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Desktop environments

Lightweight desktop environments

Window managers

Compositing window managers




About WMII

WMII is a dynamic window manager for X11. Dynamic window management means that it places the windows for you; you won't have to manually move or resize windows unless you want to. It supports classic and dynamic window management with extended keyboard, mouse, and filesystem based remote control. It replaces the workspace paradigm with a new tagging approach. A large influence is the 9P window manager.

WMII is, for the most part, a tiling window manager. Though, it has many layouts, such as default, maximum, and stacking. There is also a floating mode, similar to traditional window managers.

Its minimalist philosophy attempts to not exceed 10.000 lines of code (including all shipped utilities and libraries), to enforce simplicity and clarity.

View the official website here:

Getting WMII

WMII has just got a highly-needed update from 2 to 3.6 in Portage. Thanks to Omp.


It depends on libixp, which provides standalone 9P client/server interface, and dmenu, which provides a customizable and dynamic menu system. Everything is maintained by Denis Grelich.

Installation using Portage Tree

Because WMII and its dependencies are masked, we need to add it to our package.keywords:

File: /etc/portage/package.keywords
x11-wm/wmii ~x86
sys-libs/libixp ~x86
x11-misc/dmenu ~x86

Then it should be possible to install WMII by using emerge

 emerge -av wmii

Using WMII

Startx Method

The most basic way of getting WMII to start is adding

exec wmii

to the ~/.xinitrc file.

Note: If you want to run WMII in a dual screen, we need to start WMII for every monitor individually:

File: /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc
DISPLAY=:0.0 wmii &
DISPLAY=:0.1 wmii


You should get a popup on your first start of WMII that explains basic usage.
To see it again, press Alt-a, right arrow twice, enter. Or press, Alt-a, w, enter.

Getting started

open xterm
cycles focus (up)
cycles focus (down)
cycles focus (left)
cycles focus (right)
default layout (equal)
stacking layout (max)
program menu
close window
create a new column

Editing Configuration

WMII comes with a base configuration. The base configuration consists of the following scripts: wmiirc, status, welcome, and quit.

The global configuration files can be found at /etc/wmii-3.5/, or /etc/wmii-$version where version is the major version number.

Though, since it is preferred that we use local files, lets copy over the configuration files to a local, user-specific location.

cp /etc/wmii-3.5/* ~/.wmii-3.5/


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Last modified: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 10:59:00 +0000 Hits: 12,525