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2010 June
%!includeconf: header.t2t
= NAME =
wmii - Window Manager Improved²
wmii [-a <address>] [-r <wmiirc>] +
wmii -v
== Overview ==
`wmii` is a dynamic window manager for X11. In contrast to
static window management the user rarely has to think about how
to organize windows, no matter what he is doing or how many
applications are used at the same time. The window manager
adapts to the current environment and fits to the needs of the
user, rather than forcing him to use a preset, fixed layout and
trying to shoehorn all windows and applications into it.
`wmii` supports classic and tiled window management with
extended keyboard and mouse control. Classic window management
arranges windows in a floating layer in which tyen can be moved
and resized freely. Tiled window management arranges windows in
vertical columns. Each column holds an arbitrary number
arbitrary windows and arranges them vertically in a
non-overlapping manner. They can then be moved and resized,
among and within columns, at will.
`wmii` provides a virtual filesystem which represents the
internal state similar to the procfs of Unix operating systems.
Modifying this virtual filesystem results in changing the state
of the window manager. The virtual filesystem service can be
accessed through 9P-capable client programs, like
wmiir(1). This allows simple and powerful remote control
of the core window manager.
== Command Line Arguments ==
: -a <address>
Specifies the address on which `wmii` should listen for
connections. The address takes the form
`<protocol>!<address>`. The default is of the form:
``` unix!/tmp/ns.$USER.${DISPLAY%.0}/wmii
which opens a unix socket per Plan 9 Port conventions. To
open a TCP socket, listening at port 4332 on the loopback
interface, use:
``` tcp!localhost!4332
$WMII_NAMESPACE is automatically set to this value.
: -r <wmiirc>
Specifies which rc script to run. If <wmiirc> consists of a
single argument, $WMII_CONFPATH is searched before $PATH.
Otherwise, it is passed to the shell for evaluation. The
environment variables $WMII_ADDRESS and $WMII_CONFPATH are
preset for the script.
== Terminology ==
: Display
A running X server instance consisting of input
devices and screens.
: Screen
A physical or virtual (Xinerama or Xnest(1))
screen of an X display.
: Window
A (rectangular) drawable X object which is
displayed on a screen, usually an application window.
: Client
An application window surrounded by a frame window
containing a border and a titlebar.
: Floating layer
A screen layer of `wmii` on top of all other layers,
where clients are arranged in a classic (floating)
manner. They can be resized or moved freely.
: Managed layer
A screen layer of `wmii` underneath the floating layer,
where clients are arranged in a non-overlapping
(managed) manner. Here, the window manager dynamically
assigns each client a size and position. The managed
layer consists of columns.
: Tag
Alphanumeric strings which can be assigned to a
client. This provides a mechanism to group clients with
similar properties. Clients can have one tag, e.g.
_work_, or several tags, e.g. _work+mail_.
Tags are separated with the _+_ character.
: View
A set of clients containing a specific tag, quite
similar to a workspace in other window managers. It
consists of the floating and managed layers.
: Column
A column is a screen area which arranges clients
vertically in a non-overlapping way. Clients can be
moved and resized between and within columns freely.
: Bar
The bar at the bottom of the screen displays a label
for each view and allows the creation of arbitrary
user-defined labels.
: Event
An event is a message which can be read from a
special file in the filesystem of `wmii`, such as a
mouse button press, a key press, or a message written by
a different 9P-client.
== Basic window management ==
Running a raw `wmii` process without a wmiirc(1) script provides
basic window management capabilities. However, to use it
effectively, remote control through its filesystem interface is
necessary. Without such a script, it is only possible to move
and resize clients with the mouse, but not to change their tags
or to switch views. Other interactions, such as customizing the
style, killing or retagging clients, and grabbing keys, cannot
be achieved without accessing the filesystem.
The filesystem can be accessed by connecting to the //address//
of `wmii` with any 9P-capable client, such as wmiir(1)
== Actions ==
The default configuration provides for a special menu of
actions. These consist of either shell scripts in $WMII_CONFPATH
or action definitions included in wmiirc.
Here is a list of the default actions:
| exec | Replace the window manager with another program
| quit | Leave the window manager nicely
| rehash | Refresh the program list
| showkeys | Display a list of key bindings recognized by wmii
| status | Periodically print date and load average to the bar
| welcome | Display a welcome message that contains the wmii tutorial
== Default Key Bindings ==
All of the provided `wmiirc` scripts accept at least the following key
bindings. They should also provide a `showkeys` action to open a
key binding quick-reference.
