Window manager

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Not to be confused with display manager.


Each system with an X server installed should have a window manager. The window manager manages the creation, manipulation, and destruction of on-screen windows.


Windows managers can be dynamic, stacking, or tiling in their behavior. Stacking window managers behave analogously to pieces of paper on a physical desktop, they can be stacked on top of one another, with the one at the top of the stack being the one with which the user sees and interacts. 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 are window managers that can dynamically switch between these two paradigms.

Available software

Here are some window manager packages available in Gentoo:

Name Package Homepage Description
aewm x11-wm/aewm A minimalistic, dynamic X11 window manager.
aewm++ x11-wm/aewm++ A dynamic window manager with more modern features than aewm but with the same look and feel.
amiwm x11-wm/amiwm A stacking window manager that resembles the Amiga Workbench user interface.
awesome x11-wm/awesome a highly configurable, next generation, dynamic window manager for X.
blackbox x11-wm/blackbox an open-source stacking window manager written in C++ and licensed under the MIT License
bspwm x11-wm/bspwm a lightweight, tiling, minimalist window manager that is written in C and represents its windows as leaves on a binary tree.
CTWM x11-wm/ctwm A lightweight, stacking window manager.
cwm x11-wm/cwm A lightweight, stacking window manager originally developed for OpenBSD.
dwm x11-wm/dwm a dynamic window manager for X11.
echinus x11-wm/echinus A lightweight tiling and floating window manager forked from dwm.
Enlightenment x11-wm/enlightenment an eye-candy, compositing and stacking window manager that is released under the permissive BSD License.
evilwm x11-wm/evilwm A lightweight, stacking window manager.
fluxbox x11-wm/fluxbox an open-source stacking window manager for X11 that was originally forked from Blackbox.
FVWM x11-wm/fvwm a stacking window manager for X11.
goomwwm x11-wm/goomwwm Get out of my way, Window Manager!
herbstluftwm x11-wm/herbstluftwm a manual tiling window manager for X11 using Xlib and Glib
JWM x11-wm/jwm an extremely lightweight window manager for the X window system.
i3 x11-wm/i3 a minimalist window manager, focusing on keyboard commands to manipulate windows.
IceWM x11-wm/icewm a free and open-source, lightweight, stacking window manager for X11.
KWin kde-plasma/kwin KDE's compositing window manager.
larswm x11-wm/larswm A tiling window manager for X11, based on 9wm.
lwm x11-wm/lwm A lightweight, stacking window manager.
Marco x11-wm/marco MATE's window manager, forked from Metacity, the window manager of GNOME 2.
matwm2 x11-wm/matwm2 Simple EWMH compatible window manager with titlebars and frames.
Muffin x11-wm/muffin Cinnamon's compositing window manager.
Musca x11-wm/musca A simple dynamic window manager, with features nicked from ratpoison and dwm.
Mutter x11-wm/mutter GNOME's compositing window manager.
Notion x11-wm/notion A tiling, tabbed window manager for X11.
Openbox x11-wm/openbox a highly configurable, next generation, stacking window manager for X11 with extensive standards support.
oroborus x11-wm/oroborus A small and fast window manager.
page x11-wm/page A mouse-friendly tiling window manager.
PekWM x11-wm/pekwm A lightweight, dynamic window manager originally forked from aewm++.
Qtile x11-wm/qtile an open-source, tiling window manager that is written in and extended with the Python programming language
ratpoison x11-wm/ratpoison a tiling window manager modeled after screen.
Sawfish x11-wm/sawfish an extensible window manager using a Lisp-based scripting language.
Sith WM x11-wm/sithwm A minimalist window manager for X11.
spectrwm x11-wm/spectrwm A small dynamic tiling window manager for X11.
StumpWM x11-wm/stumpwm A tiling window manager written entirely in Common Lisp.
Subtle x11-wm/subtle A simple tiling window manager.
twm x11-wm/twm A simple stacking window manager started written in C.
WindowLab x11-wm/windowlab A small and simple window manager of novel design.
Window Maker x11-wm/windowmaker The fast and light GNUstep window manager.
wm2 x11-wm/wm2 a minimalist window manager for X11
Xfwm xfce-base/xfwm4 Xfce's compositing window manager.
xmonad x11-wm/xmonad a 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 a full and current list of window managers by issuing (requires app-portage/eix):

user $eix --category x11-wm

See also

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