36 votes

What does your desktop look like? What tools do you swear by?

Between the recent discussions on the Useful Shell Scripts thread, and some of the tangents on the Desktop Usability thread, I thought it might be an interesting idea to have a desktop screenshot sharing / unixporn thread where we talk about our setups, preferred applications, and share some pointers. This doesn't specifically have to be a Unix circlejerk though. If you have a Windows/Android/ChromeOS/TempleOS setup with some novel innovations, you're more than welcome to share too.

28 comments

  1. uselessabstraction (edited ) Link
    So, after all these years, I finally decided I'd give FreeBSD a shot. I've always been a fan of Gentoo and source based package managers in general, so it seemed like a good fit. Plus, it has...

    So, after all these years, I finally decided I'd give FreeBSD a shot. I've always been a fan of Gentoo and source based package managers in general, so it seemed like a good fit. Plus, it has drivers for my nvidia card!

    After about a week of tweaking, this is what I came up with. I still consider it half baked. I'm missing a decent workspace switcher, and am about at my wit's end with XTerm, but I am pretty happy about the way things are going so far.

    I'm a sucker for tiling window managers. If my mouse runs out of batteries, I can survive without it. If I can't fit all my windows side by side on one screen, they go side by side on a second screen. Fortunately, I can fit a lot side by side on this screen 3440x1440 screen :)

    After dabbling with i3 a while back, I have found myself much happier with herbstluftwm. i3's configuration file format is super convenient, but I have found it limited in some regards. By contrast, herbstluftwm is entirely configured using the herbstclient command, so you can do whatever you want with whichever shell scripting language you prefer.

    Since I'm using wide monitor, I figured I would set up a fringe on the side instead of shedding vertical screen space where I can put all the stuff that would typically go on a bar. So far I have employed Conky (everyone knows about conky... right?) to display various bits of system information, but Conky is not interactive - so if I want to place any buttons there (say, for a workspace switcher) I will have to opt for something else. I've been leaning towards using either dzen2, or tint2 for the job.

    I tried getting urxvt going as a terminal emulator (which I have used several times in the past, and is nice because it can be daemonized), but I kept running into problems with the way it was interpreting ANSI color codes. The output of some programs was illegible. As a result, I ended up opting for XTerm, which seems to do it "the right way." It is surprisingly adaptable for such an ancient program.

    Last but not least, we have GNU Emacs, which you will have to pry from my cold dead hands.

    Edit: here are some of my dots

    10 votes
  2. [2]
    feigneddork Link
    So I use Windows 10 (gaming desktop), macOS mojave (2012 iMac), and Ubuntu MATE Linux (gaming laptop). And I'm not going to lie, in terms of the desktop layout, they are the bog standard desktop...

    So I use Windows 10 (gaming desktop), macOS mojave (2012 iMac), and Ubuntu MATE Linux (gaming laptop). And I'm not going to lie, in terms of the desktop layout, they are the bog standard desktop layout with the most customisation being the wallpaper. That's it. I just don't have the time nor the energy to faff around past the default settings, especially as I migrate from 3 different OSes - all three of them work just fine, so I have no real need to go out of my way to change the desktop settings.

    Since I'm a software developer who does Java development for backend server stuff and React/React Native for frontend/mobile development, the software I generally use is IntelliJ IDEA for backend Java code and Visual Studio Code for mobile side (alongside Xcode for iOS deployment and Android Studio for Android).

    Generally though, I am a command line person, and if there is one thing I absolutely swear by, it's having zsh as the default shell with https://ohmyz.sh installed with the agnoster theme setup so I can clearly identify the branches in my git projects and not have to do a lot of guesswork.

    Outside of command line, a GUI tool I've come to love is Fork. There are a lot of Git GUI tools out there, but in my experience non of them are actually as decent or as cheap (free) as Fork. It pretty much does everything I want in a GUI based Git tool (It's basically like the Git tool in IntelliJ but better and not strapped to a beast of an IDE).

    With Windows, I've personally tried to use *nix tools on it and it's been a pain every single time - I could use Cygwin or whatever equivalent but it always feels incredibly unorthodox to use and I get weird error messages from time to time. I've tried Windows own Linux integration thing and it works beautifully until you need to actually have the Linux world and Windows world talk to each other, and then it becomes a mess. Generally though, I tend to avoid development on Windows that requires *nix like tools and just use mac or linux (I've even ran Linux in a VM inside Windows with a shared folder to avoid using Windows for development).

    8 votes
    1. russd Link Parent
      Fork looks interesting, Ill give it a try!

      Fork looks interesting, Ill give it a try!

      2 votes
  3. [4]
    demifiend Link
    You'll probably think my desktop is pretty lame. I've got OpenBSD running on a secondhand ThinkPad with cwm as my window mangler, and I try to do a lot in Xterm and tmux. I have the usual...

