[Howto] Compile and configure dwm Tiling Window Manager on Ubuntu in 6 simple steps

dwm (Dynamic Window Manager) is a Tiling Window Manager that is simple, elegant and don’t get in your way. The above screenshot is from my dwm setup.

1) Download dwm here.

2) Install the required dependencies:

sudo apt-get install build-essential libx11-dev libxinerama-dev sharutils

3) Extract the dwm package you’ve downloaded.

4) If you want to customize the appearance and behavior of dwm, you need to re-compile it, but it is really easy. The customizations are done through theconfig.def.h file. If you don’t want to study the config setup right now, do it later and just grab some config.def.h on the Internet to use as base, or look into my references below for more info. You can grab my custom config as base if you want,here. (Right-Click and “Save link as”)

5) Compile it:

sudo make clean install

6) Now you need to create a entry in the login manager session list:

sudo gedit /usr/share/xsessions/dwm.desktop

Paste and save this:

[Desktop Entry]

Encoding=UTF-8

Name=dwm

Comment=This session starts dwm

Exec=/usr/local/bin/dwm

Type=Application

Now you just need to log out and choose dwm in the session list : )

For every time you want to modify dwm, you need to re-compile it, just extract the package again, make your customizations and re-compile it, it will rewrite the installed dwm, so you don’t need to worry about erasing the old one first : )

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3 thoughts on “[Howto] Compile and configure dwm Tiling Window Manager on Ubuntu in 6 simple steps

  1. Thanks!

    I prefer to make a .deb package:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get build-dep dwm

    mkdir dwm
    cd dwm
    apt-get source dwm

    edit config.def.h with your favourite editor and save it as config.h
    (I also need to rename config.def.h to for example original-config)
    sudo apt-get -b source dwm
    (note -b switch

    sudo dpkg -i dwm*.deb

    and you are done.

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