Monday, August 24, 2009

Tiling screencast

With a lot of requests to see tiling in action, I've uploaded my first ever video. Unfortunately I couldn't get my microphone to work. There are also a few glitches, forgive me for that.


  1. Wow, this looks great, good job!
    This is something I would definitely switch to svn for, this together with tabbed windows will make kwin rock even more!!

  2. Too good to be true. Tiling+tabs would be almost eclipse/netbeans-like window management for the whole dekstop - the only missing piece is docking areas (plasma+modified task manager plasmoid?).

  3. Looks super sweet - that's pretty much how I work with my windows, although I have to do it "manually" now. This is going to make my life much easier (and I don't need to switch to a tiling window manager!).

    Will this be in KDE 4.4? Urgh, I feel like switching to trunk now...

  4. absolutely magnificient. i plan to build this @ home tonight to take it for a spin.

    echoing benderamp, how does plasma work with this now? what happens to the titlebar area?

  5. Buy the way - for the docking area - just for instance - we already have yaquake which works very close to this concept.

    And another crazy continuation of this idea - amarok's panels - vertical tabs and playlist panel - could be detached from amarok window and docked to the left and right sides of the desktop - so the whole desktop would become one big amarok and still would be usable for work with other applications.

  6. Is it possible to turn off the window decorations for tiled windows and have it only for the floated ones?

  7. Thanks for the great response everyone!

    I hope it will be.

    @Andrew & benderamp
    Plasma works exactly like normal right now. The tiling code I've written is only for KWin. In fact, I have to actively make Plasma components float so that they don't tile badly.

    Yes I've had this request lots of times, and I would like it too. But the decoration code is independent of the layout code. It is handled internally by the Clients. For the initial releases I'm trying to keep tiling as independent from the rest of KWin as I can. But a hack, sometime later, to remove decorations should be possible.

  8. Work great, especially with no menu and text alongside icon in toolsbar

    I use this (I made it witha it with tiling in mind) patch with awesomeWM (kwin does not support engouth yet)

  9. So who thinks this will be in Windows 8? My money's on Windows 9... or 10. How long did it take to get tabs into IE?

  10. Great work nikhil!

    In case anyone else wonders, the few empty pixels between tiled windows are an artifact of the window decoration style (Oxygen in this case). You could use these pixels, for example if you are on a small display, by using a different window decoration scheme or turning window borders off entirely (Alt+F3, Advanced, No Border).

  11. Two KWin screencasts on planetkde on the same day - that's not often :-D For the next time you could have a look at as it offers the download of the raw video and doesn't enforce flash.

    @Bugs Band: Windows 1 had tiling and Windows still has something like "Quick Tiling". And I doubt that Windows will integrate tiling as it just doesn't fit the needs of their primary user group. And please don't bash Windows, that's just silly. We know we are better - that's enough :-)

  12. wstephenson, thanks for pointing that out. I forgot to mention it.

    We really should give window managers more publicity. KWin has so many features which most people are unaware of. I'll take a look at

  13. @Elv13
    Why not add a configuration option so that your patch could be enabled/disabled as required. Then it could get into KDE...?

  14. I know it's probably not easy to do, but what would make KWin in my eyes the most bestest window manager of all times, is if it was possible to make only a certain virtual desktop and/or activity use a specific layout (tiling or otherwise).

    I imagine I'm not the only who loves the dynamic spiral tiling when it comes to terminal emulators and administration, but bite my fist if I have to use tiling when writing e-mail, IM-ing, PIM-ing etc. (especially since I have carefully sized and positioned windows for that that overlap in perfect harmony)

    What would really bing out the best of the tiling and floating world and combine it in a unique KDE4-esque way would be if e.g. I could tell KDE to only apply spiral tiling to "Desktop 1", where I keep my terminals.

    Or better yet, to have it implemented into an activity, so e.g. if I switch to activity "Admin", it would save and close my schoolwork, open up Kate's "Settings" session on desktop 4, start Konversation on desktop 2, autojoin the channels that belong to this activity, *and* open up 5 instances of Konsole on desktop 1 in a dynamic spiral tiling on desktop 1 (leaving the other desktops to dynamic float, until instructed otherwise)

    P.S. MyOpenID + Blogger somehow doesn't work for me for the past weeks — "Your OpenID credentials could not be verified." — I've lost already a lot of comments this way and this is actually my 3rd version, that I hope I will get published somehow :\

  15. @nikhil:
    Why not a config? Because the concept of the patch was rejected, not the patch itself thiago refused to allow something that enable a "1 key" shortcut. The commit would have been reverted, config disabled by default or not. Same with making ctrl+m a real global setting (and not only a recommended one like today). It would break some apps ans so on. So I just gave up and posted the patch in the forum for other ppl to enjoy it. I like it, it work great with tiling, but it will never make its way in KDE apparently, so it is better on forum.

  16. @hook

    This is already partially implemented in kwin-tiling. Although it is not possible to have per desktop tiling enabled/disabled right now, you can have *different layouts per virtual desktop*. On a related note, it should be trivial to have a simple layout manager called Float, which would simply force all windows on that desktop to be floating.

  17. @nikhil:

    The different layouts per virtual desktop feature is quite standard nowadays between tiling WM's, but if you say that applying a "Float" layout manager — which would use the same logic and techniques that the current KWin does — should be trivial, then that would be great! :D

    The activity switching of layout( manager)s would still be the coolest though ;)

  18. A few things I'd like to see in the future:

    - Stacking layout, like wmii does it.
    - Let user configure standards layouts/workspace
    - The concept of tags (A great alternative to workspaces, since its much more dynamic)
    - effects: imagine you change the status of a window from tiled to maximized and it gently zooms itself. Sexy :)
    - ability to turn off window decoration

    In any way this makes the most advanced window manager even more ahead of its competitors. Thanks for your work!

  19. Big thumbs up here! I don't think the screencast showed it, so what happens when a new dialog pops up which has been launched by an application? I like how in other tiling WMs the new dialog restrains its size and aligns itself over the application. Will that happen with this?

    Keep up the great work.

  20. @Rasi
    There was a relevant discussion on the kwin ML about different approaches to the whole virtual desktop metaphor. I think you mean tagging the way awesome does it. But I do not want to put another layer of complexity ( tags over virtual desktops ), so this is unlikely to happen unless kwin changes the entire concept from the ground up.

    For now dialogs are placed at the centre of the entire screen. But yes, it will be fixed in the future.

  21. well, konqueror was conceived like that via view splitting - anyhow, since somebody decided to get rid of it for dolphin, this new feature I guess will made me feel less angry and disappointed, I must say.

  22. Great work! Looking forward to seeing this in KDE 4.4 =D

  23. It's not going to be in 4.4, trunk is in feature freeze, and tiling is not really great quality right now.