#wm #window #manager

bin+lib leftwm

A window manager for Adventurers

13 releases

0.2.7 Apr 6, 2021
0.2.6 Jan 29, 2021
0.2.5 Nov 13, 2020
0.2.3 May 15, 2020
0.1.10 Jun 16, 2019

#16 in GUI

Download history 10/week @ 2020-12-29 16/week @ 2021-01-05 3/week @ 2021-01-12 15/week @ 2021-01-19 28/week @ 2021-01-26 89/week @ 2021-02-02 74/week @ 2021-02-09 119/week @ 2021-02-16 45/week @ 2021-02-23 32/week @ 2021-03-02 28/week @ 2021-03-09 28/week @ 2021-03-16 35/week @ 2021-03-23 46/week @ 2021-03-30 51/week @ 2021-04-06 27/week @ 2021-04-13

182 downloads per month

MIT and maybe LGPL-2.1-or-later WITH GCC-exception-2.0

8.5MB
9K SLoC

LeftWM

A window manager for adventurers

build status wiki Documentation

Screenshot of LeftWM in action

Table of contents

Why go left

LeftWM is a tiling window manager written in Rust that aims to be stable and performant. LeftWM is designed to do one thing and to do that one thing well: be a window manager. LeftWM therefore follows the following mantra:

LeftWM is not a compositor.
LeftWM is not a lock screen.
LeftWM is not a bar. But, there are lots of good bars out there. With themes, picking one is as simple as setting a symlink.

Because you probably want more than just a black screen, LeftWM is built around the concept of themes. With themes, you can choose between different bars, compositors, backgrounds, colors, docks, and whatever else makes you happy.

LeftWM was built from the very beginning to support multiple screens and ultrawide monitors. The default keybindings support ultrawide monitors and multiple screens.

One of the core concepts/features of LeftWM is theming

With LeftWM, there are two types of configuration files:

  • LeftWM Configuration files: LeftWM configurations are specific to you and don’t change for different themes. These are settings like keybindings, workspace locations, and names of desktops/tags. These settings can be found in ~/.config/leftwm/config.toml.

  • Theme Configuration files: The appearance of your desktop is different. It’s fun to try new looks and feels. It’s fun to tweak and customize the appearance (AKA: ricing). It’s fun to share so others can experience your awesome desktop! LeftWM is built around this concept. By pulling all these settings out into themes, you can now easily tweak, switch, and share your experiences. This configuration is spread between theme.toml and related files contained within a theme's folder.

Dependencies

While LeftWM has very few dependencies, this isn't always the case for themes. Themes typically require the following to be installed. However, this is up to the author of the theme, and could be different.

List of LeftWM dependencies:

  • xorg (libxinerama, xrandr, xorg-server)
  • bash
  • rust

List of common dependencies for themes:

Dependency
(git)
Ubuntu 20.4.1
sudo apt install {}
Arch
sudo pacman -S {}
Fedora 33
sudo dnf install {}
PKGS
feh feh feh feh feh
compton compton yay -S picom* compton compton
picom manual ** picom picom picom
polybar manual ** yay -S polybar* polybar polybar
xmobar xmobar xmobar xmobar xmobar
lemonbar lemonbar yay -S lemonbar* manual ** lemonbar
conky conky conky conky conky
dmenu dmenu dmenu dmenu dmenu

* You can use whichever AUR wrapper you like
** See the git page (link in first column) for how to install these manually

Installation (with package manager)

LeftWM is available in the AUR as well as crates.io. Both are good options for simple installation. If you install LeftWM with crates.io, you will need to link to the xsession desktop file if you want to be able to login to LeftWM from a graphical login screen:

sudo cp PATH_TO_LEFTWM/leftwm.desktop /usr/share/xsessions

LeftWM is also available in Fedora Copr:

sudo dnf copr enable atim/leftwm -y && sudo dnf install leftwm

Manual Installation (no package manager)

Using a graphical login such as LightDM, GDM, LXDM, and others

  1. Dependencies: Rust, Cargo
  2. Clone the repository and cd into the directory
git clone https://github.com/leftwm/leftwm.git
cd leftwm
  1. Build leftwm
cargo build --release
  1. Copy leftwm executables to the /usr/bin folder
sudo install -s -Dm755 ./target/release/leftwm ./target/release/leftwm-worker ./target/release/leftwm-state ./target/release/leftwm-check -t /usr/bin
  1. Copy leftwm.desktop to xsessions folder
sudo cp leftwm.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/

You should now see LeftWM in your list of available window managers. At this point, expect only a simple black screen on login. For a more customized look, install a theme.

Optional Development Installation

If your goal is to continously build leftwm and keep up to date with the latest releases, you may prefer to symlink the leftwm executables instead of copying them. If you choose to install this way, make sure you do not move the build directory as it will break your installation.

