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IceWM 1.0.0 released 166

A reader wrote in with the news that IceWMIceWM has announced that they are now 1.0.0. IceWM is a window manager that strives to be simple, according to the web site, while also being fully usable in default config. It's fully Gnome compliant, and partially KDE compliant.
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IceWM 1.0.0 released

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  • by winterstorm ( 13189 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @09:47AM (#1441139)
    Right now I use the Enlightenment Window Manager for my Gnome desktop. I've never really liked it though. I also never felt like I had a choice. I like ICE's Mouse is optional feature but only time will tell if it is practical.

    Something I've noticed about many of the WMs currently under development is that they seem to put a lot of energy into support for "themes". While it is an important practicality to allow users to customize the look and feel of their desktop what I see (especially under KDE and Enlightenment) is a lot of wacky features that don't seem practical.

    I'd like to see more Gnome compliant window managers. Choice is a good thing. I feel like Oliver Twist actually, "Please Sir, Can I have some more?" :-)

  • by Yebyen ( 59663 )
    I've tried the beta releases before 1.0.0 and personally I didn't like em. I don't think my opinion counts though, I think that E is stable and fast. Hehe. You wouldn't believe some of the flames i've gotten on those. But to me, if you really wanted windows, you'd be in windows. A taskbar shouldn't be stuck in the wm, it should be an external ap. If you want a simple wm, then KISS. Don't go putting taskbars and such in it. Use an external taskbar if you really desire one.

  • I like Ice for its speed; while it's not as customizable as E, it's not as bloated, and hence is a quick and simple window mananger.
  • I like how the poster noted that IceWM "strives to be ... KDE compliant."

    "It's like this. We're really trying hard to almost work correctly sometimes with KDE."

    odds of being killed by lighning and
  • Hurrah - a one point oh release of my favorite WM! Currently I'm still using dfm [] to provide that little bit of 'extra desktop functionality', but it looks like by the time I upgrade mobo/CPU again Gnome will have ironed out most of the few remaining stability issues.
  • by nd ( 20186 )
    You could always disable the taskbar.

    Also, a new feature was added not too long ago that automatically disabled all the extra crap (taskbar) when GNOME was detected.
  • by Skinka ( 15767 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @09:54AM (#1441145)
    One thing I genuinely hate about Linux is the amount of "pretty good but not quite there"-software. There is a lot talent in the community, but way too much of it wasted on projects like "Yet Another OSS Replacement For ICQ", or "One More WM That Only Twelve People Use". Instead of having half a dozen pretty decent window managers, I'd much rather have one that is really good (like I have with MS Windows).

    Quantity will never replace quality, no matter how free it is.

  • if you really want speed, check out BlackBox
    lean, mean and clean
  • It's not difficult to change the pixmap that the menu uses.
  • by Kaht ( 122157 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @10:03AM (#1441150) Homepage
    This is my main beef with Linux... there's always the latest this and the latest that coming out of the community... why can't some coders take a break from working on the coolest, most bleeding edge stuff, and instead try making stuff a little easier?

    If we want to take more of the Microsoft market share, we need more users.. when you compare how I can change my resolution under Windows with a single click, and I've still got X running at 640x480, now -there- is an area that needs work.

    This is a huge discouragement for new users. You can't expect that when you say "this video card and modem won't work, and sound is really complicated to set up" they'll just go "oh, good, I have this extra $500 I needed to waste somehow, why dont I replace most of my hardware?"

  • I think you are missing the distinction between emphasizing theming and providing customization options. Empasizing theming would mean providing theming capabilities at the expense of other features such as stability, usability, portability, etc. Noone can honestly tell me that the the most popular themable window managers (E, KWM, Sawmill, WM, FVWM, etc) do so at a the expense of other features (besides speed, that is. But cumulative speed is more a function of processor speed, user stupidity, and theme choices than window manager implementation).

    As for Enlightenment, it seems silly for people to be complaining about something that is still nowhere near complete (don't believe me? check raster & mandrake's huge list on Also, E was completely rewritten betweem DR0.13 and DR0.14. So if raster & Co. were making any attempt to correlate version number incrementation with stability or completeness, then we would be at about DR0.02, not DR0.16.

    Okay, now I'm rambling. I just saw the start of a big WM bashfest...

    odds of being killed by lighning and
  • by Cardinal ( 311 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @10:07AM (#1441153)
    I've used icewm off and on since the 0.8.x days, and have always had a fondness for it. Over the last four years, my wm has either been icewm, amiwm, or Enlightenment depending on my mood, and how stable E was at the time ;)

    Icewm has come a long way, and throughout the development cycle it's always been a fast, usable window manager. It's nicely configurable, and now that it has a couple configuration GUIs, it's that much easier. It's good to see the 1.0.0 mark, and I congradulate the people behind it for their years of effort.

    Somebody mentioned there being too many 'almost done' window managers in the open source world, and to them I'd like to point out that this community's definition of 'beta version' is slightly different from that of commercial software :) Just because something gets a 1.0 version number doesn't mean it was never stable or suitable for end users before that point. (Case in point, Enlightenment)

    Yes, there are a lot of window managers, and perhaps some of them didn't need to be made, but I don't see any harm in having that much more variety. It's not like your window manager choice is going to make your X apps unusable (And if it does, that window manager has Issues :) )
  • KaufWM also features a dorky face and thick glasses, and will do just about anything in exchange for a copy of _The Unix Hater's Handbook_. It's not Gnome-compliant, but has been rumoured to look like an elf.

    See how easy it is to write a catchy headline? :)

    Seriously, I move for Slashdot to stop posting this kind of 1.0 announcements. You can bet your ass that, as we speak, about half a million attention-thirsty Slashgeeks are hurriedly updating their pet WM projects to "1.0", with hopes of getting posted on Slashdot and scoring collaborators. So don't post this kind of thing - no exceptions.
  • by logicTrAp ( 2864 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @10:17AM (#1441157) Homepage
    While I agree with the sentiment (it comes down to the whole splinter thing), the problem, as others have said, is the "Really good" part. You think MS Windows has a good window manager...I think it sucks rocks. The nice thing about having a flexible system like X is that one person's view of "good" doesn't keep you from implementing your view of "good." Of course, you can also claim this as one of its biggest problems since it admittedly leads to consistency problems. As for me, I like the fact that even tho everyone seems to like the NeXT look (I don't), I can still use fvwm2 and not be stuck with afterstep or windowmaker.
  • Nonsense. A good window manager should have in it whatever it takes to make it useable. If that means a taskbar, then that's fine. A taskbar manages windows - I see no reason why it should not be part of a windows manager. If it confuses the user, that's a different story. But my guess is that taskbars, by being visible all the time, are quite useful to the novice user (and still helpful to the expert).

