4 Things You Should Be Aware Before Switching to a Window Manager

Window Managers Are Highly Customizable

While desktop environments like KDE Plasma are known for their immense customizability features, they don’t stand a chance against window managers in terms of customization. You can literally change any aspect of your desktop using window managers, including the window placement, their appearance, title bars, taskbars, and more.

To see the true power of window managers, head over to r/unixporn and check out the WM desktop customizations (or “rice”) submitted by the users. If you too, want to create a personalized desktop that looks, and works the way you want, then window managers are definitely a better choice for you.

You’ll Have to Manually Set Up Basic Utilities

Unlike desktop environments, a window manager doesn’t ship with even basic utilities like a menu, or a status bar. You’ll have to manually install and set up each program to your taste. Also, with each new program comes a new configuration file that you’ll have to deal with, which further adds to the complexity.

If you don’t want your first window manager experience to be a blank dark screen, consider installing a menu system, status bar, wallpaper utility, and compositor alongside the WM package.

Choosing an Ideal Window Manager Is Hard

Like with other things on Linux, you’ll be overwhelmed with the number of window managers available at your disposal. Although this increases the scope of choice for some users, for others it is a red sign that comes with indecision and frustration.

Window Managers Are Complicated

With the power of customization comes great complexity. The behavior and appearance of window managers are usually derived from text files known as configuration files. After installing a window manager, you’ll spend most of your initial time working with config files, changing variable values, and adding commands.

An experienced Linux user might get through the customization phase without many hassles, but newcomers often have a tough time learning how to modify the configuration file, not to mention that each config file follows a different syntax. This is because every window manager is written in a different programming language, and uses a different format to interpret the written commands.