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paradigm-X
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject: Windows without borders and titlebars Reply with quote

Ideally, I would like to do without the appearance of the titlebar of a standard X window twm display, or else I want to find another window manager to avoid having a titlebar altogether.

As far as GUIs go, for the most part I prefer to use a spartan workspace, one without much eye-candy and hooplah, so that I can make better use of the display space and the resources to manage it. I seldom have need of a window's titlebar, and large window frames take away useful space and resources from more productive purposes. I like the minimalistic attributes of the default X window manager, namely, twm.

However, lately I have a situation where even twm's tiny titlebar is getting in my way, and I would like to either remove it or find another means for displaying the X desktop windows without having their titlebars. The tiny frames it puts around the windows is good, but the titlebar itself is obtrusive under the circumstances. Specifically, when I am running a guest in Qemu, which I manage with virt-manager, twm opens an X window when it starts up in order to present the guest's desktop. This window's title bar takes up space on the display, and this space takes away from the space available on the guest's desktop. In other words, for example, a monitor whose resolution is set at 1024x768, or any other size generally, does not have this same amount of space available to the guest's desktop because some of its space is now used up by the titlebar in the guest's window where its desktop gets presented.

Conseqently, I cannot set the guest's desktop resolution to this same value because doing so results in the situation where the bottom of the desktop is below the bottom of the desktop's window, which either creates a scrollbar in the guest's window or puts the bottom of its display off screen. Furthermore, since I cannot arbitrarily set a guest's desktop resolution to any value that is not standard, I am then forced to work with the guest's desktop in this awkward position, or I have to reset its desktop resolution to a lesser value than 1024x768, for instance. Although, reducing it is a workable solution and preferable to using the scrollbars approach, it is nonetheless a case of having to settle for less than optimum conditions.

Therefore, at this point I am strongly considering and searching around to make use of a different window manager so that I can eliminate the titlebar and recover the workable space available to these guests. Because the guest is running Gentoo, it limits my options to some extent but not too badly. One alternative that appeals to me is using the "Plan 9" workspace available with portage with 'plan9port'. With Plan 9 the default window manager is called 'rio', which creates no title bar when windows are made. If someone has any ideas about other alternatives, I would appreciate hearing them.
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Roman_Gruber
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am happy with i3wm, its in portage.

Code:
[D] x11-wm/i3
     Available versions:  4.6 ~4.7 {+pango}
     Installed versions:  4.7(04:17:18 25.12.2013)(pango)
     Homepage:            http://i3wm.org/
     Description:         An improved dynamic tiling window manager


I think most apps generate themself a heading line on top. like firefox or other stuff.

I3wm is one of the few who decreases the space waste of the usual window manager.

it is configured with a simple config file in ~/.i3/config when I remember right. What you write there will be considered and used. Plain simple without any bells and whistles. Though I am not sure if your goal is achieveable.

[edit] thanks for correction hint


Last edited by Roman_Gruber on Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 for i3. It sounds like it does what you want. It is also a tiling wm, so read the manual before using.

And minor typo above, the config file is ~/.i3/config
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:18 pm    Post subject: wm without bars Reply with quote

I propose you to try clfswm for this work. It has no bars and could work with overlapped windows (it is not a tiling manager). And it has pretty strong conception behind: organizing your working space as tree where virtual desktops may be nested in other virtual desktops.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm very happy with dwm. There also Awesome to mention.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

> "+1 for i3. It sounds like it does what you want."

Okay, I got over some sudden humps and finally got this beast loaded up with i3, and, yes, it is really nice. Still, maybe I did not read far enough in the manual, but it does create windows with title bars. One primary objective is to avoid title bars when launching new windows. When I do, for example, "xedit" or whatever, from the xterm command line, the window opens with a title bar. Do I just need to read a bit further in its manual to prevent that, or what am I missing?