=== Moving Around ===
|| Key | Action
| Mod-h | Move to a window to the _left_ of the one currently focused
| Mod-l | Move to a window to the _right_ of the one currently focused
| Mod-j | Move to the window _below_ the one currently focused
| Mod-k | Move to a window _above_ the one currently focused
| Mod-space | Toggle between the managed and floating layers
| Mod-t <tag> | Move to the view of the given <tag>
| Mod-//[0-9]// | Move to the view with the given number
=== Moving Things Around ===
|| Key | Action
| Mod-Shift-h | Move the current window _window_ to a column on the _left_
| Mod-Shift-l | Move the current window to a column on the _right_
| Mod-Shift-j | Move the current window below the window beneath it.
| Mod-Shift-k | Move the current window above the window above it.
| Mod-Shift-space | Toggle the current window between the managed and floating layer
| Mod-Shift-t <tag> | Move the current window to the view of the given <tag>
| Mod-Shift-//[0-9]// | Move the current window to the view with the given number
=== Miscellaneous ===
|| Key | Action
| Mod-m | Switch the current column to _max mode_
| Mod-s | Switch the current column to _stack mode_
| Mod-d | Switch the current column to _default mode_
| Mod-Shift-c | `Kill` the selected client
| Mod-p <program> | `Execute` <program>
| Mod-a <action> | `Execute` the named <action
| Mod-Enter | `Execute` an `@TERMINAL@`
= Configuration =
If you feel the need to change the default configuration, then
customize (as described above) the `wmiirc` action. This
action is executed at the end of the `wmii` script and does
all the work of setting up the window manager, the key bindings,
the bar labels, etc.
== Filesystem ==
Most aspects of `wmii` are controlled via the filesystem. It is
usually accessed via the wmiir(1) command, but it can be
accessed by any ``9P``, including plan9port's 9P[1], and can be
mounted natively on Linux via v9fs[1], and on Inferno (which man
run on top of Linux). All data in the filesystem, including
filenames, is UTF-8 encoded. However, when accessed via
wmiir(1), text is automatically translated to and from your
locale encoding.
The filesystem is, as are many other 9P filesystems, entirely
synthetic. The files exist only in memory, and are not written
to disk. They are generally initiated on wmii startup via a
script such as wmiirc. Several files are used to issue commands,
others simply act as if they were ordinary files (their contents
are updated and returned exactly as written), though writing
them has side-effects (such as changing key bindings). A
description of the filesystem layout and control commands
== Hierarchy ==
: /
Global control files
: /client/_*_/
Client control files
: /tag/_*_/
View control files
: /lbar/, /rbar/
Files representing the contents of the bottom bar
== The / Hierarchy ==
: colrules
The _colrules_ file contains a list of
rules which affect the width of newly created columns.
Rules have the form:
``` /<regex>/ -> <width>[+<width>]*
``` <width> := <percent of screen> | <pixels>px
When a new column, <n>, is created on a view whose name
matches <regex>, it is given the <n>th supplied <width>.
If there is no <n>th width, it is given 1/<ncol>th of the
: rules
The _rules_ file contains a list of rules that may be used
to automatically set properties of new clients. Rules are
specified as:
``` /<regex>/ <key>=<value> ...
where each <key> represents a command in the clients _ctl_
file, and each <value> represents the value to assign to it.
The rules are applied when the client is first started and
the contents of the _props_ file match the regular
expression <regex>.
Additionally, the following keys are accepted and have
special meaning:
: continue
Normally, when a matching rule is encountered, rule
matching stops. When the continue key is provided
(with any value), matching continues at the next
: force-tags=<tags>
Like _tags_, but overrides any settings obtained
obtained from the client's group or from the
**\_WMII_TAGS** window property.
: keys
The _keys_ file contains a list of keys which
`wmii` will grab. Whenever these key combinations
are pressed, the string which represents them are
written to '/event' as: Key <string>
: event
The _event_ file never returns EOF while
`wmii` is running. It stays open and reports events
as they occur. Included among them are:
: [Not]Urgent <client> [Manager|Client]
<client>'s urgent hint has been set or
unset. The second arg is [Client] if it's
been set by the client, and [Manager] if
it's been set by `wmii` via a control
: [Not]UrgentTag <tag> [Manager|Client]
A client on <tag> has had its urgent hint
set, or the last urgent client has had its
urgent hint unset.
: Client<Click|MouseDown> <client> <button>
A client's titlebar has either been clicked or
has a button pressed over it.
: [Left|Right]Bar[Click|MouseDown] <button> <bar>
A left or right bar has been clicked or has a
button pressed over it.
For a more comprehensive list of available events, see
: ctl
The _ctl_ file takes a number of messages to
change global settings such as color and font, which can
be viewed by reading it. It also takes the following
: quit
Quit `wmii`
: exec <prog>
Replace `wmii` with <prog>
: spawn <prog>
Spawn a new program, as if by the _-r_ flag.
== The /client/ Hierarchy ==
Each directory under '/client/' represents an X11 client.
Each directory is named for the X window id of the window the
client represents, in the form that most X utilities recognize.
