Twm is a window manager for X11. It is a small program, being built against Xlib rather than using a widget library, and as such, it is very light on system resources. Though simple, it is highly configurable; fonts, colours, border widths, title bar buttons, etc. can all be set by the user.
Twm was written by Tom LaStrange, a developer who was frustrated by the limitations of uwm (Ultrix Window Manager)[, the only window manager around when X11 was first released. Twm supplanted uwm as the default window manager supplied with X11 from the X11R4 release in 1989, wikipedia:UWM_(computing).
Twm has stood for Tom's Window Manager, Tab Window Manager and more recently Timeless Window Managerwikipedia:Twm.
Twm is provided by the package.
Start twm with X
In order for twm to be run as your window manager, edit xinitrc so the final line is:
Then start X as normal.
- After executing
startx, there is only a black screen. Try to move your mouse and left click to get a twm menu to make sure that twm actually works.
By default, twm looks very dated and unintuitive. By creating the file
~/.twmrc, you can customize twm to make it more friendly.
gives full details of the commands which can be used in your
~/.twmrc file. Many
~/.twmrc files have been posted online. The site xwinman.org has several
~/.twmrc files with screenshots which might provide inspiration. A Google search for "twmrc" can be used to find new ideas.
Tips and tricks
There is a patched version, not in the repositories, with updated features such as transparency. A description and build script is available on the xorg mailing list. It can be tried out by installing xcompmgr, running the build script, putting the resulting
dot.twmrc files in a convenient directory, and editing the
~/.xinitrc file so that the last two lines are
xcompmgr -o 0.3 -c -r 8 -t -10 -l -12 & /path-to-directory/twm -visual TrueColor -depth 32 -f /path-to-directory/dot.twmrc
You might find that titlebars and menu entries in TWM are extremely large - twice the size that one might typically expect. This is a locale issue with TWM that occurs when a
UTF-8 locale is used. Setting the locale to
C fixes the issue. See .
- Proffitt, Brian. "From the Desktop: Tom LaStrange Speaks!", LinuxPlanet, February 6, 2001. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
- "UWM (computing)", Wikipedia. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
- "Twm", Wikipedia. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
- man page
- "Sample twmrc", custompc.plus.com. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- "Window Managers for X: TWM/VTWM", xwinman.org. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
- Kask, Eeri. "TWM -- Revised Edition -- Again", lists.x.org, January 3, 2010.