Have questions about Window Maker? If so, look no further. Below is our collection of Frequently Asked Questions and their corresponding answers. Many of these have been adapted from the original FAQ by Chris Green. Questions are routinely taken and added in from the mailing lists and IRC forums.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to Window Maker

1.1 What is Window Maker?

Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP[tm] user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software and part of the GNU Project, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world

1.2 Where can I get Window Maker?

Window Maker can be obtained from the official website,

1.3 Where are the mailing lists and archives?

All information regarding the Window Maker mailing lists can be found at

1.4 Where can I find more documentation?

Additional documentation can be found in the Window Maker source distribution, or at

1.5 What is an appicon?

An appicon is the icon produced by an application that initially is in the bottom left corner of the screen while an application is running. For an example, run xterm and notice the icon in the corner (make sure that you use xterm and not a default rxvt when testing, because many versions of rxvt do not properly set their window attributes).

For a more indepth discussion of how an appicon relates to Window Maker, see question 1.10

1.6 How can I get a question added to the FAQ?

For now, the best method is to E-mail your question to [email protected]. We are working on a web-based submission form to our FAQ system, which will enable users to submit questions for review.

1.7 How do I report bugs?

You can look at the BUGFORM file in the source distribution of Window Maker. Alternatively, you can use the Window Maker Bug Tracker at

1.8 Is there an anomymous cvs server?

Yes there is. To check out from cvs, first

export CVSROOT=":pserver:[email protected]:/cvsroot"
cvs login

There is no password, so simply hit enter when prompted.

Then issue the following command ("wm" is the name of the module):

cvs -z3 checkout -d WindowMaker wm

To update your source tree, cd to the WindowMaker directory and type

cvs -z3 update -dP

inside the WindowMaker directory.

For more detailed CVS instructions, please visit

1.9 Where can I find the Window Maker IRC channel?

The official Window Maker IRC channel can be accessed by connecting to on port 6667, and joining #windowmaker channel.

1.10 What is the difference between appicons, mini-windows, and minimized applications?

Thanks to Jim Knoble for this answer:

Many window managers are capable of turning large windows into smaller icons which represent the window yet don't take as much screen real estate. We're all familiar with that model.

Window Maker has two kinds of these icons. One kind is created when an application - technically, a window group - is started. It represents the entire application and is called an appicon. Such icons are square tiles containing only the picture which represents the application; they have no titles.

The second kind of icon in Window Maker is created when a particular window (possibly one belonging to an application displaying more than one window) is miniaturized (which is the same action as minimizing or iconifying in other window management models) using the miniaturization button on the window's titlebar. These miniaturized windows are called miniwindows and can normally be distinguished from appicons by their small titlebar at the top of the tile.

1.11 How do I make sense of Window Maker's version number scheme?

The numbering scheme is relatively simple, and is in the format of three numbers separated by dots. The first number is the "major" revision number. The second is the "minor" revision number. And finally, the third is the "patch level" number.

To put this all into perspective, let's examine the version number "0.65.1". This number signifies that there has not been a major revision release, that its minor revision is newer than the previous one (0.64.x), and that it's on the first patch level after the 0.65.0 release. This still might be confusing, so go away with this in mind: numbers ending in .0 tend to be new feature releases but less stable than .1, .2, .3 patch level releases, the latter of which are used to fix bugs.

It is generally safe to go with the highest numbered patch release.

2 Installing Window Maker

2.1 Why are no icons showing up after installing Window Maker?

As of WindowMaker version 0.15.0, the default setup includes .tiff icons which require you to have compiled Window Maker with libtiff support. For assistance on compiling libtiff, see the following question.

2.3 How do I switch CDE's window manager to use WindowMaker?

2.3.1 Method 1:

Peter Ilberg gives us this answer:

Install WM wherever you want it, mine is in /opt/WindowMaker-0.16.0 (eg. use ./configure --prefix=/opt/WindowMaker-0.16.0). Run the install script wmaker.inst in your home directory.

Add the following two lines to .dtprofile in your home directory:

PATH=:/usr/contrib/bin/X11:$PATH:.; export PATH

This tells CDE to go looking for an .xinitrc/.xsession instead of using the default environment.

Make your .xsession/.xinitrc executable (VERY IMPORTANT, wmaker.inst did NOT do this automatically for me) using eg.

chmod ugo+x .xsession

Your .xsession/.xinitrc should look something like this:


<some other init stuff that you want/need>
exec wmaker

Things to try if it doesn't work: (somewhat fuzzy and random)

This should do it although I did have problems sometimes initially which I fixed by randomly trying absolute pathes for wmaker in .xsession/.xinitrc and/or making the dtprofile/.xinitrc/etc executable. It helps logging in on the console (select from CDE login screen) and start X manually using "X". If it works that way it should work when logging into the CDE environment. Remember to Check your paths!

If it doesn't work, you can also substitute some other window manager for wmaker in the .xinitrc and see if that works. If it does you know at least that .xinitrc is getting called/executed, so your WM path is wrong or not set.

2.3.2 Method 2:

Thomas Hanselman gave this alternative answer (via Peter Ilberg):

Build and install WM wherever you want, as described in Method 1. You can install and run WM just fine from your home directory. That's what I'm doing, since I don't have root access at work :(. Then, in your Xdefaults file in your home directory, add the following line:

Dtsession*wmStartupCommand: <path to WindowMaker executable>

Then, log out, and log back in, and, unless I've forgotten a step (or this is a custom Nortel thing), you should be in Window Maker heaven ;).

2.3.3 Difference between the methods: (according to Thomas)

I've been told that the difference between setting the resource and Peter's method is that if you override the window manager with the resouce, you still get the CDE resources read into the resource database (so you still have your color settings & such from CDE), whereas with Peter's, the CDE resource don't get read into the database. I don't know if this is true or not, however. Also, another thing to note with Window Maker and HP-UX 10.20 - if you select "Exit Session" from the WM root menu, WindowMaker and all of your applications are killed, but you may not be logged out. Again, this might be an artifact from my work environment, or the way I start Window Maker.

2.3.4 Owen Stenseth adds:

When using this method it is possible to exit Window Maker cleanly by using the dtaction command. I use the following in my Window Maker menu:

"Exit Session"      EXEC dtaction ExitSession

The only problem I have at the moment is I seem to get multiple copies of asclock running when I log in again.

2.4 Do I need to rerun wmaker.inst with every new version of Window Maker?

Dan Pascu reveals the answer:

If this is necessary, it will be listed in the NEWS file included in the source distribution. Since 0.15.x, the domain files have been changed in such a way that re-running wmaker.inst is redundant. The user config files are by default merged in with the global ones normally located in /usr/local/share/WindowMaker/Defaults. So, even if new options are added, they should be automatically added to the environment.

