back to article Miracle WM, a new tiling window manager built on Mir

Version 0.1.0 of Miracle-wm is very incomplete still, yet shows that interesting stuff is happening on the back of Canonical's Mir display server. Canonical developer Matthew Kosarek has released version 0.1.0 of his project Miracle-wm, a new tiling Wayland compositor. There are many such tools around now, but a couple of …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    It's almost as if

    those keyboard shortcuts keep getting hidden... less and less menu driven interfaces, where the shortcut naturally shows alongside the thing you want to do...

  2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    ssh

    "This isn't a criticism: tiling window managers tend to be minimal by design. The jaded old vulture behind the Reg FOSS desk suspects this is due to the fact that a lot of Linux users tend to be keyboard warriors who do a lot of their computing in a collection of terminal-emulator windows, alongside a web browser window or two. Many hardcore shell-pilots regard things like file managers and desktop icons as unnecessary fripperies."

    Or, tiling window managers work over ssh where terminals is all you have.

    "We cynically suspect that a second reason for the proliferation of window-tiling systems is widespread ignorance about the standard keystrokes for controlling Microsoft Windows, which also work fine in the better-executed Windows-inspired desktops out there."

    Er, what? Parse errors. Suppose I have a Windows-inspired desktop (I use Xfce, you judge the source of inspiration), and further suppose I don't know standard Windows (sic) keystrokes (it happens that I do know them) -- It seems to me there is a myriad of possible solutions to my user-befuddlement, but installing a tiling window manager is just about the last remedy that comes to mind. A _proliferation_ of tiling window managers says more about developers than it does about users.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: ssh

      I still like tiling window mangers, there are a few bits of software (notably graphics programs) which assume a "conventional" WM, but a tiling wm means you don't spend half your time arranging windows... you can just get on with the work you're trying to do.

      Being able to do it from a keyboard is just a nice bonus.

      It's the concept that a "Window Manager" should, well... manage the windows.

      1. ldo

        Re: don't spend half your time arranging windows

        Or just group them on multiple desktops. That’s what I do. And just a simple keystroke to switch to each desktop.

        Also KDE Plasma adds a second dimension to the layout, in the form of “activities”. So 4 desktops × 4 activities gives you 16 different views of your workspace.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: don't spend half your time arranging windows

          > adds a second dimension to the layout

          [...]

          > 16 different views of your workspace

          This is apparently what KDE users consider to be an improvement.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: don't spend half your time arranging windows

            I don't know why you marked that as a joke...

            The ability to have multiple regions of the screen and not have to try and fit windows into those regions manually is what a window manager should be doing.

            Having multiple virtual desktops per monitor is a different (and complementary) function - not come across the "activities" function, but it still doesn't sound like something which is actually managing your windows.

            Resorting to having everything full screened and just switching between virtual desktops has no benefit over just alt tabbing between full screened programs.

            The ability to have stuff open in an orderly fashion, without having to micro manage where the corners of windows end up is the stuff of tiling window managers - MS did their whole "drag to the top or sides" to have half screen content... image that being configurable (so the browser can take up the left 2/3rds of the screen, and a reference document, a file manager and a console can split the other third... Maybe the file manager and console share a space so they're accessed via tabs, as most people do for different pages in a browser.

            Then you can move a window to a different tile by just e.g. "Meta-Ctrl-Cursor" it around (or better yet use the vi direction keys :p )

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: don't spend half your time arranging windows

            Configurability is a feature, not a bug.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: ssh

      [Author here]

      > Er, what? Parse errors.

      Yes, 100%. You didn't understand me and TBH I am having a very hard time trying to deduce how you did interpret what I wrote. I think all I can do is take a wild stab in the dark.

      > Suppose I have a Windows-inspired desktop (I use Xfce, you judge the source of inspiration),

      I had Xfce in mind when I wrote this; it implements pretty much all of the core Windows keystrokes and functionality, and it does it better than MATE, Cinnamon, Budgie, etc.

      But this is irrelevant to the next bit, which is what baffled me.

      > and further suppose I don't know standard Windows (sic) keystrokes (it happens that I do know them)

      Er, OK, so...? I don't see the relevance...

      > It seems to me there is a myriad of possible solutions to my user-befuddlement,

      I am befuddled too. What is this to do with users?

      > but installing a tiling window manager

      Huh? Did I say anything about installing anything?

      > is just about the last remedy that comes to mind.

      Remedy for what?

      I am lost by your interpretation.

      OK, look, here is what I said:

      «

      a second reason for the proliferation of window-tiling systems is widespread ignorance about the standard keystrokes for controlling Microsoft Windows

      »

      What this means is:

      * there is a standard UI for controlling windows' size, layout etc.

      * it's the Windows one

      - GUI form: right-click taskbar, cascade or tile

      - keyboard form: alt+space, X to maximise, N to minimise, R to resize then cursor keys, etc.

