I've been using KDE on Opensuse for some time now and I feel like improving performance and using the most of my dual screens.

I discovered tiling window managers and thought it would be a cool thing to try out. However, I'm stuck on a couple of issues.

  • Will all my applications still be compatible? LibreOffice? Google Chrome? The GIMP? Kate? VLC? VirtualBox?
  • Will it fully support my dual screens?
  • Is it difficult to change environments from the one OpenSuse shipped with? Do I need to change anything internally?
  • How easy is it to switch back to KDE and keep all my previous settings?
  • Which tiling window manager should I be looking for?

I realize that the last bullet point might be seen as off-topic (recommendation), but I will remove it if it's an issue.


2 Answers 2


I have lots of experience using xmonad and I think you'll be fine if you give it a whirl. Regarding your specific questions:

  • Almost everything will work just as they normally do. Regarding the specific list you gave, the only one that needs some TLC is chrome. Full screen is a bit flaky and you'll need to futz with your xmonad.hs config to get it to work properly but it's totally doable -- a little googling will turn up the proper changes to your config.

  • You can find xmonad.hs files for dual screens here.

  • Here's a link that gives you the details on installing xmonad using cabal.

  • Xmonad is my favorite (tiling) window manager but I don't have much experience with the others but I hear RatPoison is pretty good.

  • That's cool, it doesnt look too hard to customize. How easy is it to revert back to KDE? And how do I actually switch WMs? Never done it before.
    – n0pe
    Aug 13, 2011 at 11:32
  • 2
    @MaxMackie Switching is a bit different from distribution to distribution and I don't know how SuSE sets this up, but it should be enough to install the window manager and select it on the login screen, or select “custom session” and write a ~/.xsession that ends with exec xmonad. To revert to KDE, select a KDE session when you log in, or chance ~/.xsession back. You can give a WM a try on another console too, by running startx xmonad -- :1 from a text console. Aug 13, 2011 at 15:07
  • 2
    @MaxMackie: As long as you don't uninstall KDE on your system then you can choose to use one or the other as you wish. For example, my wife likes to use gnome while I like xmonad. We don't use display mangers (e.g. kdm, gdm, or xdm) so the thing boots up into a terminal. She logs in and does $startx /usr/local/bin/gnome-session and Gnome fires up. I do $startx /usr/local/bin/xmonad and xmonad fires up. They can both coexist on the same system w/o issue. KDE will come back just as the last time you used it. The configs still live on as long as you don't remove KDE.
    – unclejamil
    Aug 14, 2011 at 1:05
  • @unclejamil, I got dwm installed and KDE get's along well with it :) I changed dwm to be the default and if I feel like using KDE, I just Ctrl+Alt+Backspace+Backspace. Thanks for your help.
    – n0pe
    Aug 14, 2011 at 2:05
  • @MaxMackie: Sweet! Have fun with the new window manager. I'm gonna bet you'll never go back after you get comfortable with the key strokes. Take care and drop in here again if you run into any trouble getting something working properly.
    – unclejamil
    Aug 14, 2011 at 17:56

Just a notice. I dont know about the others, but there isn't DWM in openSUSE repositories. But compiling it is probably not a big issue...

  • 3
    If you don't compile dwm, you can't customize it. You'd only install it from the repo to take it for a test drive...
    – jasonwryan
    Aug 13, 2011 at 6:41
  • @jason I use KDE, thus I'm not so well informed about other WMs. Thanks for information!
    – sivic
    Aug 13, 2011 at 7:32
  • @jasonwryan Code should be configurable with config files, not just at compile time. I know people using Awesome WM from the repos and customizing it. Granted, they are not patching the source, if that is your meaning of “customize”. Nov 10, 2013 at 20:40
  • @queueoverflow The dwm dev has made a conscious decision (see the suckless manifesto) not to include a config file, so patching is the only option to customize.
    – jasonwryan
    Nov 10, 2013 at 21:45
  • @jasonwryan Not my way of doing stuff, but it is acceptable if it is concious. Nov 10, 2013 at 21:58

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