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I've been looking into tiling window managers because I'm tired of manually positioning and resizing all my windows whenever I want to see some information side by side. However, the tiling window managers I've investigated so far seem rather minimalist and seem mainly for rearranging terminal windows with clumsy keyboard navigation.

I'm more or less looking for a way to partition my screen and maximize a program on each partition. Bonus points if it works on Gnome.

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migrated from Jul 27 '09 at 1:23

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I'm confused (and possibly incredibly dumb for asking this :) If you would like this to work on Gnome, why is this question tagged osx? – bedwyr Nov 5 '09 at 4:43
@bedwyr: not sure why Rich M tagged it "osx", I switched it to "gnome" – Kyle Cronin Nov 5 '09 at 6:03

13 Answers 13

This might be entirely off topic, so feel free to mod me down if MS Windows solutions is not what you want (the post does not explicitly say only Linux solutions). I wrote MaxTo, which partitions your screen into rectangles and changes all maximize events to put windows into those partitions. You can find it at

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how do you make money off this? :P if you don't mind me asking :) – krebstar Feb 23 '09 at 6:56
Until now I've made 5$ in donations. So I don't, basically. I use MaxTo myself, and developing software is fun, right? – Vegard Larsen Feb 23 '09 at 8:12
Wow, really? That's interesting. :) I'm sure you have to pay for bandwidth costs and such.. :P Sorry, I'm just curious, as I'm just a beginning developer and would like to someday be involved in some open source projects :) – krebstar Feb 24 '09 at 0:59
I host this on my company's webserver. Since I own the company, I can do these things for free... Otherwise there are places like Sourceforge that will host things for free.. – Vegard Larsen Feb 24 '09 at 7:07
Wow, that is exactly what I want. The only problem is that I don't use Windows - if you know of any software that does what yours does for Mac OS X or Linux I'm all ears. (and I'm going to download a copy of MaxTo for when I do use Windows). – Kyle Cronin Aug 30 '09 at 14:38

Awesome window manager supports tiling as well as floating windows, so you have the choice. The default configuration will give you a minimalist feeling, but Awesome is so configurable that this can be changed. Full use of both mouse and keyboard is supported. Indeed, customizing it to satisfaction may take a long time, but then again at least it is possible to reach satisfaction with it.

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Seems nice, but when I tried using it, it was kinda a pain. – Dan May 15 '09 at 13:57
Awesome has a bit of a learning curve if you don't read over a tutorial, and it does take a bit of time to set up to your liking. It can integrate quite easily with Gnome with just the default settings provided you don't have your Mod4 key bound to a bunch of things. Just killall gnome-wm; awesome & to try it out. To go back to your usual window manager, reverse the process: killall awesome; gnome-wm &. Substitute gnome-wm with Compiz or whatever you actually use. – Just Jake Mar 29 '11 at 20:27

While I personally use Awesome as it provides ALL my needs (and a built-in tray), you can integrate Xmonad with both Gnome and KDE very effectively, and it's very similar to Awesome.

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Compiz comes packaged with Grid now, contrary to what other posts say. Grid adds keyboard shortcuts for tiling your windows as you wish, and they are manually configurable.

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I wish there were more ways to configure how grid behaves(ideally xmonad working well with compiz and gnome) but it scratches the tiling itch for now :-) – miloshadzic Sep 28 '10 at 19:57

Just a quick note for my fellow Mac users out there:

TwoUp by Irradiated Software lets you move windows up, down, left or right and take up 50% of the available screen realestate with a quick keypress. After using it for a day I don't think i can do without this little thing anymore.

Best thing: it's free, as in beer.

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+1 for TwoUp -- the dev is a good buddy of mine. SizeUp is more feature-rich, but does has a small cost. – bedwyr Nov 5 '09 at 4:42

Have you looked at ion3? See also SO question about ion3 reviews.

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It did come up in my search, but the Wikipedia article indicates that the author is a bit or a prima donna and doesn't want to develop the software anymore. – Kyle Cronin Sep 17 '08 at 14:09
+1 for my favorite window manager of all time :) – Alex Fort May 15 '09 at 14:08

I use xmonad with Gnome and I love it. I usually have all of my windows full-screen, so it is very easy to do that with xmonad, and then just switch window layouts when I need windows side-by-side or vertically stacked. After having used it almost a year, I find non-tiling window managers to be much more clumsy.

If you want a little bit of a feel of what xmonad + gnome is like, check out my screencast.

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Screencast is currently offline. Could you upload it to vimeo/youtube or something similar? – koppor Jun 4 at 19:14

A partial answer to that would be to use Compiz fusion with Gnome and use maximumize (in the compiz-fusion-plugins-extra plugin):

maximumize: Resizes a window to fit within the available empty screen space

But then again it's not automatic..

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Thank you for your reply. I just looked at a video of it in action and that's definitely a help in tiling the windows. I'm still hopeful that there's a program out there somewhere that does what I want though. – Kyle Cronin Aug 30 '09 at 14:38

I use Musca and it seems to be exactly what I was looking for! I use dzen2 to add a little panel in the corner of my screen for time etc and trayer as a system tray and it works absolutely perfectly for me.

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Consider checking i3 out. It is actively developed, configuration is relatively straightforward, it isn't an obese beast, and it typically handles floating windows intelligently (including permitting resizing if it doesn't get things "quite right"). To top it off, it's well-documented and has support for 'window bars' (e.g., dzen2 or the built-in 'i3bar'). It's probably worth pointing out that there is a bit of a learning curve with respect to the key bindings -- however, it pays off in spades in terms of efficiency.

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Grid plugin for compiz probably does what you want. It's essentially a copy of winsplit revolution for windows.

Here's the link:

You should get the latest version from the git repository and compile it yourself. If you use apt you'll need (at least) compiz-dev.


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Bluetile is a good option if integration with Gnome is important.

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There is a nice tiling Gnome shell extension ShellTile that allows you to tile windows interactively by dragging one over other while holding ctrl. Tiled windows are grouped and behave as a one window.

Installation is easy: while Gnome >= 3.2 is running just point your browser to the extension homepage and press the switch.

There is a bug in the latest version that prevents standard Gnome-shell snap window to screen sides behaviour, but it's already fixed in the development version on the Bitbucket and should land to the extensions page soon.

screen tiled by ShellTile Gnome-shell extension

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Noticed the date of the question just now, haha :-) – Palmstrom Jun 25 '13 at 22:29

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