    KISS, but avoid making it too simple. After all, we have to avoid what Don Norman calls "The Tyranny of the Blank Screen"... a screen that offeres no clues as to what to do next, or what is possible to do.

  • The difference between IceWM and most of the other shit of freshmeat is that it is actually finished, 1.0 software. It is not like this WM is at 0.1 of 50 other 0.1 window managers.
    Besides, there have been many good window managers, and desktop envirements to go with them. Why do you care if 20 guys make there own crappy versions? It is unlikely they would have helped out the other good window managers.
    You are lucky 2 guys already responded, I would have moderated that post down if it had not been replied too.
  • or AfterStep, my personal favourite..Why cant we get more NeXTStep clones ? they rock.
  • Why should the latest, coolest thing and ease of use be mutually exclusive? All it takes is a good design plan to build something that is easy to use from the beginning.

    If we want to take more of the Microsoft market share
    I'm not sure if this is really a priority.. I used to think that we as a community should be out to beat Microsoft like the media always says we are, but now that I look back over the last couple years.. I don't care what Microsoft does, or how big their market share is. The open source community has created something that has made a huge impact, and won't be silenced by an iron fisted corporation, no matter how large they may be.

    I've still got X running at 640x480
    User error. Fix your X configuration to support multiple resolutions, and press CtrlAlt+ or CtrlAlt- (Using the + and - on your keypad) Or if you demand a graphical one-click answer rather than a three-key binding, see apps such as the Gnome QuickRes Applet [].

    this video card and modem won't work
    Very few, if any, modern (I say modern as in 'made in the last 3 years') and common video cards break X.

    The only modems that don't work in Linux are WinModems, which require a Windows driver to function as a modem (And actually, work is underway to fix that pathetic attempt at Windows-specific hardware)

    sound is really complicated to set up
    I don't know about other distros, but RedHat enables pretty much every kernel sound module available in the default kernel. Any SoundBlaster-esque card should work out of the box, which covers pretty much everything packaged by a major vendor, unless it's a weird speakerphone/modem/soundcard monstrosity like I've seen in the HP Pavillions.

    Sure, the situation isn't perfect. But think about what you're asking for. Much of the hardware support in Linux that we take for granted was made possible by hard efforts of volunteers who pounded away on devices to reverse-engineer their functionality. It's becoming easier now as companies are being more forthcoming about their hardware specs, but it's still work being done by volunteers. Don't gripe if they're not supporting everything fast enough for you.
  • At least lil bits'o'funny like this take time ;)
    Of course if there is an engine to do this stuff automatically I want it =P

  • This is making things easier. It is a 1.0 quality window manager that works well with GNOME. If it wasn't for this window manager, I would be using KDE now, no doubt about it.
    This WM has been around for a while. It isn't bleeding edge stuff.Why would you even say that? It is just a quality WM, that is at 1.0.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've used icewm for a while, and like the minimalistic approach (but still want features like multiple virtual screens and light theming).

    I'd also like to warmly recommend another of Mark's inventions, FTE (folding Text Editor). It's a great editor with syntax highlight, great autoindent (not just standard stuff that indents at the same level as the last line, but one that changes to next line and indents when you type {) and generally a borland-like interface. You can use shift-arrowkeys to select a block while fte runs under console and other nifty things. It was a step up from joe for me, and I never could get into Emacs/lisp.

    fte runs both under X and console, and you can get it from []

  • Even if you had "one that is really good", you'd end up with a dozen forks to the project in a few weeks' time (as with the fvwm code in xfwm, afterstep, and mlvwm IIRC). Each user has a slightly different set of preferences, and to address them all in one package would require an extremely complex, configurable programme (like Enlightenment) or ignoring anything contrary to the intended development direction. As with Linux distributions, diversity is strength-- if my tastes change (I recall being a Window Maker addict until I realized how much memory it used) or development stops on one package, I can probably find another I'd like almost as much or perhaps even more. IceWM is a decent product on its own-- quite flexible for the size, and the configuration is less complex than fvwm2, although I'll admit it doesn't scream "Look at me! I'm a *ix/X11 desktop!". In a way, it does fufill an unsatisfied niche-- I've never seen much of an OS/2 3.0 look or a really good taskbar elsewhere.
  • by NightHwk ( 111982 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @10:28AM (#1441167)
    I've heard many people complain that the windows gui sucks, and that linux wm's that try to replicate its look suck by association.

    However, I've never heard a good explanation as to why it sucks?

    The same design concept is carried through most of the shell (with IE5 this became IE centric, but its not *that* bad, dont get me wrong, i hate ms too, but i'm not stupid about it)

    -standardized key combos (cntrl-c copy, ctrl-v paste etc)

    -one can get around fairly well without a mouse

    -the task bar holds a lot of easy to access information (apps running, system tray, start menu)

    -the start menu can be nicely customized (even further with the tweak utils).

    -You can choose between an iconified desktop, and active desktop(blech) or no desktop at all (with the tweak utils).

    -It's responsive in the tactile sense (buttons etc)

    I'm sure someone could make a nice list of win9x gui foibles, but you could make a list twice as long for each of the popular window managers. Everyone knows M$ 'borrowed' a lot of its best gui features from the mac, and theres no reason X wm's shouldn't incorporate the same great features.


