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FrankenWM is a dynamic tiling window manager, comparable to dwm or awesome. This means there are a number of predefined layouts that are used to tile the windows. The source code is based on monsterwm-xcb, but includes a lot of bugfixes and additonal features like extensive runtime configuration, a scratchpad window, window minimizing, floating control via keyboard and currently 13 different tiling layouts.


You can get FrankenWM by installing the frankenwm-gitAUR package or directly from Github. Any Configuration has to be done at compile time, so you might want to have a look at the section below.


When using the AUR-version, you can supply you own config.h which whill be used instead of the default config.


Note: Compiling manually requires you to get the dependencies needed yourself, which are libxcb xcb-util xcb-util-wm xcb-util-keysyms (as well as make and gcc).

When using the Git-version, you will need to copy config.def.h to config.h and make the modifications you need before compiling FrankenWM. Then you can run make and sudo make install to install the binaries and manpage.

Launching FrankenWM

FrankenWM is usually started using the .xinitrc, either manually via startx or automatically using a display manager like slim or lightdm.


Configuration is done at compile time by edititing config.h. There are lots of comments in the default config (config.def.h) which explain what the settings are doing.


The basic usage includes opening a terminal (Meta+Enter), opening dmenu (Meta+r) and closing windows (Meta+c). There is a complete, sorted list of the default keybinds and explanations of the tiling layouts in the manpage, which you can view with man ./frankenwm.1 before install, or man frankenwm after install.


FrankenWM does not come with a panel included, but gives you the possibility to leave space either at the top or bottom for one, like conky or dzen. There are a couple of settings in the config to configure this space.

If you want to use FrankenWM's status in your bar, you can pipe FrankenWM to a shell script to parse the output and pipe it to a bar. Sample scripts to accomplish this with a few different bar are located here.


I do not see anything

This is normal behaviour, as FrankenWM does not come with a bar included or a desktop background, so after running frankenwm without anything else, you will probably see a black screen. See Panels above for information on how to add a panel to your desktop. Wallpapers can be set by using software like xsetroot, feh or hsetroot.

I cannot open a terminal/menu

Have a look at the config.h used to build your currently running version of FrankenWM, which is located in the build directory. Make sure that both the shortcut to run the termcmd/menucmd command and the termcmd/menucmd itself are set properly to start an installed terminal/menu.