lwm FAQ

How do I compile lwm?

lwm follows the usual X schema. After downloading, decompressing and un-tar'ing the distribution, change into the new lwm directory and type:

xmkmf ; make

Assuming everything goes well, you'll have an lwm binary in your current directory.

If you don't have Imake or if you don't have it correctly configured, you can use the example Makefile as a start. It works as supplied on IRIX systems, and possibly on Solaris too. The main problem you're likely to have is if your X libraries aren't in the same directory as your other libraries. Then you'll want to find / -name libX* -print to find out where they're kept, and add that directory prefixed by -L to the line that causes the linking. But try it the other way first!

How do I start lwm?

You need to kill your current window manager before you can start lwm. On some systems, killing the window manager will log you out. In that case you'll have to look at altering your xdm(1) configuration or your xinitrc. Whatever, you might find terminator a useful program.

On more sensible systems (only IRIX springs to mind, and some of the other things it does mean it doesn't deserve the accolade "sensible") you can just kill your current window manager and start lwm.

How do I stop lwm?

There is no way to exit lwm. I don't believe that you should need to exit your window manager. You can kill it (and if you kill it gently it will leave your machine in a sensible state) to start another window manager. If you want to log out, you should end your session. How you do this depends on how your system manages a session.

Under IRIX, you can type endsession -f (without the -f, this acts like "Log Out" from the toolchest). With terminator you can type terminator at a shell prompt or run it from your favourite menu system.

An alternative would be "real" X session management, but I've never tried that and have no idea how well lwm copes with it.

How do I set my screen's background colour?

The xsetroot command lets you set many of the root window's parameters. To set the colour, you pick a colour name from rgb.txt (or a book on writing HTML: the named colours used in HTML are the X11 colours) and then execute:

xsetroot -solid colourname

The colour lightskyblue4 is a nice one, as is darkslategrey.

How do I use lwm in GNOME?

GNOME does not yet understand how to start lwm (see the request for enhancement), so currently you must install a special version of gnome-wm which is available at http://www.jfc.org.uk/files/lwm/gnome-wm.

Then, to tell GNOME to use lwm, set the environment variable WINDOW_MANAGER to lwm in an appropriate place ($HOME/.profile, for example).

Update: as of gnome-session-2.5.4, GNOME now works properly with lwm without modification.

Why does lwm have no window maximise function?

There are two reasons. Firstly, lwm relies on some of the root window being visible so that windows can be unhidden. Maximising a window most often means completely obscuring the root window. The second is a matter of taste. The whole point of a window manager is to allow the user to interact with multiple programs. Early windowing systems, where multitasking was pretty ropey, were often used more as task switchers. Maximising windows made more sense in such an environment, particularly as screens were smaller then. Most applications where it might make sense to maximise a window (movie players for example) have a fullscreen function that lwm does support.