    Set threshold at -1 FlaimBait to read this comment
  • by paul.dunne ( 5922 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @10:30AM (#1441170)
    Here we go again... "If we want to take more of the Microsoft market share...". Who is this "we" I keep hearing about in this context? RedHat shareholders, or what? Linux developers will work on what they like to work on -- that's the whole point. Besides, if someone wants to use Linux, they should have a real reason e.g. wanting Unix on their desktop, or needing a reliable server platform; not be doing it "because it's simple" -- that's what NT is for. Sound isn't really complicated to set up, by the way; it just involves more than pushing a few buttons. As I've said, if these "new users" want things that simple, there are existing alternatives; and that's a good thing, because Linux sure isn't for them. To look at it another way, if you want to take more of the Microsoft market share, why don't you code up some of this "a little easier" stuff? Eh?
  • I'm not sure if this is really a priority.. I used to think that we as a community should be out to beat Microsoft like the media always says we are, but now that I look back over the last couple years.. I don't care what Microsoft does, or how big their market share is.

    I was a little bit unclear on this.. I didn't mean, we must crush Microsoft and stop their evil reign of terror. What I did mean was, there's only 100% of the market to go around, and if we don't take from someone else, we don't grow. The most obvious place to take from is Microsoft. So I used them.
  • I couldn't agree more :)
  • I assume you two complained when slahsdhot reported beta versions of E were released, and that E has it's own slashdot icon.
    How the hell is Quake major software? It is just a game (joking aside).
  • I see no correlation between the version number and the actual windowmanager. DR0.13 was stable, fast, and complete. It should have been 1.0, but Raster and Mandrake don't seem to realize it. DR0.15 was also complete and stable, and should have been marked a 1.2 release. Again, they underestimate E and continue the minute incrementation of the rev.

    Besides that, the only real complaint I have is that Raster and Mandrake seem to suffer from a bad case of 'I need to add this new rotational 3D axis compensator or my UltraAmazing fade function will have to use bitmask subtraction!'. They implement an amazing WM but don't seem to see where to draw the line on new features
  • Hell yeah, I complained. I couldn't give a rat's ass about E. Now Quake is something entirely different: I myself don't play it, but it's something of a geek icon. Plus, the most recent stories have had to do with Quake 1's GPL'ing, which is quite important.
  • I work in plain Enlightenment most of the time without any desktop environments. But on occasions, when happen to use Gnome, I go with IceWM. Enlightenment is a resource hog to use with Gnome.

    When used in Gnome, IceWM does not display its own taskbar. It doesn't display its own menus on the root window, wharfs, pagers, etc. It simply decorates the windows and that is all about it.

    After experimenting with atleast half a dozen other window managers, IceWM seems to be the most suitable WM to use with Gnome as of date. I haven't yet used IceWM by itself though. Should try it today!

  • One thing I like about the linux developer community is that they don't inflate their version numbers, they just use smaller increments. Some of these programs have been around for years, yet have rev numbers like 0.56.9 rather than VERSION 37 PROFESSIONAL, or worse yet the year-number scheme. They often pack a lot of development into those 0.0.1-value changes.

    That way when, *gasp*, version 3.0.0 comes out, it is much cooler because you had to wait for it and you know that big-ol' whole-integer version number really means something.

    Cf nethack, linux kernel, gnome, kde, enlightenment, &soforth.

    Call me a geek...

  • The Interface Hall of Shame has covered this topic at great length not just for Windows but for applications on many platforms.

    Here's the section specific to Windows 95:

    An in-depth review []

    In-depth: Uncommon file dialogs []

    Artifical Intelligence? []

    So, is it a floppy or a CD? []

    Just assume it knows what you want []

    'Problem' where none has occured []

    Single tabs are not OK []

    Improperly grouped tabs []

    There's a lot more good stuff on the site, but this is the excerpt from the Product Index for Win95. There's one for NT too, if it interests you.

  • There seems to have been a recent trend in window managers such as IceWM and Sawmill [] to aim for a fast and simple (yet extensible) product which integrates well with a desktop enviroment. People are now looking to their DEs to provide them with the configurability, consistency and inter-operability that they want, and hence no longer require features such as application docks and background selection in a Window Manager. However, people still want control and choice in the feel of their X environment, at a level that shouldn't concern the DEs (a major drawback of KDE, I thought, was the overly strong link between it and kwm). We now have consistency and choice - Linux is really coming of age.

    As an aside, I noticed that IceWM is released under the LGPL license. Does anyone know why this is? Also, did this prevent them from being chosen as the default GNOME window manager, when the GNOME team were looking for a lightweight replacement for E (this is before Sawmill came around)?
  • by Skinka ( 15767 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @10:48AM (#1441182)
    Who dictates what is "really good"?

    Not who, but what. Answer: usability studies. With extensive usability studies Microsoft has been able to make user interfaces, mice, keybords, joystics etc. that most people think are great, and the rest find adequate to say at least. Maybe some day MS makes a usabilty study called "is stability a good thing" and decides to kill all those damn bugs in windows *g*.

    The problem with a lot of open source software is that they have been made by programmers, for programmers. Software like that ends up being overly complicated with too many features and options (EMACS anyone?). I know the OSS community can't perform wide usability studies like Microsoft or Apple, but we really should try put some effort into improving what we have, instead of wasting energy on code forks and new programs that are just as bad as the old ones.

    More can't hurt.

    I disagree. More can hurt, and it is already hurting Linux. The amount of WM overwhealms me, there is just no way I'm going to try them all. I might try maybe three or four, but after that I'd just give up and boot back to Windows if I couldn't find the right one with those four tries. This actually happened to me, that is why writing this message with the Windows version of Netscape. The Linux GUI is just too clumsy. I do like the powerfull command line though.

  • I've never used IceWM, so my opinon probably won't count for anything at all...

    But I do agree with you that E is very stable and fast. However, "fast" depends on a number of things, the theme you use being one of the most important.

    You can go with the simple beauty of a theme like "Absolute E" to the eye-catching glory of a theme like 'Ganymede".

    E is so theme-centric, that it makes sense to me not to judge it on its speed using the default themes, but to judge for youself with a theme that fits what you are doing. If you have a large desktop res, and have some screen real estate to spare, there are themes for that. If you're on a 486/DX-33 with 32mb of system memory and a 1mb ISA video card, E will also fit your needs with a more utilitarian theme, without all of the flashy effects.

    I think I'll slowly step off the soapbox now, and get back to work. ;-)

  • Something I've noticed about many of the WMs currently under development is that they seem to put a lot of energy into support for "themes".

    Actually, ICEwm has as a selling point that its configurability is minimal. The themeability is really nothing more than font and window candy.

