User Tools

Site Tools


Stacking window manager: Comparison

  • cwm a lightweight and efficient stacking window manager for X11
  • fluxbox very lightweight window manager, easy to handle but yet full of features
  • icewm lightweight window manager which resembles the UI of Windows 95
  • openbox highly configurable stacking window manager
  • windowmaker a window manager designed to emulate NeXTSTEP's GUI
  • twm very simple window manager, included in the Xorg distribution
  • fvwm3 Next generation of fvwm
  • jwm window manager with an interface similar to Windows 98

RAM usage

On: Artix Linux

From high to low in kB

Command Version USS PSS RSS
jwm 2.3.7 14272 16833 21488
openbox 3.6.1 12848 15494 20352
icewm 2.0.0 115401390618600
wmaker –for-real 0.95.9 10676 12750 16940
fvwm3 1.03 10192 12513 17016
fluxbox 1.37 73129139 13092
cwm 6.7 414853228568
twm 1.0.11 2720 3170 5416


Recommending a window manager is not easy, because it is also a matter of taste. We did a little non-representative poll at Mastodon and here are the results:

openbox 9 Votes
fluxbox 8 votes
cwm 4 votes
icewm 4 votes
windowmaker 2 votes
twm 1 vote
fvwm3 0 votes
jwm 0 votes

The recommendation is a mix of these poll results and our criteria.

For beginners

Many stacking window managers are easy or very easy to use for novice users. Some do resemble a classic layout from Microsoft's proprietary OS. So we did choose the most lightweight of this easy to use window managers, and this is Fluxbox

Fluxbox is one of the most popular lightweight window managers. It is usable right out of the box and highly configurable. The most similar competitor is Openbox, which is no surprise, because they share the same ancestor Blackbox.

If you are coming from a Microsoft system and are looking for an experience which you are used to have a look at icewm.

For experienced users

Experienced users might prefer a window manager which is completely controllable by keyboard shortcuts and stays out of the way. This criteria are met by cwm. It has a minimalist interface, a short but comprehensive documentation and it is the default window manager of OpenBSD (where it is also developed).

I want a lightweight desktop environment

So, you want to stay lightweight but also want an integrated look and feel with an ecosystem of small apps? Look no further than Window Maker

wm/stacking/comparison.txt · Last modified: 2021/01/28 21:16 by senioradmin

Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: CC0 1.0 Universal
CC0 1.0 Universal Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki