I came to ArchLinux in the mindset of taking more control over my OS, but also to move away from the eye-candy-yet-bloated desktop environments. So when I installed Arch I also installed Gnome 3, while I got used to the OS. Gnome 3 is nice, and I enjoyed using it. Still, my laptop is old, has a chipset instead of a proper graphics card so it was slow. The more important point is that I no longer appreciate this cpu expensive eye-candiness. I want speed and simplicity.
I have then replaced it with Xmonad. Being written in Haskell is not the only seducing argument. Is is simple, lightweight and fast. I removed all the Gnome things I could, from gdm to nautilus, and I use a slightly tweqked default configuration. No toolbar, no taskbar, no notification area, not even an xmobar. Nothing. I use dzen2 for notifications with the urgentHook, it works fine. I rebound the mod key from alt to super, switch desktop with super + arrow, close a window with super+`, defined a .xmodmap to replace capslock with control, set the focus color to black, and that’s mainly it. Ah I added some more lines to my .xinitrc, like the dropbox daemon, the wallpaper (!), unclutter, etc. In the end, that’s minimalistic, simple, fast and fun! I love not having window borders anymore.
Going further with this approach, I started replacing the GUI applications with their CLI counterpart. Exit Thunderbird, hello Mutt. No more Rhythmbox, instead the combo mpd + ncmpc. Nautilus… well… I am getting better at the cli. Eye of Gnome? xv or feh. In the end that’s it, I don’t have that many applications on my laptop. I have defined lots of aliases, like ‘music’ for ncpmc, some directories shortcuts, etc. Takes a bit of time to get used to it, but dear! I don’t regret it.
I guess next step is to create a commandlinefu profile :)