Archive for the ‘Free Software Graphical Environments’ Category

Why don’t you use Window Maker GNU Step to improve your computer interaction performance

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Why-dont-you-use-Window-Maker-graphical-environment-for-your-GNU_Linux-FreeBSD-desktop

If you're pissed off too already of GNOME 3 Unity / GNOME 3 Flashback and KDE Plasma  as I am you perhaps are looking for something more light weigth but you're not okay with default Debian Cinnanom GUI environment or you don't feel confortable for system administration jobs and programming with XFCE then perhaps you would like to give a try to something more old school but build with good design in Mind.

Those who are fans of the evil genius Steve Jobs (as Richard Stallman use to call him), definitely Remember NeXT company and the revolutionary Graphic Environment they tried to develop NeXT Step then you'll be happy to hear about GNUStep  which historically was called AfterStep and is a Free Software remake of NextStep graphical environment for Free and Open Source operating systems (FOSS) such as GNU / Linux and FreeBSD / OpenBSD / NetBSD etc.

Amanda_the_panda_mascot_of_window_maker-graphical-environment-system

Amanda the Panda is the mascot of Window Maker. She was designed by Agnieszka Czajkowska.

The good thing about Window Maker and the complete bunch of desktop environment GNUStep is it much lighter and less complex than the more and more becoming bloated modern Free Software graphical environments, it definitely easifies the way the user interacts with basic browsing with Firefox / Opera, terminal code writting or command system administration and basic chat functionalities such as with Gajim or Pidgin and basic email writting operatins be it with some text email client such as Mutt or with Thunderbird. Its great also to reduce the overall load the Operating System puts on your brain so you can have more time to invest in more useful stuff like programming.

windows-maker-increase-performance-of-work-with-your-computer-howto-wmaker-screenshot

After all simplicity in Operating System is a key for an increased productivity with your computer.
Besides that stability of Window Maker is much better when compared to GNOME and GNOME 2 fork MATE graphical environment which nowadays in my opinion is becoming even more buggy than it used to be some years ago.

Below is how Window Makers site describes Window Maker:

"Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world.

Window Maker has a stable user interface since many years and comes with a powerful GUI configuration editor called WPrefs, which removes the need to edit text-based config files by hand. It supports running dockapps which make everyday tasks such as monitoring system performance and battery usage, mounting devices or connecting to the internet very easy. Please see the features section for more specifics on what Window Maker can do, and how it compares with other popular window managers."

Window Maker is bundled with a number of useful applications which gives ability to put Dock applets easily for easily intearcive desktop update of current Weather Report, Monitoring Network Traffic, TV Player (video4linux), laptop battery info dock, CD player and Volume control management app, text editor, pdf viewer, integrated Mail application, Calculator, RSS Reader, GNUStep games and much useful things to customize from the desktop resembling many of the basic features any other graphical environment such as GNOME / KDE Provides.

The User Interface (UI) of Window Maker is highly configurable with an integrated WMaker tool called

WPrefs

Why-dont-you-use-Wmaker-for-better-desktop-performance-Windowmaker_colour_preferences

All generated settings from WPrefs (Window Maker Prefernces) GUI tool are to be stored in a plaintext file:
 

~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMRootMenu

All Wmaker configurations are stored inside ~/GNUstep/ (Your user home GNUStep), so if you're to become its user sooner or later you will have to get acquired to it.

Wmaker is very minimalist and the performance is killing so Window Maker is perhaps the number one choice Graphical Environment to use on Old Computers with Linux and BSD.

Below is a full list of all packages installed on my Debian GNU / Linux that provides WMaker / GNUStep great functionalities:

