I have been looking for the past few days, I need these features:

  • Docking a window on any side of a desktop expands it to fit half/a quarter of the space
  • Resizing and moving windows must be very easy
  • Search tool that searches folders and content of files in a matter of seconds.
  • Multi-monitor support
  • Middle clicking has to work, for example in a browser for faster scrolling

I tried the live cd of Gnome 3 today, but apparently my radeon 4850 is not supported. Resizing windows from the sides is very bad in there. I have to aim for several seconds. The same is true for Ubuntu 10.10, (which I just tried via Wubi) They both don't support middle clicking either. Other than that, Ubuntu was actually quite nice, pretty comparable to Windows 7.

Any suggestions? Did anyone try Ubuntu 11, does it have improvements in these areas? Unfortunately reviewers /youtube videos don't go into usability issues.

  • 1
    You seem to be confusion a distribution (a collection of software, e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, SuSE, etc) and a desktop environment (the GUI: window management, panels, etc). Your requirements are also somewhat fuzzy. In particular, what do you mean by “middle-click has to work”? You seem to have a specific idea of what middle-click should do, and it's different from the unix standard behavior (middle-click should paste), but you don't say what it is. Apr 8, 2011 at 19:51
  • @Gilles: Well, middle clicking should make automatic/fast scrolling. Sometimes I need to get a very quick overview of a big folder or website, and that's what the middle click is for.
    – Blub
    Apr 8, 2011 at 20:32
  • This isn't really worth pursuing, but for your information, I still don't understand what you expect the middle click to do. Maybe make the wheel scroll by a larger amount when the wheel button is depressed? That would be a feature of the application, not of the window manager/desktop environment (well, you could emulate it with a programmable window manager). Apr 8, 2011 at 20:37
  • Hm, I haven't thought about it this way, I always assumed that it's built into windows itself, so it had to be a missing feature in linux. Sorry about that, I have never used Linux before today.
    – Blub
    Apr 8, 2011 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


You can install any windowmanager on more or less any distribution.

  1. Find a distribution that has the hardware support you need
  2. install and configure either kde4, gnome3, xfce4 to do what you what it to do

The Linux world is not as black and white as Windows and Mac, after you install the the base system you can spend a lifetime configure the graphics to look exactly like you want them to. All of the big windowmanagers has skin support that can more or less change how it behaves.

So go crazy and see if you can find anything you like.

Side note: There is a old page that ones tried to show the diversity on what your desktop could look like, http://xwinman.org/. But beware that it has not been updated for quite some time so the screenshots feel a little bit "old". But the link shows that there is not 1 desktop look and feel, you can more or less do what you feel like.

  • Okay, so I'll just have to pick one, and then try to customize it. I have looked up information on all your suggestions on their respective websites before, but I guess customization is hard to advertise.
    – Blub
    Apr 8, 2011 at 19:53
  • They all have a default config that is good for most people, but since you have special demands you can start to modify that default settings so it fits your needs.
    – Johan
    Apr 9, 2011 at 10:43

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