The Stump Window Manager
Common Lisp Other
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COPYING Update FSF address Nov 13, 2011
HACKING touch up b53c01d to make the manual build again. May 9, 2008 Restoring sbcl make rules and removing old release and upload-release… Sep 1, 2017
NEWS update NEWS file May 18, 2010 Clarified language in readme Aug 20, 2017 add remove stumpwm.sbcl and stumpwm.clisp Oct 7, 2007
bindings.lisp Documentation fix: stumpwm is not ratpoison anymore Jun 12, 2017
color.lisp Documentation fix: Avoid starting sentence with t Jul 2, 2017
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core.lisp Exporting symbols Jan 28, 2015
events.lisp Add new head hook Oct 18, 2017
fdump.lisp Update FSF address Nov 13, 2011
floating-group.lisp Rename &float-focus-next to %float-focus-next Jul 18, 2017
font-rendering.lisp Add multiple font support Jul 24, 2014
group.lisp Find current head from pointer in floating group Jun 12, 2017
head.lisp Find current head from pointer in floating group Jun 12, 2017
help.lisp Attempted fix of #261 Jan 19, 2017
input.lisp Simplify the initialization of *INPUT-MAP* Jul 29, 2017
interactive-keymap.lisp doc(interactive-keymap): fix some docstring typos Jul 17, 2017
ioloop.lisp Remove conditionals for non sbcl common lisp implementations (#351) May 25, 2017
iresize.lisp Interactive keymap implementation Jan 21, 2017
keysyms.lisp Include keysym for XF86AudioMicMute. Apr 28, 2014
keytrans.lisp Update FSF address Nov 13, 2011
kmap.lisp Update FSF address Nov 13, 2011 Remove conditionals for non sbcl common lisp implementations (#351) May 25, 2017 Only set SBCL_HOME if it was set at build time May 25, 2017
manual.lisp Purging multiple lisp boiler plate Aug 25, 2017
menu.lisp Add a selection hook in select-from-menu. Sep 14, 2017
message-window.lisp RENDER-STRINGS: Screen argument is no longer used Sep 23, 2016
mode-line-formatters.lisp Split formatters into mode-line-formatters.lisp Oct 30, 2016
mode-line.lisp Documentation should answer, not ask. Jun 12, 2017
module.lisp Fixing #356 Jun 14, 2017
package.lisp Added functions IN-MAIN-THREAD-P and PUSH-EVENT Jul 18, 2017
pathnames.lisp Remove conditionals for non sbcl common lisp implementations (#351) May 25, 2017
primitives.lisp Add new head hook Oct 18, 2017
sample-stumpwmrc.lisp Fixes #207 Jul 14, 2015
screen.lisp Move some screen utilities to screen.lisp Oct 26, 2016
selection.lisp Fix for incorrect selection targets property value Jul 22, 2017
stumpwm.asd Bumping version from 1.0.0 to 1.0.1 Aug 26, 2017
stumpwm.lisp Added functions IN-MAIN-THREAD-P and PUSH-EVENT Jul 18, 2017 Add new head hook Oct 18, 2017
test-wm.lisp add 2 more tests to test-wm-class Oct 17, 2008
tile-group.lisp Adding float functions to make interacting with mixed float groups ea… Jun 14, 2017
tile-window.lisp fix typos Jun 2, 2017
time.lisp time.lisp: *time-format-string-default*: Include the year Feb 27, 2016
user.lisp Make RUN-OR-RAISE just use FOCUS-ALL Jun 17, 2017
version.lisp Added Daniel Borchmann's patch to honor version number from tags Feb 24, 2014
window-placement.lisp Only sync window frames when the frame exists. Feb 4, 2014
window.lisp window-urgent-p: Remove clisp flags workaround Jun 13, 2017
wrappers.lisp Purging multiple lisp boiler plate Aug 25, 2017
wse.lisp Adding a missing function from module and exporting some functionalit… Mar 18, 2014

The Stump Window Manager

Stumpwm is a window manager written entirely in Common Lisp. It attempts to be highly customizable while relying entirely on the keyboard for input. You will not find buttons, icons, title bars, tool bars, or any of the other conventional GUI widgets.

These design decisions reflect the growing popularity of productive, customizable lisp based systems.


Stumpwm is a "everything-and-the-kitchen-sink WM" or "the emacs of WMs."