root@jericho:/home/hipo# dpkg -l |grep -i wmaker; dpkg -l |grep -i gnustep
ii  wmaker                                        0.95.8-2                             amd64        NeXTSTEP-like window manager for X
ii  wmaker-common                                 0.95.8-2                             all          Window Maker – Architecture independent files
ii  wmbattery                                     2.50-1+b1                            amd64        display laptop battery info, dockable in WindowMaker
ii  wmcdplay                                      1.1-2+b1                             amd64        CD player based on ascd designed for WindowMaker
ii  wmifs                                         1.8-1                                amd64        WindowMaker dock app for monitoring network traffic
ii  wmnut                                         0.66-1                               amd64        WindowMaker dock app that displays UPS statistics from NUT's upsd
ii  wmpuzzle                                      0.5.2-2+b1                           amd64        WindowMaker dock app 4×4 puzzle
ii  wmrack                                        1.4-5+b1                             amd64        Combined CD Player + Mixer designed for WindowMaker
ii  wmtv                                          0.6.6-1                              amd64        Dockable video4linux TV player for WindowMaker
ii  wmweather                                     2.4.6-2+b1                           amd64        WindowMaker dockapp that shows your current weather
ii  wmweather+                                    2.15-1.1+b2                          amd64        WindowMaker dock app that shows your current weather
ii  addressmanager.app                            0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Personal Address Manager for GNUstep
ii  agenda.app                                    0.42.2-1+b7                          amd64        Calendar manager for GNUstep
ii  charmap.app                                   0.3~rc1-3                            amd64        Character map for GNUstep
ii  charmap.app-common                            0.3~rc1-3                            all          Character map for GNUstep (arch-independent files)
ii  cynthiune.app                                 1.0.0-1+b4                           amd64        Music player for GNUstep
ii  dictionaryreader.app                          0+20080616+dfsg-2+b6                 amd64        Dict client for GNUstep
ii  edenmath.app                                  1.1.1a-7.1+b1                        amd64        Scientific calculator for GNUstep
ii  gnumail.app                                   1.2.2-1.1                            amd64        Mail client for GNUstep
ii  gnumail.app-common                            1.2.2-1.1                            all          Mail client for GNUstep (common files)
ii  gnustep                                       7.8                                  all          User applications for the GNUstep Environment
ii  gnustep-back-common                           0.25.0-2                             amd64        GNUstep GUI Backend – common files
ii  gnustep-back0.25                              0.25.0-2                             all          GNUstep GUI Backend
ii  gnustep-back0.25-cairo                        0.25.0-2                             amd64        GNUstep GUI Backend (cairo)
ii  gnustep-base-common                           1.24.9-3.1                           all          GNUstep Base library – common files
ii  gnustep-base-doc                              1.24.9-3.1                           all          Documentation for the GNUstep Base Library
ii  gnustep-base-runtime                          1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base library – daemons and tools
ii  gnustep-common                                2.7.0-1                              amd64        Common files for the core GNUstep environment
ii  gnustep-core-devel                            7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — core libraries
ii  gnustep-core-doc                              7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — core documentation
ii  gnustep-devel                                 7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — development tools
ii  gnustep-games                                 7.8                                  all          GNUstep games
ii  gnustep-gui-common                            0.25.0-4                             all          GNUstep GUI Library – common files
ii  gnustep-gui-doc                               0.25.0-4                             all          Documentation for the GNUstep GUI Library
ii  gnustep-gui-runtime                           0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI Library – runtime files
ii  gnustep-icons                                 1.0-5                                all          Several free icons for use with GNUstep and others
ii  gnustep-make                                  2.7.0-1                              all          GNUstep build system
ii  gnustep-make-doc                              2.7.0-1                              all          Documentation for GNUstep Make
ii  gomoku.app                                    1.2.9-2+b2                           amd64        Extended TicTacToe game for GNUstep
ii  gorm.app                                      1.2.23-1                             amd64        Visual Interface Builder for GNUstep
ii  gridlock.app                                  1.10-4+b2                            amd64        Collection of grid-based board games for GNUstep
ii  grr.app                                       1.0-1+b2                             amd64        RSS reader for GNUstep
ii  gworkspace-common                             0.9.3-1                              all          GNUstep Workspace Manager – common files
ii  gworkspace.app                                0.9.3-1+b2                           amd64        GNUstep Workspace Manager
ii  helpviewer.app                                0.3-8+b3                             amd64        Online help viewer for GNUstep programs
ii  libaddresses0                                 0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Database API backend framework for GNUstep (library files)
ii  libaddressview0                               0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Address display/edit framework for GNUstep (library files)
ii  libgnustep-base-dev                           1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base header files and development libraries
ii  libgnustep-base1.24                           1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base library
ii  libgnustep-gui-dev                            0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI header files and static libraries
ii  libgnustep-gui0.25                            0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI Library
ii  libpantomime1.2                               1.2.2+dfsg1-1                        amd64        GNUstep framework for mail handling (runtime library)
ii  libpopplerkit0                                0.0.20051227svn-7.1+b9               amd64        GNUstep framework for rendering PDF content (library files)
ii  libpreferencepanes1                           1.2.0-2+b2                           amd64        GNUstep preferences library – runtime library
ii  librenaissance0                               0.9.0-4+b6                           amd64        GNUstep GUI Framework – library files
ii  librenaissance0-dev                           0.9.0-4+b6                           amd64        GNUstep GUI Framework – development files
ii  librsskit0d                                   0.4-1                                amd64        GNUstep RSS framework (runtime library)
ii  mknfonts.tool                                 0.5-11+b5                            amd64        Create nfont packages for GNUstep
ii  price.app                                     1.3.0-1                              amd64        Image filtering and manipulation using GNUstep
ii  projectcenter.app                             0.6.2-1                              amd64        IDE for GNUstep Development
ii  renaissance-doc                               0.9.0-4                              all          GNUstep GUI Framework – documentation
ii  systempreferences.app                         1.2.0-2+b2                           amd64        GNUstep preferences application
ii  terminal.app                                  0.9.8.1-1                            amd64        Terminal Emulator for GNUstep
ii  textedit.app                                  4.0+20061029-3.5+b1                  amd64        Text editor for GNUstep
ii  viewpdf.app                                   1:0.2dfsg1-5+b2                      amd64        Portable Document Format (PDF) viewer for GNUstep
ii  zipper.app                                    1.5-1+b2                             amd64        Archive manager for GNUstep

