January 17, 2019

Window Managers Explained - page 3


  • September 16, 1999
  • By Steve Singer

Afterstep's look and feel is based on the Nextstep desktop from the NEXT operating system. Afterstep has many bells and whistles not traditionally found in the X-Windows world. For example, clicking on a mouse button will generate a beeping sound. Another eye catching visual cue is the way windows flip down in an animated fashion when you click on the minimize button. Much of the behaviour of Aftersteps can be customized through Afterstep's popup menu. Basic properties of the look and feel can be changed through the menus, but adding new programs to the popup menus still requires editing a configuration file. Afterstep is a good window manager for people who like flashy graphics or sound. It is also a lot easier to configure than some of the other window managers mentioned. I especially liked the ability to control the mouse speed through menus.


Enlightenmnet is a window manager with the goal of being as configurable as possible. Enlightenment allows you to not only select between different border and window styles, but also to design your own. Enlightenment like Afterstep has many visual bells and whistles such as audio support and fancy borders. A graphical configuration program allows you to select between different Enlightenment themes (configurations) and control many aspects of the look and feel. However, there is still no easy way to add items to the program menu. The Enlightenment configuration files are cryptic when compared to the configuration files of other window managers. I also could not figure out what happened to windows once I minimized them. They disappeared from the desktop but I was unable to find an iconified version, nor was I able to bring up a window list. I played around with all of the themes included with RedHat 6.0 and found features lacking in all of them. The missing functionality can probably be added by changing the configuration files but the changes required where not obvious. I would recommend Enlightenment to experienced users who want fancy graphics in a highly customizable environment. Enlightenment might also be suitable for users with less experience if a desktop environment such as GNOME is running on top of it, but otherwise Afterstep might be a better choice for those seeking pretty graphics.

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