20 February 2009

Going Home Stage 2

Continuing the story of my transition to Debian.

KDE4, with its eye candy and many features mimicked almost directly from Mac OS X, softened the transition. But after a while I begun to feel how cumbersome and, frankly, buggy, it really was, and remembered that, hey, this is GNU/Linux we're talking about, with an endless selection of different window managers.

So, just for fun, I decided to look at possible alternatives. One light-weight window manager in particular caught my eye: Sawfish. Apart from generally being completely different from KDE, what really caught my attention was the introduction: "Sawfish is an extensible window manager using a Lisp-based scripting language..." Being something of an Emacs enthusiast (a very powerful editor also extensible in a Lisp-based language) and a Lisp fan in general, this looked like a solution with real potential.

So I installed it, and have now spent a day fiddling with it, and I think I'm hooked. There's less eye candy, but that only means that it feels much lighter and everything works faster. Sawfish, at its core, is a very bare bones window manager, the very opposite of what KDE stands for. But the scripting facilities provide endless possibilities. I've set up some very handy keyboard shortcuts, for instance, which launch applications I use often or switch to them if they're already running. Adding a few scripts from the website gave me some features I've gotten used to, like periodically changing wallpapers.

For the first time in a good while I feel I'm in control of the graphical environment and not the other way round. And hacking extensions with Emacs is lots more fun than than any GUI configuration tool will ever be.

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