short for "Lightweight Window Manager". Its home page is

To sum it up as succinctly as possible, I am forced to quote from the opening paragraph of the home page: "There are no icons, no button bars, no icon docks, no root menus, no nothing"

Like all programs should be, lwm is distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL, and it's ten C source and header files weigh in at just under 64K. But wait until you compile it, before you step back in amazement, for it compiles down to a scant 36K. (at least, that's what it did, when I used gcc on sparc-solaris, about a year ago; it should actually be smaller, when compiled for x86, or other non-RISC architectures.. but I digress.) It is based on 9wm (the source of which is in the public domain, I believe), although even more stripped-down.

What it does:

  • Starts more or less instantaneously, even on your ancient 386!
  • Uses five colors, total. (black, white, light and dark grey, and red; red is only used in the mouse cursor, to help it stand out. I, of course, being even more minimalist than the author of lwm, have trimmed the colors to three: black, white, and red...)
  • Lets you specify window frame widths, as well as window title and menu item fonts, via your Xresources
  • Things it lets you do with windows:
    • Move. Click on any part of the window frame, and you can drag the window, much as you would with pretty much any other window manager, but with one notable exception: you use the middle mouse button, rather than the left.
    • Resize. Click and drag, with the left mouse button, on the window's frame, and lo and behold, it will resize!
    • Close. Just click the box at the upper-left hand corner of the window frame, and POOF! - there goes the window.
    • Hide. (this is my favorite...) If you right-click anywhere on the frame of the window, the window will be hidden. How do you get it back? read on...
  • Things it lets you do by clicking the root window:
    • when you left-click the root window it ... does nothing, at least not by by default. If you set the button1 Xresource to some executable, it lwm will run that for you when you click.
    • when you middle-click it runs 'xterm', by default, or whatever program you have it's button2 Xresource set to.
    • And finally, if you right-click, it will pop up a menu of all the windows you have hidden - pick one, and it will be shown.
  • THAT'S IT! - if you want to change the behavior, open the source in a file editor, recompile, and go!

If you're sick of the huge monstrosity of a window that you're using (Enlightenment, for instance... not to pick on E, or anything; pretty much any WM is a huge monstrosity, compared with lwm), give lwm a shot. If you want to read the source of a simple X Window Manager, pick up the source and read it! (it'll only take you a few minutes; it's quite readable, and very short.)

ok, enough proselytizing..

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