When comparing dwm vs Gala, the Slant community recommends dwm for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” dwm is ranked 5th while Gala is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose dwm is:
Dwm is part of the [suckless suite of tools](http://suckless.org/), and encourages users to extend and configure it by modifying the code itself. To this end, dwm is kept under 2000 SLOC, and is an exemplar of clean, readable code (C). This, while giving users all the flexibility they could ask for, also makes dwm as lightweight as possible, and means that users have a full understanding of how it works.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Encourages user modification
Dwm is part of the suckless suite of tools, and encourages users to extend and configure it by modifying the code itself. To this end, dwm is kept under 2000 SLOC, and is an exemplar of clean, readable code (C). This, while giving users all the flexibility they could ask for, also makes dwm as lightweight as possible, and means that users have a full understanding of how it works.
Pro Simple and small
Dwm is a low-resource window manager that is entirely simplistic in design.
Pro Application grouping with tags
Dwm's design paradigm is to use tags to group clients (applications) that can then be pulled into a view (workspace); this allows you to view multiple clients at once and to assign or reassign those tags and their related views on the fly.
Contrary to most other window managers, when you view a tag you are not ‘visiting’ a workspace: you are pulling the tagged windows into a single workspace.
Combined with rules in the
config.h, this makes for a flexible and responsive means to manage your workflow.
Pro Default keybindings and functionality are very useful and well thought-out
An example of this is the application of alt-tab to switch between two tags.
Pro Easy to configure
Configuring dwm is straight-forward thanks to its config.h file (though it will have to be rebuilt for the effects to take place).
Pro Useful and informative status bar
The dwm status bar can be set to display all kinds of useful information, such as volume level, wifi signal strength, and battery notification.
Pro XRandR/Xinerama support
Dwm has support for XRandR and Xinerama, allowing for multi-monitor support.
Pro Beautiful, uniformly designed, and sleek
Gala is designed to be unimposing while still remaining functional and pleasant to look at. By following the elementary OS design guidelines, Gala maintains a very consistent look.
Pro Easy for Linux beginners who are coming from legacy OSs
Gala has limited configurability which keeps things simple.
Pro Extremely fast
Gala works well on limited-resource hardware, e.g older netbooks and Chromebooks.
Pro Works with Gtk client-side decorations
The current bets of elementary OS (Freya) has enabled the use of Gtk client-side decorations.
Pro Hotcorners give shortcuts for multitasking, window management, or custom commands
User-configurable hotcorners means power users get four super easy shortcuts for multitasking, window management, or custom commands.
Pro Excellent stability
Despite the current stable release only being on version 0.2, it is very stable.
Pro Integrated compositing manager allows for fancy effects and animations
The Gala compositing manager allows for effects and animations to be used on a window by window basis.
Pro Dynamic workspace management
Workspaces are added and removed on the fly so you only have as many as you need at any given time.
Pro Innovative multitasking
Gala takes some hints from mobile OSes, but handles multitasking in a powerful way designed for desktop. Workspaces and alt-tabbing work well and are familiar, but feel smoother than alternatives.
Con No runtime config file
There is no config file that can be edited after the window manager is compiled: all changes need to be made prior to compiling.
Con By developers, for developers
Basic knowledge of C language, general programming, and compilation are all required.
Con Limited configurability
Configuration options are few and far between and require editing settings with dconf editor.
Con Not very lightweight
Although it certainly does not eat up CPU or RAM, it is not as lightweight on resource usage as awesome, i3, openbox, for instance. This shouldn't really be a surprise however.
Con Buggy with nVidia Graphics
It's fantastic with the Intel integrated graphics; however, it is not good on nVidia ones
Con Hard to install on some distros
While Elementary OS has Gala built-in, it might be difficult to set it up on certain distributions because it's tailored to Elementary OS only. Arch, for example, only supports Gala via AUR at the moment.
Con Does not render well under AMD graphics
The underlying compositor is know to have issues with AMD graphics cards, leading to poor performance, stuttering, and graphical artifacts.