2.5 Why am I only getting a root menu with xterm and exit items?

Most likely, the problem is that Window Maker can not find a copy of the C pre processor in a directory such as /lib. The file /lib/cpp should be a symbolic link to whatever C compiler's cpp you are using. For example:

$ file `which cpp`
/usr/bin/cpp link to /usr/bin/cpp-2.95

Another possibility is your /usr/X11/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc is a broken symlink. Either create a new symlink, or do something like:

$ cp /usr/X11/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc.fvwm2 \
$ ln -sf /usr/X11/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc.wmaker \

then just edit /usr/X11/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc and replace the exec of 'fvwm2' by '/usr/local/bin/wmaker' (should be somewhere towards the end of the file, most probably the very last line).

Thanks to Tomas Szepe for the second part.

2.6 How do I get Window Maker to use more than 16 colors on my SGI Indy Workstation?

Thanks to Peter H. Choufor this answer:

By default, the SGI X Server uses 8-bit Pseudocolor mode. To change it, edit (as root) the file /usr/lib/X11/xdm/Xservers. Change it to read:

:0 secure /usr/bin/X11/X -bs -c -class TrueColor -depth 24

2.7 Using WindowMaker with Solaris 2.6 CDE

Thanks to Rob Funk for this answer:

Assuming you installed Window Maker according to the README's that come with the source, all you need to run Window Maker on a Solaris box is an entry in the .xinitrc. This should work for any version. When you run wmaker.inst the first time, allow it to make changes to the .xinitrc file. Mine looks like this:

# Window Maker Default .xinitrc
exec /usr/local/bin/wmaker

Believe it or not, that's all that it takes. This, in fact, runs Window Maker instead of OpenWindows. In order to choose Window Maker, you simply choose "OpenWindows Desktop" in the "Options - Session" Menus And Choose "CDE Desktop" if you want CDE.

The color schemes and settings for Window Maker are seperate from CDE. I tested on a SPARC 10, but I assume Solaris x86 would work also.

(webmaster note: It works fine on Solaris x86)

2.8 How do I install Window Maker on a Solaris box?

Here are some hints from John Kemp:

Installing Window Maker on a Solaris 2.6 box might require one or two little hints. Here you are (this was on a system running xdm by the way, but similar suggestions apply otherwise):

  1. /usr/openwin/lib/X11/xdm/Xservers like this:

    :0 local /usr/openwin/bin/X -dev /dev/fb defdepth 24 defclass TrueColor
  2. Turn off shm in the WindowMaker configure:

    $ ./configure --disable-shm
  3. might have to modify your LD_LIBRARY_PATH:, or make "wmaker" a script that does it for you (mv wmaker wmaker.exe):

    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
    /usr/local/bin/wmaker.exe $*

The real key is the "--disable-shm".

(webmaster note: Window Maker should work fine with SHM enabled, at least it does under Solaris 8. Try the default first, and then use this if you run into problems with it)

2.9 How do I fix an error such as cannot open shared object file?

If you have an error when running Window Maker such as cannot open shared object file

These are the instructions for Linux.

First, make sure that /usr/local/lib ( or whatever directory you installed Window Maker to) is listed in your /etc/ ). You need to run ldconfig so the new shared libraries will be loaded. After running ldconfig as root, the linker should properly load the libraries. You need to run this every time you update Window Maker.

Thanks to Joseph Czapiga, the BSD procedure for adding shared library directories is:

ldconfig -m /usr/local/lib  (m means merge)

2.10 How do I fix an error dealing with aclocal: 15: macro 'AM_PROG_LIBTOOL' not found in library?

You need to install libtool. It also must be a libtool different from version 1.2b ( shipped with redhat 5.2 ). You can get libtool from Make sure the autoconf and automake versions you have installed are at least:

  • autoconf 2.12

  • automake 1.3

  • libtool 1.2

From Blaine Horrocks:

You can also work around this problem on RedHat5.2 by copying the distributed aclocal.m4 to acinclude.m4 before running configure for the first time. Configure works fine and doing the make succeeds.

2.11 When I run wmaker, it quits complaining about '__register_frame_info'

This is related to having compiled Window Maker on a system whose libraries were compiled by egcs or gcc 2.8.0, and then using the binaries on a system whose libraries were compiled by gcc 2.7.2.x

Try compiling Window Maker with the newer gcc or recompile your system libraries with the older gcc. It's generally a bad idea to mix and match.

2.13 How do I start Window Maker after running wmaker.inst?

As of version 0.53.0, the wmaker.inst script will modify your X startup script (.xinitrc or .Xclients or .Xsession) to do something thats (hopefully) appropriate.

In order to run wmaker, a user needs to have an ~/.xinitrc file consisting of something similar to

exec wmaker

This will vary from system to system, but the existance of an .xinitrc file will generally override the system defaults.

2.16 How do I fix an error similar to "wrlib: could not allocate shared memory segment: invalid argument"

This relates to a shared memory problem on Solaris. Usually one can't see it - but it is visible if X is started from command line (or fail-safe session for that matter). In any of the cases, on the stderr you get an error message like this:

"wrlib: could not allocate shared memory segment: invalid argument"

This one is generated by wrlib if Window Maker is compiled with shared-memory usage enabled (which is the default). The explanation is that Solaris by default comes with a shared memory segment size of maximum 1 M. What happends is that if you have a really-really cool(tm) background, it is usually much bigger than that 1 M segment of shared memory. To see your defaults relating the IPC settings check the output of the "sysdef" command (look for IPC Shared Memory). There you should see the maximum allocable size for a shared memory segment. If it is less than 5 M you should really increase it by adding the following line in your /etc/system file:

set shmsys:shminfo_shmmax=20971520
  • Make sure you don't already have this value set. If you do, simply increase the value. In case you have a much bigger value, stick to what you have, because you should have no problems with it.

  • The value allows a maximum segment size of 20 M, which really should be enough for anyone. If not, try using a smaller background image!

  • Make sure you spell the line exactly as shown, otherwise at boot time the kernel will complain of not finding such a module name and will not set a thing about it!

  • Make sure you don't delete other lines or modify them "beyond recognition", for evil things may happen at boot time.

After adding this to your /etc/system you need to reboot in order for the new limit to take effect. Also, you may want to check the new limit just to make sure it has been set.

Thanks to Bogdan Iamandei for this answer.

2.17 How do I add Window Maker to the Solaris dtlogin screen?

The two files that determine alternate window managers are:


If you look in there, you'll find Xresources.ow and Xsession.ow, respectively. All you need are two files that set up Window Maker (or any other window manager) in a similar fashion, calling them Xresources.wm and Xsession.wm (or whichever extension you prefer).

