Concentration-enhancing Window Manager

The end of my i3wm config file.

The end of my i3wm config file.

This is one of these Linux posts, so, not relevant to photography. What I do want to talk about is a new-to-me window manager.

ThinkPad T480

ThinkPad T480

Providently got a new laptop for my office and while it is still redundant, I put Linux on it.

Kubuntu Netinstall

Kubuntu Netinstall

Debian hung in the first booting sequence for lack of proprietary Wifi drivers, so I put on Kubuntu. Not much a fan of the desktop experience, though. I had seen my son use the i3 window manager. I was intrigued and wanted to try it, too.

i3wm, a minimal status bar at the bottom of the screen, tabbed interface, the front window a terminal running “lynx”

That picture above may need a bit of explaining. i3wm is a window manager that throws away the desktop metaphor. There is no desktop.
Instead, it is a tiling window manager. Above, the tiles are arranged one behind the other, each offering the content the full screen. Switching between them can be done by key combinations or with the tabs in the top row of the screen. This is just one arrangement, actual tiling in vertical and horizontal rows (or a mix thereof), a stacked arrangement, floating windows etc. are possible. It’s just that I prefer the tabbed arrangement for the 14″ laptop screen. I find it conducive to concentration to have one program, task, terminal or whatever fill the screen. There are no distractions by an overfilled menu bar, a message center or popups from your social networks. Wait, there is a status bar at the bottom of the screen, but only if you press the Mod key (*1 . The way my son helped me configure it yesterday, it just shows my network interfaces, battery, volume, date and time.
(*1 Aah, the Mod key. It is key to the i3wm interface 😉 . In the default configuration, it is the Windows key, a fine use of this otherwise embarrasing key on a Linux laptop that leaves the Alt key free for application use. Combinations of the Mod key and others provide navigation between windows, housekeeping, a program starter plus whatever you write into the config file. You dont need to touch your $pointing_device for that.
tl;dr: i3wm breaks so many conventions, it makes for a new, refreshing and concentration-enhancing way of interfacing with your computer.

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