Ion3 and Conkeror

January 7th, 2007 § 4 comments

After I permanently moved to Emacs as my primary text editor, I got so used to the ease of running multiple actions by the mere use of a few keystrokes that I’m trying to do the same thing all the time in other applications. Unfortunately, and quite obviously indeed, any such attempts failed with the exception of a few coincidences.

Recently, I decided to try a few alternatives I found to maximize the Emacs “experience” in my daily use of computers.

The first alternative was to use Ion3 as my primary window manager under Ubuntu. Ion3 is a minimalist window manager, with a strong emphasis on the use of the keystrokes to access both the interface and application. It uses frames, easily accessible via simple key combinations, as a way to partition screen space. The convenience of such setup can only be really seen trying it. One of the most interesting advantages of Ion3 so far is the ability to use a kind of full screen mode for applications, without menus, window borders or any other additional baggage. Very productive, indeed. Obviously, given Ion3 relative immaturity, a few glitches are still present in some tasks.

The second alternative was Conkeror, a Mozilla extension that completely modifies its interface to resemble Emacs, with familiar key bindings and concepts.

The experience has been positive so far, although I could do way with a few details in both applications. Fortunately, both are strongly customizable and I’m experimenting with different approaches to really find out how viable both Ion3 and Conkeror are for daily use. It may turn out that I should not keep using them. Muscle memory may get me addicted to them, and since I’m still required to use Windows as part of my daily work, I may get so used to a very different desktop that I’ll not work quite as well on any other setup.

Anyway, if anybody knows of other similar options, I’d like to hear about them.

§ 4 Responses to Ion3 and Conkeror"

  • […] Original post by Ronaldo […]

  • Christopher Foy says:

    I also use ion, and it’s great. Using Windows, even with cygwin, has become pretty painful since I switched from KWin.

    I’ve tried Conkeror, but found it a little too much. The numbered links FF extension ( from the same (IIRC) author is really all I need for controlling FF from the keyboard. Just use caret mode for copying from a page when necessary. Then again, I’m a vi user, and not fond of the emacs bindings. Since I’m a vi user, I have my caps lock remapped to esc, which means I can stop loading a page in FF without stretching my pinky finger. Using keyword bookmarks, and the context menu key helps to complete the mouseless experience. The only thing that I might have to reach for the mouse for is using the awkward gnome file browser.

  • Ronaldo says:

    Ion really rocks. I just wish some Gnome and KDE developers would realize that people would like to run their applications on other window managers. :-)

    Ironically, I found Conkeror numbered links feature way too much. I usually turn it off and only enabled it again when I need to navigate away. It one more keystroke, but for pages with many links and buttons, the links get in the way.

  • Ddik says:

    I’ve just started using conkeror 2 days ago, and it’s really impressing. Being a vim user I enable use-vi-keys.
    There are lots of small WM that can make your life easier. I use ratpoison and wmii. Both are great (different approaches), but lately I tend to use ratpoison for everything. It’s a full screen WM without library dependencies, no titlebars, no icons…nothing but screen for X.

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