When comparing Ratpoison vs bspwm, the Slant community recommends bspwm for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” bspwm is ranked 9th while Ratpoison is ranked 16th. The most important reason people chose bspwm is:
It has a low footprint.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Simple config file
Ratpoison is simple to configure as a window manager. In fact, it doesn't necessarily require that much configuration as it is so simple in structure to begin with.
Pro Very little mouse interaction.
Ratpoison is designed to be mainly used with a keyboard and keybindings, making mouse interaction unnecessary.
Pro Support for multiple desktops
Ratpoison offers support for multiple desktops through the use of the rpws script.
Pro Good online documentation
Ratpoison has plenty of documentation (to be found online) on how to operate and configure the window manager.
Pro Very lightweight
It has a low footprint.
Pro Drag&drop / Mouse support for resize/move
You can resize, switch panes, and resize tiles via the mouse.
Pro Very flexible
The keyboard shortcut are handled by another module so it's easy to use other inputs. The configuration is also simple.
Pro Based on binary space partitioning
The windows tiling is handled as the leaves of a full binary tree. This makes it easy to partition as you like.
Pro Open source
Pro Live configuration updates
No need to restart for updating configurations.
Pro Simple, adheres to the UNIX philosophy
Configuration takes much less work than in similar window managers. Hotkey binding is handled by a separate utility, sxhkd.
Pro Simple interface
All actions of the window manager (like opening or resizing a window, changing the workspace, etc.) are handled by a program called bspc, which communicates with bspwm over a socket connection. The config file is just a shell executable making calls to that program. This makes it very easy to write your own scripts to handle bspwm's behavior.
Con Does not work well with applications that have multiple windows
Being that Ratpoison is a tiling only window manager, trying to use applications that have multiple windows (such as GIMP) becomes a PITA.
Con Might make some games crash at startup
Con Poorly documented
Compared to something like i3 for example, a user following through i3's documentation is basically guaranteed to get a working desktop suited to their needs. Setting up bspwm is much more of a headache due to developers assuming things are clearer than they are.
Con Lacks transparency support
Like most window managers there is no built in compositing, which means no transparencies.