Overview of Window

Managers Available For



Brian Ricker

twm - Tabbed Window Manager

Screen Capture - 13847 bytes


Default window manager with minimal features available on most X11 implementations




Performance - Medium executable size and memory requirements, minimal color requirements for decorations

vtwm - Virtual Tabbed Window Manager

Screen Capture - 16279 bytes


twm with virtual desktop enhancements




Performance - Roughly same as standard twm, slightly greater memory requirements for virtual screen features


Screen Capture - 153006 bytes


Enhanced window manager based on twm code




Performance - Significantly larger executable than twm, can use a lot of colors depending on bitmaps used for icons and buttons


Screen Capture - 125413 bytes


Extremely minimal window manager




Performance - Extremely small, uses little memory and only 2 colors



Minimal window manager based on window manager included in 8 1/2, the windowing system used with Plan 9.




Performance - Extremely small, uses little memory and only 2 colors, makes wm2 look extravagant

olwm/olvwm - Open Look Window Manager

Screen Capture - 18825 bytes


Window manager used with Open Windows/Open Look. Used to be the default window manager for SunOS/Solaris, being replaced by Motif/CDE.




Performance - Since these window managers use the XView and OpenLook libraries, they tend to use large amounts of memory.

mwm/dtwm - Motif Window Manager/Desktop Window Manager

Screen Capture - 66426 bytes


Window manager included with OSF Motif. Desktop Window Manager part of Motif/CDE.




Performance - Mwm lacks features available in more modern window managers (i.e. fvwm). Dtwm is a good choice for a standard setup in a multi-platform environment.

fvwm - f(?) Virtual Window Manager

Screen Capture - 15664 bytes


Feature laden window manager included with most Linux distributions.




Performance - The base fvwm manager is equivalent in size and memory requirements to twm. The modular features tend to consume resources as they are used. The extensive use of colors can use up the color map on a 8-bit sever.

fvwm-95 - f(?) Virtual Window Manager 95

Screen Capture - 27253 bytes


Fvwm with Windows 95 look and feel.




Performance - Similar to fvwm, even more extensive use of colors in the default configuration makes 8-bit server use with color intensive applications (e.g. Netscape) difficult.


Screen Capture - 360961 bytes


Fvwm with NextStep look and feel.



Performance - Almost unusable on 8-bit displays due to shaded title bars which use several colors out of the default colormap.

Other Fvwm Derivatives





Current Versions


Web Resources


Last Modified: 24 January 1997

St. Louis Unix Users Group - Linux SIG