Is fvwm for me?

All questions regarding FVWM that don't fit anywhere else.
MikeYoung
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Is fvwm for me?

Postby MikeYoung » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:31 pm

Hi there.

I'm a semi-new *nix user. (Have used in the past but never went past using it like Windows for work etc) but have now started to get into it.

I'm working on a Cross Linux-From-Scratch system, and I'm trying to decide how it should look, so I've been looking around for a good Window Manager.

Fvwm seems to have very mixed reviews, with some saying it's awful, blocky, chunky etc, and others saying "yes, but only if you leave it as is". I did also hear that the community is very warm and welcoming (instant +).

So my question is, is it easy to configure and make work and get the full power out of it for someone who is perhaps just under half-way on the road to becoming barely competent with *nix, or is it something best left alone until a bit more experienced?

Obviously the only way to find out is to try, but I'd rather not waste my time (I'm afraid I don't really do tactful when it comes to words).

Really what I'm asking is, is fvwm easy to fully customise and understand, for a newer user?

Skills/Experience:
Have used openSUSE+KDE (3&4), Ubuntu+Gnome

Have created LFS builds with varying degrees of experimentation with configuration etc.

Can understand C (Syntax and general meaning) but can't write it.
In the process of learning Perl before returning to C.

*edit*
What I'm looking for:
A system that I can really call my own and isn't the same (until you delve to reasonable depth) as anyone else's.
A system that's more keyboard and CLI based than mouse and GUI.
Good aesthetic and interface. (Latter more important than the former)

Many Thanks!

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theBlackDragon
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Re: Is fvwm for me?

Postby theBlackDragon » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:33 am

MikeYoung wrote:Hi there.

I'm a semi-new *nix user. (Have used in the past but never went past using it like Windows for work etc) but have now started to get into it.

I'm working on a Cross Linux-From-Scratch system, and I'm trying to decide how it should look, so I've been looking around for a good Window Manager.

Fvwm seems to have very mixed reviews, with some saying it's awful, blocky, chunky etc, and others saying "yes, but only if you leave it as is". I did also hear that the community is very warm and welcoming (instant +).


I'd say that people that say you need to leave Fvwm as-is don't "get" Fvwm or have been using some predefined configuration which they have a hard time customizing (some distributions come with a predefined Fvwm configuration, there also is Fvwm Crystal which seems rather popular)

MikeYoung wrote:So my question is, is it easy to configure and make work and get the full power out of it for someone who is perhaps just under half-way on the road to becoming barely competent with *nix, or is it something best left alone until a bit more experienced?

Obviously the only way to find out is to try, but I'd rather not waste my time (I'm afraid I don't really do tactful when it comes to words).


Fvwm is not what I'd call easy, it has a lot of quirks that have been acquired over time. The manpage is HUGE and it's not always clear how things are related, especially to new users. That said it's not all that hard either, but it does take a lot of reading and can be quite time consuming for a first time setup (depending on your needs).

MikeYoung wrote:Really what I'm asking is, is fvwm easy to fully customise and understand, for a newer user?


The short answer would be "no". That said I have found that the time I've put into learning to harness a little bit of the power Fvwm provides has been more than worth it.


MikeYoung wrote:Skills/Experience:
Have used openSUSE+KDE (3&4), Ubuntu+Gnome

Have created LFS builds with varying degrees of experimentation with configuration etc.

Can understand C (Syntax and general meaning) but can't write it.
In the process of learning Perl before returning to C.


Perl will come in useful, there is even a module to interact with Fvwm through Perl (which I've never used since I don't know Perl), general Linux and especially shell knowledge is always useful.

MikeYoung wrote:*edit*
What I'm looking for:
A system that I can really call my own and isn't the same (until you delve to reasonable depth) as anyone else's.

Check, people have tuned Fvwm to support some amazing personal workflows, browsing the configs section on these forums will turn up some of these.

MikeYoung wrote:A system that's more keyboard and CLI based than mouse and GUI.

I mostly use the CLI, Fvwm serves me well to manage all my terminal and Emacs windows (and the rest, of course)
MikeYoung wrote:Good aesthetic and interface. (Latter more important than the former)

These are mostly what you make of them, some of use use very plain looking configurations while others have very graphically pleasing setups.

You can make Fvwm look like almost anything and behave almost however you want, provided you put in enough time, in the end you are the only one that can decide whether spending that time is worth it or not.


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