Well yes it is true Window Maker is not a spoon for every mouth, those who want to have more confortable desktop environment better look out at other options as Window Maker is Unix / Linux graphical environment that fits better hackers, computer developers and system administrators.

Anyhow if you have some old family member that has to use an old computer architecture and the person is only to use mainly just browser to check email, youtube and basic surfing then Wmaker will be a great choice as it will consume little CPU and Memory much less than the heavy and computer resources sucking GNOME and KDE.

I've historically used Wmaker also with its teminal emulator rxvt (VT102 terminal emulator for the X Windows System) which is a kinda of improved version of xterm (the default terminal program bundled with Xorg server), but for those who are already used to Gnome Terminal nice tabs perhaps that would be not the terminal of choice.

rxvt was build to match well the look and feel of AfterStep and consequently Wmaker, its scrollbar was aiming to very much resemble NeXTStep style scrollbar

windowmaker-bind-run-application-to-make-alt-f2-work-like-in-gnome

Most "custom" shortcuts are used to launch specific applications. To add your own keyboard shortcut for an application, go to the "Applications Menu Definition" panel in the Preferences app.  Select the application item in the menu for which you want to create a shortcut, then use the "capture" button to capture the keystrokes you want to assign to that item.  In the screenshot, I've assigned Mod1 + W to open Firefox.

Above  screenshot shows how to map the Run Application keyboard bind to behave like GNOME Run application ALT + F2

window-maker-run-command-like-gnome-run-screenshot-gnu-linux-unix-freebsd

Customizing background of Window Maker

Because WMaker is so simple made and targetting more of a developer audience for use it doesn't have a special graphical interaface to set a Background if you like so, but instead you need to use a wmsetbg command to do so:
 

wmsetbg -s -u filename.jpg

 

WMSetBG command stands for WindowMaker Set Background


If you're too lazy to install and start configuring wmaker, there is a Window Maker LiveCD, you can run Window Maker through LiveCD in Virtual Machine such as VirtualBox to get feeling what you're about to get if you install and start using Wmaker on your Computer.

window-maker-livecd-screenshot-synaptic+wprefs
 

Well at first with Window Maker you might feel confused and quickly irritating missing the already established way to work with your computer, but that's just for a starter sooner you will realize, that for using a limited number of applications for work wmaker, makes you much more efficient. Moreover using your computer with Wmaker can rewire your brain circuits to think a little bit different.

Once you switched to Window Maker you will likely want to have a graphical option to connect to Wireless Networks especially if you're using Wmaker on a notebook it is convenient to not always manually do scan for networks with
 

Iwlscan


commad and use wpasupplicant command to connect instead you can just install wicd and stop default Gnome Network Manager (called Network Manager), you can do so by running as root:
 

service network-manager stop
apt-get install wicd wicd-gtk
service wicd start
wicd-gtk &

 

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