Guide to X11/Window Managers/9wm

Type: Stacking
Language: C
Licence: 9wm


Features of the *9wm* window manager are:

  • Uses the xlib toolkit
  • Useless windowborders do not provide windowmotion
  • A rightclick on the desktop gives a contextmenu that provides windowmotion and facility to launch a terminal emulator
  • No menubar
  • No titlebars
  • No multidesk facilities
  • No maximize facility
  • No desktop shortcuts
  • No desktop wallpaper
  • No theme support
  • No xkeys support
  • A three-button mouse is required
  • Uses a clickfocus model
  • No additional taskswitching facility
  • Applications launched via a terminal only
  • Has a limit of to 32 hidden windows
  • Lightweight - Has few dependencies and rated as a pinhammer on the hammer scale
  • Supports focusstealing by failing the launch test, giving focus to window placement facility
  • Not accessibility friendly - utilizes middleclick, rightclick and has no keyboard equivalents for some operations and provides support for focusstealing

Resizing WindowsEdit

The 9wm window manager does not provide the facility to maximize a window: windowmotion is provided via a rightlick context menu: To resize a window, rightclick desktop or window border, reshape, rightclick: border, rightclick a corner position, drag to size.

Where is 9wm on the hammer scale?Edit

A minimalist tool designed to do a specific job with few or no command line options.



9wm is awkward to use because every new window has to be swept out before it can appear on the desktop and it is necessary to access a context menu on the desktop to move or resize windows. There is no facility to maximize windows.


9wm is not accessibility friendly because it requires a multibutton mouse and there is no keyboard equivalents for some operations. The following [accessibility] restrictions apply to this window manager:

  • Requires a multi-button mouse
  • Requires middleclick functionality for some operations
  • Requires rightclick functionality for some operations
  • Has no keyboard equivalents for some operations


9wm is dependent on the following xlib libraries:

  • libx11-6
  • libxext6

Resources usedEdit

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