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I’m curious what desktop environments and window managers folks in the Lobsters are using. I’m gonna be converting a desktop machine to use FreeBSD soon, so I’m curious what others are using.

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    I’m currently back in the lovely tiled arms of i3wm.

    I really appreciate the tiled window layout approach, but i3 also plays nice with dialog windows, and it has an explicit floating mode for when you really need it. At work and at home I use a Dell Ultrasharp IPS with 2560x1440 resolution.

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      i3 as well. The thing I like about it, over other tiling window managers I’ve tried, is that layout is manual: you can decide on the fly how you want windows laid out, rearrange them, restack, etc instead of having a single hardcoded layout that everything goes in.

      I also use this tool by fellow lobster @cmhamill to get wmii-like dynamic workspace tagging. Just using numbered workspaces, I frequently tend to run out.

      (I migrated to i3 over wmii, which is similar but a bit more restricted, mostly for a more elegant internal model and support for a small handful of additional window manager hints. There is something (several somethings, really) to be said for the fact that wmii’s event loop is literally a shell script, but I wasn’t making any use of the capabilities. i3 supports massively more sophisticated layouts than wmii, but the interface makes my brain hurt, so in practice I don’t use them much.)

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        i3 for me too. I am interested to see how things evolve; I’m running Fedora which is shaping up to make a move to Wayland; others will almost certainly follow. As I understand it i3 doesn’t currently support Wayland, so it’ll be interesting to see if the maintainers make the port, or if Sway will become the replacement.

        Either way, I love i3.

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          It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with tiling window managers and wayland, since from what I understand application sunder Wayland are going to be drawing their own window decorations, which conflicts pretty hard with tiling WMs.

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            It’s a lot more complicated than that. The Wayland- aware applications (some QT versions and some GTK versions) can be forced to ignore drawing decorations, and a lot of applications run from XWayland which is “all of the Xorg.server inside a .so and some conversion” that follow the old model. THEN you have unstable protocols that extend wayland, like the one used by KWin that says ‘no, decorations should be server-side’. A rant from the WLC developer (that provides most of the compositor implementation for Sway):

            https://github.com/Cloudef/orbment/issues/141#issuecomment-227720157

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          i3 for me as well.

          It hits the sweet spot between being customisable, yet having sensible defaults and having the ability to completely fade away into the background so that I don’t have to think about it at all on most days.

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            At work I’m on OSX, but at home I can’t get away from i3wm. So good. It’s so good I’m considering reinstalling Ubuntu over my MBP just to use i3wm as a daily driver.

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              i3wm too, running it on Arch Linux on my ThinkPad and desktop computer. I’ve seen some videos on customization but I feel like I’m just scratching the surface. I use a model M on my desktop so I’m thinking of reusing an old foot pedal I found to emulate the Windows meta key.

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                I really want to like i3, but the default keybindings interfere with emacs keybindings. Haven’t decided yet if I want to use evil mode in emacs or overhaul the i3 keybindings. Has anyone else found a nice solution to this?

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                  It lets you choose your own meta key as a part of setup, is that enough to prevent interference?

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                    I am a heavy Emacs user. In my i3 configuration, I configured windows key as the $mod key, so there are no conflicts between it and my emacs. (I know some people bind windows-key in their emacs. I am not one of those people.)

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                      I gave it another try with super/windows-key as $mod, and so far I’m loving it, it really does “fade away into the background” as Todd says below. Spent some parts of the day tweaking, I really love the simplicity, so far no compatibility issues (Debian stretch with Gnome).

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                    i3 as well for a couple of months now. Before that I had been running XFCE for a very long time, but I’ll probably stick with i3 for one reason, that workspaces don’t flip on all monitors when switching.

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                    I’ve been using StumpWM for a while. I can get by with others (i3, xmonad, spectrwm), but Stump works the most like what I want on a dev system.

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                      I finally settled on StumpWM as my window manager of choice as well. It also counts as my “desktop environment”, which means no notifications and such. It really helps to keep me focussed on things.

                      My only quibble (and a self-inflicted one) is that I got used to C-t as a prefix key and use in tmux as well, so I have “double tap” it when using tmux inside StumpWM. I can’t find another prefix key I like. This is such a first-world problem that I really shouldn’t be complaining about it…

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                        I used Alt-Space and that seemed to work well. It’s reminicent of Mac’s Cmd-Space to bring up spotlight. Another option is Ctrl-o because it doesn’t interfere with any default emacs keys.

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                          C-o is open-line which I use all the time, but Alt-Space is worth a try. Maybe my first-world problems are solved. ;-)

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                          Fortunately I was able to keep C-t for stump, C-b for tmux (it’s easy to type on the ergodox), and C-x for emacs.

