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This wiki page details installation and configuration of the twm window manager under Parabola.

Twm is a window manager for X11. It is a small program, being built against Xlib rather than using a widget library, and as such, it is very light on system resources. Though simple, it is highly configurable; fonts, colours, border widths, title bar buttons, etc. can all be set by the user.

1 Twm creation and name

Twm was written by Tom LaStrange, a developer who was frustrated by the limitations of uwm (Ultrix Window Manager)[[1], the only window manager around when X11 was first released. Twm supplanted uwm as the default window manager supplied with X11 from the X11R4 release in 1989[2].

Twm has stood for Tom's Window Manager, Tab Window Manager and more recently Timeless Window Manager[3].

2 Installation

Twm is part of the Parabola official repositories and is provided by the package xorg-twm.

3 Start twm with X

In order for twm to be run as your window manager, edit the file ~/.xinitrc so the final line is:

exec twm

If you now type:


at the command prompt, X will start using twm as its window manager.

If you would like to configure X (and twm) to start on boot (or when you login), read the wiki page Start X at boot to find out how.

4 Configuration (editing your .twmrc)

By default, twm looks very dated and unintuitive. By editing the file ~/.twmrc, you can customize twm to make it more friendly.

5 Resources

  • The twm man page gives full details of the commands which can be used in your ~/.twmrc file. It can be viewed online[4] or accessed once twm is installed by typing the following at a command prompt:
man twm
  • Many ~/.twmrc files have been posted online[5]. The site xwinman[6] has several ~/.twmrc files with screenshots which might provide inspiration. A Google search for "twmrc" can be used to find new ideas[7].
  • More information about twm can be found on the twm Wikipedia page[8].
  • There is a patched version, not in the repositories, with updated features such as transparency. A description and build script is available on the xorg mailing list.[9] It can be tried out by installing xcompmgr, running the build script, putting the resulting twm and dot.twmrc files in a convenient directory, and editing the ~/.xinitrc file so that the last two lines are
xcompmgr -o 0.3  -c -r 8 -t -10 -l -12 &
/path-to-directory/twm -visual TrueColor -depth 32 -f /path-to-directory/dot.twmrc

6 References

  1. Proffitt, Brian. "From the Desktop: Tom LaStrange Speaks!", LinuxPlanet, February 6, 2001. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  2. "UWM (computing)", Wikipedia. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  3. "Twm", Wikipedia. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  4. "Twm man page", Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  5. "Sample .twmrc file", Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  6. "Window Managers for X: TWM/VTWM", Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  7. "Google search for twmrc", Google. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  8. "Twm", Wikipedia. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  9. Kask, Eeri. "TWM -- Revised Edition -- Again", xorg mailing list, January 3, 2010.

7 Acknowledgement

This wiki article is based on ArchWiki. We may have removed non-FSDG bits from it.