When comparing Gala vs bspwm, the Slant community recommends bspwm for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” bspwm is ranked 6th while Gala is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose bspwm is:
It has a low footprint.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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.
Pro Very lightweight
It has a low footprint.
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 Drag&drop / Mouse support for resize/move
You can resize, switch panes, and resize tiles via the mouse.
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
It's open source
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.
Pro Live configuration updates
No need to restart for updating configurations.
Pro Easily scriptable / modular
All window management is done via the bspc command allowing for easy scripting and extensibility. This also means your sxhkd keybinds can be ported elsewhere without being tied to the wm.
Pro Adherent to the Linux philosophy: Do one thing and do it right
Pro Comes without a compositor
You can to choose which compositor you want! A popular one is compton.
Out of the box it "Lacks transparency support" but if you choose to add compton then you can have transparency, blur etc.
Con Limited configurability
Configuration options are few and far between and require editing settings with dconf editor.
Con Buggy with nVidia Graphics
It's fantastic with the Intel integrated graphics; however, it is not good on nVidia ones
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 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.
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.