DEV Community

loading...

Why suckless software sucks?

pgronkievitz profile image Patryk Gronkiewicz Originally published at blog.gronkiewicz.xyz on ・2 min read

First of all - I was using suckless tools for a long time and I know almost every of their down- and upsides. Let’s start with some positive opinions.

Why suckless is worthy its name?

It’s LIGHTWEIGHT. It’s the most important information about it. That’s just well-written bunch of code with little/none customizability out of the box. But that’s sometimes very nice! Consider this situation:

You’re environmentalist who doesn’t want to change their hardware every 2/3/5/10 or even more years. Linux is quite lightweight most of the time on its own, but over 10 years with the same CPU, probably 2 gigs of RAM, old GPU/iGPU could be not enough, even for linux with some DE. Well, then your choice (in my opinion of course) should be suckless software. It’s easy on CPU, blazing fast (even on potato).

Configuration isn’t that easy because of patches, but basic stuff is just OK.

When and why suckless _ SHOULDN’T _ be considered?

Basically, when you’ve got any decent hardware or you’re just too lazy to merge all the necessary patches, because who wants to use terminal emulator with no scrolling (xD). According to suckless philosophy, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature, but in my opinion it’s nothing but fixation about SLOC.

What are alternatives?

ST

For ST there are plenty and you probably know most of them:

  • Termite
  • Alacritty
  • xTerm
  • urxvt

There’s nice comparison by Derek Taylor (@distrotube) His top 5 minimal terminal emulators.

Window managers

If you’re using DWM, there are nice alternatives such as XMonad and Qtile as dynamic window managers, i3wm, sway, bspwm, LeftWM, HerbsluftWM and many, many more manual window managers.

Web browser

Surf, Surf, Surf… It just sucks and it’s terribly slow. Use just anything else, even qutebrowser, just not Surf.

Other

For dmenu the only piece of software which is worth consideration is Rofi. It easily handle every script made for dmenu, configuration is way more straightforward and there are plenty of scripts which are hard to port for dmenu.

For sure you can also find lots of alternatives on the Internet.

Summary

Suckless isn’t that bad, but there are better, more reliable solutions on the Internet. It might feel more minimal, but you don’t have to use all the clutter provided by “cluttered” software.

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
jdbfsilva profile image
sieprgmr

"Consider this situation: You’re environmentalist who doesn’t want to change their hardware every 2/3/5/10 or even more years" -- Suckless users are not environmentalists who do not want to change their hardware. The rule n.1, and probably rule n.2 too, in the Suckless Club is "We are elitists and we do not care about n00bz! Learn some C, make, and shell scripting. Grow up!!" -- or something like that, and that's not a bad thing. There are plenty solutions for them around. I've been using dwm+st+dmenu for almost 18 months, no major hassle. Never used surf though. Are there alternatives? Sure there are. More reliable? Under what metrics? Again, Suckless tools serve a very singular (odd?) set of like-minded people that are far from average Linux user. And that's OK.

Collapse
izzuishere profile image
izzy

theres no reason why i would ever stop using ST its an amazing terminal
but i definitely agree with you about surf lmfao

Collapse
privracki profile image
privracki

What's wrong with surf? It's awesome

Collapse
pgronkievitz profile image
Patryk Gronkiewicz Author

yeah, ST at this point is the friendliest program by suckless, but the others are just worse than alternatives imo

Collapse
keogami profile image
keogami

just use firefox instead of surf smh