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I just returned to ubuntu (13.04) after a year using OS X exclusively. I love the improvements that have come to ubuntu and unity, and I'm glad to be back. There's just one thing, though...

Slate is a simple OS X tool that allows users to quickly create powerful keyboard macros and really take advantage of their screen space. I have to say I was spoiled by it. Even on a tiny laptop, my workflow was never interrupted by changing workspaces or leaving the keyboard to adjust a window, because perfect adjustment was a keystroke or two away. For example:

bind h:ctrl;alt;cmd resize -10% +0
# this increases the window's left width by 10%
bind h:shift;alt nudge -10% +0
# this moves the window left by 10%

You make a big config file, and like vim, tmux, and everything else, it just becomes muscle memory.

I can't seem to find a way to achieve anything close to this in linux or ubuntu. I've tried to make do with compiz window settings and the built-in stuff Ubuntu offers, but it's not even in the same realm. Although to be fair, this level of tuning isn't something most people care about.

Thanks, guys. :) Any feedback would be appreciated.

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1 Answer 1

The best I've managed in Unity to bind the Compiz "grid" functions to Win+Left and Win+Right, and re-enable multiple workspaces. Unity lets you swap workspaces with Ctrl+Alt+[direction], and pull a window between workspaces with Ctrl+Alt+Shift+[direction]. The four default workspaces in unity are arranged in a "four corners" style, which I find makes them quite easy to keep track of. It works really, really well on a single monitor.

Unfortunately, Unity provides no good way to move a window between two monitors, and, as you pointed out, it's lacking in more granular window management options.

So, if you really want good window management, and you're alright with ditching Unity, I can't recommend xmonad strongly enough. It doesn't have Unity's UI polish, and customization can be tricky (you do all the scripting in Haskell), but once you're up and running, it's the absolute best keyboard-focused window manager I have ever used. Ever.

It has the resizing feature you mentioned built in. It also automatically resizes your windows as you open new ones, and puts one workspace on each monitor (rather than having a workspace "shared" between two monitors as in Unity or OSX).

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