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What is IceWM?

In Unix computing, IceWM is a window manager for the X Window System graphical infrastructure, written by Marko Maček. It was coded from scratch in C++ and is released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License. It is relatively lightweight in terms of memory and CPU usage, and comes with themes that allow it to imitate the UI of Windows 95, OS/2, Motif, and other graphical user interfaces. (Source: Wikipedia)


IceWM is available in [current] and therefore easily installable:

# pacman -S icewm

Installing MenuMaker from [extra] is also recommended:

# pacman -S menumaker


Although IceWM configuration is originally text-based, there are GUI-based tools available, notably icewm-utils in [community].


MenuMaker is a Python script that automatically populates your applications menu based on what is installed in your system. This means programs from other desktop environments (KDE, etc.) can be run within IceWM. When running MenuMaker, use the -f flag to overwrite an existing menu file:

# mmaker -f icewm


Although some themes are included by default, there is a much larger and better selection in the verified icewm-themes package in the repository. Although many have a spartan, 'old Windows' feel, some (ElbergBlue, liquid, etc.) have a more modern look.

File Managers

It should be noted that IceWM is a window manager only and therefore does not include a file manager. Rox and EmelFM/EmelFM2 work well with IceWM as do DFM and PCMan File Manager, both of which enable icons to be placed on the desktop which is otherwise not possible. N.B. To use PCMan, FAM needs to be installed and added to the list of daemons in /etc/rc.conf.

Related Articles

External Resources