Clean, simple, and extensible

This project is maintained by yaoguai



"FVWM-min" is a minimal standard configuration for FVWM that provides a sane and functional set of window manager defaults. FVWM-min is designed for clean and simple window management without extra clutter. Styles are available for customizing the look, and are switched between using a small shell script.

Why FVWM-min?

Years ago, I tried using X for the first time, but I was sorely disappointed by the window managers available, each stranger and more eccentric than the next. Finally, I began to wish that Motif and CDE were available for us, the flagship environments for commercial Unix systems. I knew, though, that both were quite dated, so I began to look to FVWM as a modern replacement.

Unfortunately, FVWM does not come with sane defaults. FVWM is more like a "build-your-own-windowing-environment" kit. This is where FVWM-min comes in. FVWM-min configures FVWM to a very clean and functional state, and then it gets out of your way so you can do your work. The basic idea is that after installation, it should be usable enough for you to start productive work in it immediately.

Our idea is that a Unix windowing environment should be simple, minimal, and intuitive. It should work correctly and normally by default, and should be configured easily according to the user's needs.


The per-user installation process includes just a few steps:

  1. If "$HOME/.fvwm" exists, make a backup as a precaution
  2. Run "make" to build the styles
  3. Run "make install" to install the configurations into "$HOME/.fvwm"

Keyboard Shortcuts

A small number of keyboard shortcuts are defined by default. The most important to know are the following:

Choosing a Style

Themes are contained in the styles subdirectory, and the symbolic link mystyle allows users to select their own. A shell script is provided for quickly and safely updating this symlink. For example, to choose the theme "CDE," you might issue the following command:

$ ~/.fvwm/set-style cde

This will switch to the CDE style and reload FVWM.

Making Customizations

Unless you are happy with the most basic window manager functionality such as working in terminal windows and opening clocks, you may want to add your own customizations such as new menu entries or keyboard shortcuts. The standard way to do this is by editing your config file.

The most common and useful customizations are in the three following areas:

  1. Menu entries
  2. Keyboard and mouse shortcuts
  3. StartFunction and RestartFunction

The standard config file is structured so the most common and important things to customize come first. You can open your config file and start adding menu entries and new keyboard shortcuts quickly and easily.


screen: min By default, FVWM-min uses a clear and neutral style (min).

screen: twm2 FVWM-min can also look a little similar to TWM.

screen: mwm It can also take the look of the Motif Window Manager (MWM).

screen: cde You can also make it look like the Common Desktop Environment (CDE).

screen: solar Or more like CDE on your Sun workstation.

screen: twm3 Virtual desktops, keybindings, and the essentials – no clutter, bloat, or feature-creep.