  • StumpWM is
    • Hackable
    • Written in Common Lisp
    • A multi paradigm window manager
    • A Superior window managing experience
  • StumpWM is not
    • Minimalist
    • Narrow Scope
    • Configured by editing the source directly
    • A full blown desktop environment

If you want a minimalist tiling window manager, then StumpWM is not what you're looking for. The code base is ~15k sloc, the binaries produced are ~60mb.

StumpWM manages windows the way emacs manages buffers, or the way screen manages terminals. If you want a flexible, customizable, hackable desktop experience, look no further.

Build & Start Stumpwm


  • sbcl
  • quicklisp (for obtaining the following dependencies, not needed if you use your distribution's package manager.)
  • clx
  • cl-ppcre
  • alexandria

The recommended way to install the dependencies is using Quicklisp. Follow the instructions at to install it. In short:

$ curl -O
$ sbcl --load quicklisp.lisp

Then at the REPL:


Make sure you have added it to your lisp init file using:


Then, in a repl:

 (ql:quickload "clx")
 (ql:quickload "cl-ppcre")
 (ql:quickload "alexandria")


Building stumpwm from git requires that you build the configure script:


If there's already a configure script then just run it.


Now build it:


If all goes well, you should have a stumpwm binary now. You can run the binary from where it is or install it, along with the .info documentation, with:

 make install

Now that you have a binary, call it from your ~/.xinitrc file:

 echo /path/to/stumpwm >> ~/.xinitrc

Hopefully that will put you in X running stumpwm! See StartUp on the wiki for more examples.


Pull requests are always welcome! Here are some guidelines to ensure that your contribution gets merged in a timely manner:

  • Do's
    • Add your name to the list of AUTHORS with your pull request.
    • Preserve comments or docstrings explaining what code does, and update them if your patch changes them in a significant way
    • Try to follow an "80 column rule." The current code base does not follow this all the time, so don't use it as an example
    • Use lisp idioms
    • If you are working on a major change to the internals, keep us informed on stumpwm-devel! Also, it will probably help if the changes are made and then incrementally applied to the codebase in order to avoid introducing show-stopping bugs.
  • Do not's
    • Include emacs local variables
    • Change whitespace
    • Write lots of code without supporting comments/documentation
    • Delete comments or docstrings (yes this is a duplicate of above!)
    • Export symbols from packages that aren't widely useful (many times a little more thought will reveal how to implement your internal change without having to export/break encapsulation)
    • Make stylistic changes that suit your coding style/way of thinking

Our wiki has fallen into disarray/disrepair, but it is shaping up. If you aren't a lisp hacker, you can contribute in the form of documenting and organizing the wiki. There's a lot of information floating around, if you find it where you didn't expect it, move or link to it in a more logical place.


Fancy yourself a lisp hacker? Here's a wishlist of features for the StumpWM universe (in no particular order):

  • float-splits (ie allow floating windows over tiled ones)
  • Float windows within parent applications (specifically dialogs in gimp or firefox).
  • tab-list showing the contents of the current frame at the side, top, or bottom of the frame
  • Emacs' iswitchb function implemented in emacs
    • Re-arranging windows between groups
    • Killing windows
    • Marking windows for batch operations
    • Deleting/adding groups
    • Import data from stumpwm to emacs, use an emacs minor mode to implement the above features, then export the data back to stumpwm and let stumpwm perform the appropriate actions
  • Emacs' completing-read-multiple function
  • Dynamic tiling
  • Lock Screen (with support for leaving notes, bonus points if emacs is involved)
  • Wallpapers! (support pulling from remote sources, changing based on timers, and other hacky features)
  • Shutdown, restart, suspend, and hibernate functions that don't require root access
  • Revamped, mouse-friendly mode-line.
    • Support fixed number of chars for window titles
    • Dynamically trim window titles to fit them all on the mode-line
    • Split the mode-line into multiple cells for containing different information
    • Implement widget icons to indicate system status (new mail, low battery, network etc)
    • Support raising windows when left-clicked, closing/killing when right-clicked


There's a texinfo manual, stumpwm.texi. The build scripts generate an info file you can read in emacs or with the `info' program. The manual for the latest git version (may be slightly out of date) is available to read online at: The Manual

And, as in emacs, you can always do "C-t h v,f,k,c,w" for docstrings of Variable,Functions,Keys,Commands, and Where-is respectively.

For other stuff (tips tricks and examples) visit the stumpwm wiki

There's a #stumpwm channel on, too.

Finally, there's our mailing list (click to sign up)