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Tiling window manager: Comparison

  • i3 dynamic and tiling window manager, completely written from scratch.
  • herbstluftwm a manual tiling window manager
  • awesome a highly configurable window manager
  • bspwm a very lightweight tiling window manager
  • ratpoison tiling wm which manages windows without using a mouse
  • spectrwm a small dynamic tiling window manager with sane defaults


On: Artix Linux

From high to low in kB

Command Version USS PSS RSS
awesome 4.3243562657132056
i3 4.19 87121023614012
spectrwm 3.4.1 46045666 9040
ratpoison 1.4.9432852138632
herbstluftwm 0.9.1 32323939 6884


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:

i3 10 Votes
awesome 6 Votes
bspwm 4 Votes
ratpoison 3 Votes
herbstluftwm 3 Votes
spectrwm 2 Votes

The recommendation is a mix of these poll results and our criteria. Actually, we have two recommendations.

For beginners

i3 is not only the most popular tiling window manager in our poll, it is also the our recommendation for users who want to begin using a tiling wm. It's easy enough to start with and the configuration file is fairly understandable. In fact Fedora will release an official i3 Spin, beginning with version 34. At the same time i3 is still very lightweight.

The documentation and relatively huge community makes it also a good choice for non-expert people or other persons who don't want to spend too much time configuring.

For experienced users

bspwm is a extremely lightweight window manager. Once you get it running by installing the example configuration files, experienced users shouldn't have too much problems to adapt it according to their needs. The concept of nodes is a little strange to get used to, but the configuration file of sxhkd is easy enough to understand. bspwm has gained some popularity in the last time, so there is also a community which can help.

Don't like bspwm for some reasons, but still looking for a lightweight tiling wm for experienced users? Then you might want to have a look at herbstluftwm

wm/tiling/comparison.txt · Last modified: 2021/01/16 22:43 by senioradmin

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