i3 is the most famous tiling window manager designed for X11 and all the Linux people met him at least once in their life. It is fully configurable and it handles dynamically tiling, stacking, and tabbing layouts.
But the use of i3, or of another tiling window manager, for everyday use, is not for all. It is not easy at first and it has a hard learning curve, i3 is like vim for the text-editors. Super powerful, less distracting and amazing fast also on old machines, but complex.
So, how to find a way in the middle?
We tested several extensions on the GNOME desktop, but none provided really satisfying results. Indeed, in the end, those tiling extensions slowed down the daily workflow and this proved frustrating. Until today.
Some time ago, we performed some OpenSUSE installations and to test the Leap and Tumbleweed systems in their maximum stock expression, we decided to use KDE. We have to admit it, as lovers of simplicity and minimalism, we have never been attracted by the KDE desktop experience. But we had to change our minds completely.
The latest version of KDE is still full of trinkets and things you could do without, sometimes it still turns out to be confusing, others you have the impression of not being able to find what you are looking for, but it is totally customizable. And that means that you can easily remove or take away anything. And then after a few hours of work you can find yourself in a decidedly more minimal environment.
Not satisfied with this, we also wanted to think about tiling. And to our surprise and joy, we discovered Grid-Tiling-Kwin. A small KWin script that automatically tiles windows and it works. With a lot of amazing functionalities, it is sure ‘must-have’ for your KDE desktop system.
What it does:
- automatically tile clients, up to any grid size of clients per desktop
- new clients are first attempted to be added to your current desktop, to the column with the least number of clients
- you can supply different grid sizes per screen if you have multiple screens
Also, like i3:
- move clients between virtual desktops (supports the default KWin shortcuts)
- swap clients within a virtual desktop
- dynamically resize clients up to a minimum as defined
And a lot more and more functions. If you know i3 and use KDE, you will be entranced; if you do not use KDE, then we recommend trying it in addition to this script because it can provide you with a production environment like i3 but with all the features of a classic desktop like GNOME, Xfce or KDE itself.