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Tiling Window Managers sucks? Accepting Xah's challenge!

There's a very popular blog entry by Xah Lee called "Why Tiling Window Manager Sucks". In this post he explains why he hates Tiling Window Managers offering some arguments like "unusable", "esoteric set of keys", "combo keys=RSI" and my favorite "idiotic".

Though I don't agree with all his statements, he put some very valid points on the table: graphical applications and a lot of terminal applications are unusable after you have more than 3 windows open, also he does a very valid question "Do you really need to look at ALL the windows at once?"

Even myself have been wondered the same, and to be honest I have been looking for the "best" workflow from a few months since dynamic tiling isn't that useful, at least for me. Let me explain: On a dinamic window manager, windows are aranged on a grid, you can change the grid. But the fact that windows are automatically arranged has problems, since the windows move and change size every time I open a new window. This is anoying. The alternative is manual tiling, like i3 or herbstluftwm, and though I love it I found some problems too, I spend a lot of time moving and resizing windows, and again, though tabs and containers makes my life easier, the question about if I need to see all the windows arise again. The answer, most of the time, it's no, I need to see only 3 windows at once, 4 on a very busy day.

At the end of the blog post, Xah offers a "challenge", basically his own workflow and way to do things, based on avoid combo-keys and focus windows hovering with the mouse. So I read the the article again and said "hell, why not?", and I decided to use his workflow for one week. If you don't want to read the original article here's the challenge (note that I changed some keybindings he propose):

  • Remove tiling manager. Use a basic, normal, one, such as xfce. (I'm using Plasma 5.22)
  • Set workspace/virtual-screen to just 1.
  • Set up 3 function keys to switch to 3 of your most used app. For example, {F8, F9, F10} for {emacs, browser, terminal}.
  • Set up 1 key to switch to last window, such as F4.
  • Set up 1 key to cycle windows within a app. F3.
  • Set up 1 key to toggle max/restore window size. F1
  • Set up 1 key to close window. For example, F6 (must be 1 single key. Alt+F4 is not good.)
  • Turn on mouse hover auto-raise window. (not just focus, but raise.)
  • Ban double-click.

He also proposes some keybindings for the browser, but I don't use the browser that much to bind those keys. So right now I have set all the needed configurations and I'm getting used to use this new, weird setup. Let's see my opinions in one week!.