Awesome Problems

This is a continuation of my earlier post on the awesome window manager read there for the background. I'm going to focus on some of the challenges that I've had trying to use Awesome.

Applications made for Awesome

The truth is that most (linux) applications work pretty well with awesome, so linux users won't need to find new programs. GNOME and KDE apps all work fine. Having said that there are some applications which are more suited to the "Awesome" environment. Generally anything that runs in the terminal is fair game. That means mutt for email, vimperator for firefox, mcabber for jabber (but there are some issues here). Terminator is my favorite terminal/console program. Irssi for IRC. Vim as a texteditor.

That's a good place to start as any, but I'm sure that there are other apps out there that I'm missing. Your thoughts and suggestions of cool command line apps is always appreciated. Non-Awesome apps that I find myself using with awesome include Cream, and Pidgin.

The Scripting is Hard.

This is mostly a whine, and something that I can get over. Ideally once I get this to work, I can save this Lua file and make awesome work wherever I need to in no time flat, but it's a lot to get the brain around. I think it might help if there were more examples of Awesome configuration files to ease the tradition. Furthermore, I think it might also be helpful if there was a structure for multiple config files, or an allowance for "sourced" files (a la mutt/vim/bash). Basically I think it'd be cool to have a "widgets" file and a "tag file" and a key-binding file. Or at least have the option of such. This would make tweaking the config file much easier, and give some structure to a chaotic system.

Notifications

I'm a big fan of growl, the notification framework for OS X. which makes it easy to get notifications if you have a lot of windows open, have things running in the background, or need to track things running in the background. I haven't found an equivalent solution, though I'm sure something exists.

Things I haven't figured out yet:

  • I want to be able to assign firefox to only open in (multiple) selected tags, but not in others, and I'm not sure how to make this work.
  • Some sort of menu of currently running applications that would let users select a running application/client and jump to the appropriate tag. That would be awesome.
  • Using this configuration file, I can't get the pidgin (or any other) system tray icons to pop up. Weird.

The truth is that Awesome pretty much does what you want it to do, and there aren't any real serious bugs or oversights. Part of this is Awesome's success at having a very clear and limited scope, and part of this is the fact that just about everything that Awesome doesn't do, you can use the existing tools from GNOME or KDE (the more typical open source desktop environments.) But I think it's useful to at least make note of the frustrations, if nothing else so that people newer to awesome than I don't feel so lost. It's normal, and I think (hope?) it'll get better.

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