Monday, September 10, 2012

Calling all Linux Geeks

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my excitement over installing Linux 12.04.1.    (Non linuxers need read no further).

Since then, as luck would have it, for work I've been writing some code.  Although this is not something I do a lot of, I do need to do it occasionally.   This code, based on a program I wrote a few years ago, is about 10,000 lines --- not huge perhaps, but still enough to be a project.  Anyway, this gave me an opportunity to stress test 12.04.1 and see how much I like it when I have dozens of windows open at the same time:  editors, debuggers, octave, data analysis, as well as the usual assortment of browsers, skype, and you-tube videos of skateboarding dogs.

After some getting used to, I decided that the Unity interface is ok.  I installed the Gnome classic menu and then never touched the HUD or Dash or whatever they call that thing.  I suppose if I'm not using the Dash, I'm probably missing the whole point.

However, there was a major problem with Unity.  As I mentioned in my earlier posting, the killer-app for me was NXFree -- the world's best virtual desktop.  Wherever I took my laptop, I could access my home computer with ease -- even on a slow connection. Unfortunately, once I made the upgrade, NXFree broke.   Even with a fair amount of work, I failed to make NXFree function properly.    Fortunately, there is an alternate program, x2go which is based on the same nxlibraries and works just as well, and it did seem to still work correctly -- but not for the Unity interface.  As a result, I started trying different window managers to see which one I could learn to love -- so that I would get used to the same environment whether I was at work or at home.

Here is the list of the environments I tried so far (in alphabetical order).

  Cairo-Dock (Gnome + Effects)
  Cairo-Dock (Gnome No effects)
  Cairo-Dock (with Unity Panel)
  GNOME Classic
  GNOME Classic (No effects)
  KDE Plasma Workspace
  Razor Desktop
  Razor Desktop (kwin)
  Razor Desktop (metacity)
  Razor Desktop (openbox)
  Ubuntu 2D (Unity 2D)
  Ubuntu (Unity)

Of these, my favorites (all which seem to work really well over x2go) are


Does anyone have any other favorites I should try out?


Anonymous said...

You could try being super cool and using a tiling window manager. I used dwm for a bit and it was ok. I'm not very organised with windows so it helped from that perspective but Matlab threw a hissy fit.

Steve said...

Tried Xmonad which is a tiling manager. Didn't like it much --- too many keybindings to remember. Plus, it had some conflicts with keys that i didn't know how to remap without messing up other things.

Anonymous said...

You know... looking at the photo of the "office" in your latest post, one option that springs to mind to solve your window management problem would just be to get a bigger monitor, or more monitors, or more and bigger monitors. That way you can have all the windows you need up at the same time!


jb_blogging said...

Did you get Cinammon session to work with x2goclient? If so, how did you configure the x2goclient session... what custom command did you use? Thanks and nice article!

Steve said...

I did not get cinnamon to work over X 2go. Mate works well though, and I've found that I really like mate in general.

Tony Martin said...

I've been using Xmonad solely for about two years or so. It's a tiling WM that works very quickly and is very customisable once you've learned a little Haskell. It has quite a steep learning curve but once you've mode it as you want it it fits like a glove. Other WMs seem utterly unresponsive in comparison because the manager gets in the way of everything you want to do.


And because I occasionally forget the key shortcuts I've defined...