    You'll probably think my desktop is pretty lame. I've got OpenBSD running on a secondhand ThinkPad with cwm as my window mangler, and I try to do a lot in Xterm and tmux.

    I have the usual graphical apps installed:

    • Firefox
    • LibreOffice
    • GIMP
    • Claws-Mail

    But I try to do as much as I can in the console:

    • ksh as my shell
    • mg for composing ASCII text
    • joe as jmacs for composing UTF-8 text
    • vi for revising ASCII text
    • nvi2 for revising UTF-8 text
    • neomutt for email
    • wordnet for quick dictionary lookups
    • newsboat for rss
    • w3m for browsing real websites (as opposed to messing around with web apps)
    • mpd + ncmpcpp to rock out.
    4 votes
    1. [2]
      teaearlgraycold Link Parent
      Why do you use different editors for text in different encodings?

      Why do you use different editors for text in different encodings?

      5 votes
      1. demifiend Link Parent
        The vi and mg editors included in the OpenBSD base system don't support UTF-8 text. They're fine for coding and for editing config files, but when I'm writing blog posts or stories they aren't the...

        The vi and mg editors included in the OpenBSD base system don't support UTF-8 text. They're fine for coding and for editing config files, but when I'm writing blog posts or stories they aren't the right tools for the job.

        4 votes
    2. uselessabstraction Link Parent
      The only lame desktop is one which fails to get your work done. In that regard, my setup is probably more counterproductive than yours. ;)

      The only lame desktop is one which fails to get your work done. In that regard, my setup is probably more counterproductive than yours. ;)

      2 votes
  4. frostycakes Link
    My desktop -- it's a pretty standard GNOME install with a few extensions (TopIcons Redux, OpenWeather, Dash to Dock, and Caffeine). I've grown to be most comfortable with GNOME3's workflow over...

    My desktop -- it's a pretty standard GNOME install with a few extensions (TopIcons Redux, OpenWeather, Dash to Dock, and Caffeine). I've grown to be most comfortable with GNOME3's workflow over the past few years, and always find myself back to this setup DE-wise.

    3 votes
  5. [2]
    cadadr Link
    This is my desktop. This is the configuration that runs it all. They run on an old-ish Asus laptop w/ a 15" screen. I'm planning to get a 11" or 13" one for portability, and a screen to use with...

    This is my desktop. This is the configuration that runs it all. They run on an old-ish Asus laptop w/ a 15" screen. I'm planning to get a 11" or 13" one for portability, and a screen to use with it when I'm home on my desk. I don't need too much processing power, portability (dimensions + battery life) is more important for me.

    • The OS is Debian 9 stable. I am in the market for something better because some software is just too stale. I'm considering upgrading to sid (unstable), but GuixSD and NixOS are in my radar. The former is my favourite but I encounter some problems while trying to configure in a VM (guix pull command crashes, I don't recall the exact error ATM). NixOS is the same concept but uses systemd and it's own config language instead of Scheme, both which I don't like. I think I should get this sorted this week actually.

    • The desktop environment is XFCE4. I like it most of the time, but there are two things I don't like, one is a problem with Linux DEs in general, one is a problem I'm having with my current setup: Firstly, it's really hard to version-control your configuration. My background is, well, formerly I've used setups like (V)TWM on FreeBSD, (V)TWM on ArchLinux, i3-wm on both and also Debian, for long stretches of time. So I'm used to putting some symlinks in my home directory and painlessly reinstantiating my setup after a format, even if I'm switching from say Arch -> Debian. But with XFCE4 and other DEs, there are many problems: (1) configuration is not separated from state, (2) and is not portable. You can not expect to have your full setup running when you go from one distro to another, even if both are Debian based, or maybe even after an upgrade. And some configuration you can't even check it in because it contains things like file or search history.

      I'm trying the Subtle window manager ATM. It's a Ruby based one and has an interesting concept where it has gravities instead of Xmonad-like automatic tiling. I'm not sure if I'm a fan of it, TBH. It has its own little package manager, which is a huge overkill for me. I tried Awesome, and liked it, but the requirement to learn Lua is too much. Herbsluftwm that you mentioned in your comment is actually interesting, I'll look into it. I can write a little Perl or even Elisp script to configure it.

    • The program you see open is GNU Emacs with the org mode file start.org which I use as a dashboard and scratchpad open. I use Emacs for almost everything besides browsing, for which I use Firefox, always running on the [4 www] workspace. Emacs and Firefox are constantly running on this machine, on their dedicated workspaces.