Here is an example setup:

# **************************************************************************
# Window Maker config file
# Mike Bland <[email protected]>
# /usr/dt/config/C/Xresources.d/Xresources.wm
# used by dtlogin
# **************************************************************************

Dtlogin*altDtsIncrement:        True

Dtlogin*altDtName:      Window Maker
Dtlogin*altDtKey:       /usr/local/bin/wmaker
Dtlogin*altDtStart:     /usr/dt/config/Xsession.wm
#Dtlogin*altDtLogo:     /usr/local/share/logos/WM_logo.xpm

Once I get a logo ready, I'll add it to the dtlogin screen by uncommenting the last line.

And this example script:

# **************************************************************************
# Window Maker startup script
# Mike Bland <[email protected]>
# /usr/dt/config/Xsession.wm
# used by dtlogin
# **************************************************************************

. /usr/local/etc/.profile       # Sources the file containing necessary
                                # environment variables (especially
                                # LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib:...);
                                # make sure it's executable.




2.18 What happened to libPropList?

The libPropList dependency has been removed as of Window Maker version 0.70.0, and is replaced by cleaner, more robust code in the WINGs toolkit. This new code maintains existing proplist compatibility, so there are no visable changes for users, and existing file formats will work as they did before.

For developers, there is a proplist-compat.h header that provides a mapping between the old and new function names. See the comments in this file for further instructions.

3 Configuring Window Maker

3.1 What are those files inside my ~/GNUstep directory?

Here is a synopsis of the files in ~/GNUstep

  • ~/GNUstep/WindowMaker/WindowMaker is main config file. This file controls options such as keybindings, fonts, pixmaps, and focus modes.

  • ~/GNUstep/WindowMaker/WMWindowAttributes controls the "attributes" for individual applications and appicons. Options such as what icon to use are set here. For the most part, this is now best accessed via a right click on a title bar of an application and selecting "Attributes"

  • ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMState is the file that is automatically generated and contains the current dock settings. It is not recommended to edit this file by hand.

  • ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMRootMenu specifies what file to use as the root menu. In Window Maker 0.19.0 and higher, this file should be replaced by plmenu from ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker so that one can use to edit the menu.

  • ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/menu is used to change your root menu, if you are using the old menu style.

3.2 How do I enable the normal X sloppy focus mode?

If you are using WPrefs, you can choose the Window Focus Prefrences tab and then select the Input Focus Mode Slider.

Scroll Down and choose Sloppy Focus Mode.

You may also use a text editor on ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker and change the following:

FocusMode = sloppy;

3.3 How do I get my auto-arrange icons to work?

In WPrefs, choose the Icon Prefrences Tab and select the Auto Arrange Icons Checkbox. Or in ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker set


and the icons should now auto-arrange.

3.4 How do I get my Meta-Tab to cycle through windows correctly?

To use WPrefs to modify these, choose the Ergonomic Prefrences tab and check Raise window when switching focus with keyboard (Circulate Raise)

Or you can use a text editor to make sure that these settings are in your ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker file:

CirculateRaise = YES;
RaiseDelay = 1;

As of 0.61.0, MS Window's Style application tabbing is supported by default.

3.5 How do I get a tile background for my appicons (those things in the dock)?

These can all be adjusted by the Appearance Preferences tab in WPrefs.

Select the tile and then choose the edit texture dialog. Then you may choose any of the different tile background options in the The old text editor method is provided below for convience.

You need to change one line in your '~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker' file.

IconBack = (spixmap,, white);

The last parameter is the color that fills in any transparent parts of your icon.

3.6 How do you dock <insert program here> that doesn't have an appicon in the new version of WindowMaker?

There is now an option available to emulate appicons so that Window Maker can dock just about anything now. To dock a misbehaving application, right click on the title bar and select the attributes menu. Next, select the pull down menu's "Advanced Options" item. Under the Advanced Options menu, select the Emulate Application Icon Option then Save, Apply and close the dialog.

This should allow you do dock the program normally.

Dan Pascu adds:

Emulate Appicon does exactly the same as dockit. So if Emulate Appicon does not work, dockit will not work either. For such apps you can do nothing. They are badly coded (they do not set the instance.class hints). For these Attributes are also not available, since attributes apply to an instance and/or class hint.

Note: Dockit was previously distributed with Window Maker and was launched from the top dock icon.

Elliott Potter adds:

There's another way to dock applications that misbehave ... I've only done this with a couple of things (Adobe AcroRead is the only one I remember at the moment).

If Attributes -> Advanced Options -> Emulate Application Icon doesn't work:

  • Dock another application to the clip, where you want your application to go. I used gv, but anything you can dock will work.

  • Quit WindowMaker

  • Edit ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMState.

    If you're docking to the clip, scroll down to the Workspaces section. When you find whatever you docked, you'll see:

        Command = gv;
        Name = GV.gv;
        AutoLaunch = No;
        Forced = No;
        BuggyApplication = No;
        Position = "6,0"
        Omnipresent = No;
        DropCommand = "gv %d";

    Edit it to use the info for your new application:

         Command = acroread;         # use the full pathname if you have to
         Name = acroread.acroread;
         AutoLaunch = No;
         Forced = No;
         BuggyApplication = No;
         Position = "6,0"
         Omnipresent = No;
         DropCommand = "acroread %s";

    Then edit WMWindowAttributes, and add a line for your application's can edit the line that was inserted, or make a new one - I just make a new one:

    acroread.acroread = {Icon = pdf.tiff;};

    Then re-start WindowMaker, and your icon should be there! You can move it around like any other docked app now, but the Attributes section still won't work.

3.7 How do I get x11amp to not have a title bar ( or any other program for that matter )?

Right Click on the title bar and go to the attributes menu. Click on Window Attributes and click the the Disable titlebar and Disable Resizebar options. Click Save, and then click Apply then close the Attributes panel.

By Default, to get back to the attributes menu, use the key combination Control-Esc.

3.8 How do I set a pixmap background?

Here is the in depth explanation straight from the NEWS file:

wmsetbg now accepts the following options:

     usage: wmsetbg [-options] image
             dither image
             match colors
             tile image
             scale image (default)
             update Window Maker domain database
     -D <domain>
             update <domain> database
     -c <cpc>
             colors per channel to use

By default, it will try to guess if dithering is needed or not and proceed accordingly. Using -d or -m will force it to dither or match colors.

Dithering for more than 15bpp is generally not needed, and will only result in a slower processing. Don't use dithering except when needed, because it is slower. Else rely on wmsetbg which will detect if dithering is needed and use it.

  • -u - will update the WorkspaceBack in the default database domain file in ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker, and let Window Maker refresh the screen. Please note that this option only works under Window Maker, and will have no effect under other window managers, since it rely on Window Maker to update the image after it reads the updated defaults database.

