What is the best WM for rootless?

  • Aisha Fenton

    Aisha Fenton - 2001-08-05

    Thanks for this project it's great! I have started using Xfree in rootless mode on a daily biases now.

    However now that Xfree rootless is a reality, which window manager is best for it? I have been using Window Maker, but it seems a bit bulky to have running on top of aqua (not to mention slow).

    I have looked at blackbox, and that seemed like perhaps a good choice. But because I can't click on the root window to bring up the applications menu, I can't really get anything started in it (doh!).

    I wonder if it would be a good idea to make a new window manager specifically for rootless OsX use - what do you think?

    • Paul Bayley

      Paul Bayley - 2001-08-06

      Is wmaker sluggish? What machine do you have?

      I haven't found this to be the case. But I really don't mind if you use something else.

    • Dennis Keller

      Dennis Keller - 2001-08-07

      I have been using Oroborus

      It is a real small WM and does just the basics (not a desktop
      like gnome, KDE, or others).  However, I would like to get hold of
      a Aqua theme for it!  Anyone know where I can find one?

      • Adrian

        Adrian - 2001-09-01

        You might like to have a look at my attempt at rewriting oroborus to turn it into an Aqua-lookalike window manager:


        I'm also planning on 'hacking' some of the behaviour differences between X11 and Mac OS X so that X11 appears more 'Mac-like'...

        Anyway, let me know what you think!


        • Paul Bayley

          Paul Bayley - 2001-09-01

          I think you double-posted

    • Patrik Montgomery

      I've used windowmaker, but I agree that it's a bit bulky. Enlightenment looks like a better match with the rest of the OS X interface, but I haven't tried it yet. Here's a binary


      I'm not sure about the dependencies, though, but there are several.

      This is a screenshot of the default interface, which is why I decided to try it:


      • Patrik Montgomery

        After trying Enlightenment, I have to say that it's a bit to early to use it in rootless. Enlightenment in general and some themes in particular use a lot of transparency effects, and that doesn't work as it should yet (it just becomes white). Other than that,  I think that Enlightenment (with one of the included themes) is the window manager that is best suited to the Mac interface with its thin title bars and no other desktop managing features (as of yet...).

        And yes, you can run an Aqua theme. It's not a very good one, and it's seriously hurt by the lack of ransparency effects (at least the one I found, there may be others), but it can be done...

        • Paul Bayley

          Paul Bayley - 2001-08-09

          I don't think X11 transparency effects can ever work in XDarwin rootless. The reason is they are fake. There are no layers in X11, only regions. What it basically does is copy the bitmap, blend with it's own, then draw the result. The old bitmap is basically overwritten.

          In rootless XDarwin each X11 window resides in it's own buffer so there is nothing to copy. To make those 'transparency' effects work you would have to:

          a) Make a buffer for each X11 window which covers the FULL screen.

          b) When moving an X11 window, anticipate where it will end up, copy that area from the OS X frame buffer to the X11 virtual buffer, and then allow the X11 window to move.

          This will basically emulate what X11 'transparency' does now. Like the fake transparency, when you move a window behind one of those fake transparency windows, it don't update. This is an inherent design of X11.

          What you want would take gobs of memory, but it's possible. Want to write it?

          • Patrik Montgomery

            No, I want XDarwin to use Aqua as it's window manager...


            Seriously, I didn't know that each window in rootless is in a buffer of it's own. Until I get a decent network connection here at home, I haven't downloaded the source (I intend to).

            However, wouldn't it be possible to let Quartz take a screenshot (like Grab does) and use that for a bitmap? I'm not saying it would be fast, but it seems easier than what you propose.

            The part that is annoying in rootless is when using the menus provided by the window manager. This makes the entire screen white, only the menu is showing. The default theme doesn't use any transparency effects other than it's own menus, and so is useable. I'll probably return to wmaker, though.

            In any case, the next version of Enlightenment promises to redo the transparency completely.

            • Paul Bayley

              Paul Bayley - 2001-08-10

              What I proposed would be a billion times faster than what you just did |-p

              How enlightenment does transparency doesn't matter. Not a single bit. It's a limitation of X11, not enlightenment. It's FAKE transparency.

    • Michael E. Zwick

      I have been using the ice window manager (icewm) with the sortofaqua them. It seems to work well, can be installed with fink and is easily configured.



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