I have been using mainly KDE on my main desktop for a while now and have decided it is too bloated (e.g., my issue with Desktop indexing with KDE) and was thinking of switching to LXDE because it is "lighter". I realized if I want to go light, then why not just go all the way back to before "desktop environments" and switch back to TWM. I know I can run TWM on my Arch Linux system, but what I am not sure about is if it is viable. I know it is lacking so-called "features", but does it support all the core things required to run QT and GTK based programs? Is there a repository of .twmrc files? I know about http://xwinman.org/vtwm.php, but my hazy recollection is my set up was much slicker back in the day.

  • You might want to look into fvwm, a twm derivative which is still actively developed. – goldilocks May 20 '14 at 12:36
  • As a follow-up thought to that, an advantage to fvwm would be that it implements extended window manager hints (pretty much all contemporary WMs do, I should think) which is not necessary to running contemporary apps but is desirable as applications exploit it (e.g., stuff like "fullscreen mode" is done via EWMH). – goldilocks May 20 '14 at 13:14
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    @goldilocks (and the close voters), I was hoping the answers wouldn't be opinion based. I was looking for an answer like "it doesn't support EWMH which today's apps need for full screen mode". That doesn't seem like an opinion but rather an objective answer. – StrongBad May 20 '14 at 13:22

A disadvantage to twm is that it does not appear to implement extended window manager hints (EWMH). This is not necessary to running contemporary apps, but many of them may exploit this (and I believe the GTK and Qt libraries may, also) -- for example "fullscreen mode" will require this in many cases, and apps that arrange themselves in particular ways using multiple windows may not be so arranged without it.

However, fvwm, a twm derivative that's almost as old but continues to be actively developed, implements much of the EWMH standard.


Sure. People still use it, so it's "viable" in that sense.

As long as you have GTK and QT installed, they don't really care what window manager/DE you're using; all they do is draw widgets. One of the things you'll probably miss from a full DE is that they take care of the headache of dealing with dbus, polkit, and the other stuff a lot of applications need nowadays. You can do that yourself in your .xsession file, but it can be annoying and tedious.

I don't know of a central twmrc repository, but then again that's what Google is for; there are plenty of individual sites, eg:

http://www.custompc.plus.com/twm/twmrc.htm http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/X11apps/X11apps-44/twm/twm-1.0.6/sample-twmrc/jim.twmrc http://www2.its.strath.ac.uk/courses/x/subsection3_9_2.html


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    I use twm as a matter of choice. Every once in a while, something will act strangely, but that's very rare. Typically only commercial software will have any trouble. – Bruce Ediger May 20 '14 at 12:54

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