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What are the various Window Managers that is available to a user on ubuntu and how can I install them?

One WM Per Post please :)


Linked Question:

  1. What different DE's and shells are available?
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closed as too broad by Braiam, Eric Carvalho, belacqua, terdon, Avinash Raj Apr 24 at 4:20

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

15 Answers 15

KWin (kde-window-manager)

Description - KWin, the KDE window manager, featuring hardware-accelerated compositing effects.

Windows Manager Type - Compositing Windows Manager

Properties - Can have Little to Many Visual Effects, Less Efficient (More Power Hungry compared to Lightweight WMs), More Eye-Candy

Install - sudo apt-get install kde-window-manager

Screenshot

enter image description here

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awesome

Description - Highly configurable window manager for X. It is primarily targeted at power users, developers and any people dealing with every day computing tasks and want to have fine-grained control on its graphical environment. awesome is very extensible and programmable using the Lua programming language. It provides an easily usable and very-well documented API to configure and define the behavior of your window manager.

Windows Manager Type - Tiling Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install awesome

Screenshot

enter image description here

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“Awesome” is not intuitive and comes with limited documentation (on Ubuntu at least). – Within hours I ended up with with two full-screen windows (browser windows actually) on one screen with no simple way to switch between them (<Mod4>-j/k didn’t do it.) –  Robert Siemer Apr 30 at 13:00

COMPIZ

Compiz is one of the early compositing window managers for the X Window System that uses 3D graphics hardware to create fast compositing desktop effects for window management. The effects, such as a minimization effect and a cube workspace are implemented as loadable plugins. Because it conforms to the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual standard, Compiz can be used as a substitute for the default Mutter or Metacity respectively when using GNOME Panel or KWin in KDE Plasma Workspaces.

compiz is the window manager in unity .so no need of any installation

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Metacity

Description - Metacity is a small window manager, using GTK+ to do everything. metacity is a "Boring window manager for the adult in you. Many window managers are like Marshmallow Froot Loops; Metacity is like Cheerios."

Windows Manager Type - Compositing Windows Manager

Properties - Can have Little to Many Visual Effects, Less Efficient (More Power Hungry compared to Lightweight WMs), More Eye-Candy

Install - sudo apt-get install metacity

Screenshot

enter image description here

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I’m done with metacity. In 14.04 it doesn’t understand chromiums pepperflash fullscreen request, it doesn’t render the window of synapse right, it doesn’t tile 4 terminals on an empty desktop and in 12.04 it didn’t give freemind/freeplane proper keyboard focus. – On top it’s doesn’t allow much to configure. These days even the GUI to change the few settings is gone (was part of gnome back then). –  Robert Siemer Apr 29 at 18:22

xmonad

Description - Haskell. Windows are managed using automatic layout algorithms, which can be dynamically reconfigured. At any time windows are arranged so as to maximize the use of screen real estate. All features of the window manager are accessible purely from the keyboard: a mouse is entirely optional. Xmonad is configured in Haskell, and custom layout algorithms may be implemented by the user in config files. A principle of Xmonad is predictability: the user should know in advance precisely the window arrangement that will result from any action.

Windows Manager Type - Tiling Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install xmonad

Screenshot

enter image description here

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IceWM

Description - IceWm is a Window Manager for X Window System. It is fast and memory-efficient, and it provides many different looks including Windows'95, OS/2 Warp 3,4, Motif. It tries to take the best features of the above systems. Additional features include multiple workspaces, opaque move/resize, task bar, window list, mailbox status, digital clock.

Windows Manager Type - Stacking Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install icewm

Screenshot

enter image description here

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XFwm

This is the windows manager that is used by the Xfce desktop environment.