  • -D - <domain> is same as above, but will update the domain <domain> instead of the default Window Maker domain.

  • -c <cpc> will set the color per channel to use. Only needed for PseudoColor visuals. Window Maker will automatically pass the value read from the Window Maker domain database.

The following line is straight from your WindowMaker-0.15.x ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/menu file and should all be on one line.

"Images" OPEN_MENU BACKGROUNDS_DIR ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/Backgrounds WITH wmsetbg -u -t

This should give you an idea on how to add other entries for different image directories. See the help info at the top of the ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/menu file for more information.

If you for some reason would like to set your background image with XV, for instance to use an image format not yet supported by wmsetbg or to use one of XV's special modes, edit the file ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/autostart and insert the line

xv -root -quit -maxpect ~/background.jpg


xv -root -quit -max ~/background.jpg

you can also try variations of this to get different tiling and other effects (where X is a number 1-9 I believe):

xv -root -quit -rmodeX ~/background.jpg

If you would like xv functionality in your menu, heres a nice little tip from Alfredo:

Add the following line to your ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/menu file. (all on one line)

"More Backgrounds" OPEN_MENU /home/whoever/backgrounds xv -root -maxpect -quit

3.9 Can I put pixmaps in my root menu and title bars?

Put the pixmaps in a directory that is located in your pixmap path set on Search Path Configuration Tab.

Then switch Appearance Preferences tab and select what widget you would to adjust under the Texture tab. Click edit. Chose an image texture format and then search for the texture.

You can use a similar procedure for any type of menu editing.

You can use png, gif, ppm, tiff, jpeg and xpm images interchangeably in Window Maker if you have compiled in support for those formats.

3.10 How do I get my Minimize Icon to look like the triangle I see in screenshots?

This involves a minor source tweak. Instructions are available at

3.11 Why does Netscape have a black and white Icon when I minimize it?

Craig Maloney has this answer:

If you happen to --enable-openlook at compile time, Netscape (and presumably other apps as well) believe they're running under OLVWM, and minimise with monochrome icons. Once compiled without OpenLook support, Netscape minimizes with the correct icon.

3.12 How do I get superfluous bells and whistles working?

Open WPrefs and go under the Other Configurations tab. Under Animations and Sound, depress the Superfluous tab.

Alternatively, you may add


to your ~/GNUstep/Defaults/Windowmaker file.

3.13 How do I get the classic NeXT(tm)-like style back?

Open WPrefs and navigate to the Other Configurations tab with the scroll bar. Within the Titlebar Style frame, select the last button on the right.

Otherwise, add or modify


in your ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker file.

3.14 How do I get the window menu with only a two button mouse?

In WPrefs, under Mouse Prefrences, the mouse actions can be mapped to a button of choice.

Jim Noble explains another way to do this:

If you've got a two-button mouse under some versions of Solaris x86, there's no way (that I'm aware of) to emulate a 3-button mouse. The right button can be either MB2 or MB3, but chording doesn't work.

ApplicationMenuMouseButton = Left;


WindowListMouseButton = Right;

in ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker ought to allow the left button to activate the root menu, and the right button (as MB2) to activate the windows menu.

3.15 How do I edit my root menu?

You can now use ( its appicon looks like a heart rate meter with a GNUStep icon backgroud ). Note that this will replace any oldstyle menus and there is no way to convert the oldstyle menu to the new libproplist style menu.

For old style menus, edit the file ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/menu and save your changes. Window Maker should detect the change and automatically update. If you are having a problem getting it to reload the menu, try

$ touch menu

to force the modification time into the future.

3.16 WPrefs disappeared from the Dock! How do I get it back?

Pascal Hofstee offers this answer:

You should just start it from a terminal by supplying it's FULL path-name, which is usually the following: /usr/local/GNUstep/Apps/

At this point, a new appicon should be generated which can be placed back into the Dock.

3.17 How can I define my own Icon for a program? (instead of the Icon the Application Supplies?)

You can right click on the titlebar of the running app and choose the "Attributes..." option, then click on the "Ignore client supplied icon" checkbox. Click "Apply", "Save" and close the Attributes Editor.

Another method is to edit ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMWindowAttributes by hand and use the AlwaysUserIcon=YES; option for the app. For example:

xmcd = {
      Icon = "Radio.xpm";

3.18 How do I turn off the workspace titles between workspaces?

In Window Maker 0.60.0, an option was added to turn this off.

By editing ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker insert or modify the key WorkspaceNameDisplayPosition = none; Other valid options for this include center/top/bottom/topleft/topright/bottomleft/bottomright;

3.19 How do I add dynamic items to my root menu?

A few programs are floating about, notably that can produce output from other menu styles. In order to get WindowMaker to launch the process everytime you want to use the menu, use something like

("External Menu", OPEN_MENU, "|")

in a proplist style menu. You can tell if you have a proplist style menu if you can edit it with WPrefs.

You can do this directly in WPrefs by going to the menu editor, adding an "external menu", and then clicking the "ask guru button" and filling in the process name.

Thanks to Igor P. Roboul

3.20 How do I remove or hide appicons?

There are two options here, and you need to consider which one you prefer. Read both of these before you decide.

First, if you do not want to use the clip or dock at all, you can launch wmaker with with

$ wmaker --no-clip --no-dock

and then in ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMWindowAttributes add

"*" = {NoAppIcon=Yes;};

The problem with this method is if you use the dock for dockapps, it renders them with out an appicon to write to. An alternative method if you are willing to let the clip be on your desktop is to right click on the clip > clip options > auto attract. Double click the clip so that it is grayed and all appicons will be hidden. Then you can hide the clip behind the dock so that it is out of your way. This will allow appicons to work.

3.21 I disabled my titlebar. How can I get it back?

Thanks to Jim Knoble for this answer

Set the focus to the window and then use the keystroke assigned to the titlebar menu. If you're not sure what the keystroke is, you can find out using WPrefs: in the keyboard section, select the Open window commands menu item in the list of actions. The keystroke assigned to it ought to appear in the Shortcut' area.

Typically it is Control-Esc or F10 in older version of WindowMaker.

3.22 How do I remove ALT+Mouse1 from the action Window Maker grabs for an application?

Do [Button3Down] (for righthanded mouse users, [RightButtonDown]) on the titlebar of the desired window. Choose Attributes.... In the Attributes inspector, choose Advanced Options. Check Don't Bind Mouse Clicks. Apply or Save as desired, then close the Attributes inspector.

The result is that [Alt+Button1] (which usually grabs a window to move it around), [Alt+Button2] (which usually grabs a window to move it around without changing the window stacking order), and [Alt+Button3] (which usually resizes a window) all get passed to the application instead of performing their usual action.

