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 * ["xdm"]

["GUI"] > ["XWindowSystem"]

In the ["XWindowSystem"], the ["XServer"] 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.

Common Linux window managers are:

To change the default window manager use

  update-alternatives --config x-window-manager

Window Managers must not be confused with ?DesktopEnvironments 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 "functionallity" and lives on a smaller foot-print)


DebianFluxbox [http://fluxbox.sourceforge.net] is a good variant on Blackbox-- almost as small, but much more intuitive(and theme-compatible). It can be installed for a bootable USB key with Linux (see DamnSmallLinux).

Openbox 2.x [http://icculus.org/openbox] is yet another variety on Blackbox. Openbox 3.x is written from scratch though visual appearance was influenced by Blackbox. See openbox

See also