      * _but_ most people seem ignorant of it and how to do window management efficiently

      * therefore, lots of developers reinvent this wheel by inventing tiling systems ^1

      * tiling WM advocates throw out the baby with the bathwater by dispensing with the rest of the desktop

      Footnote

      ^1 -- I have yet to meet a tiling WM on Linux that follows CUA controls. If they did I might be able to use them. But they don't and I don't want what they offer so I have zero inclination to learn.

      My "favourite" tiling WM is the one in Pop OS, but [a] it's based on GNOME and I can't stand GNOME [b] I don't like Pop OS much in general -- so I don't use it. But I dislike it less than the others I've looked at, most of which baffle me.

      -----

      I don't follow how you construed my message.

      What I wanted to say was this:

      If you learn how to use conventional traditional window managers effectively, you do not need to replace them with tiling ones. But most people do not. So, they reinvent them and invent tiling WMs with weird arcane UIs to match the weird arcane editors they like, e.g. Vim and Emacs. Since I don't like their editors, I don't like their WMs either.

      Nothing about users. Nothing about installing anything. Not sure how you got that.

      Sorry for being unclear.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: ssh

        CUA is great, I agree some developers need to know more about it. The one that gets me is when the _only_ way to access a function is by using the mouse. I hate that.

        However, I see a tiling window manager as orthogonal to CUA/conventional windows. Different use cases. Which is why I didn't see ignorance of CUA as having anything to do with creating (or not creating) a tiling window manager.

        I don't use a tiling window manager myself because I spent three decades in Windows(TM), so I'm quite used to dealing with floating windows via keyboard shortcuts. But I can understand why people like them. Same for multiple desktops, I disable that but I can understand why it exists. Same for floating sub-windows in an application, I don't like that because I want all the sub-windows to move when I shift the primary, but others may like it because they manage their windows differently.

  3. Cloudseer

    Would love to have been linked to the wheel? Great article as always.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
      Joke

      It's a round thing that helps you move heavy loads by rolling them without picking them up, but that's not important right now.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Ever try it?

        Moving a load with a wheel, I mean.

        It doesn't work very well. Multiple wheels make the problem worse.

        The real innovative tool is called the axle.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Ever try it?

          Step 1: roller. E.g. tree trunk.

          Step 2: make edges bigger: Make round thing bigger, attach to long round thing.

          The key bit here is the rolling, not the shape of the bit that goes round.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Ever try it?

            A log/roller is an axle.

            A wheel is essentially two dimensional and unstable. A log/roller/axle provides a third dimension, allowing a mounting point or points[0] and stability.

            [0] Or foot pegs, as in the case of Thor's conveyance of choice.

  4. PRR Silver badge

    > Windows (sic) keystrokes ... ... seems to me there is a myriad of possible solutions to my user-befuddlement, but installing a tiling window manager is just about the last remedy that comes to mind.

    Any human-finger interface (HFI?) which does not support key-maps with 2 or 3 pre-made 'common' keymaps in the package is, IMHO, severely flawed.

    Ah, no, we all type on a fondleslab screen with several key keys several SHIFTs away. (And different every generation- my older cellfone I avoided "#' in passwords but the new Moto makes "$" especially awkward.)

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. ldo

    Not knowing that the wheel exists is strong motivation to re-invent it.

    Or you could, you know, create a config file containing exactly those CUA keystrokes you love so much, and pass it around for others to discover and enjoy. After all, that’s what “customizable” means, doesn’t it?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Not knowing that the wheel exists is strong motivation to re-invent it.

      [Author here]

      So what you're saying is that it's up to me, the user, to do the hard work of readjusting some developer's tool so that it conforms to the industry standard?

      Yeah, no. Life's too short.

      Aside: are you by any chance an Emacs user?

      1. ldo

        Re: up to me, the user, to do the hard work of readjusting some developer's tool

        That’s how Open Source works, kiddo. The code doesn’t write itself. If you think such a facility would be useful, it’s up to you to do the work to prove it.

        To paraphrase JFK: “Ask not what Open Source can do for you, ask what you can do for Open Source”.

        > Life's too short.

        But not too short to spend it complaining about things, instead of using that time to change them ...?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: up to me, the user, to do the hard work of readjusting some developer's tool

          The code *should* write itself, in the sense that anyone writing a new window manager should (1) suspect that there might be a standard for thus, since the concept is older than they are, (2) bother to look for it, and (3) offer it as the default behaviour.

          I'd offer a car analogy but you ought to be able to supply that for yourself.

          1. ldo

            Re: anyone writing a new window manager should ...

            Maybe you should do one that way, or sponsor the development of one that way, to show us how it’s done.

            Put your money where your mouth is, as it were.

            After all, Open Source is all about choice, isn’t it?

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