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Window Manager Withdrawal

I'm a window manager guy. I cut my teeth on the likes of i3 and DWM, I even found myself liking Xmonad despite my dislike of Haskell. I adore almost everything about Window Managers. The workflow suits me, the customization and the thrill of building your own environment thrills me, and the community is highly enjoyable.

But for the last month and a half, I've eschewed my true home. I've spent most of my time in Gnome (shudder) with a bit of time spent in the perpetually buggy, yet feature-rich, KDE Plasma.

And I miss WMs. A lot.

But, as I said in a video about a month ago (as I write this), I need stability in my life. And yes, there are WMs that are stable, I tend to tinker with my window managers, and therefore make them unstable. I could stop that and be in a stable place, but that'd remove part of the fun.

I watched a video from Chris Titus Tech where he showed off his very simple setup of DWM, and it looked amazing. The problem is that I couldn't do a setup that simple and be very happy with it. I'd want more and that'd lead to instability, and that's what I am trying to avoid.

But I know myself pretty well. I know that it won't be too long before the call of the WM will bring me crawling back. The question is, how long and which one will I go to?

Wayland seems to be a part of my life now, which is going to seriously limit my choices. Hyprland is really the only option there that I enjoy. Sway has too many quirks that I don't care for, so that's basically out of the running. I could do something like riverwm or dwl, but both seem to be less maintained than Hyprland and I worry about their longevity given that the communities surrounding them are much smaller.

I could go back to Xorg, I suppose, but that'd be a hassle too. I don't know yet. I don't need to make the decision now, but it's something that is percolating in the back of my mind. As I get deeper into this Gnome challenge, for the lack of a better word, I miss my WMs more and more. This DE workflow just doesn't lend itself to productivity. I can't really say I've been less productive since switching, but it all feels less rewarding. I feel more like my computer is just a tool now, instead a tool and something fun to tinker with.

That feeling of enjoyment is one of the reasons why I've been so unhappy with Gnome. There isn't like there is anything wrong with Gnome itself, not really. It is perfectly capable of doing the thing it was designed to do. I can do everything I need to do on this setup easily. But the things I want to do, the things I used to look forward to doing on my computer, those are gone. I'm here only to work, and then I no longer want to be here.

It's sad, if I'm being honest. It feels like I've had to make an adult choice, and despite it being the right choice, it also made me less happy.

To me, that means that eventually something has got to give. Either I'll just stick around on Gnome forever and slowly force it into something that I enjoy using (or maybe do the same with Plasma or XFCE) or - and this is more likely - I will go back to a WM and be happy once again on a slightly less stable system.

This blog post has rambled all over the place, so I will wrap it up. But I think it expresses just how conflicted I've been about this change in my life. I want stability, I have saved time by not tinkering. It hasn't really made me more productive, but there has been time saved. But I've also lost the enjoyment I used to feel when booting up my computer for the day. It's something that I miss, and I kind of want it back.

I hope everyone has a great week,

Matt, signing off from Gnome land.

This post was released 7 days early for my Patrons. Experiences herein may be out of date.