To install xfce, sudo apt-get install xfce4

~~~

If you want just the WM, sudo apt-get install xfwm4

To use in Unity-2d: edit /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/ubuntu-2d.session changing DefaultProvider-windowmanager=metacity to DefaultProvider-windowmanager=xfwm4

Add file /usr/share/applications/xfwm4.desktop

to contain:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Name=Xfwm4
Exec=xfwm4
NoDisplay=true
# name of loadable control center module
X-GNOME-WMSettingsModule=xfwm4
# name we put on the WM spec check window
X-GNOME-WMName=Xfwm4
# back compat only 
X-GnomeWMSettingsLibrary=xfwm4
X-GNOME-Bugzilla-Bugzilla=GNOME
X-GNOME-Bugzilla-Product=xfwm4
X-GNOME-Bugzilla-Component=general
X-GNOME-Autostart-Phase=WindowManager
X-GNOME-Provides=windowmanager
X-GNOME-Autostart-Notify=true
X-Ubuntu-Gettext-Domain=xfwm4

(Instructions taken from http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1877405)

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Blackbox

Description - This is a window manager for X. It is similar in many respects to such popular packages as Window Maker, Enlightenment, and FVWM2. You might be interested in this package if you are tired of window managers that are a heavy drain on your system resources, but you still want an attractive and modern-looking interface.

Windows Manager Type - Stacking Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install blackbox

Screenshot

enter image description here

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Enlightenment (e17)

Description - Enlightenment is an advanced window manager for X11. Unique features include: a fully animated background, nice drop shadows around windows, backed by an extremely clean and optimized foundation of APIs.

Windows Manager Type - Stacking Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install e17

Screenshot

enter image description here

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Fluxbox

Description - Fairly similar to blackbox, from which it is derived, but has been extended with features such as pwm-style window tabs, configurable key bindings, toolbar, and an iconbar. It also includes some cosmetic fixes over blackbox.

Windows Manager Type - Stacking Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install fluxbox

Screenshot

enter image description here

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Xfwm (xfwm4)

Description - The windows manager for Xfce4. It is designed to run with the rest of Xfce4 but makes a capable window manager for GNOME or KDE.

Windows Manager Type - Compositing Windows Manager

Properties - Can have Little to Many Visual Effects, Less Efficient (More Power Hungry compared to Lightweight WMs), More Eye-Candy

Install - sudo apt-get install xfwm4

Screenshot

enter image description here

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Chronologically, this is a duplicate of this answer. Perhaps the two should be merged. –  WarriorIng64 Mar 14 '12 at 16:32
    
Sorry did not notice. Yes merge but put after the screenshot so it maintains the same format/look. –  Luis Mar 14 '12 at 16:36

Mutter

Description - Mutter is a small window manager, using GTK+ and Clutter to do everything.

Windows Manager Type - Compositing Windows Manager

Properties - Can have Little to Many Visual Effects, Less Efficient (More Power Hungry compared to Lightweight WMs), More Eye-Candy

Install - sudo apt-get install mutter

Screenshot

Screenshot of GNOME Shell, which is based on Mutter, taken from \http://askubuntu.com/a/65223/18612

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Heh, been a long time since I last saw a picture of GNOME Shell before the "relayout" branch was merged and turned it into the version we know today. –  WarriorIng64 Mar 14 '12 at 16:30
    
Hehe did not find another image. I suck at image hunting. If you have a more updated one be my guess. –  Luis Mar 14 '12 at 16:37

evilwm

Description - evilwm is based on aewm by Decklin Foster. It further maximises screen real-estate and provides a good set of keyboard controls.

Windows Manager Type - Stacking Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install evilwm

Screenshot

enter image description here

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jWM

Description - Low resource Window manager ideal for older PCs. It uses a minimum of external libraries, thus very little memory, includes virtual screens, menubar and root-menu popup.

Windows Manager Type - Stacking Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install jwm

Screenshot

enter image description here

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Since I can't create pmore answers because of a limit of how many answers per user I leave this here for anybody to cut and paste into another answer so it can be 1 WM per answer:

Openbox

Description - Openbox works with your applications, and makes your desktop easier to manage. This is because the approach to its development was the opposite of what seems to be the general case for window managers. Openbox was written first to comply with standards and to work properly. Only when that was in place did the team turn to the visual interface.

Windows Manager Type - Stacking Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install openbox

Screenshot

dwm

Description - dwm is a minimalistic window manager. It manages windows in tiling and floating modes. Either mode can be applied dynamically, depending on the application in use and the task performed.

Windows Manager Type - Tiling Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install dwm

Screenshot

larswm

Description - larswm is a hack for 9wm, adding automatic window tiling, virtual desktops and many other features designed to make it a very efficient user environment. It uses very little CPU time and virtual memory.

Windows Manager Type - Tiling Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install larswm

Screenshot

ratpoison

Description - ratpoison is a simple window manager with no fancy graphics, no window decorations, and no rodent dependence. It is largely modelled after GNU Screen.

Windows Manager Type - Tiling Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install ratpoison

Screenshot

Stumpwm

Description - 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.

Windows Manager Type - Tiling Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install stumpwm

Screenshot

wmii

Description - wmii is a dynamic window manager for X11, which is highly customizable and usable with keyboard and mouse. It supports conventional, tabbed and tiled window management with low memory usage. It is highly modularized and uses an inter-process communication interface which is oriented on the 9p protocol of plan9.

Windows Manager Type - Tiling Windows Manager

Properties - Lightweight, Increased Efficiency (Less Resource Hungry), Little to no Visual Effects

Install - sudo apt-get install wmii

Screenshot

FVWM

Description - FVWM is a powerful ICCCM2 compliant multiple virtual desktop window manager for the X Window System. FVWM requires relatively little memory.

Windows Manager Type - Virtual Windows Manager

Properties - Virtual Screens, More Space to Work per Display, Easier to handle Multiple Windows

Install - sudo apt-get install fvwm

Screenshot

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One WM per post please :) –  Amith KK Mar 15 '12 at 7:24
3  
Amith - as Luis says - people can copy and paste his excellent template to create a new answer. Remember - you have a limit the number of answers you can create for a question. BTW - great answers Luis. –  fossfreedom Mar 15 '12 at 11:45

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