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The Stump Window Manager
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Improve search of modifier keys in get-modifier-map
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.gitattributes add .gitattributes Sep 15, 2007
.gitignore Ignore texi auxiliary files Jun 1, 2017
AUTHORS Update focus when clicking a TILE-WINDOW behind a FLOAT-WINDOW Dec 31, 2018
HACKING touch up b53c01d to make the manual build again. May 9, 2008 Exit with error if tests do not succeed Jan 4, 2019
NEWS Fix Broken Link to Lisp Idioms Feb 23, 2019 add remove stumpwm.sbcl and stumpwm.clisp Oct 7, 2007
command.lisp Use a separate variable for shell history than command history. Feb 18, 2019
core.lisp Extends send-fake-key to send key-press and key-release events Jun 13, 2018
events.lisp Don't update the modeline on mouse scroll events Feb 16, 2019
floating-group.lisp Tell group-button press which mouse button generated the event Feb 16, 2019
font-rendering.lisp Revert "DRAW-IMAGE-GLYPHS" Jan 12, 2019
interactive-keymap.lisp added docstring Feb 23, 2019
ioloop.lisp Remove conditionals for non sbcl common lisp implementations (#351) May 25, 2017
iresize.lisp Solve error when calling `resize-direction` directly as command and a… Feb 9, 2018
keytrans.lisp Update FSF address Nov 13, 2011
kmap.lisp Remove conditionals for non sbcl common lisp implementations (#351) May 25, 2017
mode-line-formatters.lisp Split formatters into mode-line-formatters.lisp Oct 30, 2016
mode-line.lisp Make the mode-line faster and less intrusive. Feb 18, 2019
pathnames.lisp Convert some pathname functions to use uiop Jan 4, 2019
remap-keys.lisp Grabs keyboard ahead of reading a single key Nov 25, 2018
sample-stumpwmrc.lisp Fixes #207 Jul 14, 2015
stumpwm.lisp Added thread for rehashing users $PATH Aug 25, 2018
test-wm.lisp add 2 more tests to test-wm-class Oct 17, 2008
tile-window.lisp Fix crash when WINDOW-NORMAL-HINTS returns NIL Jan 12, 2019
timers.lisp Declare mode-line and timer before using them. Sep 28, 2018
version.lisp Added Daniel Borchmann's patch to honor version number from tags Feb 24, 2014
window.lisp Merge branch 'master' into fix-remap-keys-local-grab Nov 25, 2018
wse.lisp Replaced all tab characters with an appropriate number of spaces. Dec 20, 2017

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
    • If you export a symbol, you must add it to the manual.
    • 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)

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