There is also http://arxiv.org/ where anyone can freely download/read article pre-prints.
There isn't really a blanket license for all pre-prints, but according to the arXiv licensing information (http://arxiv.org/help/license) submitted works must meet one of the following:
- be licensed under either the Creative Commons Attribution license or the Creative Common Noncommercial Share Alike license
- be in the public domain
- grant arXiv.org a non-exclusive and irrevocable license to distribute the article.
Obviously the first two options are pretty cut and dry "open access." The third option only allows arXiv.org to distribute the article, and does not allow an end user to redistribute the article.
I personally do not use a desktop environment; I find them too heavy handed in what they do and they seemingly impede my productivity on my machines.
I use a very lightweight minimalistic window manager that I wrote, which is based on TinyWM. It is approximately 30 lines of C and does everything that I need it to:
- raise a terminal emulator
- handle mouse input
- handle keyboard input
From a terminal, I can do anything that I need to on my machine. This style isn't for everyone, but I have found that it works great for me.