Linux distro and WM update

I most recently wrote about my Linux distro of choice and window managers a little over a year ago.

At that time I was running the i3 window manager on an Arch distro. That is still my setup of choice, but in the interim I did use both dwm and Qtile for quite a while (probably 9 months in dwm and two months using Qtile). dwm did take some fiddling with patches to install a systray, but it eventually came together.

I moved on from dwm to Qtile in early April because dwm wouldn’t display the Bible Desktop java app on screen. The text would be rendered to the screen (because it could be selected with a mouse drag), but the screen would be completely white. I tested this with a number of window managers with mixed results. Both i3 and Qtile would render Bible Desktop correctly whereas dwm and Xmonad would not. I use Bible Desktop only occasionally as a back-up tool to Xiphos, but its non-useability under dwm meant I reverted to the i3/Qtile possibilities.

Qtile works well for me. The default column layout is fine because I rarely have more than two windows open at a time. If I need a third window I move to a new workspace. I may have a terminal and editor or file manager open on one space, a web browser on another, and email on a third. Something like darktable or one of the aforementioned Bible apps on a fourth or fifth.

I was running Arch with Qtile on two notebooks but decided to revisit Void Linux on my ‘spare’ notebook. I had used Void several years ago and was keen to see what had changed. Thankfully it is as simple or simpler to install and use as I remembered. The only apps I use that Void won’t run are Xiphos (runs as a flatpak, but instead I can use Bible Desktop) and Qtile. People had reported mixed stories about compiling Qtile on Void so I didn’t bother and simply opted for i3. As a result I switched from Qtile to i3 on my main notebook so I’m running Arch with i3 on my main notebook (but with Qtile and dwm still installed), and Void with i3 on the backup machine. I have configured both i3s to operate almost exactly like Qtile–same key bindings and very similar look and feel. Whilst i3 and Qtile are not identical, for all intents and purposes they are driven the same way for me.

So my progress was i3 to dwm to Qtile then back to i3. I did tinker with OpenBox for a short time there, but I think the tiling window philosophy works better for me than the stacking window approach. I may still flip between i3 and Qtile, but probably won’t look at dwm (or Xmonad) again. Both Arch and Void work well. Bible Desktop works well as a lightweight Bible study app–not as useful to me as Xiphos, but enough to keep me away from flatpaks.