  • stability, from what I recall, has nothing to do with how many features you have in something. unless of course you've got some magic fountain of knowledge that I don't have access to. Just my 2 cents.
    Geoff Harrison (
    Senior Software Engineer - VA Linux Labs (
  • I have installed Ice on several low-end systems. I've tried quite a few VMs and at least I have gotten the impression that Ice is one of the better options on low-end (actually low memory) systems.

    We have quite a few public systems (ouch 16 & 32 MB...), mostly used as web-machines, and on those systems it's important to give the users an environment that is fairly similar in basic look & feel to Windows.

    On this low-end systems we used all kinds of other VMs, can't remember them all, but most of the ones around bout 18 month ago, and had to put notices beside the systems saying things as "Right-click on desktop for menu" (Nope, it didn't help the clueless little old ladys on going to our local library)

    Eventually we removed all alternatives, and just made Ice available, with a verry basic Win95 look.
    Suddenly all those lost souls actually could use the boxes, most of them propably didn't know they were using a linux workstation.

    Similar on my 32MB laptop, KDE & E just bogs me down, the footprint of Ice is quite nice.
  • Windows does have some good points. The Windows GUI has several nasty features, one of which is the fact that applications controls their windows instead of the windowmanager. No real virtual desktops, and some other minor gripes.

    IceWM takes the good bits. One of the main things I love when using Windows is the consistent interface all through the apps written in the evil Win32 API and the fact that everything can be done with the keyboard.

    IceWM does just this. A windows interface with all the crap thrown out and good linux stuff thrown in. Keyboard shortcuts for everything and virtual desktops. Yummy. Give it a spin.
  • Yes, icewm has worked very well for me. I have been using various beta versions for a while now and they have been rock solid.

    I'd recommend anyone to try icewm if you want a window manager that doesn't have too much clutter such as animations, but gets the job done. The default config is very usable (a Win95-type taskbar interface), but personally I have stripped it down further, to get the most minimal interface possible while still being able to do things without obscure hotkeys.

    Another interesting thing is that it's in C++ (IIRC), so it might be fun to look at if you want an alternative perspective on how to write a window manager.
  • Looks like winders to me....

    Hehe... It's Winders with "themes". cool

  • Congradulations to the Ice development team! I've been using 0.8.16 for awhile- I guess it's time to upgrade. BTW, if you're curious I recently reviewed Icewm 0.8 at []. And no, IceWM is not just another 1.0 window manager. It's quite stable and flexible- been in development for a few years. Try it out if you're looking for an alternative. Or don't. Isn't Linux about choice anyway?

    I'm tired of hearing this crap about how Ice resembles Windows 95; Ice does emulate some of the better features of its interface, of course with clean, unbloated code. Besides, you can customize it however you want.
  • //This isn't a differing-opinion-reply, just a convienent place in the conversation to rant and draw some pretty ascii drawings//

    Over the weekend I was thinking about how computer users (microsoft, linux, and mac) users fit into bell curves. (Disclaimer, I'm not a statistician, and haven't even read anything like The Bell Curve).

    Anyway, rate the population by their ability to use any computer and operating system, ranging from barely being able to power the system on, all the way up to people who could code assembler with their eyes shut. Then figure out the amount of each class of user, and you'll probably end up with a neat bell curve:


    Whatever. Anyway, take Microsoft, who started out by trying to claim the piece of the pie:


    ...effectivly leaving out the less able users (at least until they learn enough to utilize windows), as well as the high-end users, by not making their os powerful enough. As microsoft evolves, they of course are trying to widen that chunk of users, my making the OS easier to use (adding the start menu, for example), and more attractive to high-end users (directx, for example)

    Mac on the other hand started low:

    *[*******]******* appealing to the real beginner users, and over time (trying somewhat in vain at) making their OS more appealing to high end users.

    Linux on the other hand started out years ago by appealing to the high-end users:


    ...and are slowly evolving downwards to accommodate the average and below-average user.

    My point? For whatever reason (money in microsoft's case, or community fill-the-need purposes in Linux's case), as an OS evolves, it tends to capture more and more of a market. No "we" involved.
  • Everything can go.
    try icepref or iceconf to configure.
    Take a look a the home page to get these.


    Linux by Libranet - The TOP Desktop

  • Don't give a rat's ass about E? Simple solution, turn off stories about E in your prefs.

    I'm sick of people bitching about stuff on /. that can be easily turned off.
  • I'm really sorry, Kath, but the "coolest, most bleeding edge stuff" is what the coders want!

    They probably don't care about user-friendliness, because it's not an issue for them. If they want to configure X-Windows, they fire up vi/emacs/jed/whatever and start hacking away.

    .. and I actually agree with this.
  • like I have with MS Windows ...

    Though it may not be a replacement WM for Windows, Litestep is a great opensource / free shell replacement with all customizeability Windows should have. It'd actually be nice to see a WM similar to LS on linux that has add-in modules and allows you to bind commands to keys

  • I've got to second this one. FTE is my favorite editor for lots of things. And, since there's a Win32 version, I can use it on both of my OSes ^.^ My only problem right now is trying to figure out how to code it to handle MUSHcode with proper highlighting and checking and the like. It's getting to be rather tedious :)
  • by muecksteiner ( 102093 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @11:21AM (#1441207)
    I don't want to spoil anybody's party, but having one more not fundamentally different windowmanager is IMHO not what the community would need at the moment. The release of yet another one of these things is not really news worth posting.

    The misconception that some people seem to have here is that (windowmanager with nifty features == sensible application development environment), which is not really true. For Linux to succeed, it has to get a *lot* easier to write applications, and this requires more than just WMs. KDE and GNOME are on the right track, but not nearly there yet.

    Since there are preciously few examples of what a good ADE can be like, one can't really fault people for not knowing the difference. A nice example of what I'm talking about (which has the advantage that it's dead as a dodo, so I can't really be accused of advocacy) was NeXTStep. It had a degree of integration between display subsystem, API and OS that to my (naturally limited) knowledge has never been achieved elsewhere on a real, workable system (as opposed to, say, concept prototypes from academentia, which so often sound terribly nice, but are not really useable).