    As I said, currently, I'm kinda unsatisfied with this. I like that XFCE4 takes care of many things for me, but it's unflexible and unreliable. One problem I run into sometimes is that the machine can not wake up after suspend. That's something I blame on lightdm. Also XFCE4 is lightweight, but it can leak memory sometimes. Because of these, I want to migrate to a custom DE. I loved VTWM to be honest, it was nice to be able to do window manager things with the mouse or touchpad, and all the rest in Emacs & Firefox+vim keys via the keyboard. But applications do things with windows that break its concept of them, so it became unusable for me (fuck you, Firefox). There is FVWM and thisbox and thatbox WMs, but I haven't gotten around to trying and configuring them.

    2 votes
    1. annadane Link Parent
      If you're in the mood for something rolling check out Void Linux

      If you're in the mood for something rolling check out Void Linux

      2 votes
  6. [3]
    bee Link
    Here Is my current desktop setup. It's Ubuntu 18.04, and I've done some customization to match my liking. It's not perfect, but it's mine :) If anyone wants me to list what GNOME extensions I have...

    Here Is my current desktop setup. It's Ubuntu 18.04, and I've done some customization to match my liking. It's not perfect, but it's mine :) If anyone wants me to list what GNOME extensions I have installed and my themes I'd be glad.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Soptik Link Parent
      Would you mind sharing how did you customize the dock? It looks amazing :)

      Would you mind sharing how did you customize the dock? It looks amazing :)

      1. bee Link Parent
        Sure! I'm using the Dash to Dock extension and I've customized the appearance to fit my theme. For the Icons, I'm using the Papirus Light icon set.

        Sure! I'm using the Dash to Dock extension and I've customized the appearance to fit my theme. For the Icons, I'm using the Papirus Light icon set.

        2 votes
  7. Nitta Link
    My Windows desktop is clean, no icons, and taskbar is transparent and on the top. Almost cannot stand looking all the way down for shortcuts, open windows and tray. On top they are perfect. I put...

    My Windows desktop is clean, no icons, and taskbar is transparent and on the top. Almost cannot stand looking all the way down for shortcuts, open windows and tray. On top they are perfect.

    I put files on desktop when I need to process them quickly and then move to some permanent folders. Also downloads go there. Kinda the same principle as the physical desk: no extra stuff unless it's temporarily needed.

    2 votes
  8. [2]
    Crespyl Link
    I use KDE Neon for my desktop and work laptop both. So far, since Valve released Proton, I've only had to reboot back to Windows once (for GOG Galaxy), which is pretty cool. Latest KDE/Qt/Plasma...

    I use KDE Neon for my desktop and work laptop both.

    So far, since Valve released Proton, I've only had to reboot back to Windows once (for GOG Galaxy), which is pretty cool.

    Latest KDE/Qt/Plasma look and run great, have great support for quick-tiling when I'm actually getting things done, and the combination of PulseAudio, KDE Connect, Steam Controller, and the FireFox Plasma Integration addon makes for a great HTPC experience.

    2 votes
    1. feigneddork Link Parent
      Yes! I completely forgot about the proton thing! I really need to check that out once I have some time.

      Yes! I completely forgot about the proton thing! I really need to check that out once I have some time.

      1 vote
  9. onyxleopard (edited ) Link
    I’m most comfortable on macOS with a few customizations. I use both GUI and CLI apps frequently. Here’s a short screen recording. Some GUI software I use on a daily basis: Alfred Fantastical...

    I’m most comfortable on macOS with a few customizations. I use both GUI and CLI apps frequently. Here’s a short screen recording.

    Some GUI software I use on a daily basis:

    Alfred
    Fantastical
    Hammerspoon
    Mail
    Reeder
    Safari
    Shortcat (Unfortunately seems to be abandonware, but still works great! When Apple’s APIs ultimately break this, I’m gonna be a sad panda.)
    Terminal
    TextMate

    2 votes
  10. h0p3 Link
    My desktop environment is i3wm on Manjaro. You can find my i3 config here: https://philosopher.life/#.i3%2Fconfig:.i3%2Fconfig I'm not sure what software I should list; I'll list the software that...

    My desktop environment is i3wm on Manjaro. You can find my i3 config here: https://philosopher.life/#.i3%2Fconfig:.i3%2Fconfig

    I'm not sure what software I should list; I'll list the software that I couldn't live without on my desktop. I swear by nomachine, resilio sync, zerotier, pidgin, signal, tiddlywiki, xonsh, zsh, midnight commander, dolphin, sublime-text, nvim, virtualbox, and htop.

    1 vote
  11. piedpiper Link
    My desktop is pretty boring. I run Ubuntu 18.04, and haven't bothered changing the look of it at all. There are a few apps that are essential to me: Firefox Sublime Text FileZilla qBittorrent...

    My desktop is pretty boring. I run Ubuntu 18.04, and haven't bothered changing the look of it at all.

