Search this site:

Caps Lock becomes useful again! / Is this a farewell, my dear Window Maker?

I have always hated and despised the Caps Lock key. Not only it is useless to anybody who works writing code, sysadmining, or plainly writing real text, but its mere existence has degraded the work quality of millions of people’s work. Suddenly, IT GETS NORMAL TO WRITE LIKE THIS - It’s just a magic spell that allows you to get rid of those old-fashioned rules about the language, about where to write in which case. Even worse, in Spanish some people tend to think that uppercase letters do not carry accents, so they produce text that is, um… Lets say it is readable, but that’s often an overstatement. [switch context] I have been a happy and loyal user of Window Maker since 1997, when Juan Pablo Romero pointed me to it (BTW, I found Juan Pablo’s homepage after searching for some links to post here and finding his, very old and probably unmaintained, WindowMaker page), back in the time where one of my favorite webpages was Window managers for X - clear sign that I didn’t really like anything I had been using. And with WMaker, I was happy for (WOW) almost ten years. I still am. But after last week’s ugly XFS corruption episode, I decided to follow the trend among some Debian people, and installed ion3. My impression so far, with two and a half days of usage? I LOVE IT. It is the only WM I’ve met that really comes from a different point of view, stating that what most so-called modern WMs offer is just counter-productive. It just stays out of your way, not providing any visual distractions, and limiting to providing screens and frames to organize your windows. It acknowledges that its target audience (in my life I’d never set up ion3 for my mother ;-) ) usually hates using the mouse if unneeded, and that there is little point in wasting screen real estate with docks and desktops with functionality. It just sits there waiting for you to command its working via the keyboard - of course, the mouse is also an option, but not the natural one. Anyway, I won’t discuss the beauty of ion3 here - mostly because I have only scratched the surface so far. I have loved it, let me tell you. A little more on this in a couple of lines… Just for my Spanish-prefering friends, I found this piece of text explaining what ion3 is about: Ion3: Rompiendo con los entornos gráficos convencionales [merge contexts] My only grudge is that in its default configuration, ion3 becomes the 0wn3r of Meta. What is Meta? What some people call “the Alt key”. That key that is not Ctrl, but has become a controlling key. And I’m a heavy Meta user - Remember that my favorite way of interacting with the computer is Emacs. Yup, the nice OS without a decent editor, nicknamed after “Escape-Meta-Alt-Ctrl-Shift”. Rob me of my Meta, and the gained productivity might as well go down the drain. Here comes the link to my first paragraph: Ion3 is very configurable. No, it’s not configurable - it’s programmable. The configuration files are pieces of Lua, a full programming language. Of course, this means you can do mostly anything with it… But you have to do it in the end. Editing ion3’s behaviour is not just clicking on selectors - You can take a dive to get the feeling. It looks quite easy, but I yet have to get around it and start poking the configuration. After mourning my lack of Meta, I came across a very useful post in Gregor Hermann’s blog. Gregor, I owe you a beer or three - You not only gave me back my productivity, you also gave use to the most despised key in my keyboard. Two lines into XModmap, one line into a couple of Ion3 files (I have yet to be sure it is needed in all of them), and I now have a perfectly useful CapsLock key, which is the key I will manage my WM with. It just rocks! It stands in nobody’s way, and I am sure I’ll very soon grow used to it.


gregor herrmann 2006-08-21 17:07:53

Re: Caps Lock becomes useful again! / Is this a farewell, my dea

Hi Gunnar,

I’m glad that the article on my blog was helpful and of course I accept the invitation on a beer gladly ;-)

Cheers, gregor

Gunnar Wolf 2006-08-23 07:38:14

Re: Re: Caps Lock becomes useful again! / Is this a farewell, my

gwolf@mosca:~$ dpkg -l ion3 (…) ii ion3 20060524-2 keyboard-friendly window manager with tiled windows (devel)

Gunnar Wolf 2006-08-23 07:45:43

No, Mig, you didn’t understand…

What ion3 does is not to stand in your way - Thus, there are basically no screenshots :-) If you really need to see them, take the following from the official Ion page: Anyway, just download and install it. It’s just a 3.5MB package (already installed) IIRC.

Ivan Aleman 2006-08-22 10:27:48

Re: Caps Lock becomes useful again! / Is this a farewell, my dea

Hello Gunnar,

What version of Ion are you testing/using, ‘cause I just installed version 3 (devel one) and yup it’s a different approach coming from KDE ;) (which is my background)


mig 2006-08-21 19:27:43

Re: Caps Lock becomes useful again! / Is this a farewell, my dea

Screenshots! Screenshots! :-P

Greetings :-)