Window Maker Live review

Window Maker Live, as called by its developers, �Window Manager for X’, i.e., window manager for X window system (a GUI implementation used in Unix systems). Window Maker has pre-built ISOs (Linux distros) using Xfce desktop environment which are highly light-weight on resource usage and have super-fast speed. It’s most suitable to install on pen drive and use it as portable app as its small in size and has a nice collection of apps for almost every purpose.

Boot-up & Installation

I used Window Maker ISO named �wmlive-debian_2012-03-11-i386.iso’ (size – 667MB) to install it on pen drive using UNetbootin. Then I used to live-boot Window Maker on my system. It booted in 30 seconds, which is quite fast for full-fledged operating system like Window Maker. Upon successful booting, it shows a welcome message for its users.

Installation can be started by clicking �Install Debian sid’ icon on desktop. It will notify about a bug and also, how to get around it and have successful installation of Window Maker on your system. Follow installer instructions – start with Language, Locale, Keyboard settings and then it will set up Network for you. Then, set your user settings, partition, etc and it will copy files unto your hard disk. At last, GRUB installation will be asked. Don’t worry, it’ll get failed and you can get it fixed by following the steps showed when you opened Installer. At last, you’ll be able to successfully boot into Window Maker.

Desktop & Artwork

Window Maker’s desktop is down-to-earth simple. Many of the people won’t like it’s desktop but I guess everyone can do with it, where what matter is speed and not graphics. It has one right-side panel having notification area, clock, fixed apps’ icons, network, volume, etc. Desktop icons are fixed with �Desk’ icon but Desk icon itself can be moved. Minimized apps are shown on left bottom part of screen. I must say, Window Maker’s environment is newly evolved but you can easily learn to work with it. There are only two files as wallpapers in it. It has around 8 themes and many color styles. Though, it has very less graphics related settings, but it can be set for custom look by setting color schemes and wallpapers.

Software & Usability

Window Maker desktop environment is light weight and thus, it is capable of carrying various apps under a 700MB (a normal CD capacity) size. It contain all updated apps till date. It has Pidgin as instant messenger, Thunderbird as mail client, Emacs and MousePad as text editors, KompoZer as HTML editor and composer, Midnight Commander and Thunar as file managers, FileZilla as FTP client, Transmission as BitTorrent client, GIMP as image editor, ImageMagick for managing pictures, Quod Libet as audio player, VLC Media Player as video player, PuTTY for managing networks or file uploads, AbiWord as word processor, Evince as Document/PDF viewer, GNUmeric as spreadsheet editor, Osmo Personal Organizer as PIM, GNOME and Xfce and XTerm as terminals, Firefox and Midori as web browsers, etc. But it miss some common apps like Calculator, etc.

Apps run at click but I found problem while running some apps. For example, VLC Media Player didn’t work for me, even when I tried for it booting for second/third time via pen drive. I tried to open it directly or by opening a video file but none of the tricks worked. As I stated above, Window Maker distros are best suited to carry in pen drives. You can use it to access your files on move or make your presentation when your system has broken down at last time, etc. You can use it to access other computers’ files, but don’t practice this trick for un-ethical purposes.

Security & Management

Linux operating systems have always been secure and Debian (Linux distribution on which Window Maker is based) is a well-known robust and main-stream distro. As Window Maker is build on Debian, so it bears the same properties as it’s predecessor. Very rare viruses are known for Linux operating systems.

Window Maker provide many tools to manage your system like BleachBit Cruft Remover, Gnome configuration editor, Theme selector, Login manager, Xfce settings, Mouse settings, Workspaces, etc. It has Synaptic Package Manager for easily installing, updating and managing packages in your system. You can also set autostart apps, create and restore backups, edit menu, etc. It has good choice of options when compared to its simple work environment.

Pros: Build on Debian, Low resource-usage, Better to use in pen drives

Cons: Simple graphical environment, Some common apps are missing like Calculator

Suggestion: Use it on pen drive as portable operating system to live-boot on any system.

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