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This proves to be quite confusing for the new user of a X windowing environment because most other environments simply use one window manager and give the user no choice. In this sense, X is much more versatile and allows more tailoring of the environment to whatever the user wants. It allows the creation of an xterminal, a diskless workstation which runs only an X server (out of ROM) and leaves all user interface implementation to a central compute server.  This proves to be quite confusing for the new user of a X windowing environment because most other environments simply use one window manager and give the user no choice. In this sense, X is much more versatile and allows more tailoring of the environment to whatever the user wants. It allows the creation of an xterminal, a diskless workstation which runs only an X server (out of ROM) and leaves all user interface implementation to a central compute server.
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  * IceWM is also extremely themable, supporting rounded corners, pixmaps, and many amazingly ugly themes.    * IceWM is also extremely themable, supporting rounded corners, pixmaps, and many amazingly ugly themes.
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 * Openbox [[http://www.icculus.org/openbox/]]  * Openbox [[http://openbox.org/]]
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 * [[http://wmii.suckless.org|wmii]] (see also [[Wmii|wmii wiki]]) 
 * [[http://xmonad.org|xmonad]]
 * [[http://wmii.suckless.org|wmii]] (see also [[Wmii|wmii wiki]])
 * [[http://xmonad.org|xmonad]] (see also [[Xmonad]] page on this wiki)
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CategoryDesktopEnvironment | [[CategoryXWindowSystem]]  CategoryDesktopEnvironment | [[CategoryXWindowSystem]]

Translation(s): English - Français - Italiano


In the X Window System, the X Server itself does not give the user the capability of managing windows that have been opened. Instead, this job is delegated to a program called a window manager.

The window manager gives windows a border and allows you to move them around and maximize/minimize them. The user interface for these functions is left up to its author.

This proves to be quite confusing for the new user of a X windowing environment because most other environments simply use one window manager and give the user no choice. In this sense, X is much more versatile and allows more tailoring of the environment to whatever the user wants. It allows the creation of an xterminal, a diskless workstation which runs only an X server (out of ROM) and leaves all user interface implementation to a central compute server.

The most commonly used Linux window managers are:

Other WMs include:

Tiling Window managers

Tiling window managers arrange application windows into various grid layouts, often in a manner which displays all of the windows seamlessly without overlapping. Debian provides packages for several popular tiling window managers, including:

Other tiling window managers, which can be built from source, include:


See x-window-manager packages descriptions If you use startx rather than a login manager, you'll probably want to choose a default Window Manager. To change the default window manager use

  update-alternatives --config x-window-manager

( See update-alternatives manpage).

Window Managers must not be confused with Desktop Environments such as GNOME, KDE, Xfce. These three environments use a window manager as a single part of a much larger system. And to make things much more complicated, GNOME doesn't force you to use any one window manager. They have a list of "supported" window managers that you can choose from.

Afterstep should be mentioned - (and fvwm is actually fvwm2 whereas fvwm1 already had/has lots of "functionality" and lives on a smaller foot-print)

See also



CategoryDesktopEnvironment | CategoryXWindowSystem