The Current State of Window Maker

I’ve always liked the Window Maker window manager. However, the current state of Window Maker is in some turmoil.

Development on the original Window Maker window manager has ceased, and new development has been taken up by wmaker-crm (a fork). Nightly builds of wmaker-crm had been available for Debian from a user-created repository, but no new builds have been put up since 29 April 2011 – and the repository information hasn’t been rebuilt since 26 May 2011. Building a Debian package seems to be problematical in any case. According to this mailing list thread, Andreas Metzler and Martin Dietze are responsible for changes therein, but the changelog hasn’t reflected any changes in wmaker-crm.

It was recommended to the Debian Window Maker package maintainer, John H. Robinson IV, to use the wmaker-crm sources for the package; he was receptive but nothing has happened since. As of 6 July 2011, he stepped down as maintainer of the package, leaving the Debian package orphaned. This event did not go unnoticed; a thread was taken up on the wmaker-crm development list.

The person behind wmaker-crm, Carlos R. Mafra, also created a git repository for numerous Window Maker dockapps that are no longer maintained.

The standard Window Maker display manager, the WINGs Display Manager, apparently is much less desired than Window Maker itself: according to the popularity contest statistics, at a peak during January 2011, 2000+ people had Window Maker installed while less than 200 currently have WDM installed.

Statistics about the installed base (and user base) of Window Maker and other packages can be seen over at popcon.debian.org; these statistics come from people who have installed the popularity-contest package.

Over at ArchLinux, their wiki has an excellent write-up on Window Maker (including basic technical details and information on wmaker-crm) which certainly makes one think that Window Maker is vibrant in that community. Both Window Maker and wmaker-crm are packaged (as windowmaker and windowmaker-crm-git respectively) and available to ArchLinux users from the Extra Repository as well.

If you want to see Window Maker in action (more or less – it does show a lot of Tux Commander too…) you can check out this video showing Window Maker on a Duron 850MHz system with 256Mb.

I may post a short video of my own Window Maker desktop; having forced myself to run with Window Maker as my default desktop has made me a complete convert – and helped me to force myself to research and resolve problems with making Window Maker a default desktop. Recently, I wrote about just what it took to make Window Maker fully capable and up-to-date.

If GNOME or KDE are finally just too much – and XFCE isn’t quite what you want – try Window Maker instead.

 

5 thoughts on “The Current State of Window Maker”

  1. looks to me like just bugfixes and some really small changes.

    I allways liked windowmaker, used it for some years as main environment and with the recent stuff going on at gnome & co. i thought there would again be much room for additional windowmanagers. But sadly there this project seems to have slept the last years and didn’t move forward even a single step. 😦

  2. I find that Wings Display Manager along with Window Maker make a pretty good Debian setup. Unfortunately in Wheezy at the moment, the Debian Menu is broken in Window Maker, which is a disappointment and which detracts from its allure.

    1. I had a bit of trouble with update-menus and Windowmaker as well, turns out in my case /etc/menu-methods/wmaker was not executable, so /etc/X11/WindoMaker/menu.hook was never created.

      ‘chmod ugo+x wmaker’ fixed that, then run update-menus again.

      1. Minor tip: you don’t need to say chmod ugo+x wmaker; you could use chmod a+x wmaker – or better yet, chmod +x wmaker – to accomplish the same thing.

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