Because FLOSS is handy, isn’t it?

What I want in a Desktop Environment

Posted by isilanes on July 4, 2006

Probably just a reminder to myself (things to test that a DE or WM I consider using has).

In no particular order:


I want the posibility to have a panel that looks like Engage, or the modubar desklet of adesklets.

All of them are, yes, clons of the Mac “Dock”.

Volume control

Yes sounds stupid, but I want something like the convenient applet in the Xfce panel, which turns volume up and down when scrolling the mouse wheel over it.

There are workarounds, like having a mixer (e.g. kmix) icon in the system tray, which fulfill the same task (you can hover and scroll), or configuring a keybinding for it.

Maybe both, specially the latter, are even better than what I originally wanted, so… nevermind.

Alt+Tab cycling for ALL windows

I have tried Enlightenment DR16, and the default is to cycle only raised windows (that is, the minimized ones don’t appear in the cycle). How stupid is that? And I am sad to say that I haven’t been able to change this default behavior. I have given Enlightenment DR17 a try, and it does cycle through all windows…

Iconbox with all windows

I absolutely love the Xfce iconbox, which is a replacement for a “normal” taskbar, i.e., a place where iconified windows “go”. The only thing I think is less than perfect is its looks. The Enlightenment iconbox looks better, specially since you can make it 100% invisible, so that only the icons are visible.

Problem with Enlightenment iconbox: only minimized windows appear there. Again (second time with a window issue in E.), how silly is that? In Xfce you can configure the iconbox to show all windows, or just minimized ones. Having all windows appear in the iconbox is very handy. When you minimize a window, it goes to the iconbox. You can then maximize it clicking in its iconbox icon. Now, without moving the mouse, you can change your mind and minimize it back, clicking the icon again. But in E. you can’t, because the icon is no more there!


I like some Enlightenment themes but I prefer the Xfce way of having a theme for the window manager, and another one for the “general look and feel”. The latter includes font types and sizes, scrollbar styles, button styles and so on. In E., it’s all-in-one, so one theme might have a very nice window decoration, but awful scrollbar or button style…

Easy and powerful keybindings

Most WMs have customizable keyboard shortcuts. The ones of Xfce are not espectacular, but can be accepted.

Shading with mouse

This is a very small detail, but very usefull. 99% of WMs shade the window (“roll it up”, showing only the topbar) when scrolling up with the mouse over its topbar. No need to say, scrolling down unshades the window back. In some WMs (e.g., KDE), you can even configure what you want to have done when scrolling with the mouse over the topbar of a window.

Well, there are WMs where you can not do that trick! Sad.


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