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scrotwm is a small dynamic tiling window manager for X11. It tries to stay out of the way so that valuable screen real estate can be used for much more important stuff. It has sane defaults and does not require one to learn a language to do any configuration. It was written by hackers for hackers and it strives to be small, compact and fast.

It is written in C (as any self-respecting window manager should be) and configured with a text configuration file (ditto). It is not the poster-boy for any minority language, either for programming or configuration.


It is not yet available in the main repositories.

A PKGBUILD is available in AUR (http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=23487). This sets the modkey to Mod 4 (usually the Windows key).

It can make use of the dmenu package, so install that too

pacman -S dmenu


scrotwm first tries to open the user specific file, ~/.scrotwm.conf. If that file is unavailable, it then tries to open the global configuration file /etc/scrotwm.conf. The initial configuration provides a good set of defaults.

Optionally scrotwm can call baraction.sh (in the user's path), which should output a text status message to stdout for the status bar at the top of the screen.

Starting scrotwm

To start scrotwm via startx or the SLIM login manager, simply append the following to ~/.xinitrc:

exec scrotwm

Starting scrotwm with KDM

For KDM, place a file scrotwm.desktop in /usr/share/apps/kdm/sessions

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=The scrotwm window manager

And then in /home/user/.xsession_scrotwm

logger "Starting scrotwm from ~/.xsession_scrotwm."
xrandr --dpi 96
xscreensaver -no-splash &
# and start the window manager
exec scrotwm

Statusbar configuration

Here is an example baraction.sh

# baraction.sh script for scrotwm status bar
# This shows CPU temps, fan speed and wifi signal

SLEEP_SEC=5  # set bar_delay = 5 in /etc/scrotwm.conf
#loops forever outputting a line every SLEEP_SEC secs
while :; do

        #note: scrotwm bar_print can't handle UTF-8 characters, such as the degree symbol
        #Core 0:      +67.0°C  (crit = +100.0°C)
        CORE0TEMP=`sensors 2>/dev/null | grep "Core 0" | sed s/[°+]//g | awk {'print $3'}`
        CORE1TEMP=`sensors 2>/dev/null | grep "Core 1" | sed s/[°+]//g | awk {'print $3'}`
           FANSPD=`sensors 2>/dev/null | grep "fan1"                   | awk {'print $2'}`

        WLAN_QULTY=`cat /proc/net/wireless| grep "wlan0"| awk {'print $3'}|sed s/[.]//g`
        BCSCRIPT="scale=0;a=100*$WLAN_QULTY/70;print a"
        WLAN_QPCT=`echo $BCSCRIPT | bc -l`
        WLAN_SIGNL=`cat /proc/net/wireless| grep "wlan0"| awk {'print $4'}|sed s/[.]//g`
        WLAN_NOISE=`cat /proc/net/wireless| grep "wlan0"| awk {'print $5'}|sed s/[.]//g`
        WLAN_POWER=`iwconfig 2>/dev/null| grep "Tx-Power"| awk {'print $4'}|sed s/Tx-Power=//`

        echo -e "         $TEMP_STR        $WLAN_STR"
        sleep $SLEEP_SEC

Tips & Tricks

More Resources

  • scrotwm -- the official website of scrotwm
  • dmenu -- a simple application launcher from the developers of dwm