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WindowMaker Development Resumes, Has First Release Since 2006 192

First time accepted submitter brad-x writes "A new team of developers has recently picked up development of WindowMaker, and they've added many new features, including improved support for the freedesktop standard menu layout and Mac OS X style application and window switching from the keyboard, culminating in a new release, 0.95.2. A basic changelog is available on the newly redesigned website."
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WindowMaker Development Resumes, Has First Release Since 2006

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  • Woooo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by busyqth ( 2566075 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:36PM (#39062425)
    I've been waiting anxiously for this for, like, 6 years!!!!
    • Re:Woooo! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:53PM (#39062687) Homepage Journal
      So have I—only more seriously. I built a crude imitation of the NeXT UI for Windows in tribute four years ago and I can't live without it. Tiles for icons was a Good Idea.
    • I think that I first came to "Chips & Dips" in '96 or so, looking for Rob Malda's DockApps - and his Window Maker news.

    • Re:Woooo! (Score:5, Informative)

      by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:05PM (#39062877) Journal

      Dude, Window Maker is awesome as a light weight desktop system. 3

      Aside from compatibility improvements, I say don't fix what isn't broken.

      • Question: As someone who has never run WM what advantages does it have over more supported lightweight DEs like XFCE or LXDE? Because those are well supported with many apps that integrate well and are VERY light on resources whereas this has been dead for ages so naturally application support for the look and feel of WM i'm sure is sorely lacking.

        Not saying its not a good WM, hell if someone went to the trouble to bring it back for the dead i'm sure it has SOME good points, i simply don't know what they

        • Slackware supports it. I believe Debian and RedHat support it as well, although I haven't checked lately.

          It is, in my non-authoritative, non-exhaustive, and ultimately meaningless opinion, the most attractive of all the WMs. It also used to have a LOT of nice themes, maybe thousands, on Freshmeat. I don't know what happened to them, though.
        • I've been using WindowMaker almost continuously since the 90's. In addition to be much more lightweight than any DE:

          • With ctrl-alt- controlling which of my 8 workspaces I am on, it means I don't have to touch the mouse.
          • It also supports focus-follows mouse (properly, I mean) with alt-tab. The alt-tab doesn't raise the focused window, though, so I can switch to a big background window to type stuff in while reading from the unfocused foreground window.
          • Pressing f-12 gives me a menu that can be used with the
  • Did you mean release?
  • Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:42PM (#39062527)

    I actually use WindowMaker on my personal dev-server-slash-tertiary-backup-desktop. It's an old piece of junk - Athlon 900 FTW! - but it still runs, and I don't have to worry about breaking anything important.

    I've tried various window managers and desktop environments. KDE, even a 2.x release, is too slow. Same for GNOME. Most of the rest are too capability-light for me to seriously use. But WindowMaker hits the sweet spot of "runs fast on old crap" and "is actually usable".

    This is the same machine I keep a copy of Firefox 2 on, since anything after that doesn't so much "run" as "walk".

    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:08PM (#39062933) Journal

      Prior to upgrading the hardware (2-3 years ago?), I had an old K6-III for my server, and Window Maker was awesome on it. I still use it for the VNC attachable desktop I have running in the background to keep all my projects open so I don't have to restart my apps each time I log in. I don't need anything that lightweight any more, but, it gets the job done well, and doesn't crap out in the VNC "box" like KDE or Gnome.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Try NX. All you need is a working sshd and it's wayyyyy faster than VNC.

        • by AcquaCow ( 56720 )

          Been using NX for years, I love it.

          Wish there were some more updates to nomachine... are there any other clients out there that are more up to date?

      • > and doesn't crap out in the VNC "box" like KDE or Gnome.

        Xfce4 works quite well inside VNC too.

    • I also have a fondness for some of the more robust WM's in lieu of full blown desktops. I thought WMaker was neat, but Fluxbox is what I really enjoyed. I got lured away by compiz years ago, but I've been thinking of going back because Gnome/Ubuntu is imploding, and KDE is not to my taste. Anyway, check out Fluxbox, if you never did.

      • e17 would be my desktop of choice... entirely modular, so if you just want a basic window manager with nothing else, you can have that, but if you prefer a full blown desktop environment, you can have that, too. What I have mine set up as is somewhere in between... I guess you could call it a desktop environment, in that there is a sort of taskbar/launcher thing and I have a clock and calendar widget loaded, and I have compositing effects turned on, but it's a far cry from what you see from Gnome or KDE the

    • Have you tried Firefox 10? In terms of javascript, it leaves 2.x in the dust. It has also cleaned up long standing memory leaks.

