|Window Maker: Your NeXT Window Manager|
|By special contributor Ian MacGregor on 2009-12-03 20:40:55|
|Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world.
Window Maker includes compatibility options which allow it to work with other popular desktop environments, namely GNOME and KDE, and comes with a powerful GUI configuration editor, called WPrefs, which removes the need to edit text-based configuration files by hand.
The obligatory screenshot (click the image for a larger view):
My Window Maker desktop with WPrefs, the info panel and various menus displayed.The applets in the dock (upper right) are courtesy of DockApps.org. The small set of icons in the lower right corner are the notification area icons managed by the Trayer app.
Window Maker Features
We have already mentioned that Window Maker is a window manager. There are other window managers out there, such as the infamous FVWM, Enlightenment, AfterStep, and the list goes on. All window managers perform the same basic tasks, which are to create, place, keep track of, and draw borders around the windows on the screen. Beyond this, they can become quite different in their various abilities.
Window Maker firmly adheres to the behavior and functionality of the NEXTSTEP user interface. The developers have put forth a great deal of effort in capturing the essense and beauty of the original design, and have incorporated some new ideas of their own. This has always followed the philosophy of keeping to those features which fit well into the overall design, while limiting the amount of "feature creep" that tends to bloat other window managers. A summary of the main Window Maker features are presented below.
Despite all of these features, Window Maker is not resource intensive and remains stable across many UNIX variants. It is extremely flexible, and many options can be included or excluded at compile time. This means that you can easily tailor Window Maker to meet your needs; whether you're a minimalist wanting to save resources, or an extremist that likes to theme everything in sight.
Installing Window Maker
Window Maker is available in the Ubuntu software repository and is likely available in the software repositories of other GNU/Linux distributions. To install Window Maker in Ubuntu, simply run the following command:
This will install the Window Maker window manager, some cool dockapps and the trayer notification area app to manage tray icons.
Running Window Maker
Now that we have Window Maker installed, let's explore the new environment. Log out of your current session and choose Window Maker from the session options of the GDM screen.
Georges Tarbouriech has posted an extensive Window Maker guided tour, a must for any Window Maker fan.
Some folks have mentioned that Window Maker is no longer maintained, this is not the case. Window Maker is actively maintained and the Window Maker website is undergoing a complete transformation.
Join the Window Maker community:
Window Maker Links
After having used GNOME and KDE, I found that Window Maker was extremely fast, much more responsive and I haven't seen a single bug in my years of using this wonderful window manager. I recommend Window Maker to new Linux users and veterans alike.
I realize that this article is rather short, but that's what happens when you have a window manager that "just works" and a wonderful community of people who post guided tours, themes and other important content.