3.23 How do I configure the Dock and Clip to use less space on a small screen?

This answer is current as of WindowMaker-0.61.1.

For the Clip, either:

  • Disable the Clip from WPrefs (panel number 7), or

  • Hide the Clip under the Dock (for example, in the upper righth and corner of the screen).

The latter is probably more useful on desktops with limited space, since you can still set the Clip to attract app-icons so they don't clutter your desktop.

For the Dock, try the following:

  1. Exit Window Maker.

  2. Log in via a text console or using a different window manager.

  3. Edit ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMState using your favorite text editor (for example, vi, emacs, or pico).

  4. Find the Applications part of the Dock structure. Find the item with Position = "0,0";. Change the Command item to the command you want the top tile to launch. Change the Name item to the <instance>.<class> name of the application you just made the Command item start (for example, if Command is "xedit", then Name should be xedit.Xedit).

  5. Save the WMState file.

  6. Start an X session with Window Maker.

  7. Check that the top tile starts the command you told it to. (You should still also be able to move the Dock up and down using [LeftDrag] on the top tile.)

  8. You can configure the tile (including autolaunch and the drop-command) in the regular manner ([RightButtonDown] on the tile and choose Settings... from the resulting menu).

3.24 Why do dashes not work as menu entries?

If you wish to use a - as part of a menu item name, you must enclose the name in double quotes. This will only apply if you're editing the ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMRootMenu file manually, as it is handled properly within WPrefs.

This will work:

("us-gw", EXEC, "Eterm -e ssh us-gw"),

This will not:

(us-gw, EXEC, "Eterm -e ssh us-gw"),

Thanks to Martin Sillence for pointing this out.

4 Using Window Maker

4.1 How do add new icons to the Dock?

First, launch an application. If an icon (henceforth called an appicon) appears in the bottom left corner of the screen, left click and drag it over near the Dock. You will see a slightly opaque square of where the Dock will place the appicon. When you do, release the mouse button and the appicon should now be in the Dock.

Next, right click on the desktop to bring up the menu. Select Workspace -> Save Session to make this permanent.

4.2 What is the difference between the Exit and Exit Session Option?

Another answer from Dan Pascu:

Exit will exit wmaker, but can leave other X apps running, provided that it was not the last app launched in the .xinitrc (for instance, if you had exec wmaker, followed by exec xterm, exiting wmaker using 'Exit' will leave the xterm running so you could start another window manager, etc.) This is accomplished because X will not shutdown unless all X apps are closed.

Exit session will exit wmaker, but will also close all running apps, thus the X server will be closed too.

4.3 How do I "dock" icons on the clip?

Just drag icons near it like you would for the dock. If you are having a problem docking icons, you should try moving the clip away from the dock.

4.4 Why do none of my key bindings (ie: Alt+#) work in Window Maker?

If you are using XFree86, make sure scroll lock and numlock are off or no bindings will work (XFree bug). You can try using the XFree86 Numlock Hack by editing the line #undef NUMLOCK_HACK in $(WindowMaker)/src/wconfig.h and changing it to #define NUMLOCK_HACK.

With the release of 0.18.0, this hack is now working and hopefully no one will have to ask this question again.

4.5 How do I rename workspaces?

Right click to bring up the root menu. Go under the Workspaces menu item and hold the control key down. Next, click on the workspace entry you would like to rename, type the name, and press enter.

4.6 How can I resize a window if the window is larger than my current desktop?

David Reviejo best summed up this answer:

Maybe you know: Alt+Left click and drag to move the window.

Try this: Alt+Right click and drag to resize (by moving the nearest window corner)

Another move/resize tip: while you are moving or resizing a window, you can change the move/resize mode by pressing the SHIFT key.

4.7 How do I "undock" appicons?

If the program is not running, just drag the icon to the middle of your desktop and watch it disappear. If the program is running, hold down Meta and drag the icon off the dock.

I docked an application but when I run it the button is permanently shaded and I can't run new instances. You probably docked the application with dockit. To fix it remove the icon and use the "Emulate Application Icon" checkbox in the Advanced Options section of the Attributes panel for the window. Then restart the application to get the application icon you must use to dock the application. It can also mean that you did something you shouldn't, which is changing the program that is ran from the docked icon. For example, if you docked rxvt you must NOT change it to xterm, for example. You also can't do any changes that might alter the contents of the WM_CLASS hint for the window, like the -name parameter for xterm, rxvt and other programs.

4.8 When I run wmaker it complains about not being able to load any fonts.

Check if the locale settings are correct. If you're not sure what to do, unset the LANG environment variable before running wmaker.

When I set the root background with wmsetbg by hand it works, but when I do that from the configuration files it doesnt! If you set the root background with wmsetbg by hand, it will obviously find the image, since you have explicitly specified it by hand. But if you simply put it in ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker in some option like WorkspaceBack, it will not find the image because Window Maker can't read your mind to figure where you put the image. So, to fix it, you have to either place the full path for the image in the texture specification or put the path for the directory you put your background images in the PixmapPath option. You can also put all your background images in places like ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/Backgrounds or /usr/local/share/WindowMaker/Backgrounds.

David Green says that another possibility is that you have two copies of the worker programs: wmsetbg (and possibly setstyle) and the wrong one is in the path first.

4.9 What is the purpose of being able to draw a box on the root menu with a left click?

Its purpose is two-fold.

First, it is used to select multiple windows on a desktop at a time. When these windows are selected, they can be moved around on your desktop and will retain their relative positions.

Second, once selected, they are persistent through desktop changes. So it is useful for moving large numbers of windows between desktops.

You can also select windows with shift+click.

5 Application Compatibility

5.1 How do I assign gimp an appicon?

You can enter the following line in WMWindowAttributes:


Window Maker now can assign Icons from within the windowmanager. To do so, right click on the title bar of an app, click on the droplist->Icon and WorkSpace entry, enter the icon file name (make sure this is in your pixmap path), click update, apply, and then save.

5.2 How do I get an appicon for XEmacs 20.3+?

Thanks to Michael Hafner for this answer.

You don't need to patch the XEmacs code, just run

./configure --with-session=yes (in addition to any other options you use)

in your XEmacs 20.3+ sourcedir and rebuild it. Then XEmacs shows an appicon when running and you can easily dock it.

5.3 Where do I get the nifty clock program I always see on people's desktops?

It's called asclock. Once included with Window Maker, it now is available at

asclock was written by Beat Christen and used to have its own website, which seems to have disappeared. However, references to it exist all over the place, and can be found by searching Google.

Beat Christen wrote this awhile back:

Please note that the asclock-gtk version 2.0 beta 4 (asclock-gtk-2.0b4.tar.gz) does not have the -d switch yet and that the asclock-xlib-2.1b2.tar.gz does not have the shaped asclock builtin.

