Awesome is a tiling Window Manager that can replace or live together with other desktop environments like Gnome and KDE.
NOTE: this page appears to be written for Ubuntu, please update to reflect your Debian experience
# apt-get install awesome
Optional (adds extra widgets):-
# apt-get install awesome-extra
Now, if you are using GDM or KDM, it should appear in the login window, so you can select Awesome instead of Gnome or KDE.
Hint: You can also write your own Xsession startup script and choose "System Default" in GDM or KDM.
This is a sample Xsession file, working at least on Debian Wheezy and Jessie (the file must be saved as $HOME/.Xsession):
gnome-screensaver & gnome-settings-daemon & export $(/usr/bin/gnome-keyring-daemon --start --components=pkcs11,secrets,ssh,gpg) xrdb -cpp /usr/bin/cpp-4.7 -merge ~/.Xresources xrandr --output HDMI2 --right-of HDMI1 exec awesome
If you are not using a login manager you should configure .xinitrc as usual, running awesome at the end of the script. In order to obtain certain privileges for your user (like being able to make the computer sleep and things like that), use ck-launch-session like this:
#.xinitrc xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources #if you have Xresources xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap #if you use xmodmap nm-applet& #if you want to use network-manager bluetooth-applet& #if you have bluetooth volti& #this is a program to control audio volume ("apt-get install volti") ck-launch-session awesome
If you want to use Awesome at the same time than Gnome or KDE of XFCE, there is good news: it is possible. All this information is on the Awesome official wiki (for example: Awesome with Gnome).
This window manager is mostly managed using the keyboard.
It first run in "normal" mode, but you should press win+space so it enters into tiling mode.
Press win+enter to open terminals.
Press win+l or win+h to enlarge or shrink windows.
Press win+j to go to the next window.
Learn more key commands by running:
Unlike Gnome or KDE type desktops environments, Awesome is configured editing a "lua" source file located either in /etc/xdg/awesome/rc.lua or ~/.config/awesome/rc.lua.
It is recommended that you edit the file in your personal folder so your changes do not affect other users. You do so by coping the general file first:
$ mkdir ~/.config/awesome $ cp /etc/xdg/awesome/rc.lua ~/.config/awesome/rc.lua
Now edit it:
$ nano ~/.config/awesome/rc.lua
Further configuration (highly recommended)
To get an idea of what you can do with awesome, it is recommended that you dedicate some time to fully configure it to your taste. It is recommended to investigate The official Awesome wiki.