      • No, I'm still on 9.0.1 on my secondary backup desktop (primary desktop's in the shop). The 10 update's been downloaded, I just can't be assed to restart. Problem is, anything after 3.0 seems to run very poorly on low-end devices. The new ones (post 4.0 - the 3.0 series was terrible for me) improve performance on high-end devices, but seem to use more than 384MB of memory.

        To put it simply, new_machine(2.0) old_machine(9.0).

    • LXDE is fine as a windows 95 clone, it's what I use on a recent piece of junk - VIA C7 1.8GHz. along with firefox 8 which has fast javascript and patched memory leaks. LXDE may feel boring, too conventional and gtk based, but that's you use nowadays if like me you weren't on linux in the good/bad old days, or if you're lazy.

    • OT but I use Blackbox on all my headless servers as a VNC GUI when I need one for the same reasons; its functional and yet very fast with very low memory requirements. On the odd occasion when I need a remote GUI on a server, I can launch 'vncserver' with blackbox in the xstartup and know it will be ready almost instantly with nearly no impact on the server's performance.

  • Yay? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:44PM (#39062545)

    If you really want to make your modern operating system look antiquated, isn't it easier just to go back to doing everything from the command line?

    • I thought doing everything from the command line makes one look like a sophisticated hacker...

      In truth, though, I believe people made a mistake when they gave up the keyboard in favor of graphical trickery. If you take the time to cobble together a shadow of such a system, it becomes very clear that a keyboard-centric environment is one of the most superior modes by which to compute, because the keyboard is currently one of the most (if not the most) superior modes by which to communicate with a computer wh

      • GUIs and CLIs are both tools like any other, and some tools are better suited at some tasks than others. I don't think either will go away, nor should they.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Spiridios ( 2406474 )
          I'd imagine CLI-only GIMP would really live up to its name.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Before starting work on GIMP, Peter Mattis asked [] for input on features and formats.

            The first suggestion was to use existing CLI utils, augmented with new CLI utils. (In fairness, there were some other ideas that did make it in and script-fu is similar in spirit to cli apps)

      • Except for the fact that the "graphical trickery" makes things like graphic design, non-linear video editing, and numerous other tasks far easier than a CLI would be? Just because your tasks are limited to things that a keyboard might be best at doesn't mean everyone does.

        • by jc42 ( 318812 )

          Except for the fact that the "graphical trickery" makes things like graphic design, non-linear video editing, and numerous other tasks far easier than a CLI would be?

          Well, maybe, but I think the pseudo-dispute arises more from things like all the time I find myself wasting with GUI tools that make me wade through several windows, each of which needs to be laboriously guided down through the directory tree, to do what could be done in 1/10 the time with a simple cp or mv or ... command. I've wasted a lot of my life on idiotic simple-minded tasks like that, which are fast and easy with a CLI, but achingly time-consuming in a GUI.

          Not that I couldn't think of a quick an

      • Let's sum up this post:

        1. Using a GUI necessitates giving up the keyboard. Because of shadows.
        2. The keyboard is the best because the keyboard is the best.
        3. You can't wait for the old people to die because, once they're all dead and there are no more old people, CLIs will come back into vogue.
        4. The skill level required for texting while driving is roughly equivalent to the skill level to comfortably use a CLI.
        5. You don't know much about Ubuntu's Head-Up Display, but it heralds "the return of the keyboard", because, an
      • I have yet to find a GUI that can replace good old Unix pipes for complex work. I can imagine someone developing a drag'n'drop development system like the old "Forest and Trees" software that works similarly but I can't see any benefit to doing so. As it stands now, I can do *anything* from a command-line and simply *lots* from a GUI. That's why I use lots of terminal windows in a GUI on my desktops ... best of both worlds.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by pinkeen ( 1804300 )
          Terminal *windows*? I switched to yakuake long ago and using a terminal *window* feels so awkward now.

          I even find myself repeateadly pressing F12 and wondering why nothing pops out when occasionaly using Windows.
      • I remember an interview at this small company just shortly before I gave up looking for work (five years/thousands of resume's 15 interviews, NO job)! The 2001 class of romper room emptied into the conference room where the "interview" for a low level desktop support person was being held. The oldest kid asked me if I preferred "CLI's" and I replied no, I like my one button solutions to make life as easy as possible. I gathered that to be one of the "cool kids" you had to "like" "CLI's"!

        I did NOT get th

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      It looks the way it looks because the rounded corners were already patented by Apple.
    • I've been using WindowMaker as my window manager since sometime during the nineties. I use it to keep open lots of xterms, a few emacs windows, Thunderbird, Firefox clearly assigned to virtual desktops. That's all I need for work. I tried using fluxbox, but after I had to do post-mortem debugger resuscitations one too many times, I found out that I don't need fluxbox's tabbed windows, and that stability easily is the most important issues for my "focussed window determination software". Every once in a w

      • by h3 ( 27424 )

        I swear to god, I read what you wrote and it's like I was reading my own words - well, except for the part about emacs ;-).

