Miscellaneous ephemera…



If you have visited here at all over the last couple of weeks, you would have seen some screenshots from my Flickr stream of a new window manager, monsterwm. Over the break, I have been playing around with it and, despite the fact that the project is only really a few weeks old, it is well worth a look.

Originally a fork of dminiwm, which was in turn based on catwm and dwm1, monsterwm for me—having used dwm for years—feels very much like a stripped down version of dwm, with a few of the patches (like pertag, for example) built in.

One of the projects goals, like it’s antecedents, is to keep the SLOC low. By way of comparison, dwm’s long-standing goal has been to keep the SLOC below 20002. monsterwm’s current count is under 700. One of the ways that monsterwm achieves this is not to incorporate a status bar; as the README says:

Monsterwm does not provide a panel and/or statusbar itself. Instead it adheres to the UNIX philosophy and outputs information about the existent desktop, the number of windows on each, the mode of each desktop, the current desktop and urgent hints whenever needed. The user can use whatever tool or panel suits him best (dzen2, conky, w/e), to process and display that information.

So, what is it like to run? Obviously it is fast. It comes with four tiling modes: standard tile, backstack, grid and monocle and, as mentioned above, the ability to define different layouts per desktop. There are still a couple of features to be implemented; floating mode being one of the more significant and a couple of minor bugs—as you would expect for a project still in its relative infancy.

Overall, it is a very nice, minimalist window manager. If you don’t use the dynamic tagging feature of dwm, then this would be a window manager to consider switching to. The developer, Ivan “c00kiemon5ter” Kanakarakis, has been extremely responsive to user’s suggestions and requests (the thread on the Arch boards is quite active) and has been admirably clear about his vision for the wm.

You can see my monsterwm configs in my mercurial repository.

  1. Updated with the correct genealogy…

  2. “dwm is only a single binary, and its source code is intended to never exceed 2000 SLOC.” dwm.suckless.org

Cookie Monster image from San Diego Shooter.