    There are a few apps that are essential to me:

    • Firefox
    • Sublime Text
    • FileZilla
    • qBittorrent
    • Inkscape
    • GIMP
    • LibreOffice
    • Telegram
    • VLC

    I also have Apache, MySQL and PHP installed for local development.

    1 vote
  12. [5]
    tomf Link
    Here are the desktops of my three systems -- https://imgur.com/a/MF9sy7F I recently got into ChunkWM for MacOS. The setup is trivial. I use karabiner to map my capslock as a HYPER key, and have...

    Here are the desktops of my three systems -- https://imgur.com/a/MF9sy7F

    I recently got into ChunkWM for MacOS. The setup is trivial. I use karabiner to map my capslock as a HYPER key, and have set the .skhdc controls for ChunkWM accordingly. Its not exactly like i3, but its pretty close -- and still the best option for a MacOS twm at this time.

    I removed my items, but I started using org-mode in VSC, and its been pretty great. It covers the basics, which is all I ever really used.

    edit: I should also give a shout out to Alfred and BetterTouchTool (which I was previously using for WM, but still use for trackpad gestures.)

    My W10 box is purely a media center. Nothing fancy there, but I did a uxtheme mod to use CakeOS, which is really well done. Equalizer APO / Peace are a system-wide parametric (or normal) EQ.

    For Linux I use a Chromebook running GalliumOS. I'm using i3-gaps-next. I'm also using ZSH across the board with the 'refined' theme.

    This is an old picture before I was using chunkwm, but this is my desk setup -- https://i.imgur.com/EQQloGL.jpg. The W10 PC is on the left using Synergy as a network KVM.

    1 vote
    1. [4]
      russd Link Parent
      Gallium looks tight! Thanks for the recommendation

      Gallium looks tight! Thanks for the recommendation

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        tomf Link Parent
        Gallium is great -- its basically Xubuntu with some tweaks for chromebooks. I have an old Toshiba Chromebook 2 (the old one, SWANKY), and it runs well. Right now we're on Xenial, which is decent,...

        Gallium is great -- its basically Xubuntu with some tweaks for chromebooks. I have an old Toshiba Chromebook 2 (the old one, SWANKY), and it runs well. Right now we're on Xenial, which is decent, but soon we'll be on 18.04 (I believe) with Gallium 3.0.

        I was looking for an 'on the town' laptop that was both lightweight and had excellent battery life. This Chromebook feels like a toy and has a battery around 10hrs or so of regular use. The screen is excellent (1080p, 13"), along with a decent keyboard and surprisingly great trackpad.

        1. [2]
          russd Link Parent
          My wife has an acer r11 that is pretty sweet. Will have to give 3.0 a try on it.

          My wife has an acer r11 that is pretty sweet. Will have to give 3.0 a try on it.

          1 vote
          1. tomf Link Parent
            that's great! Gallium 2 is pretty fantastic as is. The whole process is a breeze. The biggest hurdle is removing the developer screw, but that's really easy. If you get stuck, hop into #galliumOS...

            that's great! Gallium 2 is pretty fantastic as is. The whole process is a breeze. The biggest hurdle is removing the developer screw, but that's really easy. If you get stuck, hop into #galliumOS on freenode.

  13. russd Link
    Guake I stream windows to linux using parsec VSCodium - vscode minus telemetry dukto keybase

    Guake
    I stream windows to linux using parsec
    VSCodium - vscode minus telemetry
    dukto
    keybase

    1 vote
  14. bme Link
    https://github.com/baskerville/bspwm + some rofi https://github.com/DaveDavenport/rofi scripts on arch / void. Works snappy on even the crappiest laptops, just as long as I don't fire up a chrome...

    https://github.com/baskerville/bspwm + some rofi https://github.com/DaveDavenport/rofi scripts on arch / void.

    Works snappy on even the crappiest laptops, just as long as I don't fire up a chrome or slack.

    1 vote
  15. Parameter Link
    Oh man, I had forgotten how cool i3 gaps looks. This thread is making me want to do some more decorating beyond window colors and font. I like to have cava visualizer, cmus, and alsamixer or...

    Oh man, I had forgotten how cool i3 gaps looks. This thread is making me want to do some more decorating beyond window colors and font.

    I like to have cava visualizer, cmus, and alsamixer or pavucontrol up as my normal desktop.

    1 vote
  16. kmerfeld Link
    I have recently started using exwm, so when I start my computer it's starts up emacs. The only x11 tools I use are qutebrowser, Firefox and pass, and emacs itself I guess. The best tools are...

    I have recently started using exwm, so when I start my computer it's starts up emacs. The only x11 tools I use are qutebrowser, Firefox and pass, and emacs itself I guess. The best tools are elisp, python and rust I suppose.

    1 vote