I find the concept of the programmable, tiling, keyboard-focuessed window manager ion3 very appealing, but I think it takes some time to customize it to your needs until you can really evaluate this totally different UI-concept.

Therefore, I would like to read reviews of people who tried it for a longer time as environment for programming (in particular using emacs/gcc).

(The policies of the ion3-author concerning linux-distros are not easy to follow for me, but this should not be the point here...)

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I've used it off and on for the last few years, I think its a great window manager, but I keep crawling back to kde3 whatever I use.

Its however difficult to put into quantifiable terms why this happens, but its right up there with the gnome-vs-kde battle. Neither side can understand the other.

I would also just love to have kicker + ion3, but they don't gel awfully well.

Moving applications between tiles ( something I tend to do lots ) also is a bit inefficient ( too addicted to the mouse )

( Kicker + Evilwm is a good combination, but evilwm just can't handle stacking in a user-friendly way )

Kent Fredric
+1  A: 

I use ion3 daily. It's a wonderful window manager. The tiling interface really enables you maximize real estate. Once you get it setup to your liking, it is much more efficient to navigate via the keyboard. Even moving applications between tiles isn't that hard once you get used to the tag/attach key sequence.

With ion3, Vimperator and the various shells I have open during the day -- I barely use the rodent.

The author's opinions aside -- a good resource for configuring/extending Ion to your liking can be found at:

Configuring and Extending Ion3 with Lua

+1  A: 

I've been using Ion daily for nearly two years now. Good things:

  • Easy to use from the keyboard.
  • Handles multiple screens (Xinerama) very well (once you have the mod_xinerama plugin), especially as in my case the screens are different sizes.
  • Very predictable where windows will appear.
  • Splitting, resizing and moving windows is very easy.
  • Multiple, independent workspaces on each screen.
  • Very fast and reliable.

Bad things:

  • Too many different shortcuts. e.g. there are separate keys for moving to the next tab, next frame, next screen, and next workspace.
  • Applications that use lots of small windows together work really badly (e.g. the Gimp) because it maximises all of them on top of each other initially.
  • Sub-dialogs can cause trouble. Sometimes they open in a separate tab when you want them in the same tab, or sometimes the open in the same tab and take the focus when you want to continue interacting with the main window.

These things can probably be changed in the config files, but I haven't got around to it yet. Also, the actual C code is easy to read, and on the few occasions where I've wanted to fix something it has been very easy. I don't feel tempted to go back to a non-tiling WM, anyway.

Thomas Leonard