Been checking out bspwm - second time I've tried it, put a little more patience and effort into this time.
It's a tiling window manager written by an arch linux user - check out the dedicated thread
There are two programs to install - bspwm itself, and the program to define the key bindings - sxhkd - both available from the github linked in the op of the arch thread.Here is a good HowTo for installing on a debian system
(it's in the aur for you arch users).
First time I tried using bspwm, I tried it with xbindkeys because sxhkd wasn't working for me (and a couple #! users) but following that HowTo fixed whatever was messing me up - dependency? Using xbindkeys was causing some issues with other window managers on my system, so go with sxhkd. Two other recommended programs - dzen2 and dmenu.
There is a bit of a learning curve - particularly with the default key bindings - to understand how the windows get manipulated, so read the man pages for bspwm and sxhkd before logging in for the first time. After learning some basics, and setting up some key bindings you're comfortable with, manipulating windows becomes pretty straight forward.
Like most tilers, it has it's default layout - the binary space partitioning was why I checked it out in the first place, it's unique. But, window partitioning can be manual as well - reminiscent of musca window manager for any that have tried it - so it's really easy to get open windows into the layout you want.
Some screenshots -
Panels do work with this window manager, but I'm not sure I got them set up correctly - got the panel started, but it is "always on top" so a portion of the active window disappears beneath the panel. Don't know if that's the default and can be changed. One way around it is to set the:
bspc config window_gap
in the $HOME/.config/bspwm/bspwmrc file to a value that leaves the panel uncovered, but there is only one setting for left, right, top, bottom, and space between open windows so a setting of 20 to clear a panel will leave a lot of unused screen space.
The default panels are defined by some pretty impressive bash scripts and require dzen2 be installed.
The conky in the screenshots is a regular conky with:
Rules can be set up so that windows float by default (xine in the screenshot) and open on a particular desktop (9 virtual desktops by default).
All in all, a good, usable window manager that doesn't take too much effort to learn the basics. Hopefully, the project continues. This single post can't really do it justice, read through the arch thread to get an idea of what can be done with this wm; or watch the screencast (link at top of page) -- http://www.reddit.com/r/unixporn/comments/1m0ea1/arch_bspwm_why_bspwm_watch_this_screencast_and/