Bluetile is packaged

About a year and a half ago i discovered xmonad and i was instantly converted to the tiling manager way of life. It was the perfect excuse to start doing something practical with Haskell, which i had been wanting to experiment with for a couple of years. Then it was also a perfect excuse to get more involved with packaging, which sent me on a long twisty adventure. In order to give back to the community, i became more involved with Haskell packaging in order to make the experience much better in Fedora in general, and since then Haskell itself has come a long way too.

Tiling Window Management has many practical benefits to it, and can be useful even to 'non technically savy' users. What's important when starting out with a new WM is having a good way to explore it that fits your paradigm of exploration. At the time, xmonad fit mine perfectly; i needed better window management via the keyboard, and my then most recent configurations of compiz was heavily keyboard biased. For other people though, especially the aforementioned group, the initial mode of exploration is with the mouse cursor. This is why we have graphical file managers, (especially dolphin, seth), desktop environments full of widgets and glowey shiney things, and rich web pages full of javascript. As the user learns to be more productive, there is ultimately some kind of shift to the keyboard, especially when the mouse clicking exposes this clearly.

Recently, as part of a research project Jan Vornberger has put together a new tiling window manager on top of xmonad, called bluetile. Bluetile aims to close the gap between highly technical oriented tiling WMs and the everyday user who can benefit from such a design but is reliant on the mouse. His project looks to integrate a tiling WM into Gnome, provide both mouse and keyboard access for every feature, communicate clearly to the user what is going on, and provide a gentle introduction to the concept of tiling. As a new generation of users become more sophisticated, i'm sure either bluetile will grow with them, or they will eventually migrate to xmonad proper. Bluetile also ships with a bunch of patches, many of which will hopefully find their way upstream, so there will definitely be some good synergy between the two communities. I'm really looking forward to it.

I had a chance to play with bluetile in my free time, and i was really impressed at the quality and the ease of use already. It's the sort of program i would not hesitate to put on my family's computer to see what happens. I've put together some packages for bluetile, which are now sitting in the review queue. If you're morbidly curious, or just looking for some relatively easy packages to review, have a look here:

3 flames:

Anoniem zei

I'm interested in this project as well. I have to say though, that I am a bit disappointed after installing it via cabal. Compared to XMonad the speed isn't great. I'd also appreciate Xft Fonts for the window decorations.

Yankee zei

These are really comments that should be directed upstream.

I can't speak for the speed offhand. I can say this much though. Tiling WMs force windows into different shapes, rather than letting them remain in a static form. While the WM can be slow to perform, for example, managing thousands of windows, the slowest thing is your applications. Every time you move something, everything on screen has to be rearranged. No Tiling WM can fix that, although tricks might be possible with compositing to hide this fact.

As for XFT fonts, it's theoretically possible, but since this is Jan's research project, i don't know what his plans are. He's commented on using Metacity to decorate the windows as well.

Anoniem zei

The application level slow-down during layout is not what I am experiencing, since that would also occur with XMonad. It is a problem, but not the one responsible for the slowness I mentioned.

As for the decorations: He mentioned metacity ? Doesn't compiz have decorations drawn externally ? Maybe Bluetile could use emerald or gtk-window-decorator ? I don't know about the specific protocols used there, though.