From the project home page:
- Ratpoison is a simple Window Manager with no fat library dependencies, no fancy graphics, no window decorations, and no rodent dependence. It is largely modelled after GNU Screen which has done wonders in the virtual terminal market. The screen can be split into non-overlapping frames. All windows are kept maximized inside their frames to take full advantage of your precious screen real estate. All interaction with the window manager is done through keystrokes. ratpoison has a prefix map to minimize the key clobbering that cripples Emacs and other quality pieces of software.
Ratpoison can be installed with package official repositories., available in
To use ratpoison as your windowmanager, you have to create/edit the file
# the black/white grid as background doesn't suit my taste. xsetroot -solid black & # ratpoison is compatible with xcompmgr! now you can have real transparency xcompmgr -c -f -D 5 & #fire up ratpoison! exec /usr/bin/ratpoison
After X11 starts up you will see a black screen and a little textbox on the upper right of it that says "Welcome to Ratpoison".
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
# overriding CTRL+t 'c' to start aterm instead of xterm bind c exec aterm bind f exec firefox
So, if you type
Ctrl+t and then
f, ratpoison will fire up Firefox.
Here is another .ratpoisonrc i'm using on my computers:
exec xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr startup_message off escape C-z # make a screenshot alias sshot exec import -window root ~/screenshot-$(date +%F).jpg definekey top M-C-Print sshot #virtual desks gnewbg one gnewbg two definekey top M-l exec ratpoison -c "select -" -c "gprev" -c "next" definekey top M-h exec ratpoison -c "select -" -c "gnext" -c "next" #switch between windows definekey top M-j next definekey top M-k prev #apps unbind c bind c exec urxvt -tr #bind c exec aterm bind g exec gftp bind f exec firefox
Tips and tricks
By default, ratpoison only has one workspace, but using a script called rpws (installed by default) you can have more.
Just edit your .ratpoisonrc, and add:
exec rpws -i exec /usr/bin/rpws init 6 -k
That creates 6 workspaces. By default, you can access to them by using
Alt+F1 to access the first,
Alt+F2 to access the second, etc.
You can also add binds to them, like this:
bind C-1 exec rpws 1 bind C-2 exec rpws 2 ...
That allows to access them with
Ctrl+t as your escape key)
urxvt and xterm
Urxvt and xterm would not resize to a fixed number of pixels. Instead, it resize itself to multiples of its font's size, therefore, chances that there are unfilled gaps are high. To correct this, we can use the xterm/urxvt option internalBorder and set the border of ratpoison to 0.
A trial and error process must be done to find the exact number of internalBorder for each combination of resolution and font size. (the border of ratpoison must be set to 0 before doing the tests) The term command line option -b can be used to test for the correct number and then can be saved on the following files.
urxvt*internalBorder: 8 #change urxvt to xterm if necessary. Using the font terminus in urxvt at 14px size, 8 is the correct number here.
set border 0
If a combination cannot be found, you could try changing the font size and the font family also. (that changes the required border number)
Launch on startup
Examples for launching programs when ratpoison starts. File
~/.ratpoisonrc is executed by ratpoison on startup.
Launch urxvt with a tmux session
exec urxvt -e bash -c "tmux -q has-session && exec tmux attach-session -d || exec tmux new-session -n$USER -s$USER@$HOSTNAME"
Launch optimized chromium
exec bash -c 'pidof chromium &>/dev/null || exec /usr/bin/chromium --disk-cache-dir=~/tmp/cache'
Wallpaper and transparency
Example for setting transparency using xcompmgr and nitrogen. First start nitrogen and set the desired wallpaper. Then use this in your .ratpoisonrc
Wallpaper and transparency
exec xcompmgr -c -f -D 5 & exec nitrogen --restore
Some more useful KeyCombos
! <Program Name> Start any program
q Quit ratpoison
? Show key bindings
c Start an X terminal
n Switch to next window
p Switch to previous window
9 Switch to windows 1-9
k Close the current window
Schift+k XKill the current application
Shift+s Split the current frame into two vertical,horizontal ones
↓ Switch to the next, left. top, right, bottom frame.
Shift+q Make the current frame the only one
: Execute a ratpoison command
Ratpoison and display managers
Many display managers (e.g., lightdm) source the available sessions from
/usr/share/xsessions/ and most window managers and desktop environments create .desktop files there. However ratpoison instead creates a
ratpoison.desktop file in
/etc/X11/sessions/. To allow display managers to find ratpoison one may need to copy the ratpoison.desktop file from
/usr/share/xsessions/ratpoison.desktop. If the
/usr/share/xsessions directory does not exist, create it as root.