> "I propose you to try clfswm for this work"

Hey, looking at some screenshots, I am quite impressed with its appearance: minimalistic but quite functional. It also has active development, and that is a good sign for sure. I may just create a new VM to try it out, depending on how this goes for a while with "i3", which I am enjoying right now. One thing I really liked about installing i3 was that there was not a bunch of other files installed with it. Really what I want primarily is just to find a window manager without a slew of secondary functionality thrown in to it. I can make the existing programs sing along nicely as it is, if you know what I mean. Thank you for pointing this program out, and I am definitely going to take a closer look.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try setting new_window none in your i3 config. As long as no other windows are open that should eliminate all boarders and title bars. If you have another window open, $mod + f should eliminate them by setting a full screen.

EDIT: A personal note. I found clfswm to be somewhat incomplete. It is a tiling window manager, it just works a bit differently. If you want to try it, I recommend using the lisp overlay as well and the ebuild itself is in sunrise.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm using sawfish with "zen" theme. In this theme windows get only 1 pixel wide borders, no title bar. There is also a possibility, to bind key to the command that makes window "fullscreen" without any borders or tabbars at all. Or there are commands that remove the border and restore it.

In general, I find sawfish to be very flexible, non-obtrusive and convenient. I prefer this one over "tiling" managers. First of all, it does not introduce problems for applications that are not expected to be in tiling WM (like firefox). But at the same time, there is whole bunch of commands for managing windows sizes and positions. So, I've just created necessary bindings and shape windows to my liking. Even going from window to window in sequence can be bound to keys. Though for terminal I prefer to use tmux :)
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paradigm-X
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> "I am happy with i3wm, its in portage. "

I like it now too. Thanks for taking time to make the recommendation.


One thing I don't understand is why there is not an easy way to make the generic, default X windows from twm appear full screen without borders of any sort, just as the desktop appears with most other GUIs. Seems like I ought to be able to open a child window on the desktop and then, some way or another, designate that it should be displayed fullscreen. there are a lot of programs that let me "flip switches" to make them go into fullscreen mode. Why not with any one of the twm windows too?

If the desktop itself is really "just another window" occupying the whole display, which still allows mouse clicks and key combinations to effect controls, why then can I not have any of the subsequent windows created free of titlebars without needing magic to do so? I suppose my lack of knowledge about the program functionality from a developer's viewpoint prevents me from seeing the distinction?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> "Try setting new_window none in your i3 config.

This worked perfectly so far. Awesome! You are not only THE Doctor but also the man. This is now working exactly as I hoped to find, and it did so without installing one bit of superfluous garbage. I feel like I just got a new pair of shoes and britches!


> "A personal note. I found clfswm to be somewhat incomplete. It is a tiling window manager, it just works a bit differently. If you want to try it, I recommend using the lisp overlay as well and the ebuild itself is in sunrise."

The lisp overlay is the only one I saw available for Gentoo anyway. I don't want to install any third-party programs, especially binaries, unless it is absolutely unavoidable. Besides, it is my understanding that hardened-Gento, which I use, cannot allow binaries of any sort, but I am not 110% sure about that because I never tried doing so yet.

Anyway, what other cool stuff do you have to share now? :) Talk to you later, and muchas gracias, amigo.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prior to installing i3 window manager, I was using XFCE, and I had installed a few of its utility programs for launching and finding programs from its desktop. Instead of completely removing XFCE, I merely changed out the initial window manager startup procedure in .xinitrc so that it would fire up i3 instead. Now, I am finding that many of these XFCE helper programs continue to function perfectly well from the i3 environment.

Consequently, I do not have to start everything from the xterm command line in i3 unless I choose to do so. I can just launch the App-launcher or File Manager programs in i3, put them on one of the other workspaces out of the way, and switch to one of them at any time in order to start a program. This is quite beneficial and helpful to one whose memory is not yet photogenic. :)

With i3 as the ideal window manager for my tastes and needs, along with many of the low resource programs available from XFCE and elsewhere, I can tailor my X environment opportunely, shaping it to maximum effect, and to my pleasure, instead of having to settle for less. I am also making better use of the resources available to me.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sawfish theme absolute-e has small borders and titlebar. There are others for sawfish.

sawfish may not be tiny in its memory footprint, but has a lot of useful configuration options.