        WindowMaker user since 1999 here, still using it on Ubuntu 11.10.

    • The problem is, there aren't enough screenshots promoting the command line.

    • Wuh? I thought the command line is the cool futuristic "Matrix" like UI that everyone wants to have? What happened?
  • if window maker supported Expo and Scale for window management like in OSX or Compiz I'd Gladly switch.
    • In a more perfect world there would be a protocol for compositors and window managers to communicate so you could implement such things in a single place instead of reimplementing it umpteen times in each environment :(

      • Isn't this basically what xcompmgr and cairo-compmgr (despite their current apparently abandoned state) use?

        • Re:Expo and Scale (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Unknown Lamer ( 78415 ) <> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:09PM (#39062951) Homepage Journal

          xcompmgr was always just the demo/reference compositor... IIRC it had (still has?) memory leaks... cairo-compmgr almost works but for whatever reasons goes out to lunch whenever changing display settings (I might have a laptop and external monitor so that makes it really, really unusable for me).

          Unfortunately things like Expose can't be implemented in an external compositor now (at least not in a flashy or particularly usable way)-- there's no way for the window manager to say "hey can you do this fancy animation crap for me". AFAICT there is only a window property that communicates the translucency level of a window available. The same goes for fancy iconization effects, graying out unfocused windows, wobbly dragging, etc.

          And so every window manager ends up having to implement its own effects using its own internal protocol... it's a hard problem figuring out the needed common ground (especially when GNOME and KWin both appear to be actively divorcing themselves from X11). I've always wondered how hard it would be to at least make Compiz a library that other window managers could integrate (some construction needed) to gain compositing and effects... but I'd rather whine about how CLIM had a transformation and frame management protocol in 1995 that could do all of this without radical replumbing like X11 does ;)

    • e17 has that. It's part of the "composite" module. Load it, and set up a binding to launch the pager... perhaps different names for it, but essentially the same effect. I have mine set up with edge bindings on the screen... I put the mouse in the bottom right, it launches the "scale pager", which is essentially an expo-like desktop switcher. I put it in the top left, it launches scale for all windows on the current desktop, and bottom left is bound to scale for all desktops.

      Surprisingly light on resources,

      • Thanks for the link !

        I tried e17 ages ago and it was one of my few favorite window managers. Never did spend any time configuring it but your posts make me want to check that out.

        Nice to see we have some choices!

        * Ubuntu -> Gnome
        * Kubuntu -> KDE
        * Bodhi -> Enlightenment

    • I was wondering about this. Isn't it possible to have a complete desktop environment based on GNUSTEP, w/o having it sit over either X or Wayland, but just have it run on the OS - be it Linux, BSD, Minix or Hurd - just like OS-X does? NEXTSTEP used to use Display Postscript - what does OS-X use? Can't something like that be used in making this GNUSTEP DE?

      As an aside, I've seen GNOME 3.3 being modified to look like OS-X in Comice-OS (an Ubuntu based distro), but is the effect the same as GNUSTEP, or is

      • OS X uses Display PDF.

        And, yes, there have been some GNUStep OS attempts using the Linux kernel, but none of them ever gained traction and now all are badly out of date.

  • by Strahd von Zarovich ( 1055172 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:48PM (#39062613)
    Personally, I've used WindowMaker since the early '00s, and I'm still sticking to it. As a power user, I find its customization abilities extremely helpful. Also, I like that it's sticking to what it does best -- window management -- without eating up most of my CPU and GPU resources and bloating my memory. That's great news, keep up the good work!
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:50PM (#39062641) Journal

    I never "got" WindowMaker. I gather it was good back in the day, when docks were kind of a special feature. But these days even Fluxbox has support for dock apps. So why WindowMaker?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:59PM (#39062777)

      Sometimes all you want is a window manager. You don't need an integrated file manager, dvd burner or media player. WindowMaker is tremendously fast, stable and memory efficient.

      • Indeed. I actually can't wait to try dropping KDE for Window Maker once again. BTW, did they revert the name or something, to remove the space again? I haven't RTFA yet.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:52PM (#39062677) Homepage Journal
    Man, I do not envy the person who has to clean up that mess...

    (Yes that was a sex joke)
  • WindowMaker (now Window Maker) was the first X11 window manager I liked, after having used CDE (shudder), fvwm95 (double shudder), bowman, and AfterStep.

    Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.

  • by cyberkahn ( 398201 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:59PM (#39062779) Homepage

    With a lot of people unhappy with the direction Gnome 3 and Unity are going. WindowMaker is a nice light window manager. It's what I use to use until active development stopped. I will look at it again for sure.