The one exception is the special 'sel' directory, which
represents the currently selected client.
: ctl
When read, the 'ctl' file returns the X window id
of the client. The following commands may be written to
: allow <flags>
The set of unusual actions the client is allowed to
perform, in the same format as the tag set.
: activate
The client is allowed to activate
itself – that is, focus its window and,
as the case may require, uncollapse it
and select a tag it resides on. This
flag must be set on a client if you wish
it able to activate itself from the
system tray.
: floating <on | off | always | never>
Defines whether this client is likely to float when
attached to a new view. Ordinarilly, the value
changes automatically whenever the window is
moved between the floating and managed layers.
However, setting a value of _always_ or _never_
overrides this behavior.
: fullscreen <on | off | toggle>
Sets the client's fullscreen state.
: group <group id>
The client's group ID, or 0 if not part of a group.
Clients tend to open with the same tags and in the
same columns as the last active member of their
group. Setting this property is only useful when
done via the rules file.
: kill
Close the client's window.
: pid
Read-only value of the PID of the program that
owns the window, if the value is available and
the process is on the same machine as wmii.
: slay
Forcibly kill the client's connection to the X
server, closing all of its windows. Kill the parent
process if the client's PID is available.
: tags <tags>
The client's tags. The same as the tags file.
: urgent <on | off | toggle>
Set or unset the client's urgent hint.
: label
Set or read a client's label (title).
: props
Returns a clients class and label as:
: tags
Set or read a client's tags. Tags are separated by
**+**, **-**, or **^**. Tags beginning with **+** are
added, while those beginning with **-** are removed and
those beginning with **^** are toggled. If the tag
string written begins with **+**, **^**, or **-**, the
written tags are added to or removed from the client's
set, otherwise the set is overwritten.
== The /tag/ Hierarchy ==
Each directory under '/tag/' represents a view, containing
all of the clients with the given tag applied. The special
'sel' directory represents the currently selected tag.
: ctl
The 'ctl' file can be read to retrieve the name
of the tag the directory represents, or written with the
following commands:
: select
Select a client:
select [left|right|up|down] +
select [<row number>|sel] [<frame number>] +
select client <client>
: send
Send a client somewhere:
: send [<client>|sel] [up|down|left|right]
: send [<client>|sel] <area>
Send <client> to the _n_th <area>
: send [<client>|sel] toggle
Toggle <client> between the floating and managed layer.
: swap
Swap a client with another. Same syntax as send.
: grow
Grow or shrink a client.
``` grow <frame> <direction> [<amount>]
: nudge
Nudge a client in a given direction.
``` grow <frame> <direction> [<amount>]
Where the arguments are defined as follows:
: area
Selects a column or the floating area.
``` area ::= <area_spec> | <screen_spec>:<area_spec>
When <screen_spec> is omitted and <area_spec> is not "sel",
0 is assumed. "sel" by itself represents the selected client no
matter which screen it is on.
``` area_spec ::= "~" | <number> | "sel"
Where "~" represents the floating area and <number> represents a column
index, starting at one.
``` screen_spec ::= <number>
Where <number> representes the 0-based Xinerama screen number.
: frame
Selects a client window.
``` frame ::= <area> <index> | <area> sel | client <window-id>
Where <index> represents the nth frame of <area> or <window-id> is
the X11 window id of the given client.
: amount
The amount to grow or nudge something.
``` amount ::= <number> | <number>px
If "px" is given, <number> is interperated as an exact pixel count.
Otherwise, it's interperated as a "reasonable" amount, which is
usually either the height of a window's title bar, or its sizing
increment (as defined by X11) in a given direction.
: index
Read for a description of the contents of a tag.
== The /rbar/, /lbar/ Hierarchy ==
The files under '/rbar/' and '/lbar/' represent the
items of the bar at the bottom of the screen. Files under
'/lbar/' appear on the left side of the bar, while those
under '/rbar/' appear on the right, with the leftmost item
occupying all extra available space. The items are sorted
The files may be read to obtain the colors and text of the bars.
The colors are at the beginning of the string, represented as a
tuple of 3 hex color codes for the foreground, background, and
border, respectively. When writing the bar files, the colors may
be omitted if the text would not otherwise appear to contain
: /tmp/ns.$USER.${DISPLAY%.0}/wmii
The wmii socket file which provides a 9P service.
Global action directory.
User-specific action directory. Actions are first searched here.
See the section **FILES** above.
The following variables are set and exported within `wmii` and
thus can be used in actions:
The address on which `wmii` is listening.
The path that wmii searches for its configuration
scripts and actions.
The namespace directory to use if no address is provided.
wimenu(1), wmii9menu(1), witray(1), wmiir(1), wihack(1) +
[1] +
[2] @DOCDIR@/wmii.pdf
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