, 1 min read

A Praise for IceWM

Original post is here eklausmeier.goip.de/blog/2013/05-01-a-praise-for-icewm.

Since more than ten years I use IceWM, a clean and compact window manager for X. I can only recommend it.

IceWM in its own words: The goal of IceWM is speed, simplicity, and not getting in the user's way.

These goals are nicely met.

Among the features of IceWM:

  1. multiple workspaces
  2. easily move windows between workspaces
  3. roll-in and roll-up of windows (just like a carpet)
  4. task bar can be hidden or positioned top, bottom
  5. user defined keys and shortcuts

My computer is set-up as a server, i.e., I do not start a window manager after boot. How do I start IceWM? In /etc/bash.bashrc I defined

alias myx='xinit /usr/bin/icewm & sleep 5; exit'

I log-in to the text terminal, then I type


By this I do not leave a shell open.

Here is a screenshot from parts of my desktop: GoogleChrome1

My desktop does not have icons. I do not like them, I do not miss them. Instead, I start some programs by key shortcuts, other by just typing in the command in a terminal. Here is my keys file in .icewm directory:

key "Alt+Ctrl+d"                xclock -geometry 57x35-0+0 -d -strftime "%H:%M"
key "Alt+Ctrl+j"                jpilot
key "Alt+Ctrl+l"                xlock -mode blank
key "Alt+Ctrl+t"                uxterm -r
key "Alt+Ctrl+v"                xawtv

key "Alt+Ctrl+e"                nedit
key "Alt+Ctrl+g"                geeqie

key "Alt+Ctrl+m"                /opt/google/chrome/chrome --incognito
key "Alt+Ctrl+n"                /opt/google/chrome/chrome

The most important shortcuts are

  1. Alt+Ctrl+t for a terminal window
  2. Alt+Ctrl+n for Google Chrome

A comparison of various window managers can be found in Wikipedia: Comparison of Window Managers.