    Anybody who knew NeXTStep will fondly remember the possibility to write applications mostly by drag-and-drop using InterfaceBuilder, and that drawing in windows was done using Postscript, which only had to be redirected if one wanted to print. Or the ability to use RenderMan streams in 3D viewports. Or the nice, orthogonal localization features. And so on.

    People bought the extremely overpriced NeXT machines just in order to be able to use this ADE. At the moment Linux seems to be in a somewhat inverted situation: people use it despite the difficulties in writing GUI software for it. For Linux to _seriously_ threaten the monopoly of M$, better software development tools have to emerge. Let's not kid ourselves: KDE and GNOME in their current form are *not* contenders for prime time big productivity application development, although this may change. What one would need is a software development system that uses an unified imaging model, has a consistent class API that is not cluttered, has useable interface design and code management tools and generates nicely packaged applications that are easily localizable (my personal corollary would be: and that does not use X, but YMMV).

    Unfortunately, XMas was two days ago, so we'll have to wait at least one more year ;-). But if anything along these lines happens, *that* would be worth posting as a "1.0 released" article.

    just my $0.2E-32

    Alexander Wilkie

    P.S. Yes, I know about GNUStep, and the fact that Apple is using the old NeXT technology for its next-generation OS. The first is very slow in coming along, and the the second fact does not help us Linuxers at all.

  • You can do it in two clicks. It's a simple 'right click, drag upwards, click' if you have the Display Properties in your toolbar. Many Win9x installations have it there by default.

    Ctrl Alt - and Ctrl Alt + are still better by a wide margin, as they can be done one-handed WITHOUT the wire-tailed rat. The Windows key combination for such a venture on my machines is:

    ctrl-alt-esc, up, up, up, up, up, right, enter, right, right, right, right, shift-tab, right, right, right, right, right, right, tab, tab, tab, tab, right or left to adjust screen res, tab, right or left to adjust desktop res, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, enter.

    I've dealt with too many (l)users who thought they could switch the resolution to 1600x1200 on a 15-inch crapola monitor to forget that one..
  • I've used icewm since i started using linux.
    To a beginner it provides a safe (no complex configs to screw up) easy to use wm. I looked at all the others and this one seems to be one of the only ones that puts back engine before the eyecandy. Others (fvwm) just don't look nice enough.
    Now that I kind of know what I'm doing enlightenment has replaced icewm as my fav wm (but not by far) and I still use icewm a lot.
    So, beginners. Go for icewm it fast easy to use and has a growing collection of themes to make it look even better.


    Linux by Libranet - The TOP Desktop

  • Close... but the first key sequence is "ctrl-esc" or "windows key".... "ctrl-alt-esc" is minimize or something goofy like that. Otherwise, it looks right.
  • Great...the further from the GPL, the better.
  • You can remove the taskbar with ShowTaskBar = 0 (The workspace bar is in the taskbar). You can assing keys to wm commands or shell commands. And well, kudos for Marko Macek!
  • About blackbox, well I have an alpha, and it gives me unaligned accesses all the time (meaning that it is not 64-bit clean). I like it, but it's just not good enough for my machine.
  • by / ( 33804 )
    There's a lot more than 100% of the current market to grab. There's an enormous number of people out there who aren't using anything, much less windows or linux. Look at linux's inroads in Mexico and India if you need an example.

    There are far more people who don't use a computer than who are currently locked into a non-linux system. Linux's strength as a bulletproof os suitable for settop-esque consumer devices may help it grab a few of those people. Or it might not.
  • FTE is a /wonderful/ text editor.. Every time the old vi/emacs holy war starts up in my office, I hold up my beloved copy of FTE.

    If you're looking for a simple, elegant WM that supports multiple workspaces and theming, go check out Blackbox [], which is about as simple and elegant as they get. If you're really bold, after you've learned the 0.5x.0 interface, try out the 0.60.0 Alpha branch, which is at least as stable as the Enlightenment 'stable' releases and has even more themability.

    It even supports WindowMaker's dockapps!

  • The titles on the links are misleading - check out WHAT the link is in your status bar.


  • Yes, and don't you think that trying to get the box to cover as much of the bell curve as possible a more interesting and daring problem?

    It seems that Apple, MS, and commercial Unix all passed the buck on moving outside their core user base. What's facinating about the Linux community is they've got the gusto to take on pretty much every aspect of the user base 'problem' -- clueless newbies, mouse-weilding artists, UNIX wizards, small and midsized servers, and so on.

  • there's only 100% of the market to go around, and if we don't take from someone else, we don't grow

    If Microsoft thought this way, they wouldn't be where they are now. The real key is to grow the market and capture the new growth. The price model for Linux is perfect for this.

    (Example: Windows NT Server. Most old Novell and Unix shops still run Novell and Unix. NT's market is primarily new installations or Novell/Unix installations that had atrophied for many years.)
  • Regarding resource usage, I forgot to mention I installed Ice on a Sparc ELC (33 Mhz; roughly equivalent to a 486/50) and got very excellent performance (admittedly it had 24Mb of RAM :). As good as E is, I'm sure I wouldn't want to run it on that kind of hardware (runs nice on my roomie's P2-450, tho).
  • I've found that if you disable the pager, E is much faster on my p2-450. With the pager on everything is painfully slow. With it off it is at least as fast as WMaker.

  • IMHO, IceWM is still one of the better choice for running gnome, with fast desktop switching, smart window placement and great keybinding configuration. It's perfect for low-end machines (I wonder if people saying that E is fast have ever used it with sub-200MHz machines...).

    And Marko Macek (main IceWm coder) is such a great guy. The IceWM mailing list is very, very helpful. Marko is listening to all suggestions, and many of them are quickly integrated into to the next version.

    Nice work and nice spirit. A great project.
  • CTRL-ALT-ESC pushes a window to the back of the Z-stack. (unfortunately, it doesn't keep focus.)

    for the NT users, CTRL-Shift-ESC brings up taskmgr.

  • Okay. so from now on I'll be sure to add the tags to everything I write :)
    you people take things so seriously, you anonymous cowards :)
    Geoff Harrison (
    Senior Software Engineer - VA Linux Labs (
  • that was supposed to have a <sarcsm> in it. I thoguht plain old text would have converted it but I suppose it didn't.
    Geoff Harrison (
    Senior Software Engineer - VA Linux Labs (
  • This is a huge discouragement for new users.

