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Ratpoison is a minimalistic windowmanager which can be controlled 100% through keyboard. It behaves like the terminal-multiplexer GNU screen. Every window is maximized to fit the whole screen, no pixel is wasted on stuff like borders or other decoration. The user can also "split" the screen into two or more frames in order to display more than one window at the time. For more information check the official homepage at http://www.nongnu.org/ratpoison/


Ratpoison is part of the 'extra' repository. So a simple

pacman -S ratpoison

should do the trick.


To use ratpoison as your windowmanager, you have to create/edit the file ~/.xinitrc.

Example .xinitrc:

# the black/white grid as background doesn't suit my taste.
exec xsetroot -solid black
#fire up ratpoison!
exec ratpoison

Using Ratpoison

After X11 starts up you will see nothing like a black screen and a little textbox on the upper right of it that says "Welcome to Ratpoison" :) Now type CTRL+T and then '?' to get a list of keybindings. If you are used to GNU screen, you will feel at home very soon.

You are able to define custom keystrokes and even override existing ones in ~/.ratpoisonrc


# overriding CTRL+c to start aterm instead of xterm
bind c exec aterm
bind f exec firefox

Have fun!