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Old 11th June 2008
ocicat ocicat is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,290

Originally Posted by EvilGardenGnome View Post
...what is the difference between a Windows Manager like the *boxes and a Desktop Environment like Xfce?
OpenBSD supports nearly forty different window managers which range from the feature-rich environments offered by KDE & GNOME down to very the very minimal such as cwm(1). One site which pictorially compares a number of window managers can be found at the following:

As for the choices you mention, XFCE lies closer to the KDE/GNOME end of the continuum, & fluxbox/blackbox lies closer to cwm. The default window manager configured on OpenBSD is fvwm(1), however cwm is also installed. Given only 128MB RAM, I would recommend staying away from KDE/GNOME, however you can likely run them, but you will also see the system work at keeping up with the eye candy. XFCE is most likely a better choice, but personally, I prefer fluxbox which is quite popular amongst many on these forums. The best advice anyone can give is to urge you to experiment by installing different window managers & choose for yourself.
My understanding is that the DE's are more like Windows and Gnome, but I'm really at a loss for how WM's compare to that. Is a WM just a collection of windows?
Window managers are optional, however attempting to do daily work without a window manager is laborious. Window managers allow multiple windows, & the decorations required to resize, reposition, minimize, & expand windows. Window managers usually provide some means to graphically select applications to execute as well as manage whatever features the window manager provides.
Do you do all the interaction through terminal?
KDE/GNOME/XFCE have file managers which allows a graphical interface for managing files & directories, however file managers can be installed on lighter weight window managers such as Fluxbox. Rox is a common choice. Personally, I use xterm(1)-like applications like aterm for most system interaction, but I also use more mainstream applications like Firefox,, Adobe Reader, & GIMP as well. Running any of these applications can be done with any window manager.
...any hints/links are greatly appreciated.
Given that you have already mentioned OpenBSD, you will save yourself significant time by familiarizing yourself now with the information found in the official FAQ: well as OpenBSD's application system (known as packages & ports system...):

Good luck!
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