    • The only problem is those people are anti-change. So a *new* release of WindowMaker won't work for them either.

      • Or they just happen to disagree with you on what changes are actually beneficial and which are just needless churn so some UI designer has something to do?

        • No. I'm pretty sure you're describing the sort of person who would fork a window manager and make it work for them. I'm describing the people who want computing to have frozen in time. The people whom Gnome 3 will never work for because it will never exactly replicate twm.

        • And seriously "so some UI designer has something to do"? You find that the open source community has too many UI designers? Because I find the exact opposite to be true.

  • wrong (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:04PM (#39062855)

    No this would be the second release since 2006. 0.95.1 was released 2.5 weeks ago.

  • by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:17PM (#39063091) Homepage

    I've missed the elegance and flexibility of Windowmaker and have always wished that it had stayed current. Looking forward to having a great way forward vs. that unity garbage!!

  • i've been following the development for more than a year. i've even contributed a fix for a null pointer exception on the menu editor.

    the only news for me is to see it back on the news. which is a great thing in the sense that it'd bring awareness to this great desktop manager.

    i've tried using KDE, gnome, several *boxen to name a few, but i always go back to windowmaker.

    the killer featuer to me is the automatic cascading of new windows. i often need to open more than a dozen terminal windows to do my job, and having them cascaded across several virtual desktops is a helluva lot more eficient than any other method (and no, tabs don't work for my workflow)

  • by debrain ( 29228 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:22PM (#39063173) Journal

    WindowMaker has a special place in my heart, right next to BlackBox []. I still look at them and go "cool".

    I hope someone revitalizes BlackBox, too. It was just plain neat.

    • As I posted elsewhere in this story, I still use Blackbox regularly. Its fast and simple and works very well for what it is -- and the menu configuration is quite simple too. The only WM I miss using regularly is Enlightenment -- I haven't tried a release in over a year but back on 0.95 and 0.96 I was really thrilled with my GUI in a way that I haven't been since. Here's hoping 1.00 lands before we leave this rock ;-)

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Have you tried Fluxbox? It's a fine modern alternative to BlackBox.

      • I used to think WindowMaker to be the best WM, but after it started to feel dated I looked around and finally switched to openbox [] (another WM inspired by Blackbox). I feel like it took WindowMaker's philosophy even further: it complies with [] standards [] and it got rid of a bunch of non-essential features like background setting, quick-launch buttons, dock, and most of the GUI wizardry.
    • I hope someone revitalizes BlackBox, too.

      What!? Blackbox has to be the single most forked window manager of all time...


      Hackedbox []

  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by itomato ( 91092 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:31PM (#39063313)
    I have a bunch of art updates I'd like to push. Real Media or ICQ, anyone?
  • I remember using afterstep on damn small linux and found the little squares confusing, esp. when launching an app resulted in twice the little squares, one of which seemingly functioned as a task bar button. maybe the point it for it to look cool. well, I liked it better than OSX.

  • Yay! I've always *loved* Windowmaker.

  • I was and still am a fan of WindowMaker, for all the reasons others have given. Lately I've switched to GNOME because I find myself constantly mounting thumb drives and DVDs, etc. In the old days there was a wmmount app for the dock that did this, and you set up your fstab so the mount points were all defined. These days I don't configure fstab. I'll have multiple USB drives plugged in and GNOME will just assign the mount point a name based on the volume label and mount them. If WindowMaker could do th

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      You could use Window Maker and GNOME together. It is not difficult to set up. I have been using them together for years.

  • by davek ( 18465 )

    I love WindowMaker. Monitors are square, therefore my persistent icons and helper apps should be square also. It's the best way to manage desktop real estate. And it's lightening fast. I'm very gracious that the project continues on.

    wmtop, wmblob, wmcalclock, wmjazz, wmbinclock, wmchess, wmcube, wmtetris, wmgrav, I can't get enough!

    Now, if only I could find a version of `wmfire` that actually works, I'd be 100x more productive!

  • by pseelig ( 850 ) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @08:16PM (#39068139) Homepage

    There is a project on sourceforge to remaster a standard Ubuntu 11.04 ISO image into a Window Maker Live ISO. It is based on a small scripting framework which relies on the Ubuntu Customization Kit for the creation of a working Live CD, and has the very latest Window Maker 0.95.2 as the only and default graphical user interface. It is also very preconfigured, so that one is able to just start using it already at first login.

    The project is currently hosted at [] and also provides some ready made live ISO torrents for interested people who don't want to have to remaster an Ubuntu ISO image on their own. Any feedback and possibly even contributions are very welcome.

  • I use KDE 3.5 for day-to-day but always install WM as a backup.

    Also rocks for VNC sessions.

    I am very happy to see someone take up development of Old Reliable again! Huzzah! Thank you!

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann