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cult hero
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:10 am    Post subject: Window Mangers vs. Desktop Environments Reply with quote

If there's another thread or an article somewhere on thi subject, please point me in that direction, otherwise...

What's the difference between a "Window Manager" and a "Desktop Environment?"

Since playing with Linux on the desktop on and off for the last few years I've been jumping between KDE and Gnome. I also used WindowMaker and AfterStep a long time ago.

Right now I'm looking at Xfce4 (and it's merging as we speak) because I'm less than pleased with Gnome's performance but, for the most part, really dig GTK2 (and can't live without the AA fonts). I like Gnome's layout and design and other stuff but it just feels less responsive than even, dare I say, Windows.

What does "Gnome" do? You can run Metacity without it. What does it add? Is it possible to use Gnome panels without Gnome?
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erwan
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically, a Desktop Environement is:
- An application development framework (lots of libraries)
- Communication between applications (complex objects copy/paste, using services from one application in others (like image viewer in Konqueror)

So Gnome is nice for developers to use the nice application framework, and good for user because applications are better and communicate easily. If you don't use Gnome, that mean you'll use say OpenOffice, Mozilla, XEmacs on WindowMaker everything you can do between applications will be copy/paste.

If you use WindowMaker to launch Galeon, Nautilus, Abiword, Gnumeric... You will be using Gnome without the panel !

About comparison with Windows, I'd say it depends how old is your Windows installation. I just removed Windows on my laptop (PIII mobile at 800 MHz, WinXP). At the beginning both Linux and Windows were very fast and reactive. After one year Windows became bloated with spyware, adware and software that left some files after uninstall... And my Windows became very slow :lol:

A Linux desktop being slow may have diffferent reasons... Which hardware do you have ?
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cult hero
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually... here's a bit of an update that's created a few more questions.

As you say:

Quote:
If you use WindowMaker to launch Galeon, Nautilus, Abiword, Gnumeric... You will be using Gnome without the panel !


I installed Xfce4 just because I had read about it elsewhere. Its load times and general responsiveness are much nicer than Gnome and on par if not better than Windows even though I'm running the same program set:

liteamp, gnome-terminal, gaim, abiword-2.0, evolution (and others)

Just as a test I even ran the gnome-panel from Xfce and things were zippy. That leaves exactly two things (unless I don't know what's up which is entirely possible):

Nautilus (the bane of my existence) and Metacity. Would running just metacity and a gnome-panel be different than running Gnome as a whole?

This might sound sad and pathetic but, at this point, if I could run Xfce without its panel or taskbar and use gnome's instead (killing Xfce's panel seems to kill Xfce as a whole) life would be good.
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zypher
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just have a look at /etc/xfce4/xinitrc.
If you copy this to ~/.xfce4/xinitrc and change the xfce4-panel into gnome-panel, you should get what you want.
Though I can't see what the advantage would be.
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pizen
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I window manager in its purest form does just that...manage windows. This means things like resizing, minimizing, maximizing. Window managers do not have icons or menus or backgrounds or anything like that (although nowadays many window managers do implement menu systems and other features). Desktop Environments need window managers (Gnome's default is Sawfish, I think, and KDE's is KWin). It's personal preference on which one to go with for your needs but (broad generalization coming) desktop environments are going to have more integrated* features and window managers are going to be faster.

*You can achieve the same features using only a window manager with additional applications, like iDesk for icons.
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f.kater
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi cult hero,

(1) GNOME is great - but I don't like the desktop performance

I agree totaly with you that GNOME is cool but somehow this slow or delayed response on mouse actions (and if it's just half a second) or delayed display of icons in menus, the window animation you still can't switch off etc... is just a bit frustrating.

(2) Overview over window managers etc.

See http://www.plig.org/xwinman/ to get a quick overview over window managers etc if you haven't already done so.

(3) My recommendation if you want speed + task/menu bar: fvwm

If (1.) speed is import and (2.) a good task bar - I would really recommend you fvwm. Don't be confused of some ugly screenshots here and there. You can dress it up. I have configured it the way that it looks like gnome a bit (task bar / menu bar on top, borderless windows when maximized etc.) It's a bit hard to configure in the beginning (see the damn man page - it's just too long) but it's the second time I come back to fvwm after trying new versions of GNOME. Minimize, move, maximize windows just with real time feeling. (E.g. you can shorten the time a window waits for double click action to make it even faster.)

(4) GNOME apps nevertheless usable

And, of course, as others said: You CAN use GNOME's nautilus and other apps if you like etc.

(5) Question of session manager

Further, if you want to live complete without using GNOME components you may have to solve the question of the session manager. XDM is ugly and you can't shutdown from there, GDM is good but you have to have a lot of gnome stuff installed just for that. You can however change /etc/X11/startDM.sh and /etc/init.d/xdm a bit so that you can automatically boot into X/fvwm (and make a menu to shutdown) without a session manager (in the way that you su to a user and than execute startx like you would do manually).

Good luck!
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MetalGod
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 1:22 am    Post subject: .... Reply with quote

well i need a desktop...
now im running gnome but kde is really beautifull
xfce is really ugly 8)
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