Projects / WindowLab


WindowLab is a small and simple window manager of novel design. It has a click-to-focus but not raise-on-focus policy, a window resizing mechanism that allows one or many edges of a window to be changed in one action, and an innovative menubar that shares the same part of the screen as the taskbar. Window titlebars are prevented from going off the edge of the screen by constraining the mouse pointer. When appropriate, the pointer is also constrained to the taskbar/menubar in order to make target menu items easier to hit.

Operating Systems

Recent releases

  •  04 Apr 2010 18:50

    Release Notes: XNextEvent() was replaced by the interruptible_XNextEvent() function in do_event_loop().

    •  27 Dec 2009 17:37

      Release Notes: The menu file handling was made more lenient.

      •  14 Nov 2009 21:48

        Release Notes: The makefile was made more flexible, the signal handler for SIGHUP now just sets a semaphore, and reloading of menu resources happens in the event loop. Some problems found by auditing the code with Flawfinder were fixed.

        •  04 Oct 2009 19:06

          Release Notes: A bug that was freeing clients' names twice was fixed.

          •  01 Oct 2009 20:20

            Release Notes: The inherited licences part of the readme file was rewritten to take into account 9wm's switch to the MIT licence, the menu options were updated, and a simple mechanism was added that updates the menu in the running instance of WindowLab.

            Recent comments

            04 Feb 2010 15:10 jsherk

            Two questions about this project:
            #1 - Is it available for CentOS 5?
            #2 - Will this let me run Firefox?

            The only two things I miss from the Linux shell access, are a Web Browser like Firefox and a mouse driven text editor. I have tried Gnome, KDE and Xfce but they are just too slow, so I am wondering if this might be what I am looking for.


            19 May 2005 02:10 nickgravgaard

            Re: Strange Concept

            > Strange concept of no raise-on-focus policy.

            It comes from the Amiga and makes a good deal of sense once you get used to it. On the Amiga the menu is at the top of the screen and is used by whichever app has focus (like on the Mac), but it seems the Amiga guys wanted to be able to give focus to windows without automatically raising them (unlike the Mac (and Windows) which use click-to-focus and raise-on-focus). That left the Unix style focus-follows-mouse model, but this would be terrible to use on a system with a shared menu at the top of the screen. Just imagine trying to work on a screen full of windows - you might be working on an app at the bottom of the screen and to use the menu you'd have to get the mouse pointer to the top of the screen without passing over another window!). I believe this is currently the cause of a lot of frustration for Unix people who bought new Macs running OS X and are trying to hack together a usable implementation of focus-follows-mouse!

            Try using WindowLab for a while and see if you can get used to it. For me (and many others) it's a much nicer way of working.

            18 May 2005 08:16 shockzor

            Strange Concept
            Strange concept of no raise-on-focus policy.


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