                          The one thing that gets me when I use !stumpwm is that C-t C-t now opens two tabs.

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                          I was evaluating StumpWM at some point (I’m an emacs addict, so there’s the lisp connection) and stumbled across this old demo: https://youtu.be/tKt_rVO960Q – just listen to the guy’s voice! (it’s super suave)

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                            I’ve had StumpWM running around the clock under FreeBSD/SBCL for the past 3 years. As stable as an old client’s VAX!

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                            GNOME3, because it is a well integrated system, that gets out of my way. I don’t have to configure anything, but a few gnome-shell extensions (which is as easy as git cloning my dotfiles), and it works smoothly. I did not feel the need so far to find something else. The speed is perfectly fine, it stays out of my way, and requires only minimal work to make it behave the way I want it to.

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                              Ditto.

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                                Do you check the extensions into your dotfiles repo or is there a way to install them programmatically from https://extensions.gnome.org ?

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                                  I check them into my dotfiles repo. There might be other ways, but I carry my dotfiles around anyway, so this seemed the easiest.

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                                xmonad as a windowmanager in XFCE, when I get to run something other than MS Windows. Which I need to do much to often.

                                A cleaner examle than my own config.

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                                  OS X with lots of spaces and TotalSpaces and Witch to manage navigation.

                                  I’ve tried a few other window management tools but none have really say right with me. I’d love something like i3/awesome/etc for Aqua windows, but haven’t found the right tool yet (suggestions are welcome!).

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                                    Yeah, the closest I have to tiling is using Moom explicitly – other than its default snaps I have a custom 1 and 2 position that places windows 60-40 on screen.

                                    This past year and a half has been my first experience with a Mac at all and I tried the built-in “switch apps, then switch app windows” for about a year, I really did, but I finally got Contexts to get around.

                                    On other systems, I use i3, or Cinnamon with some plugs to make snapping nice, or Windows with AquaSnap (I saw they added their own take on universal tabs, too!).

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                                    I run OpenBSD cwm on plain X11. No “desktop” needed.

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                                      mostly xfce, and gnome3 on some machines where it looks nice and performance can keep up

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                                        I’m using my own window manager together with bartender and lemonbar. This allows me to have a dwm-like configuration in Rust with a slightly different approach to tagging of windows, as well as a nice bar showing info from both the wm and the rest of the system. All in all, it fits my needs, even if it’s a sick form of NIH.

                                        Since I mostly use terminal applications, dynamic tiling as pioneered by dwm et al is a very nice solution. I have implemented some details to handle popups and similar things gracefully, as I view a lot of information through dunst.

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                                          I usually use i3, but when I installed Gentoo I wanted to see if my computer could run KDE 5 nicely, so I installed it, and it turns out it’s rather nice. It works, has snappy windows, n stuff. Looks modern.

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                                            OpenBSD cwm.

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                                              I like it simple on my Linux boxes: fluxbox. Uses little RAM, gets out of the way, and especially on Debian integrates with package management to auto-update the root menu. I don’t need a desktop environment.

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                                                Seconding this. Debian menu integration is lovely.

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                                                macOS Sierra’s native full screen apps/Spaces & Spectacle for basic window management on non-fullscreen spaces.

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                                                  Yeah +1 to Spectacle. On my linux machines at home I run xmonad + xmobar, after switching from Awesome and when I got my work macbook the lack of tiling support drove me absolutely nuts. Spectacle isn’t a full replacement by any means, but it beats the heck out of the built in window manager.

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                                                  bspwm with a custom lemonbar script.

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                                                    No desktop environment, but openbox, xfce4-panel, compton, conky, dunst, iccloader and this for mount/umount notifications:

                                                    devmon --exec-on-drive "notify-send \"%l (%f) mounted on %d\"" --exec-on-disc "notify-send \"%l (%f) mounted on %d\""
                                                    
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                                                      I run xmonad along with xmobar, I really should release my dotfiles to the wild. When I’m coding I tend to have one window that only contains one st instance running tmux, and I switch between all the panes when I need to. Keeping the other windows for the web, docs and other terminal stuff.

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                                                        I am running xmonad on OpenBSD: screenshot

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                                                          I found rofi reasonably recently, and it’s now well and truly one of the applications I cannot live without.

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                                                          I use LXDE, which is installed by apt-get install lxde-core in Debian.

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                                                            Cinnamon. For some reason I just can’t get used to tiling window managers. I’ve tried.

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                                                              Wingo, at work, on the go and at home.

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                                                                more or less a plain dwm (i customized the colors and keymappings a bit) with a custom dwmstatus written in go.

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                                                                  I use a modified ratpoison on OpenBSD and macOS.

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                                                                    I’ve gone through pretty much every window manager out there and have come to the conclusion that I like having one package that I can install and be done with (without having to install a bunch of deps, i.e. bspwm + lemonbar + sxhkd and the likes). On a laptop, where screen real estate is important, I use dwm. I did fork it at one point, but I usually just go with the vanilla build with some keybinding/color tweaks now. On my desktop, I’ll often use cwm (when I’m running something super light), or openbox (when I feel like my desktop is particularly bloated and don’t care anymore).

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                                                                      I’m on xfce. I tried GNOME3 before and found it to be extremely sluggish.

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                                                                        At work I’m on OSX, so I’m using whatever the default OSX thing is. I did however, purchase Moom (https://manytricks.com/moom/) a long time ago, which goes a little way to making OSX feel as hospitable as my AwesomeWM desktop I use at home.

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                                                                          FWIW, X11 is supported on OS X - see XQuartz. Running a window manager will require running X11-supporting applications in a single window (and an X11 window manager can’t manage Aqua apps), but perhaps that’ll be sufficient for your requirements.

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                                                                          My custom fork of dwm: https://github.com/deadpixi/deadpixi-dwm

                                                                          What’s interesting about it is that terminals can swallow graphical applications launched from them a la Rio on Plan 9. That means that you don’t have a bunch of terminals lying around that were just created to launch another program.

                                                                          (Yes you can use dmenu to launch a graphical program and I do, but not if it breaks my workflow. Specifically, dmenu doesn’t do tab expansion. If I’m already in a directory somewhere and need to look at a PDF, for example, I can just launch the PDF viewer and have it run right there. It’s nice.)

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                                                                            For everything but my laptops, wmii. The rest of the time is on OSX, where I use Spectacle to (basically) tile my apps via the keyboard.

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                                                                              At work, Windows 7 commands the most screen real estate, since it’s the VM host and I never got Outlook running anywhere else. Notably, I do almost all web browsing there (Firefox Nightly). UPDATE: of course windows is using the classic theme, hotkey underlines set to always on, animation times set to zero, etc. :)

                                                                              StumpWM (locally built) on VM “A”. It’s a stock setup, other than I set up swank to start automatically so I can use slime to introspect my WM. Other than programmatically making a little floating window slowly move diagonally across the screen, once, I’ve never used that functionality for anything… But it feels powerful. :)

                                                                              i3wm on VM “B”. I think it’s stock? I keep meaning to replace it with stumpwm, but it’s been not-a-priority for at least 1.5 years.

                                                                              The thing is, with three large monitors and a Windows host… I almost always maximize whatever window I’m looking at to occupy a full monitor. I do that with Winkey+up, or in the case of remote desktop windows or VMs, by dragging the title bar to the top or some monitor. The VMs are just a couple more windows… Generally the apps in them are maximized or tiled side by side (vertically).

                                                                              Home and away, on my very old 32-bit thinkpad, I’m running stumpwm (locally built) and I actually added a key binding! C-t q starts qupzilla. It probably starts another one if I hit it twice; no special handling was used… Plenty of vertical split, horizontal split, I even resize panes sometimes.. It’s a small screen!

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                                                                                Most of the time, Plasma 5 (KDE). It works well and since it has many configuration possibilities, I can easily make it work the way I want.

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                                                                                  Custom dwm with a sophisticated custom dwmstatus. No real DE to speak of, but some of my most important GUI programs are: urxvt, TB, FF, and an assortment of GNOME and GTK apps.

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                                                                                    I’m running awesome on OpenBSD as my main desktop.

                                                                                    Here is an old photo (OpenBSD 5.8) of my desktop, time to do an update :~)

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                                                                                      Vanilla Windows 7. :-)

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                                                                                        I so want to flag this troll. :-)

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                                                                                          Windows 10 + Classic Shell for me.

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                                                                                            My obligatory Windows box uses Windows 7 and the “Classic” theme (what a coworker once called “Windows 97”)… kids these days

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                                                                                            I’m running Debian Testing (stretch ATM) with Gnome-shell 3.20.2. I’m not ecstatic about it, but it serves my purposes and mostly stays out of my way.

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                                                                                              sawfish, xmobar, rofi

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                                                                                                Arch Linux running Awesome as a tiling window manager. I’ve been meaning to shift to xmonad for a few years, but other changes have used up my budget. Maybe early 2017.

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                                                                                                  Lightly patched dwm/dmenu on OpenBSD, with my desktop environment consisting of firefox, urxvt, and mplayer. I got really used to it, and now I have a hard time using anything else. Tried xmonad once, and didn’t yet understand Haskell well enough to wrap my head around configuring it. Might go back once I’m a little more learned.

