Anyway, I put Arch Linux on my Inspiron this evening, so I could tamper with a few new things without waiting for them to compile. (Yes, call me lazy, I know.) Point being, the first one I tried was dvtm with the smattering of console programs that I use on the Thinkpad.
What can I say? I’d show a screenshot, but everything is on the framebuffer. It looks a lot like a tiling window manager with a bunch of console programs running.
But that’s also the best part: It’s kind of like a tiling window manager with a bunch of console programs running. Except X is not, which means it’s faster, cleaner and doesn’t need a barrel full of doo-dads just to get the job done.
Memorywise it’s doing quite well: A default installation of Arch with dvtm shows a meager 20Mb of use with htop and elinks running, and the usual array of Arch stuff (like six virtual terminals). No doubt that could be trimmed if necessary.
I’d love to use this on one of my older machines, but they’re mostly 800×600 with framebuffer dimensions that are not much better. This works well on the Inspiron because the screen resolution is 1600×1200 native, so I can push Arch to run at 1280×1024, and get lots of space for junk.
P.S.: If you give it a shot, check the key bindings in the config.h source file so you know what you’re doing when you start it. And yes, the magic happens with CTRL+g and then C. It took me a while to figure that out.