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non compos mentis

Sawfish WM

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sawfish window manager

sawfish window manager on debian squeeze

I tried Sawfish window manager out this morning.

Sawfish is an extensible window manager using a Lisp-based scripting language. Its policy is very minimal compared to most window managers. Its aim is simply to manage windows in the most flexible and attractive manner possible. All high-level WM functions are implemented in Lisp for future extensibility or redefinition.

Basically, it’s very lightweight and fast, which I love. It manages windows. That’s it. It doesn’t get in the way with a bunch of “desktop environment” bloat. To really make it work for me, I’d have to figure out better how to control it via the keyboard, and, especially, program my own keybindings. There is a little gui tool for adding keybindings, but it seems to only provide the means of adding a binding for sawfish’s own functions, and calling a terminal, whereas, I’d like to pull up a “run program” dialog (like grun, fbrun, that kind of thing), and program some bindings to bring up my most used applications, as I have in OpenBox. All in all, I don’t see any advantage in it over OpenBox, but I can see myself playing with it further. Apparently the keybindings and other features can be programmed in with Lisp, which I’d like to learn anyway. (I recently had an exchange with RMS in which I tentatively offered to add an extension for emacs to export a file to .djvu, and probably it’s best to just learn lisp to do that, no? ). I was able to set a wallpaper with gsetroot, and I DID program in Mod-t to bring up a terminal, but I used the gui tool to do that.
Essentially, Sawfish is the kind of window manager I like. Simple, fast, unfettered with useless bloat. OpenBox has been my default, of late, but I do sometimes switch over to wmii for it’s excellent tiling features.

The screenshot is from my experimentation with sawfish 1.3.5.2 on Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 Squeeze on AMD64 architecture.  You see a roxterm, the window manager’s menu (middle click), and a small conky in the bottom right corner (just as I use in openbox) to display a clock and monitor system parameters (cpu/ram/swaap use, net up/down).

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Written by tonybaldwin

February 11, 2011 at 8:23 am

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