Window managers


See also the the Desktop environment and Desktop Components Page

Low resource tiling and dynamic Window Managers

Low resource Stacking WM

  • aewm (MIT License) last release end 2007, which is controlled entirely with the mouse. It is EWMH compliant and is in Debian.
  • aewm++ (MIT License) active project packaged in Debian based on aewm but written in C++.
    • aewm++ contains desktop utilities packaged in Debian as aewm++-goodies, an apllication bar, a panel, and a session manager. It is EWMH compliant.
  • evilwm (Artistic licence) active project, A minimal keyboard driven window manager. It supports EWMH and is packaged in Debian. last release 2011
  • Icewm (LGPL) a light EWMH compliant wm, fully usable with keyboard, with a task bar, multiple workspaces and configuration tools.
    It uses few libraries outside of standard X11, and its own library libice; so its real footprint is quite low: 6.2M resident/4.5M shared without desktop addons icewmtray 3M/2.3M, icewmbg 2.7M/2.2M a background daemon is not mandatory, icewm-session 1.7M/1.3M.
  • JWM (Joe's Window Manager) (GPL) _actively maintened__ is a low resource (half the memory footprint of Fvwm95) Window manager using only Xlib and (optionally) the shape extension and libXpm. It is said to be one of the window managers with less dependencies, and smaller footprints. It supports EWMH and is packaged in Debian.
  • Oroborus minimal maintenance since 2005, but with bugfix in 2010 minimalistic window manager. It is packaged in Debian.
    • Oroborus comes with three small utilities KeyLaunch, DeskMenu, and DeskLaunch that are in separate debian packages.
  • pawm last release 2006, unmaintened needs only Xorg/XFree86 standard libraries. Xft is optional.
  • WindowMaker (GPL) a tiny (1.3M rsz) and fully functional wm with numerous destop compatibles apps either as dockapps or as full desktop/window-manager like Rox filer.


Openbox is a window-manager with root menu, dock, no taskbar (use fspanel, fbpanel, pypanel), a configuration management tool named obconf. Openbox is the standard window manager of Lxde It can be used with many file managers most often PCManFM but also Rox filer.


Note that to interact with a window manager, it can be very usefull that it comply the Extended Window Manager Hints (EWMH) specification. This specification complete the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual (ICCCM), which defines window manager interactions at a lower level.

The wmctrl page and the Wikipedia EWMH page give some window managers that implement EWMH aewm, awsome, blackbox, edwm, enlightenment, fluxbox, fvwm, icewm, kwin, matchbox, metacity, pekwm, penbox, sawfish, waimea, window maker, wmii, xmonad, xfce and also some that do not implement EWMH ratpoison, ion, pwm, evilwm, flwm, windowlab, ctwm. Of course this incomplete list is subject to change with new releases.

The Wikipedia ICCM page give a list of Window Managers that are ICCCM Compliant, this list include the previous list, as it is the base of EWMH. You can find on line the ICCM specification.