Andrew Channels Dexter Pinion

Wherein I write some stuff that you may like to read. Or not, its up to you really.

March 02, 2004

Multiple Workspaces in Debian/Gnome

Sometimes free software really gets my goat. The provocation today was the seemingly simple task of defaulting my Gnome desktop to four workspaces rather than the single one it insisted I have.

For the sordid details I refer you to this thread at the very excellent debianHELP. Suffice it to say it's possible but the means to change it is incredibly convoluted and really rather hard to find.

This is, I think, an example of what MPT complains about in his When good interfaces go crufty piece.

People, it really, really shouldn't be this hard. I was quite warming to Gnome but much more of this rubbish will have me removing it from my Debian box.

As it is I have spent all of my (not very copious) free time today chasing my tail with this when I could have been working on some code.

Posted by Andy Todd at March 02, 2004 05:47 PM


Try using metacity instead of sawfish. Its pretty much obsolete at this point, and iirc will not be used in 2.6.

Posted by: Jeff Hodges on March 2, 2004 08:06 PM

Which raises the next question - how do I do that? Because Google and the usual suspects have absolutely no information on how to swap window managers.

It doesn't help that metacity doesn't seem to have a home page (let alone a manual), always a bad sign as far as I can tell.

Posted by: Andy Todd on March 2, 2004 09:39 PM

Try using KDE instead of Gnome :) KWM works just fine :)

Posted by: Richard Jones on March 2, 2004 10:07 PM

Try XFCE4, like Gnome but without the cruft. I switched to XFCE4 after trying the latest Gnome release, and I'm certainly not going back.

Posted by: Rain King on March 2, 2004 11:50 PM

For the record, on my Debian testing box (with GDM as the login manager) I installed XFCE4 by typing;

# apt-get install xfce

Then I logged out (of my KDE session - Richard) and Xfce was a choice on the sessions pull down. It's nice and light and reminds me (as intended) of the CDE environment on Sun workstations. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not though ;-)

Posted by: Andy Todd on March 3, 2004 10:20 AM


Posted by: Richard Jones on March 3, 2004 09:32 PM