The first GNU/Linux distro I ever used was MEPIS. It was a Debian-based distribution that came on a live CD and used the KDE3 window manager. As a first step into GNU/Linux it was a bit of a revelation for me, although I didn't switch completely for quite a few years.
Since then I've tried out a number of different distributions and window managers. I've been using Xubuntu as my primary operating system for 10+ years, and although it's my firm favourite I still like to try out new setups every now and then.
I'm currently trying Regolith Linux, which is a little different as it uses a tiling window manager instead of draggable windows.
Most of my work takes place inside Emacs - where I'm comfortable splitting windows - so a tiling window manager seemed like a logical step.
What I like
- Feels snappier than XFCE
- Everything from keyboard response times to applications starting feels faster to me.
- Keyboard controls are fast
- Switching to another workspace can be done
with a single key press of
<number>. There is also
tabfor switching windows one-by-one, and
spacewhich opens a prompt for searching by open window name.
- Low distraction
- Part of my motivation for switching was to reduce the amount of distractions on my screen. So far it's working very well. This may be because I have to remember what's active on each workspace, so I open less applications.
- Easy to test
- Once I installed Regolith (via Synaptic) it was available to choose as a session type during log in. It didn't break anything that was installed or replace any of my default applications.
What I don't like
- Steep initial learning curve
- I'm still learning how to configure everything the way I want. It's all done via config files, which is something I like, but finding what to modify takes some digging.
- Unlearning habits is difficult
- This isn't Regolith's fault, but there's a lot of muscle memory for me to unlearn. Most things are the same for me, such as launching apps via a launcher instead, but having windows stored in workspaces isn't my usual workflow.
- No desktop icons
- I know, I'm that person that stores stuff on their desktop. I normally keep shortcuts for current projects on my desktop for quick access, but Regolith doesn't have a desktop (as such) so I'm having to work around it.
Overall I'm pleased with how it's going. I really like how easy it is to split windows side-by-side, which is something I do quite often when working on client websites. I don't know if it'll ever take the place of XFCE, but for times when I need to be more productive it looks like a winner.