  1. Dependencies: Rust, Cargo
  2. Clone the repository and cd into the directory
git clone https://github.com/leftwm/leftwm.git
cd leftwm
  1. Build leftwm
# Without systemd logging
cargo build --release

# OR with systemd logging
cargo build --release --features=journald
  1. Create the symlinks
sudo ln -s "$(pwd)"/target/release/leftwm /usr/bin/leftwm
sudo ln -s "$(pwd)"/target/release/leftwm-worker /usr/bin/leftwm-worker
sudo ln -s "$(pwd)"/target/release/leftwm-state /usr/bin/leftwm-state
sudo ln -s "$(pwd)"/target/release/leftwm-check /usr/bin/leftwm-check
  1. Copy leftwm.desktop to xsessions folder
sudo cp leftwm.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/

You should now see LeftWM in your list of available window managers. At this point, expect only a simple black screen on login. For a more customized look, install a theme.

Rebuilding the development installation

  1. Now if you want to get the newest version of leftwm run this command from your build directory:
git pull origin master
  1. Build leftwm
# Without systemd logging
cargo build --release

# With systemd logging
cargo build --release --features=journald
  1. And press the following keybind to reload leftwm
Mod + Shift + R

Starting with startx or a login such as slim

Make sure this is at the end of your .xinitrc file:

exec dbus-launch leftwm

Theming

If you want to see more than a black screen when you login, select a theme:

With LeftWM-Theme

leftwm-theme update
leftwm-theme install NAME_OF_THEME_YOU_LIKE
leftwm-theme apply NAME_OF_THEME_YOU_LIKE

Without LeftWM-Theme

mkdir -p ~/.config/leftwm/themes
cd ~/.config/leftwm/themes
ln -s PATH_TO_THE_THEME_YOU_LIKE current

LeftWM comes packaged with a couple of default themes. There is also a community repository for sharing themes

For more information about themes check out our theme guide here or the wiki here.

Configuring

The settings file to change key bindings and the default mod key can be found at

~/.config/leftwm/config.toml

the file is automatically generated when leftwm or leftwm-check is run for the first time.

Default keys

Keybinding Description
Mod + (1-9) Switch to a desktop/tag
Mod + Shift + (1-9) Move the focused window to desktop/tag
Mod + W Switch the desktops for each screen. Desktops [1][2] changes to [2][1]
Mod + Shift + W Move window to the other desktop
Mod + (⬆️⬇️) Focus on the different windows in the current workspace
Mod + Shift + (⬆️⬇️) Move the different windows in the current workspace
Mod + Enter Move selected window to the top of the stack in the current workspace
Mod + Ctrl + (⬆️⬇️) Switch between different layouts
Mod + Shift + (⬅➡) Switch between different workspaces
Mod + Shift + Enter Open a terminal
Mod + Ctrl + L Lock the screen
Mod + Shift + X Exit LeftWM
Mod + Shift + Q Close the current window
Mod + Shift + R Reload LeftWM and its config
Mod + p Use dmenu to start application

Note: Although we encourage you to use Alacritty, LeftWM will set your default terminal to the first terminal it finds in this list (in the order presented):

  1. Alacritty
  2. Termite
  3. URXVT
  4. RXVT
  5. ST
  6. ROXTerm
  7. Eterm
  8. Terminator
  9. Terminology
  10. Gnome Terminal

Floating Windows

You can optionally switch between tiling or floating mode for any window.

Keybinding Description
Mod + MouseDrag Switch a tiled window to floating mode
Mod + RightMouseDrag Resize a window
Drag window onto a tile Switch a floating window to tiling mode
Mod + Shift + (1-9) Switch a floating window to tiling mode

Workspaces

By default, workspaces have a one-to-one relationship with screens, but this is configurable. There are many reasons you might want to change this, but the main reason is for ultrawide monitors. You might want to have two or even three workspaces on a single screen.

Here is an example config changing the way workspaces are defined (~/.config/leftwm/config.toml)


NOTE The line workspaces = [] needs to be removed, or commented out if a configuration like the following example is used.


[[workspaces]]
y = 0
x = 0
height = 1440
width = 1720

[[workspaces]]
y = 0
x = 1720
height = 1440
width = 1720

Tags / Desktops

The default tags are 1-9. They can be renamed in the config file by setting the list of tags.

Here is an example config changing the list of available tags. NOTE: tag navigation (Mod + #) doesn't change based on the name of the tag

tags = ["Web", "Code", "Shell", "Music", "Connect"]

Layouts

By default, all layouts are enabled. There are a lot of layouts so you might want to consider only enabling the ones you use. To do this add a layout section to your config.toml file. This enables only the layouts you specify

Example:

layouts = ["MainAndHorizontalStack", "GridHorizontal", "Fibonacci", "EvenVertical", "EvenHorizontal", "CenterMain"]

More detailed configuration information can be found in the Wiki.

LeftWM is EWMH compliant

The default layouts are all of the kinds described by the Layout enum.

Troubleshooting

Issue Description Solution
LeftWM not listed by login manager It's likely you need to add the xsessions file to the right folder. See installation
No config.toml file exists LeftWM does not always ship with a config.toml. You will need to execute LeftWM at least once for one to be generated. Try the following: leftwm-worker
Config.toml is not being parsed LeftWM ships with a binary called leftwm-check. It might not be installed by the AUR. Try the following: leftwm-check
Keybinding doesn't work It's likely you need to specify a value or have a typo. See Wiki

Dependencies

~13MB
~247K SLoC