foo-wm: Foo Window Manager
Foo Window Manager is a minimalistic window manager that does two things and two things only:
- Provides a tree data structure in which you can organize windows.
- Provides a socket for IPC along with a basic DSL for manipulating and traversing the tree.
As a results of only doing these two things,
foo-wm most likely works a bit differently than other window managers you may be acquainted with. Mainly, strangest of all to the newcomer,
foo-wm does not provide: workspaces or keybindings. The former can be emulated through foo-wm's tree and the latter can be provided through any X keybinding program (such as
foo-wmshould be considered unusable alpha software. I use
foo-wmon a daily basis, although that doesn't mean you should (unless you are interested in contributing).
foo-wmdoesn't have full support for many basic window managment functions (ICCCM/EWMH). Although, ICCCM/EWMH support is a top priority currently.
The Makefile will generate:
foo-wm: The window manager itself which can be thrown in
.xinitrc. It is reccomeneded that you start
foo-wm with a keybindings manager, such as
.xbindkeys, as it will be very diffucult to interact with
foo-wm's socket otherwise. The location and name of the socket, is to be specified in
src/config.h. If no
SOCKET_NAME, is specified then a name will be automatically generated based on the PID of the socket in the form of
foo-wm-c: This is a simple and dumb command line client for interacting with
foo-wm-c takes the syntax of
foo-wm-c '/tmp/your-foo-socket.socket' 'ipc command'. Any language that provides a UNIX socket interface can be used to communicate with
foo-wm-c is just a simple C client for doing so. Additionally a ruby client for interacting with
foo-wm's socket can be found at
All operations in
foo-wm are related to manipulating and the traversal of the tree. All nodes within the tree are one of two types.
- Client Nodes
- Just a single X11 Window
- Container Nodes
- Holds one or more other Client or Container Nodes
- Has a Layout property which may be changed with the layout IPC command
At any given time using
foo-wm there are three essential nodes within the tree at play:
- Root Node
- The top of the tree
- Issuing a zoom command with a negative delta approximates this node
- Focus Node
- The node which is currently manipulated on by using IPC commands
- Issuing a zoom command with a positive delta approximates this node
- View Node
- The node which the screen is currently viewing
The FOO-DSL and the Zooming Nature
Now that you understand that all foo-wm does is maintain a tree of windows, now you'll want to know how to mainuplate the windows in the tree. For this, you simply send commands to foo-wm in the specifications provided in
For example, sending the zoom command through the provided command line client.
foo-wm-c '/tmp/foo-wm.socket' 'zoom 2'
Inspirations include: DWM, monsterwm, catwm, dminiwm, i3, herbstluftwm, wmii, and tinywm
Foo Window Manager is very much open to contribution. Please get in touch via email if you are interested or just take a stab at something in
TODO.md and send a pull request.