A wonderful alternative to asclock is Jim Knoble's wmclock. It duplicates asclock and adds some much needed improvements.

5.4 How do you dock asclock?

It is highly recommended that you use the asclock mentioned previously in question 5.3. The asclock that is typically included in AfterStep will not properly dock with Window Maker. At this point, there are at least four or five different versions of asclock floating about.

For older versions such as asclock-classic , use a command line similar to

asclock -shape -iconic -12 &

For newer versions such as asclock-xlib 2.0 and asclock-gtk use

asclock -shape -iconic -12 -d &

Drag it from the top right corner of the clock to the dock. Right click on the icon and select autolaunch.

In order to make asclock launch every time you start Window Maker, right click on the outer edge of the border for asclock until a menu appears. Select the "Settings" item and then select the "Lauch this Program Automatically" option then select the "OK" button.

If you get an error such as sh: /dev/console: Permission denied, login as root, cd to /dev/ and run

./MAKEDEV console

5.5 Where can I get more dockapps?

The Window Maker team got tired of people E-mailing constantly asking where the websites for obscure dockapps disappeared to. So we've created the ultimate dockapps community website. Visit for the latest, up-to-date links, information, and download for Window Maker and related dockapps.

Another large index of dockapp links is available at The downside to this is that they're only links, so if someone stops maintaining a dockapp, or their web hosting provider cuts them off, you won't be able to get to it. Still, Ben Sinclair's site was the first big "dockapp warehouse" site, so we give credit where credit is due. :)

5.6 How do I get an appicon for rxvt so I can dock it?

The default rxvt that comes with most distributions is an outdated version of rxvt. The newest development version of rxvt is availible from As of the time of this writing, the version is 2.4.7 and it natively produces an appicon without a patch.

John Eikenberry has also created an rpm which is available from

5.7 How do I allow Alt+# to work in an rxvt/xterm session?

First, Launch a unique instance of rxvt or xterm. This can be done using the -N option of rxvt.

rxvt -name foo -e irc

Then, go to the Attributes menu (right click on titlebar -> Attributes) / Advanced Options and enable "Don't Bind Keyboard shortcuts". Click Save and Apply and you should be able to run your session without the shortcuts.

5.8 How do I get different icons for different rxvt's and xterms?

The hint is the -name option for xterm or rxvt. This will allow you to change the exact WM_CLASS in the attributes menu and assign a unique icon.

rxvt -name foo -title Testing

Then Right click on the title bar to bring up the attributes menu, and you will be able to edit the properties for foo.XTerm (ie: assign a unique icon).

5.9 How do I launch multiple instances of XTerm from one appicon?

Thanks for the update by Sara C. Pickett:

The easiest way to accomplish this is to dock XTerm as normal. Then Go to the Attributes menu -> Application Specific and select no application icon for XTerm.

Then right-click on the docked appicon and select settings. Change the Application Path with arguments section to

'/bin/sh -c "exec xterm &"'

5.10 Window Maker breaks scilab.

If you refer to the problem of the "graphics" window of scilab not showing up in Window Maker, this is caused by a bug in scilab. You can see the cause of the problem by yourself, by running xprop on the graphic window: WM_NORMAL_HINTS(WM_SIZE_HINTS):

user specified location: 136679205, 1074468360
user specified size: 400 by 300
program specified minimum size: 400 by 300

Now, when scilab opens it's window, Window Maker nicely does exactly what it is told, that is, map the window at position 136679205, 1074468360 which obviously falls outside the screen no matter how big is your monitor ;)

Meanwhile, the workaround for this is to open the window list menu (click on the root window with the middle mouse button) and click on the ScilabGraphic entry. The window should be brought to your reach. Then, open the window commands menu (right click on window's titlebar) and open the Attributes panel. Go to the "Advanced Options" section, check the "Keep inside screen" option and save.

If you can recompile Scilab, this came from a Scilab developer:


size_hints.flags = USPosition | USSize | PMinSize;


size_hints.flags = /** USPosition |**/ USSize | PMinSize;

in routines/xsci/jpc_SGraph.c

5.11 How do I get a transparent xterm/rxvt/xconsole?

You need a terminal emulator that has support for transparency, like Eterm, the latest rxvt, wterm, aterm or gnome-terminal.

You can find these programs on

5.12 How do I dock an arbitrary console application like mutt?

There are two key things to do if you want a program (such as mutt) to be able to start in a terminal window from the Dock or the Clip:

  • Make the terminal window start the program you want to run instead of a shell. Both xterm and rxvt (and its descendants) are capable of doing this. For example:

    xterm -e mutt
    rxvt -e mutt
    gnome-terminal -e mutt
  • Convince Window Maker that the resulting terminal window is not a regular terminal window, but rather some other program instance. Both xterm and rxvt are also capable of doing this. Make sure that -e is the last command option. For example:

    xterm -name muttTerm -e mutt
    rxvt -name muttTerm -e mutt
    gnome-terminal --name=muttTerm -e mutt

    This causes the instance of the terminal window that you start to have an <instance-name>.<class-name> pair of muttTerm.XTerm (usually rxvt's class is also XTerm; don't know about its descendants, such as wterm and Eterm).

    Do not use spaces or periods in the instance name. For example, these are BAD instance names:

    xterm -name mutt.term -e mutt
    rxvt -name 'mutt term' -e mutt

    Window Maker will not like you if you use them.

    With a different instance name, you can now do the following:

    • Dock the resulting appicon in the dock, or clip it to the Clip.

    • Assign a different icon and different window properties to the special' terminal window running your program (make sure you choose the exact ``muttTerm.XTerm` window specification in the Attributes editor).

    • Specify different resource settings for muttTerm in your ~/.Xdefaults file (e.g., different default foreground and background colors).

There are a few other non-key things you can do to complete the process:

  • Tell the terminal window to display a more meaningful or prettier title and icon title than what gets put there due to -e. For example:

    rxvt -title 'Mail (mutt)' -n 'Mail' -name muttTerm -e mutt

    Xterm works the same way.

  • These are getting to be a lot of command-line options. Make a wrapper script to use so you don't have to remember them all:

    mkdir ~/bin
    cat >~/bin/muttTerm <<EOF
    rxvt -title 'Mail (mutt)' -n 'Mail' -name muttTerm -e mutt
    chmod +x ~/bin/muttTerm

    Now you can do the same thing as that really long command in [3] above using the simple:


    If you put ~/bin in your PATH, you can use the even simpler:

  • If you want to be sly, you can change the docked muttTerm to use your new wrapper script instead of the really long command; then, when you want to change anything in the really long command except for the instance name, you can just change the wrapper script, and it's done. Here's the procedure:

    • [RightButtonDown] on the muttTerm dock tile

    • Choose Settings...

