Desktop Institute

Researching a better desktop environment.
Diagram of a typical stacking desktop environment
Can we do better?
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All mainstream desktop computing environments1 have settled on the stacking window metaphor. However, on open source desktops there's a large number of alternate window managers that lay out windows differently and afford the user more control.

Often computing professionals using a mainstream environment will resort to extensions and window management applications to work around the limitations of this model. For example Spectacle for Mac OS, or gTile for GNOME. These can help but tend to require the user still manage the positioning and layout of windows or, because they are fighting against the natural metaphor for the desktop never quite work right.

Using a non-mainstream desktop environment opens up a wide variety of customisation but this brings with it the responsibility of building the rest of the environment yourself. Some revel in this, while others, like myself would like something that combines the just works nature of a full desktop environment with the control of a window manager environment.

This website is about researching what the best of both worlds might look like and how it might be built. As I look at different aspects and possibilities I will write about them here. Get started by reading A Tiling Desktop Environment. Then check out the subsequent posts.


GNOME, KDE, Mac OS, Windows