I switched to a tiling window manager, i3 (i3wm.org
), on my laptop. It's been pros and cons, but one thing I'm really liking is it makes me feel like a hacker again. I've gotten pretty jaded from corporate life, coming to expect that simple approaches never work and you can't accomplish much hacking by yourself because there will be so many hurdles to overcome just for the small stuff. Using such a "bare metal" environment and having so many neat knobs available for me to tweak in interesting ways has given me back a taste of the adventure of coding.
Some of my favorite features:
* Each container can have its own layout (tabbed, vert/horiz split, or my favorite: stacking). I tend to have a bunch
of windows and tabs open at a given time for work, and I can finally organize my windows so I don't lose track of them as much.
* When you edit the configuration, or even when you upgrade the i3 software, it's a single keypress and less than a second to restart i3, leaving all your windows and layouts open how you had them.
* It encourages mixing and matching some of the more modular single-purpose software instead of using GNOME everything or KDE everything. I've discovered a lot of neat projects that way.
* A fresh start gets me in a more creative mood overall. I cleaned up a bunch of my dotfiles and switched vim plugin managers while I was at it, and I have a lot of new ideas bubbling around for hobby hack projects I want to try.
OTOH, there's a lot
of stuff that worked fine in Unity desktop or GNOME but doesn't even come close to doing what I expect in i3. For instance, if I accidentally hit the power button, my laptop is off in less than a second. I've really gotten used to getting some kind of power menu prompt asking "shutdown, reboot, suspend, or nevermind?", but that's one of many things I've run into that doesn't have a good answer in i3: https://www.reddit.com/r/i3wm/comments/41dpta/easy_configuration_of_multimedia_keys/
. It feels very much like re-inventing the wheel.