    • Replace the text in the Application path and arguments field with the following:

    • Choose OK

      Note that Window Maker needs to know that ~/bin is on your PATH for this to work; you may need to exit your X session and start it again.

      To change the instance name of the terminal window (e.g., from muttTerm to mailTerm or blah or terminalWindowRunningMutt), you need to do the following

    • Change your muttTerm script

    • Undock your old muttTerm

    • Run your muttTerm script

    • Dock the resulting terminal window

    • Do the stuff in first 4 subpoint above again.

Good luck.

Thanks to Jim Knoble for this answer.

5.13 How do I get an appicon for Netscape?

If you are not using one of the latest Navigators, you can

  1. Right click on the title bar

  2. Click Attributes

  3. Select Advanced Options from the pull down menu

  4. Select Emulate Application Icon

  5. Click Save

and older netscapes should now produce an application icon.

If you are using a newer rpm from Redhat Linux, try running

grep irix `which netscape`

This seems to have been introduced in their 4.7 update. Comment out irix-session management restart netscape. Alternatively, you may run either




depending on which rpms you have installed.

5.14 How can I dock an application from a remote machine using ssh?

This answer asumes that you have already set up RSA authentication using ssh-keygen. To be able to launch applications without being prompted for the password, you can use ssh-agent and ssh-add as follows.

With the addition to ~/.xsession of

eval `ssh-agent`
ssh-add /dev/null

just before

exec wmaker

Then ssh will no longer prompt for the RSA-key passphrase. The /dev/null argument to ssh-add causes it to use the ssh-askpass graphical dialog.

The following procedure shows how to dock a remote xterm using ssh. This procedure should work well for any well-behaved X11 application, including most Dock applets.

  1. From a terminal window, start an ssh session with xterm as the command:

    ssh -a -C -X "xterm -name blah"

    (The '-a' switch turns off agent forwarding, for security reasins and the '-X' switch turns on X11 forwarding, required for the remote xterm to run. The -C option turns on compression, very useful for things such as X)

  2. When the remote xterm appears, find the appicon. If it's not already in the Clip, drag it there.

  3. [RightButtonDown] on the appicon and choose 'Settings...' from the menu. Note that the 'Application path and arguments' field contains only:

    xterm -name blah

    Change that to:

    ssh -a -C -X "xterm -name blah"

    The backslashes and double quotes are critical. Change the contents of 'Command for files dropped with DND' in the same fashion, putting '%d' inside the double quotes.

    If you wish, change the icon so that you can recognize the tile easily. Press 'OK'.

  4. [RightButtonDown] on the appicon again and choose 'Keep Icon(s)'.

  5. Exit the remote xterm. The new Clip tile should remain, with the three dots at the lower lefthand corner to indicate the app is no longer running.

  6. [DoubleClick] on the new Clip tile. You should get the remote xterm again after a short while, depending on the speed of your network and of the remote machine.

  7. You may either leave the remote application in the Clip, or drag it to the Dock.


You should be wary of docking something like wminet or wmnet in the manner, since you may create a feedback loop by causing additional network traffic, which the program monitors, causing yet more network traffic...

5.15 How do you make an omnipresent window not take focus whenever switching workspaces?

Typically, on applications like xmms, they are set to omnipresent so they will appear on every workspace. This causes the app to often get the focus unintentionally when switching workspaces.

To remedy this,

  1. Bring up the Attributes menu. You can do this by [Right Clicking] on the title bar and seletcing Attributes. Alternatively, you may hit 'Control+ESC' at the same time to bring up the title bar menu on apps that do not have a title bar.

  2. In the Window Attributes menu, select Skip Window List

  3. Push Save and then hit the close dialog window icon in the upper right corner of the window frame.

Now the window will not take focus when switching workspaces.


this will also make the window non-focusable via keyboard window switching. The only way to shift focus to the window is via the mouse.

6 Themes and Dockapps

6.1 What exactly are themes?

Themes are a great aspect of Window Maker allowing a user to simply save the entire 'look' of their desktop in an archive to distribute freely among friends, fellow users and/or the whole net in general. :)

See the theme-HOWTO for an in-depth walk-through on making a Theme archive.

6.2 How do I install a theme?

This should be as simple as untarring the Theme.tar.gz into one of two places. You can untar it to the global /usr/local/share/WindowMaker/* directory, and have it be accessable to all users, or you can untar it to your own ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/ directory for your own personal use.

Use your favorite variation of the following:

gzip -dc "Theme.tar.gz" | tar xvf -

Note that directory may differ on different systems

6.3 Why do my themes not load the background?

Likely you have not compiled Window Maker with support for the background image format, usually JPEG.

You can check this by the following command

ldd `which wmaker`

If libjpeg is not listed, you will need to install libjpeg that is available from

6.4 How do I make a Theme?

Please see the theme-HOWTO for details on making both new and old style themes (and the differences between the two), here is a short summary on making old style themes. Also, read the README.themes file included with the Window Maker distribution in the WindowMaker/ directory.

In this walk-through when I use WindowMaker/, it can refer to the global /usr/local/share/WindowMaker/ directory or the users own ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/ directory.

To make a Theme.tar.gz, these are the steps I take:

  1. Optionally create a README for your theme in WindowMaker/, call it something like "ThemeName.txt"

  2. Use the following command to add the Theme files to your .tar file.

    tar cvf ThemeName.tar ThemeName.txt Themes/ThemeName
    Backgrounds/ThemeNameBG.jpg Backgrounds/ThemeNameTile.xpm

    You can add as many more images as you need from the appropriate directories nder WindowMaker/ following that general idea. You can even optionally add an IconSets/ThemeName.iconset and it's associated icons to your theme in the same manner. This should be stated in your README if you decide to include these.

  3. Then gzip your .tar file to make your ThemeName.tar.gz file with this command:

    tar cvf ThemeName.tar ThemeName.txt Themes/ThemeName
    Backgrounds/ThemeNameBG.jpg Backgrounds/ThemeNameTile.xpm

    You can add as many more images as you need from the appropriate directories

    gzip -9 ThemeName.tar
  4. Now give it to your friends!

6.5 I untarred a theme in ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker like the README says,but it doesnt show up in the menu!

Make sure the OPEN_MENU command for the Themes entry in your menu has the path for your personal themes directory included in it. To be sure, add

#define USER_THEMES_DIR ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/Themes

in your wmmacros file.

7 Miscellaneous Questions

7.1 Is there a pager for Window Maker?

Not at the moment because there is not a pressing need for a pager. The concept of multiple desktops does exist and there are currently 3 ways to switch between them.

