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Frequently Asked Questions

Why write yet another tiling window manager?

Because none of the others were build with the thought in mind, that time is the most limited resource among the majority of users. It's good if you can configure a software in every respect. It's better if you don't have to.

I wanted a tiling window manager that I can just mention to a friend and a google later they download it, run it and get a good feeling for what a tiling window manager is and whether it suits their workflow. No "... oh, and remember to edit this file" ... "and be sure to run it in combination with this helper application" ... "and see this article on a really neat thing you can do". So in many ways I think of Bluetile more as an interactive demo for tiling window managers. Maybe you will find that its 'one size fits all' approach isn't quite right, but it spiked interest in tiling window managers and you go on to find another twm that you can configure to your needs. In that case Bluetile has served a good purpose. But then again, it might just be good enough for a large number of users that don't like to spend time on configuration and reading documentation and instead prefer to stick to what works 'out of the box'. I think that's pretty smart, too.

I'm passionate about bringing the paradigm of tiled window management to a wider audience, so that maybe someday it finds its way into the mainstream window managers. This in turn will hopefully prompt application developers to design their GUIs in a way that works well with this paradigm. If you are a Haskell programmer who can identify with that vision, I invite you to have a look at the development page and maybe lend a helping hand. :-)

--JanV 20:36, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

What is the relationship between Bluetile and xmonad?

I think of xmonad more as a library for writing tiling window managers. The default installation provides a minimal tiling window manager (the standard configuration), but you are really expected to "write" (configure) your own tiling window manager from the building blocks that the xmonad library provides. This is all tied together very nicely using Haskell and things like automatic re-compiling, so that it really feels more like configuring than actually writing code - but the possibility to go further is always there.

The Bluetile project has contributed some of those building blocks to the xmonad library, but is now really just another xmonad configuration. A configuration that focuses on making the tiling paradigm easily accessible to users coming from traditional window managers. This has also the added benefit of not requiring a Haskell compiler during runtime - unlike a typical xmonad installation.

You can create pretty much the same effect with a standard xmonad installation (see entry below), but this project exists to provide an easy installation path with zero configuration and without having to read background information like this FAQ entry. ;-)

--JanV 22:14, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Is there a way to customize Bluetile even further than what the configuration system allows?

There is always the option of switching to xmonad, re-create Bluetile's setup and be then able to use xmonad's powerful configuration system to do all sorts of customizations. This migration path should actually be fairly straightforward, as Bluetile's configuration is available as the module XMonad.Config.Bluetile. Create the file ~/.xmonad/xmonad.hs with the following contents:

   import XMonad
   import XMonad.Config.Bluetile
   import XMonad.Util.Replace
   main = replace >> xmonad bluetileConfig

Starting xmonad now will give you Bluetile's setup with the only exception being Bluetile's dock, which is only available in the real project. See the website of xmonad on how to go from here to start tweaking.

--JanV 23:13, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm having trouble installing Bluetile - any walkthrough available?

Packages for Bluetile have become available from a few distributions. If yours is not among them and you are installing from source then it can be somewhat involved. I'm trying to collect links here that contain some more details about the installation steps for various distributions:

If you are a package maintainer considering to package Bluetile: Great news! :-) If your distribution already includes xmonad, it should be fairly easy to create a package. Your work is much appreciated, especially considering Bluetile's goal of getting the user quickly up and running with a tiling window manager!

--JanV 23:15, 26 November 2011 (UTC)