I need a titlebar for "shading"/"rollup". With this i can quickly make a window appear, disappear, or both (to glance at its contents at any time).

Inside vnc servers (on routers and low-powered servers) I often use icewm. Maybe not the best choice.

For me, a window manager must not be restricted to "tiling".
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> "For me, a window manager must not be restricted to "tiling"."

I would agree that having a choice of whether to tile is preferable. In i3 I am not restricted to tiling either, because I can use, for example, Alt+Shift+Space to toggle a window between tiling or floating.

> "I need a titlebar for "shading"/"rollup". With this i can quickly make a window appear, disappear, or both (to glance at its contents at any time)."

What is shading? I can make a window dis- and re-appear quickly too in i3 with key combinations. In fact it can be moved from one virtual desktop to the next immediately.

I think you may want to revisit the i3 config file to see whether its functionality is more to your liking now, as it may have changed since you last looked.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fvwm can do it. If you don't want the hassle to configure fvwm, fvwm-crystal transform it into an easy to use desktop.
With fvwm-crystal, you can put in full screen without decoration almost any window with just Alt+Keypad_*. If you don't want to go full screen, it is pretty easy to add a style line into the config.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are tiling wms, yes. There are also wm's with a mixed paradigm.

As for the rest, if all that bothers you is the titlebar, you can theme almost all of the typical staking wms to have a tiny titlebar or no titlebar at all. Then how to manage the window is what varies from one to the next. You can set keybindings to send the window to a given part of the screen, to resize it, to lower or raise it.

Yes, it can be done with fvwm (I'd seriously stick to plain fvwm for such particular requirements, instead remaking fvwm-crystal, but...), but also with openbox to name a simpler one. Even xfce with work, and I think it has a mac-style applet for the panel which will put the title and max-min-close controls of the active window into a panel.

It will probably take some time to try and decide, but it's a work that only you can do if you want to discover what fits you.

If you don't want a tiling wm, I'd say either choose xfce or openbox (or openbox on xfce, they work well together). Then, if you find yourself needing more control, go into fvwm. No other non-programming wm (xmonad, awesome...) can beat it.

ps. When I say "programming wm" I mean wms that are configured by writing source code, here you have all the possibilities, for example, awesome uses lua, dwm is plain c though it's not really that configurable (usually you just hack a few lines in a header file), xmonad is haskell and there are contrib libraries that can be added, so you are practically programming the behavior of the wm using a general purpose language, rather than configuring and choosing between several predefined options and behaviors. Those are more powerful but it takes some time to learn them, and in some cases, the maintenance can get quite daunting, you might even need to "recompile" your compiler and libs, and even your config, each time a haskell package is updated via portage (I am looking at you, xmonad :roll: ).
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Last edited by i92guboj on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:11 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use openbox and the border I've set to be a few pixels, the titlebar I keep, but use compton to make it semi-transparent.
But as i92guboj said, it's easy to modify windows decorations.
ie to remove both for all windows, groups of windows or just a specific window.


paradigm-X, shading is what would be considered rolling up/down a window
so that only the titlebar remains or the full window shows, like a real-life window shade.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> "shading is what would be considered rolling up/down a window so that only the titlebar remains or the full window shows, like a real-life window shade."

Okay, thanks. Shading is a good name for it, I suppose, but this word is normally, in my experience, used to indicate the outline of a shade-like (darkish bordering) appearance around the frames, icons and drop-downs, etc. this is why you threw me off when mentioning it because my message, as the subject plainly shows, is quite the opposite idea from what you have interjected.