    Unless the new user runs a 486 laptop w/12 Meg of memory on which icewm flies . I've got alot of attention from new users when they see what I can do on such a crappy little machine. And icewm is very intuitive to them, too.

  • Congrats to the IceWM team. Something I don't hear people mention in comparing WMs that makes a difference to me:

    "Does the WM work well if you like to keep everything maximized?"

    This is what's kept me away from NextStep clones and others that have big menus that are quickly covered up by my windows.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.
  • by Zoltar ( 24850 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @01:19PM (#1441242)
    ****With extensive usability studies Microsoft has been able to make user interfaces, mice, keybords, joystics etc. that most people think are great, and the rest find adequate to say at least. ****

    I'm not so sure that I would agree with you there. I think that the majority of people who use computers don't have a clue about interfaces. They just know that when you click on this a little window will pop up and then they can type this in this box and then click here...etc. Most computer users are just happy that they can send emails and make greeting cards... they don't know or care about the design of a GUI.

    (I'm going to make a broad generalization here ->) People like what they are "used to" and if they had to use something different today they would bitch and complain about how hard it is. I remember the first time I played with a Mac, even though it was similar to windows, it was just different enough for me to have to think before I did something. I remember thinking it was "cool" but I was happy to go back to my windows box.

    I agree with you about programmers writing stuff for other programmers. This is generally not a good way to please the masses. But hey, I'm a big fan of tons of configurations and tweaks ( I love gnome and kde ) and scripts and the power of the cl I'm not the guy to make statements on what the public wants or needs.
  • I like it because it's small and has the Metal theme, but can look like win95 for when friends come over, and want to use windows. I see if they figure it out.
  • And had you moderated it down
    I would have moderated it back up.
    why? Because it's a very good point.

    If all the ICQ clone writers, or all the email client writers were to get together just think what a great ICQ clone, or emailer we'd have. When Helixcode was starting to write Evolution, they asked the current GNOME email client writers if they wanted to help, so that Evolution could have everything, that everyone wanted.
    Admitedly there's always going to be someone who wants something more, but in programs where there's not much room for flexibilty (ICQ clones, email clients, news readers) I think it's a good point.

    I always think "Bloody hell, *ANOTHER* ICQ/IM/Yahoo pager...etc clone, do we really need one more?" when I see a new one announced on Freshmeat.
  • Corel Linux already allows you to change your resolution through the GUI. It's not perfect yet, but it's 1.0....
  • windows has themes too.
  • that is so true - apart from kwm + kde, icewm is the only WM i've come across that can do this right (rumour has it that recent sawmill + gnome can do it but i havent tried that yet). e, wm etc. suck if you are forced to run at low res...
  • Except when you have a 20 year old program that is version 1.1.0958578948b84784738d7-a.47483290

    Then it becomes a nightmare when you are searching for a particular version of whatever software you are using.

    I have had this occur on several occasions.
  • i used to run fvwm95 before i discovered ice, but it can't max properly and it's a bastard to config by hand (it's probably more configurable than ice tho...)
    mind you, sawmill and scwm are worse... but to each his own i guess
  • Good point. Thing is, if Rasterman gets hit by a car or something, and the story gets posted under "Enlightenment", I still want to hear about it. I think Slash would be much better with a simple multiple-keywording system, along with a filter for stories containing specific keyword combinations (e.g. "release" && "announcement"). So Rob, if you're reading this, stop playing with yer IPO dollars and go write some more of that funky Perl code!

    (Of course, strong AI wouldn't hurt either.)
  • yes, you can configure Icewm. You don't need to have the taskbar enabled. I've used this wm for over a year now. It is _very_ stable_ and very useful without the mouse. I detest wm that require me to use the mouse. This message posted from Lynx.
  • This is not a good comparison. This is not like one of 50 shitty 0.1 ICQ clones. It is one good window manager, that reached 1.0.
    Again, like I said, they . . . , ahh fuck it, im watching TV.
  • >>Who dictates what is "really good"?

    Not who, but what. Answer: usability studies. With extensive usability studies Microsoft has been able to make user interfaces, mice, keyboards, joystics etc. that most people think are great [..]

    What? That just plain doesn't make any sense. People should be able to use what they like, not what a group of people thinks is the best. Plain and simple. Usability studies or not. That's part of the philosophy that has produced the free OS (GNU/Linux) that many of us use today.

    People will use what they think is the best. The more people use something, the more successful it will become (in general - and especially with OSS software and community involvement). Therefore, the software that people think is the best will become 'selected' in this manner. There is no need for usability studies.

    Personally, I love Linux software the way it is now. There are many different choices for anything I could possibly want to do. How exactly is this wrong?

  • He has not decided anything other than what his opinion is. He also has the authority (!) to have such a personal opinion and speak up about it.


  • I feel slightly silly for posting this.... but, isn't blackbox supposed to be one of those nice, simple, un-bloated WM? I haven't had lots of experience with it, but I knew someone who practically "swore by it"...
  • icewm is needed because not only is it full of features, easy to use, and quite configurable, but because it is extremely fast and lightweight. i run a lab full of 386 and 486 xterminals, and icewm is the default wm, not because i wouldn't like to give the kids kde, but because we can't afford the memory and cpu overhead.

    here's a screenshot [] of a typical desktop in our lab.

  • I usually don't respond this way, but i couldn't just let this one slide.

    * * * * You have only yourself to blame for X running at 640x480. * * * *

    And market share? Sheesh. I used to be an OS/2 user. If you wanna know about misguided evangelism, I'm yer man.

    I don't *want* the people who use Windows right now to rush to Linux. No more than i wanted them to rush to OS/2, after the first couple times i convinced someone to give it a shot.

    I want the people around me to use the software tools that best suit their needs and capabilities. I don't care what that is, as long as it's effective and supportable.

    For that very reason, I don't even try to change the Linux distribution used at work. Let people use what they're gonna use as long as it gets the work done reasonably well.

    If you're the type who can't figure out how to hit ctrl-alt-plus (left ctrl and alt, keypad plus), maybe Linux just isn't your bag. Or maybe your problem is an inability to figure out xf86config, Xconfigurator, XF86Setup, or SaX. SaX is my favorite, comes with SuSE. After that I'll take xf86config. The rest can go to the bitbucket for all i care.

