31.2.2. Window Managers

31.2.2. Window Managers

Window managers are X client programs which are either part of a desktop environment or, in some cases, stand-alone. Their primary purpose is to control the way graphical windows are positioned, resized, or moved. Window managers also control title bars, window focus behavior, and user-specified key and mouse button bindings.

Four window managers are included with Red Hat Enterprise Linux:

kwin

The KWin window manager is the default window manager for KDE. It is an efficient window manager which supports custom themes.

metacity

The Metacity window manager is the default window manager for GNOME. It is a simple and efficient window manager which also supports custom themes. To run this window manager, you need to install the metacity package.

mwm

The Motif Window Manager (mwm) is a basic, stand-alone window manager. Since it is designed to be a stand-alone window manager, it should not be used in conjunction with GNOME or KDE. To run this window manager, you need to install the openmotif package.

twm

The minimalist Tab Window Manager (twm, which provides the most basic tool set of any of the window managers, can be used either as a stand-alone or with a desktop environment. It is installed as part of the X11R7.1 release.

To run any of the aforementioned window managers, you will first need to boot into Runlevel 3. For instructions on how to do this, refer to Section 16.1, “Runlevels”.

Once you are logged in to Runlevel 3, you will be presented with a terminal prompt, not a graphical environment. To start a window manager, type xinit -e <path-to-window-manager> at the prompt.

<path-to-window-manager> is the location of the window manager binary file. The binary file can be located by typing which window-manager-name, where window-manager-name is the name of the window manager you want to run.

For example:

user@host# which twm/usr/bin/twm
user@host# xinit -e /usr/bin/twm

The first command above returns the absolute path to the twm window manager, the second command starts twm.

To exit a window manager, close the last window or press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace. Once you have exited the window manager, you can log back into Runlevel 5 by typing startx at the prompt.


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