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Jack Woehr

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers


October 17, 2008

dwm is a dynamic window manager, not a personals ad description.

If you have set your own window manager for the past twenty years, there was probably a time when twm seemed great.

Progessively we arrived at Gnome or KDE.

Now many are bailing from the complexity where the desktop environment is so demanding of your time and attention. Anselm R. Garbe &al's dwm is pretty close to the ultimate.

Since I've been coding fulltime my own open source (after 7 years as development director where coding became for me a luxury and a pain) there are any number of things I've stopped caring about that used to seem so important.

I don't care if I can't always see Flash content on my OpenBSD development machine. Flash is obnoxious in any context other than Homestar Runner and his peer sites and if Adobe won't port to OpenBSD or open source their darned code, they can find some other way to sprinkle moving advertisements into my browser.

I don't care that my favorite IDE won't draw a visible window. The reason it won't is that probably snarky little dwm is right and holy mother Java is wrong, at least about window parenting in the X Window System. "Commoditize THIS!" say the dwm developers and continue to grind out tiny, correct, useful code.

Well, I have been meaning to write my own text-mode ide in m4 and shell for some time.

What I do care about is that my own open source software written in Java and other classic open source languages does build and run in the simplest functional environment that I can live with and still cruise the web for development downloads and file my email and do word processing.

That's gotta be OpenBSD + dwm. I'm home.

I considered re-using stdin as well, but in any case having
customization features will lead to more code, esp. more
only-once executed code, that's why I don't like either way
much... And it doesn't keeps the novices away.

- Anselm Garbe, mailing list, 2006 .


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