Category: Linux

Compton + Window Maker

Window Maker with Compton
I was curious how a compositor would to do with Window Maker. To my surprise, it worked very well, and I was satisfied with the results. Shadows displayed as expected, as did transparency (mostly). The only odd effect I got was that by enabling transparent menus, other areas (which apparently are treated as menus) became transparent as well. Other than that, it preformed smoothly and it was great.

Window Maker: A Real (90s) Desktop

Window Maker Desktop
Window Maker with Dillo, xman, xedit, xclock, and xeyes open.


Anyone at least a little familiar with Linux knows about the different major desktop environments: GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, MATE, etc. For fun, I decided to test a Window Maker on Ubuntu in a virtual machine. Being a fairly experienced Linux user, the learning curve was relatively minimal. Window Maker was designed to closely imitate the NeXTSTEP desktop, an ancestor to the modern macOS interface. It’s a different experience, but it’s light, it’s fast, and it’s 90s. Because it’s not a composited desktop, there’s lots of window tearing. And though you won’t get a ton of eye candy, it’s very customizable and has an awesome control center. If you need a light desktop, are experienced with Linux, like the 90s, and are looking for a different experience, I recommend giving Window Maker a shot.

To Install

To install on Debian/Ubuntu:

# apt install wmaker

Other Distributions: Head to the Window Maker site, download the source code, and compile.

How I Set Up My Environment

I downloaded the Ubuntu 16.04 server CD image and install in qemu.
Once installed I ran:

$ sudo apt install xorg wmaker

To start Window Maker, I typed:

$ startx wmaker