First, the Meta+Number combination will switch between desktops. The Workspaces menu will also let you switch workspaces. Lastly, the clip will also scroll one through workspaces. For those that would like to send an application to a specific workspace, either drag it to the edge of the desktop onto the next workspace, or right click on its title bar, select 'Move To', and click the workspace you want it to be moved to.

However, Window Maker does support KDE and GNOME protocols, including their workspace management, so you may use their pager in conjunction with Window Maker in these. Note that in order for this to work, you must enable support when you configure Window Maker (using the --enable-kde and --enable-gnome configure options).

Note also that the Blackbox pager application will work with Window Maker.

7.2 How do I use getstyle and setstyle?

To capture the current Window Maker style, use the command

getstyle >

To replace the current style, use the command


7.3 Why was libPropList removed from the distribution?

Alfredo Kojima writes:

libPropList was removed from Window Maker because other programs also use it, such as GNOME. If libPropList is distributed with wmaker, it would cause problems with whatever version of libPropList you already had installed.

Now, there is no more GNOME libproplist and Window Maker libproplist. There is only libPropList which is worked on as a single community effort.

7.4 Why don't you distribute normal diff or xdelta patches?

Whenever possible, plain diff patches are distributed. If the new version has new binary files, normal diff won't be able to handle them, so a patch package is distributed instead. We don't use xdelta because a) most systems do not have xdelta installed and b) xdelta is picky and requires the files to be patched to be exactly the same as the one used to make the patch. The patch package scheme used is much more flexible.

We do not distribute a simple diff with the binary files separately (and variations, like uuencoding the binary files) because a) it is more complicated and error prone to require the user to manually move the files to the correct places b) the current patch package scheme does distribute the binary files and diff files separately. If the user wants to install everything by hand, nobody will object to that and c) sooner or later someone will certainly ask for a script to automate the file moving stuff.

So we hacked a script (mkpatch) that automatically creates a patch package with the normal text diff file, a list of removed files and the binary files that have changed or been added, plus a script that does the patching automatically. If you don't like the script, you can apply the patch and move the files manually. Or download the whole distribution.

7.5 Will you add GNOME or KDE support?

Support for GNOME and KDE hints has been included since 0.50.0.

Note that you must enable this support at compile time with the proper arguments to configure (--enable-kde and --enable-gnome).

7.6 How can I produce a backtrace when Window Maker keeps crashing?

Thanks to Paul Seelig for this answer:

You can use the GNU debugger "gdb" to get exact information about how and where wmaker crashed. Sending this information to the developers is the most convenient way to help in debugging.

The wmaker binary needs to be compiled with debugging turned on ("./configure --with-debug etc.") for this to work.

Exit wmaker and start a failsafe X session with an open xterm.

First type the command "script" to log the following session into a file commonly called "~/typescript". Then enter "gdb wmaker" at the shellprompt:

[shell prompt]~ > script
Script started, output file is typescript
[shell prompt]~ > gdb wmaker
GNU gdb 4.17.m68k.objc.threads.hwwp.fpu.gnat
Copyright 1998 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
GDB is free software, covered by the GNU General Public License, and you are
welcome to change it and/or distribute copies of it under certain conditions.
Type "show copying" to see the conditions.
There is absolutely no warranty for GDB.  Type "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "i486-pc-linux-gnu"...

At the gdb prompt simply type "run" to start the WMaker session:

(gdb) run
Starting program: /usr/bin/X11/wmaker

Try to reproduce the error which has provoked the crash before and if you succeed the session will simply freeze and you will see something similiar to following prompt:

Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
0x809ea0c in WMGetFirstInBag (bag=0x0, item=0x811e170) at bag.c:84
84          for (i = 0; i < bag->count; i++) {

Now you just type "bt" for "backtrace" and gdb will show you where the crash happened:

(gdb) bt
#0  0x809ea0c in WMGetFirstInBag (bag=0x0, item=0x811e170) at bag.c:84
#1  0x807c542 in wSessionSaveState (scr=0x80c28e8) at session.c:299
#2  0x807bd88 in wScreenSaveState (scr=0x80c28e8) at screen.c:1089
#3  0x807cf54 in Shutdown (mode=WSExitMode) at shutdown.c:111
#4  0x8078101 in exitCommand (menu=0x80f7230, entry=0x80fdb38)
at rootmenu.c:193
#5  0x8078403 in wRootMenuPerformShortcut (event=0xbffff360) at rootmenu.c:401
#6  0x80630f7 in handleKeyPress (event=0xbffff360) at event.c:1492
#7  0x8061c86 in DispatchEvent (event=0xbffff360) at event.c:232
#8  0x8093092 in WMHandleEvent (event=0xbffff360) at wevent.c:585
#9  0x8061dae in EventLoop () at event.c:322
#10 0x806b238 in main (argc=1, argv=0xbffff404) at main.c:594

To quit the debugger just type "quit" and say "y":

(gdb) quit
The program is running.  Exit anyway? (y or n) y
[shell prompt]~ >

To quit the script session type "exit" again:

[shell prompt]~ > exit
Script done, output file is typescript
[shell prompt]~ >

Send the resulting "~/typescript" together with a concise explanation about how to reproduce the bug (please use the included BUGFORM for instruction) to the developers.

8 Troubleshooting Tips

No questions are currently available for this chapter.

9 Programming for Window Maker

9.1 How do I get a normal X application to produce an appicon?

Another insightful answer from who else but Dan Pascu.

You must define the WM_CLASS (XSetClassHint()) and the CLIENT_LEADER or XWMHints.window_group properties, which are automatically set by most applications that use Xt (Motif, Athena ...), but if you use plain Xlib you must set them by hand.

Also you must make a call to XSetCommand(dpy, leader, argv, argc);

Take a look at WindowMaker-0.12.3/test/test.c that is an example for writing such an app (which also have an app menu).

9.2 How do I get my tcl/tk application to produce an appicon?

Oliver Graf writes:

The main window (normally this is called '.' [dot] in tk) should use the following lines:

wm command . [concat $argv0 $argv]
wm group . .

All child windows attached to the same app-icon should use:

toplevel .child
wm group .child .

where .child should be replaced by the actual window path.

Replace '.' with the actual main-window path and 'wm group .child .' should be added for each 'toplevel .child' call.

9.3 What is WINGs?

WINGs Is Not GNUstep. ;)

It is the widget library written for the widgets in Window Maker. It is currently under heavy development but several people have started writing applications in it. Its goal is to emulate the NeXT(tm)-style widgets. is the closest thing to an information center about WINGs. You can find out more information in our WINGs development section.

9.4 Where can I get more information about WINGs?

Nic Berstein has created a WINGs development list.

The purpose of this list is to provide a forum for support, ideas, suggestions, bug reports etc. for the WINGs widget set library.

To subscribe to this list, send a message with the word subscribe in the BODY of the message to: [email protected].

Window Maker: FAQ