Tomáš Janoušek, a bug slayer

Blog

Going tiled.

I had been using Fluxbox for 7 years when I finally decided it’s time for change last Friday. As my friends expected, I left it for xmonad. Seven years is a long time and for me it meant that I became a Fluxbox developer. Therefore, I should say some nice goodbye.

It all started in 2002 when a friend of mine switched me to Linux. I installed it onto my father’s laptop, which only had 32 MB of memory and quickly realized that GNOME, KDE and Mozilla aren’t for me. Someone gave me a tarball of fluxbox 0.1.12, I installed it, and liked it. Unfortunately, I have no screen shots or photos from that time.
(just this one: http://foto.nomi.cz/d/22669-2/ja_v_klobouku.jpg :-))

Later that year, I installed fluxbox 0.1.14 (the last in 0.1 series) onto my “workstation” and it turned out that I would stick with that old version for another 4 years.

The look of my workspace evolved a little over the years. I chose a few shots that demonstrate that :-).

In the meantime, Fluxbox team was working hard on the 0.9 series, hoping to get it stable enough for 1.0. Every time I tried it, it seemed buggy and slow, bringing nothing new other than transparency and eye candy. The one or two little features I liked were easy to implement in 0.1.14, anyway. So I stayed for 4 years.

Then, Mark Tiefenbruck jumped in and made things move faster in 2006. Later that year, seeing a lot of activity in its svn repo, I decided it was time for me to jump in as well. Took me only a few patches and it was stable enough for me to use. I even added some little features I wanted, and managed to get some of them included in official Fluxbox repo.

At the end of 2007, Fluxbox switched from svn to git and I was given push (“commit” in svn terminology) access. That year X.org became capable of switching between single- and dual-head without restarts and I added proper handling of this stuff to Fluxbox. After that, I had a window manager I was fully satisfied with. Those few features that never made it into the official repo were waiting for some polishing on my side that I was supposed to do after Mark does something I don’t really remember what it was. I’m not sure if he did it, for some time I thought he didn’t, and then I focused on other things and didn’t want to hack the window manager that worked perfectly for me. Well, my fluxbox binary is now more than a year old and will remain that way. Sorry for that, Fluxbox is a great window manager, I’d like to thank the people around it, I learned a lot thanks to Fluxbox and the team.

The last day I used Fluxbox, it looked more or less like this:

And one day I switched to xmonad. That day was last Friday. Being a bug-magnet (as you may have noticed), I’ve already submitted two patches. But that’s fine, neither was to xmonad core, both were for xmonad-contrib. (I don’t want to blame Fluxbox either. That old 0.1.14 was nearly perfect and latest versions are probably quite stable as well.)

I really like the configurability of xmonad and the layout modifiers concept. Also, xmonad-contrib is a huge and very nice collection of useful stuff. I feel that I’ll be submitting more patches (hopefully more than bug fixes) in the future.

My workspace now looks like this:

So, again, thanks and goodbye to Fluxbox, and I’m looking forward to having some fun with xmonad :-).