March 24, 2019

Window Managers Explained - page 2


  • September 16, 1999
  • By Steve Singer
Choosing a Window Manager

In the Linux world the name of the game is choice. You can choose your distribution, applications and even your window manager. The graphical interface on your Linux system can be completely different from your friends'. Your choice of window manager will set the graphical tone of your system. Different window managers are suited to different types of setups. The next few sections will briefly describe some popular window managers; which one you choose is entirely a matter of your tastes and needs.


Fvwm is a bare bones window manager without many of the thrills of newer window managers. Fvwm was originally based on the classic window manager twm. Fvwm, like all of the other window managers discussed here, allows programs to be launched from a menu which pops up when you click a blank spot on the desktop. Programs can also be launched from Fvwm by clicking on a customizable button bar called GoodStuff. Fvwm is an ideal choice for systems lacking much CPU power or memory. It trades off the fancier features in exchange for speed, and is the window manager I use at both home and work.


Fvwm95 or Fvwm2 is an updated version of Fvwm configured to look like Microsoft Windows 95 complete with a Start menu. When talking about Fvwm95 many people have been known to say "If I wanted my computer to look like Windows 95 I would run Windows 95." However, Fvwm95 can provide a familiar look and feel to people switching over to Linux from Microsoft's operating systems. Fvwm95 is the default window manager on RedHat 4.x and 5.x systems. The contents of the Start menu can be changed by editing the fvwm95 configuration file, but dragging and dropping files on the desktop is not supported. Fvwm95, like Fvwm, has the GoodStuff button bar for launching application.

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