I need a window manager that doesn’t take up desktop space with lots of icons and permits me to work without removing my hands from the keyboard. (I do use the mouse, mind you, but I don’t want to be required to use the mouse for routine tasks.) I’ve used cwm on OpenBSD as my window manager for about a year, and it’s fulfilled my needs perfectly well.
I have made some changes. cwm is very easy to modify via the .cwmrc file. Here’s mine, with comments interspersed to show why I’ve made these changes.
I want a narrow blue border around my windows, and I want the active window to be highlighted. Maximized windows leave a 180-pixel gap at the right-hand side of the screen, so my xclock remains visible. (Without a clock, I sink into an authorial coma and lose awareness of time, sound, light, and so on.)
color activeborder blue
color inactiveborder darkblue
gap 0 0 0 180
My most heavily-used big applications are OpenOffice and Firefox. Both of these highlight text a word at a time when you use CTRL and an arrow key. By default, cwm maps CTRL-arrow to moving the pointer. I’m not going to train my fingers to make my applications work differently on OpenBSD than on any other operating system, so I needed to make cwm pass CTRL-arrow through to applications and use another key sequence for moving the pointer.
bind CS-Left unmap
bind CS-Right unmap
bind CS-Up unmap
bind CS-Down unmap
bind C-Left unmap
bind C-Right unmap
bind C-Up unmap
bind C-Down unmap
bind 4S-Left bigptrmoveleft
bind 4S-Right bigptrmoveright
bind 4S-Up bigptrmoveup
bind 4S-Down bigptrmovedown
bind 4-Left ptrmoveleft
bind 4-Right ptrmoveright
bind 4-Up ptrmoveup
bind 4-Down ptrmovedown
The 4th option key (which probably appears as the Windows key on your keyboard) and an arrow now controls pointer movement.
I experimented at length with my cwm configuration, and wanted to be able to make cwm reread .cwmrc with a keyboard shortcut, such as CTRL-ALT-r.
bind CM-r reload
I have a preferred screensaver, activated on a CTRL-ALT-DELETE.
command lock '/usr/X11R6/bin/xlock -mode flow'
Finally, I want to be able to start commonly-used programs via a right mouse click on the background. I don’t have to start them this way, but the option is convenient.
command firefox /usr/local/bin/firefox
command xpdf /usr/local/bin/xpdf
command OOo /usr/local/bin/soffice
With these modifications, cwm stays out of my way and lets me work.
And while I’m babbling about cwm: when you spawn an SSH session with CTRL-. you can put SSH command-line arguments before the hostname. Very useful for when you want to enable, say, X11 forwarding for a particular session.