Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

9Oct/07Off

More Of What I Liked The First Time I Used It

Fluxbox released the 1.0.0 version of the window manager a couple of days back and it finally wormed its way into the unstable branch of Debian which means I apt-get-upgraded today and to it. As always, the changelog has a lot to say that no one will ever read but several of the squashed bugs and new features got my attention:

1. Purrrrty. The new themes look really good (other than some questionable choices as far as color contrasts) and the developers have invested some time into properly integrating rounded images into the stew. I was really impressed at how good it looks out of the box. Fluxbox has always embodied the weird war of functionality versus eye candy that eats up so many brain hours and how you can compromise a little on both sides in order to make something better than 'good enough' on both sides of the equation.

2. Performance. Fluxbox feels snappy again. I guess all of the plugging of memory leaks mentioned in the changelog (the big version is here) paid off because the new version hauls ass the way Fluxbox is supposed to haul ass. I had all but abandoned earlier versions because there were so many performance issues. I've only been using it for six or seven hours and sporadically at that but I've already noticed that everything seems far more stable and reacts a lot more quickly than many of the 0.9 releases. Now is the perfect time to nail problems like these because I've seen an increasing number of people adopting Flux after experiencing too much frustration with KDE and Gnome.

Many people will completely disregard Flux because it doesn't look like something you'd want to play with and, although it is ridiculously configurable, there isn't a control center or whatever to endlessly toggle options around. I've pretty ambivalent about whirlygigs and shiny things to drag back to the nest (see Regarding Eye Candy for one of the most considered and eloquent defenses of window manager minimalism ever if you're that hung up on the bling) so that has held little sway over what I choose to handle windowing but if you've tried Fluxbox in the past and decided that it wasn't for you, give it another shot. It has improved tremendously over the years and seems poised to give the shiny/flashy wms hell in the future. You can make it look as stupid as you want (including icons on the desktop which is like the most annoying thing in *nix GUI environments possible) and it still runs fast and puts your root menu where you need it which is anywhere you click, cowboy.

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