I don't know why a simple question is used so often as an opportunity by many to ramble OT to their own pleasure until the whole point of the original topic has been lost. I suppose I should expect as much with a topic like Window Managers and such, since there are so many die-hard fanboys eager to extoll the virtues of their own choices, as if to justify them, over-and-over ad nauseam.


> "As for the rest, if all that bothers you is the titlebar, you can theme almost all of the typical staking wms to have a tiny titlebar or no titlebar at all."

Is there a way to do this with twm, eliminating the titlebar, without having to become a programmer to effect it?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to twm's man page, there's a "NoTitle" clause that you can use in your .twmrc. You surely can find sample .twmrc files around the net if you search for them.

But, twm is not what I call a configurable wm. If the defaults are not suitable for you, then you should check the few options in the man page. Failing that, you should really start considering another option. Plus there's little reason to use twm, other than "I just want to use twm", which, on the other side, is as legitimate as any other reason.

Twm is pretty much unmaintained and it's not the smartest, nor the faster in mapping windows, not even particularly good at memory usage if you ask me.

I won't preach in favor of any wm more than I already did. I don't want you to think that they'll pay me if you use their wm. But there's a wm out there that can mimic twm 1:1 with little setup and is much more configurable :lol:
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My background with wm/desktop is simple. As many peoples, I try a lot of them. I hate gnome mouse focus policy, and just because of the complete impossibility to configure it to suit my taste, I never used it more than a few hours. After some time, I get tired of kde because even if it have a lot of configuration options, it is not much better than gnome for its focus policy. I ran fluxbox, and also get tired of it mainly because its application menu is very time consuming to maintain. I ran xfce, but after loosing all my application menu customization after an update, I try a lot of other wm, inclusive prove of concept like amiwm, until I discovered fvwm-crystal.

For me, fvwm-crystal offer every thing a wm/desktop must offer. As its ground is fvwm, it have outstanding mouse focus and windows placement policies, it offer a base configuration with different recipes (themes) ranging from very simple ones to very sophisticated ones, its preferences are available directly from the main menu, the recent versions unified a lot of things between the recipes (like the desktop geometry) which made possible to introduce new preferences like the desktop geometry and to apply almost all preferences on the fly. If you want to learn fvwm, its modular file hierarchy made possible to concentrate on one thing at a time.

Its application menu is the only one of all wm I try (and I try almost every thing) that have full support for the freedesktop additional categories, that out of the box and in any distributions, which make it the most maintenance free of all desktops. It is also very easy to customize, and you can take these customization (like any other one) from one computer or user to another one. It also provide an extensive set of key and mouse bindings for almost every thing inclusive some tilling functions. And even firefox work fine with them.

For me, it is the ideal desktop. I begun to use it, and contributed some new functions like the controls for alsaplayer, mplayer and alsamixer, as well than the freedesktop compatibility for the application menu. With time, I become the main contributor. I done a lot of work to standardize the functions between the recipes, which made possible to debug a lot of functions (like the styles or the Expose clone), to made the styles more consistent and robust, to improve its usability and easiness of use, and to add new functions more easy.

Among the more interesting new functions, its ability to navigate trough the full screened windows and the desktop add a new way to navigate trough the desktop space, that mimic the Amiga OS stack of full screened windows, to the traditional X multiple desktop pages.

It is also a new built-in desktop manager which can show icons for $HOME, the xdg user directories and the mounted partitions. It support 2 file managers at a time (or even custom commands) and have its own preference menu. If you want to try it, I recommend the live ebuild in the pro-audio overlay.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 for sawfish.
I have written my own theme for netbook, which has no title bar at all and has 1px border in all direction expandable (resizers). I can upload it somewhere if there would be interest.

But if you want to stick with large DE then in gnome-3 there is possibility to remove title bar - just edit theme file e.g. /usr/share/themes/Adwaita/metacity-1/metacity-theme-3.xml and in tag <frame_geometry add has_title="false". This little trick together with extensions "hide top panel" and "no topleft hot corner" makes gnome3 almost usable for me.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i92guboj, hello. :)

> "According to twm's man page, there's a "NoTitle" clause that you can use in your .twmrc. You surely can find sample .twmrc files around the net if you search for them."

