts, running in terminal windows tweaked to stay out of the way (invisible background, always on bottom, fixed geometry, no borders). It was work to set up but runs anywhere with a half-decent WM, and looks at least as good as conky.

I tried other things at the time (remember gdesklets?) but they were nowhere near reliable enough.

(P.S. you might find x11-misc/xdock useful)
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pun_guin
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
(P.S. you might find x11-misc/xdock useful)


Oh, I do indeed, thank you. That extends my choices to... too many. :)
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