A superior Linux experience with Awesome

Awesome actually lives up to its name. Short and sweet, here’s why you should try it:

  • It’s instantaneous. Always.
  • Exactly one word which is confusing to newbies: “Tags”, collections of windows, marked on top of the screen with numbers 1 through 9. Think of them as Delicious/Flickr/Twitter tags for your windows, because that’s exactly what they are. These are central to the genius of Awesome.
  • Automatically resizes windows to fit the screen without overlap. This is a truly powerful little time saver.
  • Intuitive keyboard shortcuts:
    • Windows + f to toggle fullscreen.
    • Windows + m to toggle maximize.
    • Windows + number to show only that tag number.
    • Windows + Left and Windows + Right to switch tags. And yes, it rolls around.
    • Windows + Enter to run a command.
    • Many more for those who want to use the keyboard.
  • Intuitive mouse controls:
    • Left click a tag to show the windows with that tag.
    • Right click a tag to toggle a tag. This means that in a single click you can show or hide the browser window when working with your editor.
    • Windows + left click on a tag to move the current window there.
    • Windows + right click on a tag to add/remove the current window there.
    • Windows + left click and drag to move windows.
    • Windows + right click and drag to resize windows. This is extra cool with many windows, since they all resize at the same time.
  • One set of tags per monitor. Of course you can drag windows between them.

Even so, as a beginner a few tricks are worth keeping in mind:

  • Configuration:
    • Lua code means enormous flexibility, but can be daunting if you’re not a programmer. However, Lua is relatively easy to learn.
    • Verify your changes work by running awesome --check before restarting Awesome. Don’t worry, if it doesn’t work you’ll just get the default configuration (unless you created an infinite loop :).
    • You don’t have to log out to try a new configuration; simply press Windows + Ctrl + r.
    • The wiki has lots of tips and tricks.
    • The evolution of a working configuration can be instructive (even if it’s from a newbie).
  • The keyboard and mouse buttons have unfamiliar names in the documentation, for historical and technical reasons. A glossary:
    • Button1 = Left mouse
    • Button2 = Right mouse
    • Button3 = Middle mouse
    • Mod4 = Windows
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