Since I'm a bastard to please, I've again switched away from ion3. I'm now back to using Openbox 3 as my work environment, though I believe it to be suboptimal for my workflow. Call me fickle. Details under the cut.

One of the reasons why I find most of the present-day environments suboptimal is probably because I have been so spoiled by ion3 (and have used ion3 for so long) that I have formed some opinions and assumptions about my work environment. Here's a rundown of my habits:

  1. I agree with Tuomo Valkonnen: the window manager should manage windows, not me. I don't like having to move through a stack of windows just to pull up a single window; I don't want to have to move my hand to the mouse to resize a window; I dislike the clutter of overlapping (floating) windows.

    When working on something, I usually have two Emacs frames up and running, one with my mail and the other with a buffer with a file I'm currently working on, whether source or other. I also have several browser windows open, and hidden in another desktop, as well as several terminals. With this setup, I don't want to be bothered with the terminal windows while editing source code, and I don't want to have to move the Emacs window when it obscures a terminal window, for example. However, I want to be able to quickly switch to the terminal window with a keystroke.

  2. Although I like having my windows maximized by my window manager automatically, I also need to see at a glance what windows are open in a particular desktop. Before using ion3, I was a ratpoison user— I switched to ion3 primarily so that I could have a listing of windows on a desktop without having to hit a keystroke. Under ratpoison, I had to hit C-t w to get a list of windows. With ion3, I know at a glance which windows are on a desktop, and...
  3. ...have one keystroke access to all my windows in a particular desktop. Currently, with Openbox and other window managers with an overlapping window policy, I have to circulate through the list of open windows just to get to a single window.

    With the above example, I know which Emacs frame I want to go to from the terminal. I don't want to have to move my hand to the mouse just to point to the Emacs frame. Under ion3 and my custom setup, I could hit Mod4-1 to select it (if it's the first window in the frame), and hit Mod4-Backspace to go back to my previous window. In fact, I could hit Mod4-Backspace to alternate between the two windows, across desktops in fact. I have yet to find an equivalent in Openbox or other environments

  4. I need a system tray/notification tray. Although ion3 does not have a EWMH-compliant system tray (it follows a simpler protocol), I use mod_dock and an app called docker (as well as window hints to move the docker window to the dock). Why do I need this? I have several apps running — GNOME's NetworkManager applet, power manager, and bluetooth applets in particular. Without the dock, I would have to go through a barage of steps just to switch WiFi networks, for instance; this is one case where I don't mind using the mouse.

The reason for the switch back to Openbox is so I can wean myself slowly away from ion3. The mod_xinerama module that I mentioned in my last post is sort of broken, and I don't have the time to figure out how to get it running. Openbox Just Works when I resize my desktop across monitors, and although I find the whole setup still suboptimal, I might as well live with it.

Tune in; I might suddenly decide to move back to ion3.


Just watched the latest episode of House, and wow. The killer scene, I have to admit is between House and Cuddy. House has just ordered the candidates to steal Cuddy's thong, and someone has purportedly done it. House wants to check:

(House intentionally drops his bottle of Vicodin, Cuddy bends over to pick it up)
House: (wide-eyed) OH. MY. GOD! You're not wearing underwear!
Cuddy: Of course I am, I—
House: Skirt that tight, you got no secrets. Skirt that tight, I can tell if you've got an IUD. Seen Dr. Cole?
Cuddy: No...
House: You're blushing.
Cuddy: I am not.
House: Look at me.
(Cuddy turns to House)
House:OH. MY. GOD.

Of course, it's way funnier when you watch it.

That and the ending, which I'm not spoiling.

Previously: Desktop Environments, Or How To Piss Off Your Users