New to FVWM


Welcome. So you’re new to FVWM and you’re wondering what it’s all about. Perhaps you want some further information about FVWM but don’t quite know where to look. That’s fine – and hopefully this page will help point you to all the right places in getting started.

The first thing to bear in mind about FVWM is that it is not a Desktop Environment (such as GNOME, KDE, XFCE, etc). A desktop environment comes with a collection of preconfigured settings and software (file managers, docks/panels, and so on) all integrated together.

FVWM is a WindowManager that gives the user the choice of expression. Details such as the appearance of windows, which program will act as your file manager, etc., are defined by the user. FVWM won’t make that choice for you.

All of these choices are put into a very extensive Config file. This config file configures not only FVWM but how it interacts with your additional software. In order to configure FVWM to fit your needs you will have to dive into the config file.

First and foremost, be aware that FVWM is not considered to be a walk in the park. There will often be a lot of work needed on your part. It will require patience, head-scratching, and presumably support. All of which is fine, provided you are willing to put the effort in. No one else can do this but you. If you stick with it, though, you will get something that suits your needs, habits, and tastes much better than most competitors, and that you can continue to modify as those change.

But where do I start?

This is often a daunting question for people new to FVWM. And it’s not a question that’s easily answered. Most people new to FVWM like to look around first for inspiration. It’s never that easy trying to think of how you want your layout to look.

You could, if you had a few months, start with a blank config file, sit down and do nothing but read the man page for FVWM and attempt to piece everything together. Some people have done this, and they generally feel as though they have learnt a lot from the process.

Of course, you may not have the time or want to start out with a blank config. Starting with FVWM 2.6.7 a DefaultConfig is provided as a starting point for users. A user can copy this config then edit, add and remove stuff until they have a setup that suits their needs.

Besides the default config there are some additional configurations that can be used as a starting point:

In addition here are two more feature rich setups for FVWM that not only provide a configuration file but additional scripts and tools to function more as a desktop environment.

After choosing a default config, it’s a case of customizing FVWM to suit your needs, based on the starter config you’ve chosen.

I have a config file. Now What?

Good question. This depends entirely on the problem you have, or the next feature you wish to add. If you find reading ‘‘man fvwm’’ is not sufficient, then maybe this Wiki can help you out.

To start with check out the /Config pages, which will provide information about the different parts of the configuration file.

If you are looking for an answer to a specific question maybe it is covered in the FVWM FAQ or the /irc/HashFvwmFAQ.

Looking for examples to achieve different effects, maybe you can find them in the /CookBook or /Tips pages.

/Decor and /Panels pages provide examples of different window looks and panels/docks.

You might,of course, still have a question to ask. You can ask on the Mailing Lists, as well as the FVWM Forums, or the /Irc Channel.