Does a pretty UI affect productivity?

This past week, my desktop for Debian Sid stopped loading the windows manager at log in. It's to be expected since I'm running the unstable branch. One of the great things about Open Source is having the ability to rapidly change the software you're using. I was able to quickly change my Linux desktop environment to work around the issue. If I didn't want the issue to occur I'd run Debian Stable.

First, I tried to find a log that would easily point me in the direction, but I didn't see one right away.

Next, I booted into the Classic Gnome shell, which was fine, but I felt very unsatisfied. At this point, I fired up the shell and installed a new desktop manager.

Next, I tried OpenBox which worked, of course, since it's super simple and has little dependencies. I didn't find it super practical for daily use. If you have a server that you must have a windows manager running, it would be my choice.

Then I remembered XFCE! I quickly installed it and fell in love with it's simplified interface, but snappy interface. I quickly modified:

  • Standard font -> Lato
  • Font Size -> boosted to 12 but I might want 14 my laptop has a 1080P monitor.
  • Change Theme -> XFCE dawn
  • Mapped windows super key to call xfdesktop --windowlist
  • Mapped CTRL+ALT+T to callĀ terminator
  • Found a better desktop image.

At first I thought my productivity would lower, but I'm thinking it might actually be better. There's less cool stuff going on, so I can focus on the task at hand. Plus it's so darn fast it's amazing. Looks wise it's not a design winner,but it's also not really horrifying either.

I'm going to run XFCE for the next 30 days and see how I feel then. Maybe I'll follow up.


12/5/13 I'm still running XFCE and I've switched to it at work as well.