When comparing bspwm vs IceWM, the Slant community recommends bspwm for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” bspwm is ranked 7th while IceWM is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose bspwm is:
It has a low footprint.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 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 Adherent to the Linux philosophy: Do one thing and do it right
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 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 Native gaps
Pro Live configuration updates
No need to restart for updating configurations.
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.
Pro Simple and easy configuration
When everything is seperate, keybinding, status bar, windows manager, it makes everything is easier to configure deeply in detail and organization.
Pro Separate hotkey daemon
The hotkeys run through sxhkd which is a daemon that's separate from the window manager itself.
Pro Has basic ewmh implementation
With basic ewmh I can easily config to make a fullscreen program show in a window.
Pro Very good performance
IceWM is small and extremely fast.
Pro Very configurable
A great many options to configure it. Though this is not required.
Pro Excellent documentation
Since 1.4.2 and later docs are extensive and up-to-date.
Pro Keyboard operatable
Many keyboard shortcuts exist. More can be added.
Pro Beautiful themes available
There are plenty of pre-built beautiful themes available.
Pro Plain text files for configuration
Pro Multi-monitor fully supported
Supports both XRandR and Xinerama for multiple monitors.
Pro Very Lightweight, configurable, can use as little as 4 mb of memory for window manager and tray with 4 desktops and menus with icons
Pro Comes with battery and resource indicator
Pro Menu can be auto generated
icewm-menu-fdo can be used to automatically create XDG compatible menus.
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 Lack of layouts
It offers less layouts then most of the tiled windows managers. (Only binary and monocle)
Con Lacks transparency support
Like most window managers there is no built in compositing, which means no transparencies.
Con Menu is overcategorised
There are a lot of subfolders in the menu and some buttons that you'll use very rarely, themes for example. There's rarely a need to change themes every day.
Con Very bad for design
Not recommended if you like beautiful windows.