This was a great piece of information, and ultimately accurate too. I had not invested enough time looking into the manual and other sources of instruction along these lines. I have done a bit more studying now, and wow! The information about twm and X is voluminous; I mean literally that it could fill volumes.

Your clue about the "NoTitle" setting was right on the mark for my situation. In fact it led me to making another wonderful discovery while I was studying its functionality. I have tested this now, and, if I am not mistaken, I found that the NoTitle setting in '.twmrc' does in fact allow you to launch a program window without a titlebar. You have to configure it on a per program basis, not on a per window basis. It works great. I was a bit worried at first that using it would leave me without some important control over the windows, such as not being able to resize them, iconify, or move them around easily, but that turns out not to be the case with twm because I can use its context menu with a right-click to provide me with this type of control by using the cursor with a mouse or with a keyboard. I lost no control, but I gained big time by removing a redundant and wasteful decoration, which only served to take up needed space on the desktop.

This improved functionality helped me considerably, most especially in Virt-Manger while using KVM/Qemu. Now, when I fire up virt-manager and launch a VM, the window in which it launches has no titlebar, and clicking on the fullscreen menu option really does allow me to see the full screen as the desktop of any VM. So, when I adjust the VM's desktop resolution settings to be, say, 1024x728, or any other resolution to equal the size of my display, now I really can see the entire desktop of the VM. I do not have to clutz around with it to get the whole thing to fit on the display, and it does not extend partially out of view, creating scrollbars on the desktop, which incidentally further reduced the amount of working space on it! This fits right on now.

In addition, another no less (to me anyway) important discovery I found while studying this problem was in connection with the terminal program xterm used as the default terminal in X for many distributions, including Gentoo. Before I fully understood how this NoTitle feature would play out completely, I was expecting that it might be necessary for me to get a secondary terminal program to use in X. Because I launch virt-manager from xterm, I half expected that I would need to include xterm in the list of programs in the section of "NoTitle" in '.twmrc'.

However, as I did not want to have every instance of xterm launching without a titlebar if I could avoid it, I began looking around at alternative X terminals because I planned to launch virt-manager from another one, which I would configure to have no titlebar by listing it in '.twmrc' instead of putting xterm in it. Of course, as I mentioned already, this concern ended up being unnecessary since putting any program in the NoTitle section allows for it to be launched from xterm while not affecting xterm itself. Nevertheless, my looking into alternatives for xterm has led me to find that there are a few other good options for an X terminal program, some of which, indeed, may arguably be superior in many respects. One of them in particular was quite interesting to me, namely, rxvt-unicode, which as it turns out fortunately, is available through portage.

Although I do not want to create a cause for flames here, let me just say that I am finding it to be quite capable and worth my while investing time to get more familiar with it. I installed it, alongside of xterm actually, and the two have played nicely together so far. It appears to be not only quite robust and feature rich but it is also capable of running lean and lighter on resources.

Considering the fact that I was already quite satisfied with twm on this particular system (though not for all cases), limited though it may be in some respects, I thought it especially fortunate that I found this program as an alternative to xterm because it gives me the opportunity to continue using twm while having the option to replace the program xterm, which is perhaps singularly responsible for the most waste of resources by any one program since I for sure have multiple instances of xterm open constantly. Apparently, urxvt can be launched as a daemon allowing multiple child processes to be spawned without requiring as much overhead per instance as the separate processes required by multiple instances of xterm.

With the savings in resources by this terminal program and the recovery of desktop space by making use of the NoTitle option, I would have to conclude that this was a fruitful investment of time well spent. thank you for taking the time to point it out.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been using rxvt-unicode for quite a while I came to it via rxvt, and I really like it as it has a lot of features.

Yes you can launch urxvt as a daemon and the sub windows are less resource intensive.

Good texting. 8)
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