ARCHIVED: In the X Window System, what is a window manager, and how do I find out which window managers are available?

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A window manager in the X Window System helps you control window placement, window size, icons, title bars, borders, colors, and input focus. You can customize key and mouse button actions, as well as create custom menus from which you can execute commands or run applications. A window manager also has some session management capabilities, such as terminating an application or a session.

Some window managers, such as ctwm and tvtwm, allow you to have virtual desktops or virtual screens, meaning that the root (background) window is larger than the physical display. If you have two virtual desktops, you have twice as much space on which to place windows and icons without having to buy a second monitor.

To see what window managers are available on your Unix system, at the Unix prompt, enter:

  man -k "window manager"

For an overview of a number of popular window managers, visit the Window Managers for X web page at:

For in-depth information about how to configure any of these window managers, see the appropriate manual page. For example, to learn about twm, at the Unix prompt, enter:

  man twm

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see Get help for Linux or Unix at IU.

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Last modified on 2018-01-18 09:20:15.