[linux-audio-dev] Windowmanager (Re: Alternative Sequencer User Interface)

Tim Orford tim at orford.org
Wed Apr 14 08:52:49 UTC 2004

On Tue, Apr 13, 2004 at 06:14:37PM +0200, Thorsten Wilms wrote:
> > i agree that this is fairly essential functionality.
> > 
> > but i think there is an argument that windows should be managed by
> > the window manager:-)
> Sure. But splitting up _one_ window into scalable areas is 
> a somewhat different story.

yes they are alternative approaches, not complimentary.

> While combining Blenders possibilities with traditional WM
> features would be ideal, I don't see that happen.
> Who would like to switch WM to use some special apps?

if you are happy with your wm then there is no need to switch.

> But a framework providing the described functionlaity inside 
> windows on top of any WM could be a great thing (the WM managing 
> windows and desktops/workspaces, the framework managing areas 
> inside windows).
> Oh, and WMs usualy don't manage loading/saving setups (Screens 
> in Blender). And you can't change which app is displayed 
> in a window ...

some wm's do. But i agree they should do more.

> I think Blender's style is much more clear (where sections start/end). 

surely a minor implementation detail? A wm theme can duplicate the
blender look.

> And the KDE and Gnome docking systems will be designed to work inside 
> the scope of _one_ app.

ie it is less versatile. It requires specific app support, which
will almost certainly not be implemented in many that you use.

> Ion ... if I remember corectly it can't handle dialog windows gracefuly!?

they work ok, but yes graceful is not the correct word:-)
However Ion is a work in progress and now for example handles
overlapping as well as tiled windows. It also stores screensets
(primitively atm). They will improve the dialog
box handling eventually no doubt. 

But note that i am not pushing Ion per se, just advanced wm's in general.

> However, it's certainly not for every one, and I'm disappointed, because 
> this means your app has lots of little windows ...

i would like to implement internal docking eventually but as there dont
seem to be any systems without at least some unresolved issues, and its
a problem that i personally have already solved, its not going to
be a high priority unfortunately. I would be happy to use the
Blender system but i dont think its designed to be reused. They appear
to do the interface in low level Xlib calls which scares me somewhat.

and if i fixed my app, how would that help you with the gimp and
sodipodi for example?

> In fact I'm working on the design of a general user interface around 
> a document-centric, application-less system, where something like 
> Blenders windowing system will be a part of.
> The Y-window project might be a chance for implemenation of such ideas.
> It's in any case my only hope for unified theming/widgets. Oh, and 
> they plan to have widget as loadable modules, what should be great 
> for the needs of audio developers (easy sharing, not reinventing the 
> wheel).

The arguments for and against X are complex and i am personally
not convinced that its detractors are as well informed, or are looking
at as bigger a picture as maybe they should. If i remember
correctly, having the server handle widgets is v controversial :-)

> As long as I don't have to run Ion ... ;-)

you can of course use any wm you like. Acutally I would be interested 
to know which wm you use. Does it do tabbing (or other grouping functions),
or is tabbling limited to apps with explicit support
for it such as firefox? Does it remember window positions if asked
to? Can it be scripted to add other functions such as screensets?

(btw, the use of easy full-screen switching and multiple desktop
does reduce the need for screensets somewhat)

> > In the meantime perhaps you could look at Ardour?:-)
> Hm, I'm more interested in combined audio/midi sequencers.
> But I might look into it later on (no promise).

i agree the lack of midi is a problem, but Ardour is a v
serious almost world class app which is going to be around
for some time. If it had some input from an interface designer
i believe you could remove the 'almost' above.

> > Or perhaps a window manager?
> > There is also a need for good gtk and kde themes and icon sets.
> There are already so many WMs and themes ...
> I found good enough themes/settings for my desktop. Since I will not be 
> satisfied with anything less then an unfied desktop, I do not intend to 
> put work into such things.

fair enough. But it seems to me unlikely that linux will have a unified
anything, let alone a 'desktop':-) I think it will be quicker to
implement both a gtk and kde theme than wait for Y Windows...!
(the design being more complicated than the implementation in this

you did mention that you had switched from MS recently. My own
experience of that switch (same applies to MacOS), is that it can
take many years to truely undo what you have learnt about interfaces.
I made that switch four years ago am still slowly realising just
how the mainstream paradigm is really designed for Grannie, and has
no pretensions whatsoever towards providing power to those who want it.
To a large extent the same applies to Gnome and KDE.

well that's my 2 euro cent. I think this is a much neglected topic,
but i dont pretend to be an expert:-)

Tim Orford

More information about the Linux-audio-dev mailing list