    All I'm saying is, if you have a lot of difficulty with this sort of thing, maybe you're wasting your time. Use BeOS or something if you don't want to use Windows. Or OS/2, but don't come knocking on my door for tech support if you do.

    Or maybe you should start with Corel Linux or Caldera OpenLinux. These two are awfully simplistic in their setup.

    Linux fits a specific set of needs and caters to a specific set of capabilities. If someone isn't a good match for it, why torture them with it?

    For the record, I have been given the communal goahead to switch the RH6 boxes from Gnome to IceWM. It's generally been agreed upon that E+Gnome is a bohemouth desktop and far more overhead than is called for on a server.

    IceWM is lightweight, consistent, and feels very familiar to Windows and OS/2 users. I use the Daniel3 theme. And the hotkeys actually do something useful.

  • except that Microsoft claims they have a good "user friendly" GUI, something i have never heard any linux vendor or WM-maker claim.

    except that microsoft allegedly has a special department to guarantee interface usability, while linux people simply get it to the point where it works.

    except that microsoft has "interface guidelines". It wrote these and asks developers to follow them so that people will get a consistant, pleasurable interface when they use it. linux has no such guidelines made by anyone, and no way to dessiminate those guidelines because of the very nature of the community and x-windows. GTK and QT come almost close but in fact nowhere near to guidelines of this sort. Microsoft, by the way, despite the fact these guidelines exist, does not follow them. (the cornerstone of their GUI is a menu with many many layers of submenus, something they claim not to do.. bad example because i myself am addicted to FinderPop, a mac os utility that allows you to browse your hard drive as a menu with many layers of submenus) Developers for windows do not often follow these guidelines. Apple computer does have a very clearly defined, clearly accessible set of "human interface guidelines". Apple follows these religiously and ensures developers do as well. The result is that in the mac os you have a consistant, pleasurable experience between almost all applications (unless you run Quicktime Player 4.0 or Sherlock 2.0), something windows does not achieve and linux does not even strive for.

    except that in linux if you don't like those open dialog boxes you can change them; if you don't like part of the interface you can change it. with windows, you are stuck with whatever interface they hand you, even if it's something totally inexplicable like a web browser used as a file manager.

    except that microsoft has the _ability_ to have a consistant interface because all the basic OS pieces are written by the same people. what is more they are not working under the hideous restraints and limitations of the X windows system.

    the point is we should not expect as much out linux as out of MS windows. MS windows is currently an average-consumer-targeted product which sells itself solely on the basis of its GUI; Linux is not. You cannot claim Linux fails at its GUI because it does not try at its GUI and a huge number of multiple people are responsible for different tiny aspects of the GUI. This is something the Linux community must adress eventually but they have more important things to deal with right now. i've typed way too much for such a simple post.

    oh, and what passes for "copy and paste" in linux is truly abysmal, but that's completely irrelivant.
  • I wish Linux would endorse KDE or gnome, thus (de facto) killing off one or the other.

    Who exactly is Linux, there's no one in the Linux community to say "Gnome is dead, and that's the bottom line, cause Bill Gates said so."

    You will NEVER have that happen. It totally goes against everything Linux is about.

    The challenge is to get these guys to work together. Instead of developing 200 different window managers, work together to develop one that is flexible enough to let group A have their cake and to let group B eat it too.

    The guy with the +5 above is right on. My first thought when reading that comment was "BAM, that's it!".

    Get these splintered developers to sit down and agree on how to proceed. Draft some guidelines (or god forbid, some standards) and set about making stuff work together! Isn't that what Linux is about?

  • This feature has been added recently due to popular request. (doesn't require the WM really).

    It's documented, too. :)
  • linux has no such guidelines made by anyone
    Nor should it. Interface guidelines don't belong at the OS level, they belong at the desktop level. See below.

    GTK and QT come almost close but in fact nowhere near to guidelines of this sort.
    Nor should they. Interface guidelines don't belong at the toolkit level, that would suggest that a particular toolkit has no application outside the scope of said guidelines, which is a silly restriction.

    This is something the Linux community must adress eventually
    Again, this isn't an OS level thing. This is a desktop level thing, and it is being addressed. I don't know enough about KDE's efforts, but Gnome has established the Gnome User Interface Improvement Project [] to address desired improvements for the Gnome desktop.

    except that in linux if you don't like those open dialog boxes you can change them; if you don't like part of the interface you can change it.
    Usually the people griping about the user interface are not interested in taking the time to change it themselves. That's why projects like the one mentioned above are important. People are given a central place to voice their desires for improvement, and thus contribute to the improvement of the desktop as a whole. This is the right way to do it.
  • I'm working with a couple of guys building a mud server entirely in Python. There are lots of other mud servers out there, but none that I helped to build and grow. The neat thing about Linux is that it gives _everyone_ the tools to build _anything_ they want for free. Folks are free to engage in projects and learn as much as they want because all the information is there for them to absorb and play with.

    And then it's fun to say, "Hey--look what I built!" And see who comes trudging to the door. Then the fact that there are people who look at what you've done, and they care! Some will ditch it for a better thingie, but some will actually take the time to send you an email saying, "This is a good start, but you should really work on these directions." And even if you hate that person and think their opinion sucks--you've got their opinion. It's a dialogue between your team and other interested folks in the world.

    All this from your own initiative that you're able to take because all the tools are there and free because of the efforts of other folks and their projects and initiatives. Even if the tools aren't there--you have the tools to build the tools!

    That's the power of GNU and Linux. That's the fun, the advantage, the cool-factor. It's even cooler that this massive distributed hobby is even affecting market share of companies that employ people to do what we do as a hobby and for fun. Who cares about the market share anyhow? GNU and Linux have a critical mass to continue to be really dynamic and energetic and active. In this your hobby is FUN! It fulfills life! We have FUN building things while others toil at their respective workplaces building commercial software.

    But people have that freedom to solve whatever problems they feel need solving--even if it's been solved a dozen times before. And that's how this community has grown and that's what makes it thrive. Because people are genuinely interested in what they're doing because it's their two hands and their mind that is part of it.

  • Finally.. a linux Window manger that stacks up slightly to OS/2's WPS legacy.. IceWM 1.0 together with DFM. You can't beat this combo for ultimate productivity. Now if some one would make an IRC client for X that is as good as GT-IRC (OS/2 client) or even mIRC. -- Jason
  • APP Watch???? App Watch is a bunch of old guys apperently who has nothing else to do but complain about you stealing information whenever someone else announces an app/update on freshmeat that was posted first on appwatch. If you notice, as far as Icewm goes IF Appwatch did post it first then that is only because the ppl doing the posting is also the maintainers of Appwatch, Whereas Freshmeat actually has a staff that does nothing but go through and weed out all unwanted topics/apps, which in turn takes a little more time. Just my 2cents worth about Appwatch
  • yeah.. right on.. WPS rocks!

  • All the window-managers that I have come across have one thing in common, they all want to be compared to, and outsmart MS-Windows, and I think this is a very misguided move.

    Look, this gets very stale, very fast.

    IBM have done this years ago - they came out with the slogan "Better Window and Window" for the OS/2, and see where OS/2 is heading?

    What the Open-Source community needs to realize is that we do not compete against MS-Windoze. We are Open-Source, and we can use our talent for BETTER THINGS than yet-another-window-manager.

    Would someone please listen up -

    Please, we do not need to waste out time on outsmarting MS-Windows. Instead, we can use out time better to make Linux, and all its utilities, EASIER TO INSTALL AND USE.

    Thank you for reading, and thank you for taking time out to consider what I have just said.

    Hoping y'all have a WONDERFUL YEAR OF 2000 !!!

  • I use to think mIRC was great, however when I switched over to Linux full time, I was forced to continually use BitchX. Trust me, BitchX is much better than mIRC. Switching from gui to text takes a little bit of time. But once you've made the transition you'll never watn to go back. You'll wonder how you lived with mIRC HEH.
  • Then why not just stay with your dist's default setup (KWM or enlightenment). No one is forcing you to try out others. For people who don't like choices or descisions we've got Windows! I for one love BlackBox as WM, not the most popular. If 'Less Choices' was the way of things, BlackBox wouldn't exist! Bjarne
  • What makes 'A Great Client'(tm)?

    For some, OutLookExpress is the greatest email-client around.
    Personally it makes me wommit and stress' me. I prefer YAM (an Amiga
    email-clien), it's flexible, fast and intuitive... to me!

    It's like deciding on which colour is the best!

    No, choices is good. And with OpenSource anyone is aloved to 'steal'
    good ideas from eachother.

  • One thing a lot of readers are missing here is the fact that it is just a Window Manager and does not claim to be the OS. IceWM is a good WM. It is light, flexible and easy to use. It makes a great alternative to fvwmX for speed and if you don't have the horsepower (or in my own case with a huge monitor that can only handle 256 colors) / ability to peruse E. GNOME or KDE it is still somewhat glitzy.

    The thing our FUD friends are missing is that WM's under UNIX are different for a number of reasons, one of which is scalability. Look, you can't run winNT 4.0 on a 486 (of course that begs the question - why do you have a 486?) and expect reasonable performance. You can't run E on a 486, but you can run aewm or fvwm with no problems.

    Even the standard windows GUI (which it refers to as the Operating System) has inconsistancy between versions, small but they are there. Windows, however, does not match the configurability or scalability of Linux, WM's play a part in both the configurability and scalability aspects.

    That is why there are so many WM's. It is really more of a natural practicality (is that a word?) than nicety. It also gives the end user a level of enpowerment that no other system (aside from the Open Motif perhaps) gives.

  • No, I think it's a bad idea. Although I am not elitist about Linux and I would like to see as many people use it as possible, what you're suggesting just doesnt' make sense. You can't make everyone happy. Trying to make everyone happy just makes a bunch of people mildly dissatisfied (see Windows 3.1 through NT4).

    If there's anything I've learned as a developer, it's "Know your audience". If you audience is techies then target techies. Make the techies fabulously happy. Sure, some computer-illiterate people aren't going to want to use the product, but BFD. On the other hand, if your target is newbies, then target newbies. Make everything simple, easy, and pointy-clicky. They'll thank you for it, and the techies will just use something else.

    The mistake is trying to please both (or more) groups. There's no reason that different distros can't target different groups, but I think it's clear that the developing community, as a whole, is thinking more along the lines of targetting techies (simply because that's what they are).


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • > I always think "Bloody hell, *ANOTHER* ICQ/IM/Yahoo pager...etc clone, do we really need one more?" when I see a new one announced on Freshmeat.

    It's really no different in the windows world. Go to sometime and see how many launchpad apps and archivers there are out there, and how many of those are so half-assed you wonder why the author even bothered to publicize them.
  • drifting further and further offtopic, here i go..

    i wasn't saying the fact the guidelines did not exist was a particularly bad thing in itself-- simply that you should not expect linux programs to follow any interface guidelines, but you _should_ expect win/mac programs to follow guidelines because said guidelines exist.

    > This is something the Linux community must adress eventually
    >Again, this isn't an OS level thing

    no.. but it is a community thing. which seems to be how the GUIIP is handling it.

    Would be nice if someone would create a distribution based entirely on consistent UI-- instead of slapping in every window manager and program known to man, along with seven almost identical "term" programs (xterm, rxvt, wterm, eterm, konsole, GNOME term.. what have i missed? none of which handle copy/paste in an intelligent manner..) and a huge number of redundant utilities with almost no orginisation to it all, and different items in the menus of each window manager.. choose GNOME one or two decent window managers, _one_ good term program (and set up GNOME to use that one, and tweak IRCII so it opens that term program instead of wterm on /window create), set up those window managers so they don't do anything redundant to the GNOME taskbar-type-thing, choose which programs you have installed somewhat carefuly, and go through and add GTK scrollbars to EVERYTHING you have included. Everything else-- KDE, redundant apps, etc. can be downloaded seperately. that's what freshmeat's for. Every distribution i've ever seen has concentrated violently on giving you _everything_ and not so heavily on how what you have relates. I can get everything at freshmeat easily-- what i don't want to do is be forced to spend a huge amount of time after i get the thing intalled tweaking the system until i've got something remotely usable. Which is why my linuxppc installation still isn't remotely consistent.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman