The Zen of i3-gaps
I feel that the i3-gaps window manager perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. If you haven’t read it, I won’t repeat it, but perhaps this will make sense anyway.
For a perfectly Romantic desktop environment, we have the classic Mac (and please picture every stereotype you think other people have about Mac-users). It looks sleek, the windows wobble and spring about just-so, and it speaks of a lifestyle as much as anything else. It forms part of a romantic image. It’s also deeply unsavoury to anyone of a technocratic bent, who just wants to get things done, and understands how the machine works.
For the perfectly classical understanding and usage of a PC, we have the bare-bones i3 window manager, with its
The windows open full-screen with minimal clutter, to maximize screen real-estate.
When a second window opens, each window takes up precisely 50% of the screen.
It’s ready-and-waiting for vim or emacs, along with a terminal chosen by the sensible-terminal-viewer, to maximize the user’s workflow.
It’s also the ugliest computer most people will ever see.
Then along came Airblader, with a cool-sounding ‘handle’, like some kind of skateboarding hacker. i3-window manager received gaps between the windows, then he laid a picture across his background, and made all the terminals transparent. The gaps fly in the face of the primary objective - maximizing screen real-estate. You no longer get 12" out of your 12" monitor - you get 12" minus the gaps, just there to look cool.
Despite this, i3-gaps isn’t in any way ’the Mac of Linux environments’ - it’s still a very fast, lightweight desktop environment, but having that breathing room around the edges seems to acknowledge the human element a little more - it makes the environment comfortable to live in, which adds its own sort practical philosophy, without giving up on being able to actually understand the machine.
In a word, i3-gaps is quality.