From ArchWiki

Warning: echinus is not maintained anymore. See the README in the repository.

echinus is a simple and lightweight tiling and floating window manager for X11. Started as a dwm fork with easier configuration, echinus became a full-featured reparenting window manager with EWMH support.

Unlike dwm, echinus does not need to be re-compiled after changes have been made to the config. It supports Xft (freetype) out of the box and has the option of configurable titlebars.


Install echinusAUR. You might also want to install ouricoAUR, a lightweight EWMH taskbar, originally designed for echinus (also in AUR), and dmenu.

After successfully installing, copy all files from /etc/xdg/echinus to ~/.echinus(for user).


echinus is configured in one simple text file, in Xresources format: ~/.echinus/echinusrc. Details for all of the configuration options are in /usr/share/doc/echinus/README. A section of a sample configuration file looks like:

Echinus*selected.border: #404040
Echinus*selected.button: #d3d7cf
Echinus* #262626
Echinus*selected.fg: #d3d7cf


Rules can be set up to spawn applications in specific tags. The following rule, for example, would open firefox in the "web" tag:

Echinus*rule0: firefox.* web 0 1

Opening applications in a terminal requires that you explicitly set the -title tag when spawning them so that echinus can manage them:

Echinus*spawn0: CA + m = urxvtc -title mutt -e mutt

Similarly, when spawning dmenu, you will need to declare the requisite properties, like so:

Echinus*spawn1: Menu = dmenu_run -fn "-*-dina-medium-r-*-*-*-100-*-*-*-*-*-*" -nb "#1A1A1A" -nf "#696969" -sb "#1A1A1A" -sf "#D3D7Cf"

Starting echinus

To start echinus with startx or the SLiM login manager, simply append the following to ~/.xinitrc:

exec echinus

Using echinus

After making changes to echinusrc, you can reload the configuration without recompiling by restarting echinus, with Alt+Shift+q. This keybinding, and any other, can be customized to suit your preference or muscle-memory.

Further details for manipulating windows are in the manpage and the README.

Panels & Pagers

echinus supports some parts of EWMH - the following are known to work:

See also