Im on the process of building a Launcher for other applications, on top of X11. The requirements are the following:

  1. The launcher must start with the system (The launcher can be seen as a fullscreen application, like a Kiosk, draw using OpenGL), it does show other applications(they all use OpenGL) that can be used on the system.
  2. When an user launch any application, the launcher stops rendering and proceeds to launch the application (fullscreen also).
  3. The user may choose to terminate the app, and should get back to the Launcher.

I'm thinking on starting with a really basic window manager, to avoid decorations and always place them fullscreen.

Should the Launcher be my window manager?

As some additional notes, I'm also thinking on use http://www.glfw.org/ for handling inputs and events. edit: I want the launcher to stop rendering, to remove any OpenGL call that may slow down the current application. Also the applications will include means to quit, so i won't need the decoration.

1 Answer 1


If you're trying to develop something like a public kiosk where users should be able to only open the available applications and only in full screen mode, then I would say that having the launcher also be the window manager is a valid strategy. On the other hand, leveraging an existing window manager that can be configured to provide the restricted user interface you're looking for might save you time and effort, because implementing a window manager correctly is a bit involved.

the launcher stops rendering

I don't think you need to "stop rendering". Just open the application windows on top of the launcher window and X11 will take care of the rest (i.e. it knows which windows are covered up by other windows and takes care of the exposed/covered logic).

to avoid decorations

The main problem I see with avoiding decorations is that many applications don't have an obvious way to quit if there are no window decorations. Applications expect that the window manager will provide a window close control as a decoration and that this is the most obvious way for users to quit the application and the way that is most consistent across applications. You may want to consider using at least minimal decorations with a close box.

  • Thanks for your quick response, i did forgot to expose a bit more of detail on why the launcher needs stops rendering and why to avoid decorations. Is mostly because i'll run opengl applications, that already have their own means to quit, on top of that, i'll provide a hardware mean(a button) to quit the current app. I want the launcher to actually stop to avoid lagging the application (all apps will be fullscreen).
    – Josejulio
    Sep 14, 2015 at 23:59
  • Also, could you please suggest an existing minimalist window manager that i could use? (if not, i'll google, thanks)
    – Josejulio
    Sep 15, 2015 at 0:03
  • @Josejulio sorry, I don't have one in mind. Maybe there is a proof-of-concept or example window manager out there that you can start from.
    – Celada
    Sep 15, 2015 at 0:05
  • 1
    @Josejulio There are many many minimalist window managers out there. I expect your primary choice criterion will be that it's written in a programming language that you're familiar with. Sep 15, 2015 at 21:48

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