by September 6, 2001 0 comments

In the Windows world, I would
probably have started off this article with something like “‘Window Maker is the
best window manager…”. In the Linux world, however, the word “best” is
not looked upon kindly. Using Linux is about choice. And Window Maker is one of the many
choices of Window Managers out there for you to consider. What sets it apart from the
other window managers is its extremely slick interface, speed, reasonably low memory
footprint, and full KDE and GNOME compliance (meaning you no longer have to run kwm).
Window Maker has also recently been named the official window manager of the GNU project.

Window Maker was written by Alfredo Kojima, and attempts to emulate
the NeXTSTEP GUI look and feel, as well as integrate support for GNUStep applications (to
read more about GNUstep and OpenStep, check out http://gnustep.
org
). It sports a clean, uncluttered interface, fully customizable menu, and a wharf,
which is like a broad toolbar on which you can dock specially written applications called
“dockapps”. There is a huge collection of dockapps available for download,
starting from simple clocks, CPU, memory and IO monitors, network interface load meters,
CD players, sound mixers, e-mail notification applets, file system mounters, and PPP
dial-out applets.

Like all Linux applications, Window
Maker is highly customizable. From the interface to the root menus, to keyboard shortcuts,
every aspect can be customized. Unlike most Linux apps, however, Window Maker ships with
its own graphical configuration tool, Wprefs.app, which uses the WINGS library–a
widget set designed specifically for writing apps for Window Maker. This means you no
longer have to edit the configuration files yourself; but they’re there if you want
to do so.

Window Maker includes full theme support and there’s a
site–http://wm.themes.org, devoted to themes for Window Maker. It also includes a
separate sound module that lets you attach sounds to events. The sound module too is
configurable from its own GUI utility. Starting from version 0.51, Window Maker can be
used as a window manager for both KDE and GNOME. However, we weren’t able to ship
this version on the PCQ CD-ROM, so you can download the sources from www.windowmaker.org,
or RPMs from http://rufus.w3.org. The version that ships on the CD, however, is a fully
stable version with support for all features except KDE and GNOME integration.

While Window Maker may not have the sheer graphical splendor and
razzle-dazzle of Enlightenment, or the tiny footprint of fvwm, it does combine the best of
both worlds, giving you a fast and stable environment to work in, without getting in your
way. Look out for the latest versions of Window Maker, with lots of dock apps and themes
on the next month’s PCQ CD-ROM.

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