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#1 2006-01-22 23:08:47

tomfitzyuk
Member
Registered: 2005-12-30
Posts: 89

How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

For the purposes of my post: DE = WM

Hey,

It's hard enough for me to choose which distribution to use. I think the next biggest decision for me is which DE I am to use.

It's most likely between:
- KDE
- XFCE4
- Fluxbox
- Enlightenment

KDE
Why I should use it: Loading some of my favourite programs is tremendously fast (kopete, amarok). I think Konquerer is really nice.

Why I shouldn't use it: It tries too hard, it's far too integrated. Some key sequences are stolen by KDE which would otherwise be used for other applications, such as switching between tabs with Ctrl+T in firefox.

XFCE4
Why I should use it: Looks cool, lightweight (despite having a moderately high-end computer, I'd much rather have a lightweight DE).
Why I shouldn't use it: Customization seems a little limited (though in fairness I haven't tried as much as I have with KDE/Fluxbox).

Fluxbox
Why I should use it: My favourite for customizability, it's lightweight, it only does what's neccessary. startx; wait 1ms; GUI yikes

Why I shouldn't use it: Loading amarok, firefox, kopete is much slower in Fluxbox than it is in KDE.

Enlightenment
Having experimented with this enough to say anything nice/bad about it.

So, which DE (remember, DE=WM too) do you use, and why?

Tom

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#2 2006-01-22 23:21:12

T-Dawg
Forum Fellow
From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I use xfce because its lightweight and I feel that I have more freedom to choose which applications I want to use instead of being limited to what kde has, although kde's apps are great.
I don't really care for *boxes because they are too bare.
For me, xfce is the perfect balance between minimal (*boxes) and bloated (kde).

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#3 2006-01-22 23:32:16

jakob
Member
From: Berlin
Registered: 2005-10-27
Posts: 419

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I went for fluxbox after trying anything that I found (kde, enlightenment, even ratpoison, wmii, ion3, blackbox but most of them except the first 2 only for a couple of hours)... i have all the apps in the bar at the bottom, alt + tab switches windows as well as mouse focus does, that's all i need...

the key-grabber is also very nice in fluxbox with which you can configure your multimediakeys smile

.hellwoofa

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#4 2006-01-22 23:36:35

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

tomfitzyuk wrote:

For the purposes of my post: DE = WM

Hey,

It's hard enough for me to choose which distribution to use. I think the next biggest decision for me is which DE I am to use.

It's most likely between:
- KDE
- XFCE4
- Fluxbox
- Enlightenment

KDE
Why I should use it: Loading some of my favourite programs is tremendously fast (kopete, amarok). I think Konquerer is really nice.

Why I shouldn't use it: It tries too hard, it's far too integrated. Some key sequences are stolen by KDE which would otherwise be used for other applications, such as switching between tabs with Ctrl+T in firefox.

You can change keyboard shortcuts in kde control center. And the integration? It rocks. Make sure you check out dcop and the notification system (Settings > Configure Notifications)

XFCE4
Why I should use it: Looks cool, lightweight (despite having a moderately high-end computer, I'd much rather have a lightweight DE).
Why I shouldn't use it: Customization seems a little limited (though in fairness I haven't tried as much as I have with KDE/Fluxbox).

XFCE is pretty customisable.... what do you want to do? wink Take a look at xfce-look.org

Fluxbox
Why I should use it: My favourite for customizability, it's lightweight, it only does what's neccessary. startx; wait 1ms; GUI yikes

Why I shouldn't use it: Loading amarok, firefox, kopete is much slower in Fluxbox than it is in KDE.

Configure XFCE to load KDE and GNOME services, and then run xfce-mcs-manager when you start Fluxbox. That should speed up programs and give  some other nice things.

If you dont know how to do any of that, looky here, My FAQ: http://iphitus.loudas.com/fluxbox.php

Enlightenment
Having experimented with this enough to say anything nice/bad about it.

So, which DE (remember, DE=WM too) do you use, and why?

Tom

Cant say anythin about E17 here either, havnt used it.

Which? I'd say try them all.

Most DE's, even KDE, are made up of components. So if theres bits you like of KDE, and bits of XFCE, you *can* mix and match them. I used to run GNOME with fluxbox as the window manager. Or Fluxbox, xfce settings daemen (xfce-mcs-manager). On one computer I have been running KDE with the xfce window manager. Currently, I am running straight KDE.

So you *can* swap and change.

iphitus

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#5 2006-01-22 23:54:53

ozar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2005-02-18
Posts: 1,681

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

fvwm... because I like it


oz

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#6 2006-01-22 23:56:41

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

Currently, I use FVWM after using kde for a while. FVWM is lightweight and highly customizable. However, the configuration is done via config files.  I've always seen XFCE4 as a nice alternative to KDE but I've never used it much.

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#7 2006-01-23 00:26:53

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I use pekwm because its highly configurable and the syntax isn't quite as ugly as for the other text based configurable window manager.  Nobody's written a decent one that can be configured in Python yet. :'(

This isn't really a new topic, you'll find loads of related info in a forum search. Flamewars too if you want some giggles. :-)

Dusty

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#8 2006-01-23 02:08:29

Kern
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2005-02-09
Posts: 464

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

xfce4 +services for me too. similar reason as Penguins.
its a nice clean inbetweeny smile

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#9 2006-01-23 02:09:38

Gullible Jones
Member
Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 4,863

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

Shadowhand's XFCE4-svn packages rock, especially Thunar.

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#10 2006-01-23 02:25:53

elasticdog
Member
From: Washington, USA
Registered: 2005-05-02
Posts: 995
Website

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I'm all over the Xfce myself...same reasons as above, looking for something that's nice, but not too over-bloated.  I definitely want to try out the SVN version, since it looks like there are a ton of improvements and Thunar looks like a great file manager, but I haven't had the time to mess around with it yet.

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#11 2006-01-23 02:53:53

ozar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2005-02-18
Posts: 1,681

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

elasticdog wrote:

it looks like there are a ton of improvements and Thunar looks like a great file manager, but I haven't had the time to mess around with it yet.

Sorry to say this , but I'm a bit disappointed with Thunar.  Of course it might be much better before the official release, but at the present it feels slow and incomplete to me... better than the current file manager (xffm), but not as good as rox-filer, at least in my opinion.

Didn't mean to hijack the thread...   :oops:


oz

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#12 2006-01-23 04:29:29

stonecrest
Member
From: Boulder
Registered: 2005-01-22
Posts: 1,190

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I use fvwm too but I would definitely choose xfce from that list. Light, good-looking, modular, and easy to use.

And not to further hijack the thread but I find that Thunar is one of the best programs out there. Light and fast, extremely useable, and looks great. Not too surprisingly, I also think rox is an absolutely terrible program. But to each their own smile


I am a gated community.

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#13 2006-01-23 04:44:15

ozar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2005-02-18
Posts: 1,681

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

stonecrest wrote:

And not to further hijack the thread but I find that Thunar is one of the best programs out there. Light and fast, extremely useable, and looks great. Not too surprisingly, I also think rox is an absolutely terrible program. But to each their own smile

Hi, stonecrest... I'm sure hoping to feel that way, too, once it's ready to go.  smile


oz

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#14 2006-01-23 06:09:39

_Gandalf_
Member
Registered: 2006-01-12
Posts: 735

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I always used gnome, i have fluxbox installed and i like it, it's fast and customizable but when i am using gnome i feel like i'm home smile I'm just too used to it

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#15 2006-01-23 12:14:48

Kern
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2005-02-09
Posts: 464

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

thanks for the pointer MrJones, im so set in with xfce4 id not considered changing anything, let alone look for variants. will give shadows a try.

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#16 2006-01-23 12:52:38

pressh
Developer/TU
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2005-08-14
Posts: 1,719

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

/me uses fvwm because it's blazing fast and I can configure it easy all the way I want smile
For about the filemanager, I'll have to go with ozar:

ozar wrote:

Sorry to say this , but I'm a bit disappointed with Thunar. Of course it might be much better before the official release, but at the present it feels slow and incomplete to me... better than the current file manager (xffm), but not as good as rox-filer, at least in my opinion.

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#17 2006-01-23 12:59:04

Moo-Crumpus
Member
From: Hessen / Germany
Registered: 2003-12-01
Posts: 1,444

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

You have to follow your own taste, thats all.


Frumpus addict
[mu'.krum.pus], [frum.pus]

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#18 2006-01-23 15:36:09

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

pressh wrote:

/me uses fvwm because it's blazing fast and I can configure it easy all the way I want smile
For about the filemanager, I'll have to go with ozar:

ozar wrote:

Sorry to say this , but I'm a bit disappointed with Thunar. Of course it might be much better before the official release, but at the present it feels slow and incomplete to me... better than the current file manager (xffm), but not as good as rox-filer, at least in my opinion.

Thunar is probably like that because.... oh heck! It's exactly what it is. It is slow and incomplete. But hey, they're miles off a release... so duh?

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#19 2006-01-23 15:48:03

ozar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2005-02-18
Posts: 1,681

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

iphitus wrote:

Thunar is probably like that because.... oh heck! It's exactly what it is. It is slow and incomplete. But hey, they're miles off a release... so duh?

I totally agree, and it's miles from a release because it still needs so much work.  I'm uncertain as to why so many users talk about like it's already the best thing out there.  It's easy to see it has great potential, though.


oz

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#20 2006-01-23 16:20:30

lydgate
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2006-01-10
Posts: 60

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I thought I should mention, there is a way in XFCE to have it load K/Gnome services at start up.  It's in one of the settings pages, I forget which one.  This slows down its load time, but it does make amaroK etc start up much faster.  Also prelinking can help with that.

In the past eight months (my first encounter with unix) I have done this:

Ubuntu for about 1 day
Slackware with Gnome for a few months
Slackware with XFCE for a few months
Arch with XFCE for a month
Arch with OpenBox and XFCE Panel/Taskbar for a few days
Arch with OpenBox and fbpanel for a week
(apart from using Waimea for a few days when I somehow broke OpenBox themes)

Basically I keep getting lighter and lighter smile
I think this is sort of a natural process as you get into it.  So don't worry too much about what you start out with.  If you're big into K though, XFCE + starting K services seems most responsive, especially with prelinking

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#21 2006-01-23 20:20:19

limpio
Member
Registered: 2005-12-31
Posts: 52

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

For me, it was a matter of elimination after trying quite a few. I needed something light, fast, and easily configurable.

I use an old box (P2 266/128 RAM), I like to have a panel to see what windows i got open right away, a clock/date and only 2 virtual desktops, Alt+Tab right off the bat, also i wanna launch my apps with the keyboard.

Here's my ~/.icewm/keys:

key "Ctrl+F1"                   aterm
key "Ctrl+F2"                   xfe
key "Ctrl+F3"                   xchat
key "Ctrl+F4"                   gliv
key "Ctrl+F5"                   firefox
key "Ctrl+F6"                   opera
key "Ctrl+F7"                   thunderbird
key "Ctrl+F8"                   xpdf

I get the Root Menu by pressing the "windows" key if i needed it.

Alt+F4=closes app
Alt+F10=maximizes
Alt+F12=rollup
Windows key+right/left arrows=virtual desktop of your choice

and a bunch of others i never use.

Apart from the hardware limitations (if there is any), the most important thing is: that YOU feel confortable, without having to think how you're gonna do the next operation; if you have to think...move on to another wm/DE.

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#22 2006-01-23 22:52:09

SleepyDog
Member
Registered: 2004-10-15
Posts: 114

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I switch between larsWM, wmii, and rio

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#23 2006-01-25 05:08:57

mac57
Member
From: St. Somewhere
Registered: 2006-01-06
Posts: 302
Website

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

I use a combo of XFCE4 + Rox desktop. In the past I have used IceWM extensively (lightening fast, but limited in functionality) and KDE (massive functionality, massive size, s-l-o-w to load).

I find that XFCE4 gives me all the functions I need in a window manager without a lot of the bloat. The one thing I really miss in XFCE4 though is desktop icons - I am fond of having icons for my major devices, such as Zip disk, CF Reader, external hard drive, etc. on the desktop, so that access is one click away.

Rox provides the desktop icons, and yet like XFCE4 it is light and fast. Just the functions you need and not much more.

So, with XFCE4 for the window manager and Rox for the desktop, I am set. The whole arrangement is very fast to come up (a small number of seconds at most - a bit slower than something like IceWm, but you get a lot more for it) and gives me all the functionality I need. I would recommend it.

BTW, if you have messed around with VectorLinux in the past, you will find that they offer XFCE4+Rox as a standard desktop. I have Vector on an older computer of mine, and that is where I got the idea. Try it out, you'll like it!


Cast off the Microsoft shackles Jan 2005

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#24 2006-01-25 05:10:53

mac57
Member
From: St. Somewhere
Registered: 2006-01-06
Posts: 302
Website

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

One other thing - of course Rox is an exellent file manager as well; in fact this is its principal function. It runs rings around xffm. XFCE4 is such a good window manager - I can't understand why it comes with such a BAD file manager!

So, XFCE for window manager, Rox for desktop and Rox for file manager. You're set!


Cast off the Microsoft shackles Jan 2005

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#25 2006-01-25 05:29:31

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: How am I supposed to choose between all these DE's?

lydgate wrote:

I thought I should mention, there is a way in XFCE to have it load K/Gnome services at start up.  It's in one of the settings pages, I forget which one.  This slows down its load time, but it does make amaroK etc start up much faster.  Also prelinking can help with that.

In the past eight months (my first encounter with unix) I have done this:

Ubuntu for about 1 day
Slackware with Gnome for a few months
Slackware with XFCE for a few months
Arch with XFCE for a month
Arch with OpenBox and XFCE Panel/Taskbar for a few days
Arch with OpenBox and fbpanel for a week
(apart from using Waimea for a few days when I somehow broke OpenBox themes)

Basically I keep getting lighter and lighter smile
I think this is sort of a natural process as you get into it.  So don't worry too much about what you start out with.  If you're big into K though, XFCE + starting K services seems most responsive, especially with prelinking

You will find that over time you use a big one, kde or gnome for something.... and you revert... and it starts allll over again.

Or at least thats how it works for me smile

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