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I'm looking for a lightweight window manager to run with Ubuntu. Here are my requirements:

  • App switching (Alt-Tab) must bring windows to the front so I can see them before I select them
  • Workspace switching must give some kind of eye candy to show which workspace I'm on
  • Easy to install

I'm currently using XUbuntu. I really like xfce, but it does not do the first two in my list above.

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As Shiki suggested, I would go with OpenBox WM + lxpanel or tint2 for the panel

You can also opt for LXDE (which in turn uses openbox).. LXDE is very much lighter than XFCE, but slightly heavier than Openbox (or any other WM). This is because LXDE provides a complete desktop environment (DE) and not just Window Manager (WM)..

If you want eye candy, use compiz with LXDE (compiz will replace openbox in LXDE in such a setup)..

If you are looking for even lighter WMs, take a look at icewm, jwm, awesome, dwm, wmii, etc..

All of these are easy to install on ubuntu (Use Synaptic or aptitude)

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To configure, use "obconf" (can install it by sudo apt-get install obconf);
For the taskbar, use "tint2" (can install it by sudo apt-get install tint2);

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And well.. it is NOT that easy to set up, configure, but there are plenty of documents around. Like: ; ; – Shiki May 17 '11 at 19:41

How lightweight is the question? Gnome is not too heavy relative to some out there it also meets your requirements.

Should be sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

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Not too heavy? Gnome is one of the heaviest DEs around. (Same weight as KDE or so. KDE is a bit bigger, at start. But comes back with the use of shared libraries.) – Shiki May 16 '11 at 14:37
I guess when I say "lightweight" I mean that I don't need/want a lot of the bells and whistles that come with the most modern WMs. I use a browser and terminals. I don't need a lot and I don't want to pay too much for visual stuff with CPU and RAM. – three-cups May 16 '11 at 17:24

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