April 19, 2019

From the Desktop: S Is For SCWM and a Whole New Scheme

It's pronounced "squim"

  • January 16, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

It's pronounced "squim," by the way.

SCWM has always been one of the also-rans among the X window managers. Periodically, one sees a round-up article on the various window managers, with Enlightenment, Sawfish, and maybe fwvm thrown in for variety's sake after the article's writer focuses on the Big Two, KDE and GNOME. Then, at the end of the article, there's typically a "but wait, there's more" paragraph that lists all the also-rans, but tells nothing of their features.

SCWM is not a window manager that deserves to be banished to obscurity in the X community. Rather, it deserves a very close look by those users who really want to learn how graphical interfaces are put together and who want absolute precision in how they want their windows to appear.

Some of you may be saying that you already have such things with your own window manager, and I would certainly not dispute that. But the methodology in which most X window managers approach window placement and size can be completely different from how SCWM does it.

Ready for a lesson in graphic interfaces? All nice and comfy in front of the screen? Good, here goes.

When most window managers choose a place to put a window on the screen, the size and the position of the window is determined procedurally. "This window will be put here because this is the best place, its size will be this, and the focus of the window will be that, unless this, this, or this has occurred, in which case the window will look like the other thing."

These procedures are determined by the intent of the developers who made the window manager and by the setting the user of the window manager has made in the .*rc configuration file, or the control panel interface, if the window manager has one.

Now, let it be known throughout the land that SCWM can handle things procedurally as well. In fact, most users will use SCWM in this manner, happily using all of the different window commands to shove windows willy-nilly all over the screen.

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