Window manager

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Not to be confused with display manager.

The window manager manages the creation, manipulation, and destruction of on-screen windows and window decorations in X11.

Each X server installation should usually have a window manager. If a desktop environment is used, a window manager will generally be provided.

Classification

Windows managers can generally be dynamic, stacking, or tiling in their behavior.

  • Stacking (or floating) window managers have windows analogous to pieces of paper on a physical desktop, which can be stacked each on top of the others, with the one with which the user interacts on top of the stack, and totally visible.
  • Tiling window managers represent windows as tiles, or split views, with windows displayed next to one another, but with none of the windows overlapping.
  • Dynamic window managers can dynamically switch between the other two paradigms.

Windows managers can integrate a compositor, for buffering graphics before showing them, allowing visual effects, anti-flicker and other facilities.

Available software

Name Package Homepage Description
aewm x11-wm/aewm 404 (bug #708484) Minimalistic, dynamic X11 window manager.
aewm x11-wm/aewm++ https://github.com/frankhale/aewmpp Dynamic window manager with more modern features than aewm but with the same look and feel.
amiwm x11-wm/amiwm https://www.lysator.liu.se/~marcus/amiwm.html Stacking window manager that resembles the Amiga Workbench user interface.
awesome x11-wm/awesome https://awesomewm.org/ Highly configurable, next generation, dynamic window manager for X.
blackbox x11-wm/blackbox https://github.com/bradleythughes/blackbox Open-source stacking window manager written in C++ and licensed under the MIT License.
bspwm x11-wm/bspwm https://github.com/baskerville/bspwm Lightweight, tiling, minimalist window manager that is written in C and represents its windows as leaves on a binary tree.
CTWM x11-wm/ctwm https://www.ctwm.org/index.html Lightweight, stacking window manager.
cwm x11-wm/cwm https://cvsweb.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/xenocara/app/cwm/ Lightweight, stacking window manager originally developed for OpenBSD.
dwm x11-wm/dwm https://dwm.suckless.org/ Dynamic window manager for X11.
echinus x11-wm/echinus https://plhk.ru/ Lightweight tiling and floating window manager forked from dwm.
Enlightenment x11-wm/enlightenment https://www.enlightenment.org/ Eye-candy, compositing and stacking window manager that is released under the permissive BSD License.
evilwm x11-wm/evilwm https://www.6809.org.uk/evilwm/ Lightweight, stacking window manager.
fluxbox x11-wm/fluxbox http://fluxbox.org/ Open-source stacking window manager for X11 that was originally forked from Blackbox.
FVWM x11-wm/fvwm http://www.fvwm.org/ Stacking window manager for X11.
goomwwm x11-wm/goomwwm https://github.com/seanpringle/goomwwm Get out of my way, Window Manager!
herbstluftwm x11-wm/herbstluftwm https://herbstluftwm.org/ Manual tiling window manager for X11 using Xlib and Glib.
JWM x11-wm/jwm https://github.com/joewing/jwm Extremely lightweight window manager for the X window system.
i3 x11-wm/i3 https://i3wm.org/ Minimalist tiling window manager, completely written from scratch.
IceWM x11-wm/icewm https://ice-wm.org/ Free and open-source, lightweight, stacking window manager for X11.
KWin kde-plasma/kwin https://userbase.kde.org/KWin KDE's compositing window manager.
larswm x11-wm/larswm http://porneia.free.fr/larswm/larswm.html Tiling window manager for X11, based on 9wm.
lwm x11-wm/lwm http://www.jfc.org.uk/software/lwm.html Lightweight, stacking window manager.
Marco x11-wm/marco https://github.com/mate-desktop/marco MATE's window manager, forked from Metacity, the window manager of GNOME 2.
matwm2 x11-wm/matwm2 https://github.com/segin/matwm2 Simple EWMH compatible window manager with titlebars and frames.
Muffin x11-wm/muffin https://github.com/linuxmint/muffin Cinnamon's compositing window manager.
Musca x11-wm/musca https://launchpad.net/musca Simple dynamic window manager, with features nicked from ratpoison and dwm.
Mutter x11-wm/mutter https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/mutter/ GNOME's compositing window manager.
Notion x11-wm/notion http://notion.sourceforge.net/ Tiling, tabbed window manager for X11.
Openbox x11-wm/openbox http://openbox.org/ Highly configurable, next generation, stacking window manager for X11 with extensive standards support.
oroborus x11-wm/oroborus https://www.oroborus.org/ Small and fast window manager.
page x11-wm/page https://www.hzog.net/index.php/Main_Page (website offline 2021-07) Mouse-friendly tiling window manager.
PekWM x11-wm/pekwm https://pekwm.org/ Lightweight, dynamic window manager originally forked from aewm++.
Qtile x11-wm/qtile http://www.qtile.org/ Open-source, tiling window manager that is written in and extended with the Python programming language.
ratpoison x11-wm/ratpoison https://nongnu.org/ratpoison/ Tiling window manager modeled after screen.
Sawfish x11-wm/sawfish https://sawfish.tuxfamily.org/ Extensible window manager using a Lisp-based scripting language.
Sith WM x11-wm/sithwm https://sithwm.darkside.no/ Minimalist window manager for X11.
spectrwm x11-wm/spectrwm http://srobb.net/spectrwm.html Small dynamic tiling window manager for X11.
StumpWM x11-wm/stumpwm https://stumpwm.github.io/ Tiling window manager written entirely in Common Lisp.
Subtle x11-wm/subtle https://subforge.org/projects/subtle/wiki Simple tiling window manager.
twm x11-wm/twm https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/xorg/app/twm Simple stacking window manager started written in C.
WindowLab x11-wm/windowlab https://github.com/nickgravgaard/windowlab Small and simple window manager of novel design.
Window Maker x11-wm/windowmaker http://www.windowmaker.org/ Fast and light GNUstep window manager.
wm2 x11-wm/wm2 https://www.all-day-breakfast.com/wm2/ Minimalist window manager for X11.
Xfwm xfce-base/xfwm4 https://docs.xfce.org/xfce/xfwm4/start Xfce's compositing window manager.
xmonad x11-wm/xmonad https://xmonad.org/ Fast and lightweight tiling window manager for X11.

feh and imv can be used for setting the desktop background for tiling window managers like i3.

See also

  • Desktop environment — An article listing desktop environments available in Gentoo Linux.
  • Display manager — An article listing display managers available in Gentoo Linux.

External resources