Twm

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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)[[1], 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.

Installation

Twm is provided by the package xorg-twm.

Start twm with X

In order for twm to be run as your window manager, edit xinitrc so the final line is:

exec twm

Then start X as normal.

Configuration

By default, twm looks very dated and unintuitive. By creating the file ~/.twmrc, you can customize twm to make it more friendly.

twm(1) 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

Patched version

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 twm and 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

See also