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LeftWM - A window manager for Adventurers

Screenshot of LeftWM in action

Why go left

Left is a tiling window manager written in rust for stability and performance. The core of left is designed to do one thing and one thing well. Be a window manager. Because you probably want more than just a black screen LeftWM is built around the concept of theming. With themes you can choose between different bar / compositor / background / colors, whatever makes you happy.

LeftWM has been built from the very beginning to support multiple screens and has been built around ultrawide monitors. You will see this with the default key bindings

Left is NOT

Left is not a compositor.

Left is not a lock screen.

Left is not a bar there are lots of good bars out there. With themes, picking one is as simple as setting a symlink.

Config

The settings file to change key bindings and the default mod key can be found at

~/.config/leftwm/config.toml

Default keys

Mod + (1-9) => switch to a desktop/tag
Mod + Shift + (1-9) => move the focused window to desktop/tag
Mod + W => switch the desktops for each screen. Desktops [1][2] changes to [2][1]
Mod + Shift + W => move window to the other desktop
Mod + (⬆️⬇️) => Focus the different windows in the current workspace
Mod + Shift + (⬆️⬇️) => Move the different windows in the current workspace
Mod + Enter => Move selected window to the top of the stack in the current workspace
Mod + Ctrl + (⬆️⬇️) => Switch between different layouts
Mod + Shift + (⬅➡) => Switch between different workspaces
Mod + Shift + Enter => open a terminal
Mod + Ctrl + L => lock the screen
Mod + Shift + X => Exit LeftWM
Mod + Shift + Q => close the current window
Mod + Shift + R => reload LeftWM and its config
Mod + p => use dmenu to start application

Workspaces

By default workspaces have a one to one relationship with screens, but this is configurable. There are many reasons you might want to change this, but the main reason is for ultrawide monitors. You might want to have two or even three workspaces on a single screen.

Here is an example config changing the way workspaces are defined (~/.config/leftwm/config.toml)

[[workspaces]]
y = 0
x = 0
height = 1440
width = 1720

[[workspaces]]
y = 0
x = 1720
height = 1440
width = 1720

Tags / Desktops

The default tags are 1-9. They can be renamed in the config file by setting the list of tags.

Here is an example config changing the list of available tags. NOTE: tag navigation (Mod + #) doesn't change based on the name of the tag

tags = ["Web", "Code", "Shell", "Music", "Connect"]

More information about configuration can be found in the Wiki.

LeftWM is EWMH compliant.

One of the core concepts/features of LeftWM is theming

With left there are two types of configs. First there are config settings that are specific to you but don’t really change. These are settings like keybindings. Workspace locations, and names of desktops/tags. These settings can be found in ~/.config/leftwm/config.toml

The appearance of your desktop is different. It’s fun to try new looks and feels. It’s fun to tweak and customize the appearance ( AKA: ricing ). It’s fun to share so others can experience your cool awesome desktop. LeftWM is built around this concept. By pulling all these settings out into themes, you can now easily tweak, switch, and share your experiences.

Setup (with package manager)

LeftWM is available in AUR as well as crates.io. Both are good options for simple installation. Please note, if installing with crates.io you will need to link to the xsession desktop file if you want to be able to login to LeftWM from a graphical login screen.

sudo cp PATH_TO_LEFTWM/leftwm.desktop /usr/share/xsessions

LeftWM availalbe in Fedora Copr: sudo dnf copr enable atim/leftwm -y && sudo dnf install leftwm

Manual Setup (no package manager)

Using a graphical login such as LightDM, GDM, LXDM, and others

  1. copy leftwm.desktop to /usr/share/xsessions
  2. create a symlink to the build of leftwm so that it is in your path
cd /usr/bin
sudo ln -s PATH_TO_LEFTWM/target/debug/leftwm
sudo ln -s PATH_TO_LEFTWM/target/debug/leftwm-worker
sudo ln -s PATH_TO_LEFTWM/target/debug/leftwm-state

and

sudo cp PATH_TO_LEFTWM/leftwm.desktop /usr/share/xsessions

You should now see LeftWM in your list of available window managers.

Starting with startx or a login such as slim

make sure this is at the end of your .xinitrc file

exec dbus-launch leftwm

Themes

If you want to see more than a black screen when you login, select a theme

mkdir -p ~/.config/leftwm/themes
cd ~/.config/leftwm/themes
ln -s PATH_TO_THE_THEME_YOU_LIKE current

LeftWM comes packaged with a couple default plain themes. There is also a community repository for sharing themes

For more information about themes checkout our theme guide Here or the Wiki Here.

Dependencies

While LeftWM has very few dependencies this isn't always the case for themes. Themes typically require the following to be installed. But this is up to the author of the theme and could be different. List of common dependencies for Themes:

  • feh
  • compton or picom
  • dmenu
  • (Some kind of bar, different for each theme)
    • polybar
    • xmobar
    • lemonbar
    • conky
Build Dependency ubuntu20.4.1
feh sudo apt install feh
compton sudo apt install compton
picom manual
polybar manual
xmobar sudo apt install xmobar
lemonbar sudo apt install lemonbar
conky sudo apt install conky
dmenu sudo apt install dmenu

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LeftWM - A tiling window manager for Adventurers

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