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Home » , » In Unix computing, Ion is a tiling and tabbing window manager for the X Window System.

In Unix computing, Ion is a tiling and tabbing window manager for the X Window System.

In Unix computing, Ion is a tiling and tabbing window manager for the X Window System.

It is designed such that it is possible to manage windows using only a keyboard, without needing a mouse. It is the successor of PWM and is written by the same author, Tuomo Valkonen.

Since the first release of Ion in the summer 2000, similar alternative window management ideas have begun to show in other new window managers: Larswm, ratpoison, StumpWM, wmii, xmonad and awesome.

First versions of Ion were released under the Artistic License, Ion2 and the development versions of Ion3 were released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). However, the first release candidate of Ion3 included a license change to a custom license based on the LGPL (specifically modified versions must not use the name ion). Since version 2, Ion has been scriptable in Lua.

As of September 17, 2009, Valkonen states he is unlikely to continue development of Ion by himself. However, changes are still accepted through a review.

The official home page went off-line early 2010. A mirror of the source (including the darcs repository) is available among other places here

A fork called notion has some ongoing activity as of February 2010.

Controversy
-

Tuomo Valkonen, the author of Ion, has been at the center of several controversies concerning the licensing and distribution of his software, in particular the proclivity of major Linux and BSD distributions of making outdated development versions of Ion3 (the current unstable development branch) available as part of "frozen" software repositories.

Often, such versions will include patches, such as for Xinerama or Xft support, both of which Valkonen disapproves on professional and personal grounds and has had removed from the main source tree. Yet, such distribution would seem to imply that the patched version is the official Ion3 package maintained by Valkonen himself, which he sees as unacceptable. Valkonen has even recently become an outspoken critic of the entire free software and open source movement (the "FOSS herd", as he refers to it) due to his perceived mistreatment at the hands of several major distributions, including Arch Linux, Debian, pkgsrc (NetBSD, DragonflyBSD), and FreeBSD.

On April 28, 2007, Valkonen warned the Arch Linux maintainers of possible legal action because the (unofficial) Arch User Repository contained scripts to install Ion3 with patches he did not approve of.

Later on he did the same with the pkgsrc maintainer of the NetBSD project and the ports maintainer of the FreeBSD project.

As of December 12, 2007, the development branch of Ion, along with other software by Valkonen, was pulled from the FreeBSD ports tree, after the author filed a complaint about outdated development releases still being available. Any version of Ion may still be installed from source code on any Unix system with proper libraries and dependencies.

Valkonen has implied in several mailing lists that he has become completely disillusioned with, if not openly hostile toward, the free software community in general. He plans to switch to developing strictly closed-source software for the Windows platform in the future presumably following the stable release of the Ion3 branch. Subsequently the author has indeed given up on Linux and become a Windows user.


Alternatives.

Window managers similar to ion include wmii, dwm, xmonad, larswm, i3, and awesome.

Notion is a tiling, tabbed window manager for the X window system:

  • Tiling: you divide the screen into 'tiles'. Every window occupies one tile, and is maximized to it.
  • Tabbing: a tile may contain multiple windows - they will be 'tabbed'
  • Static: most tiled window managers are 'dynamic'. Notion, by contrast, does not lay out or resize the tiles for you. You're in control.
  • Multihead: the mod_xinerama plugin provides very nice dual-monitor support
  • Xrandr: mod_xrandr picks up changes in the xrandr configuration without the need for restarting Notion (read this, though)
  • Scripts: Browse through the scripts collection

History.

Notion is a fork of Ion3. Ion3 is abandoned, and the license (for the most recent versions) does not allow distribution of forks under the Ion name - hence Notion.

Former Ion3 users will be glad to hear any changes to configuration will be backwards-compatible, so you can simply drop your ~/.ion3 tweaks into ~/.notion and rename cfg_ion.lua to cfg_notion.lua .


Documentation.

The manual page is a good reference. For an introduction, you may follow the tour

For advanced configuration documentation, see Configuring and extending Notion with Lua.

For writing patches and modules, see Notes for the module and patch writer

For additional notes, consult our wiki


Bugs.

Report your bugs and feature requests in the sf.net trackers


Download.

Notion currently can only be obtained through git


Git.

A git repository with the latest version is available here

. Visit the Development wiki for build instructions.

License.

Notion is available under a slightly modified LGPL license: in short, the only extra restriction is you cannot release it under the name 'Ion' and cannot mix it with GPL code, but read the license itself for details.


Other software.

Supplemental.

The following software combines well with Notion:

  • stalonetray shows FreeDesktop (XEmbed) and KDE trayicons
  • trayion shows FreeDesktop (XEmbed) trayicons (like Qt4 and gtk2)

Tweaks.

The following software works with Notion, but requires some tweaking:


Similar.

Notion is rather unique, but the following window managers might be considered similar:



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