Donate to the Black Lab Linux Project

When you donate to the Black Lab Linux Project it helps us with many things:

Domain renewals
Aging equipment replacement

How much should you donate? Any amount you wish. No matter how large or small it goes to the project. We also take hardware donations as well. Contact for details. We thank you for your support.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why we include DWM in the Professional Desktop release

Somebody asked me recently why do we include the DWM (Dynamic Window Manager) in Black Lab Professional Desktop.

First what is DWM?  DWM is whats called a tiling Window manager.  Every app that you open creates its own tile on the screen vs creating a layered environment like XFCE, GNOME or KDE.  Tiling managers use very little RAM or resources so they dont require the overhead of traditional Window managers.  DWM uses 96mb of RAM and the cool thing is that you can launch GTK, QT and even Wine apps under it so that you can use whatever app you want and the app gets 92% of the CPU and RAM on the system to use.  So tiling window managers are great for certain functions.

When I first started working full time Linux development back in 2004 I noticed that when I went to compile a kernel or any software package that my WM would take up ALOT of RAM and system resources.  So like most developers I utilized command line only and as my responsibilities grew I had to do more.  I had to write documentation, I may want to use the web to find information or use GAIM (Pidgin) to talk to other developers.  Being a poor college student I couldnt afford two PC's at the time.  So I hunted for an extremely lightweight Window manager that I could use graphical tools, run a few apps at the same time, and still let the compiler utilize much more of my resources.  At first I used AmiWm (Amiga Window Manager) which had a  workbench type interface.  I liked it and when i didnt use GNOME or KDE, back in 2004 XFCE was not as usable as it is today.  I let AmiWm coexist with KDE 3 which i used in those days.  I always set my own machine up with AmiWm up until 2008 or 2009.  Then I switched to 9wm, which was based on the Plan 9 OS window manager.

In 2012, when we started Black Lab Linux, one of my clients had the same idea that I did because he used Black Lab on an automation computer and didnt need a full desktop environment.   So from then on I included 9wm as the alternate Window Manager until I heard of DWM and I liked it, started using it and started including it as a secondary window manager.

So what can you use DWM for?  Most of my clients use it on developers workstations or on systems where they dont want the overhead of a full fledged WM.

If you are a developer, or just curious I recommend you try it.