I’ve recently started using bluetile instead of compiz, and I think I’m going to stick with it. Bluetile is a tiling window manager, but it’s not like all those other tiling window managers*:

  • it’s simple
  • it’s easy to learn
  • it’s built with GNOME support out of the box
  • it still supports direct manipulation style using the mouse if you just want to change a window’s size, or swap window locations. I think this is crucial for keeping it accessible to new people like myself.

* well okay, it is like those other tiling window managers. Specifically, it’s built on xmonad. But it presents a simple veneer over the vast complication that is xmonad (I should know, I tried to configure it just last week ;)).

Bluetile is, sadly, notoriously difficult to install. But there are good guides around, I used this one for ubuntu karmic.

The good news is, bluetile has recently been merged back into the xmonad mainline. And xmonad is apt-gettable (at least on ubuntu). So in theory, the next release of xmonad will make it pretty easy to run in bluetile mode, without having to compile-your-own-window-manager (which certainly does not make for a gentle learning curve). If anyone is considering playing around with alternate window managers, it’s definitely worth your while to give bluetile a go.