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                                                                                                    OS X at the moment, and whatever the default thing is. http://imgur.com/a/VKDQC

                                                                                                    I like emacs and iterm special fullscreen, and 1 workspace for every other program open (typically chrome, slack, skype, sometimes itunes/spotify, etc)

                                                                                                    One of these days I’ll get a proper desktop again and go back to xmonad, which was always my favorite wm.

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                                                                                                      Aqua on OS X and usually a full-screen iTerm with tmux for serious work ;).

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                                                                                                        What version of OS X are you on? I might be wrong, but I don’t think Aqua’s been there for years.

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                                                                                                          Aqua is still the name of the default OS X GUI.

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                                                                                                            My bad.

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                                                                                                        I use i3 (sometimes with customizations) but I also like Gnome 3.

                                                                                                        Right now I’m using dwm as my WM and explorer as the panel - not exactly Unixy.

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                                                                                                          My daily driver is OS X; when I am subjected to the horrors of X11, I use notion to have multiple emacs buffers open at once.

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                                                                                                            StumpWM on Debian, but I also intend to switch to FreeBSD.

                                                                                                            A couple weekends ago I actually had my home desktop (an old iMac) up and running with FreeBSD, but ran into a few of issues that I didn’t have time to sort out at the time, so I ended up back on Debian until I can figure out my issues. StumpWM itself seemed to work great on FreeBSD.

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                                                                                                              xfce + xmonad

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                                                                                                                I hopped from window manager to window manager for about two years, then I settled with dwm.

                                                                                                                I couldn’t really program in C at the time, so the flexibility was somewhat limited.

                                                                                                                z3bra and dcat came out with wmutils, so I just got their scripts and adapted them for my usage, and I’ve been using that for about a year now.

                                                                                                                I called the collection Window Mangler!

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                                                                                                                  dwm

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                                                                                                                    I used Openbox with no DE for 6 years and about half of that time I was running PyTyle for almost-tiling behavior. I spend some time on dwm and awesome years ago, but they never stuck with me and I always went back to OpenBox. Same for when I tried Gnome 3, Unity and Xfce.

                                                                                                                    As of late 2014 I discovered that Cinnamon had hit a level of polish sufficient for me to tolerate it. Since then I have even come to prefer it.

                                                                                                                    However, if you look at my workflow, i.e. what I actually do and how I interact with Cinnamon, I keep animations off, launch things with dmenu and 90% of my window management hotkeys are the same as they were back in Openbox. So it doesn’t feel like much has changed, really. I just get a few more polished settings utilities out of the box.

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                                                                                                                      ITT: The reason I love Lobste.rs

                                                                                                                      Ya’ll on some good shit.

                                                                                                                      I use i3-gaps, yabar, themer, xterm, emacs on this: Linux kfbk 4.6.0-0.bpo.1-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.6.1-1~bpo8+1 (2016-06-14) x86_64 GNU/Linux

                                                                                                                      Happily more productive than ever and I never have to leave home row.

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                                                                                                                        I use i3 and have done so for at least 2 years now. I can’t use DE’s anymore they’re too bloaty.

                                                                                                                        I have been looking into bspwm though.

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                                                                                                                          Started with window maker in its early days – stayed until i3 appeared and got good. Then I wrote my own: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vY2B9m5HDM&list=PLGqpKIeZOSp6quf6CmMOr91Tmj4UppyoR

                                                                                                                          Anyone with even more wild ideas that might make things better? I’m all ears.

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                                                                                                                            I use Arch Linux with herbstluftwm, tint2 panel and rofi. I have some pics here: http://imgur.com/a/jTdQS

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                                                                                                                              i3 on the desktop. Switch between Unity, MATE, MATE+KWin, KWin+KRunner and Windowmaker depending on the mood. As of last week, pantheon-desktop has replaced Unity on a couple of machines. However the key-mappings for window and workspace management, launching preferred apps etc are the exact same under all these environments. When forced to use for $DAYJOB, Windows and OS X feel sluggish and I dull.

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                                                                                                                                XMonad, for quite awhile now. Usually with 2 or 3 monitors, but it helps me to use the limited space afforded by a laptop more effectively too.

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                                                                                                                                  OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Linux: spectrwm: it’s a tiling WM, a lot like dwm or xmonad, but seems to handle multiple monitors better than dwm or awesome, and doesn’t depend on Haskell like xmonad. Otherwise, just X11 (no “desktop” as such), dmenu, emacs, chrome. A bunch of cross-OS setup in Ansible.

                                                                                                                                  OSX: A bunch of custom keybindings and some hammerspoon config to get similar Cmd-(number) workspace switching, albeit with vastly inferior multi-monitor behavior.

                                                                                                                                  Windows: A bunch of Virtuawin config to have a similar multi-monitor/multi-workspace setup, which actually works quite well. (Though I haven’t tried it on Windows 10 yet.)