I've been (slowly) upgrading to the latest version of the Awesome Window Manager. Since Awesome is a pretty new program, and there was a debian code freeze during development for a huge chunk of the awesome3-series code... it's been hard to install on ubuntu. Lots of dithering about, and then compiling by hand. For the uninitiated, ususally installing new software on a Debain-based system (like ubuntu; and many GNU/Linux systems are this way) is as simple as typing a single command. This hasn't really been the case for awesome.

In any case, with the latest release candidates for awesome 3.3 in sid (debian unstable) I added a sid repository to my ubuntu system, updated, installed awesome, removed the sid repository. Breathed a huge sigh of relief, and then got to getting things setup again. I have the following responses to the new awesome:

  • I really like the fact that if you change something in your config file and it doesn't parse, awesome loads the default config (at /etc/xdg/awesome/rc.lua) so that you don't have to kill X11 manually and fix your config file from a virtual terminal.
  • If you're considering awesome, and all this talk of unstable repositories scares you, the truth is that awesome is--at this point--not exactly adding new features to the core code base. There are some new features and reorganizations of the code, but the software is generally getting more and more stable. Also, the config file has been (and is becoming less of) a moving target, so given that it's pretty stable and usable, it makes sense to "buy in" with the most current version of the configuration so you'll have less tweaking in general.
  • The new (default) config file is so much better than the old ones. I basically reimplemented my old config into the new default config and have been really happy with that. It's short(er) and just yummy.
  • I did have some sort of perverse problems with xmodmap which I can't really explain but they're solved.
  • If you're use a display manager (like gdm) to manage your x sessions, I know you can just choose awesome from the default sessions list, but I'd still recommend triggering awesome from an .xinit/.Xsessions file so that you can load network managers and xmodmap before awesome loads. Which seems to work best for me.
  • I'd never used naughty, which is a growl-like notification system before, and now that it's included by default I am using it, and I quite adore it.

More later.