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In XFCE, how can I "tile" xterm instances together (or any other arbitrary program for that matter)?

By "tiling" I mean simply having e.g. four terminal instances open, and arranged such that they are given an equal amount of the screen. I.e. the terminals should be resized such that they are of an equal size, and arranged immediately adjacent to each other, as in a grid or with tiles.

If this is not possible with XFCE and xterm, how can it be done? Do I need a different window manager? Do I need an applications that supports this?

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With xfwm4.12 there was a simple tiling added via mouse drag or keyboard shortcut (no automatic tiling). Edge and corner tiling is now available. For everything else please use an appropriate tiling window manager.

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Use a tiling window manager, like xmonad, i3, awesome, qtile or countless others. Usually, these WMs require some work to get them configured to your taste.

For example, at least xmonad and qtile simply provide libraries (in Haskell and Python, respectively) and the configuration you use is actually the source code of your custom executable that merely uses the library in your own way. This means you have ultimate control over the behavior of the WM, but, obviously, you need to put in a lot more work to configure it, than merely going through some GUI configuration.

Tiling window managers are exceptionally efficient on setups with multiple screens, where you usually configure the WM to use each screen as an independent viewport which displays at any time one of your virtual desktops. They also encourage efficient usage with just the keyboard – perfect for programmers.

I guess most people use these WMs by themselves, but it is also possible to integrate them into a KDE/GNOME/XFCE/whatever session, if you so prefer.

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