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window manager improved 2 (wmii) [1] is an improved, modularized and lightweight X11 window manager which supports tabbed, tiled and conventional window management through layouts. wmii consists of components that are independent processes and communicate via a socket-based virtual filesystem which is oriented on the "everything is file" paradigm of the Plan 9 [2] operating system. The core distribution of wmii contains the window manager itself, a master file system routing utility (wmiifs), a generic bar (wmiibar), a shortcut handler (wmiikeys), and a generic interaction menu (wmiimenu) beside several tiny utilities like wmiir, wmiiplumb, and wmiiwarp.


In order to build wmii you need the Xlib header files. Furthermore, the wmii configuration scripts rely on the 9base package [3] which contains ports of various Plan 9 standard tools, in particular the rc shell.


Edit to match your local setup. wmii is installed into the /usr/local hierarchy by default. If your system is Mac OS X, then remove the '-static' flag in cmd/Makefile.

Afterwards enter the following command to build and install wmii (if necessary as root):

make clean install

Running wmii

Add the following line to your .xinitrc to start wmii using startx:

exec wmii

In order to connect wmii or wmiir to a specific display, make sure that the DISPLAY environment variable is set correctly, e.g.: exec wmii

This will start wmii on display :1 of the host


The configuration of wmii is done by customizing the existing actions. Customizing an action means copying the appropriate file from the directory $WMII_CONFDIR (usually /usr/local/etc/wmii-2.5) to $HOME/.wmii-2.5 and editing it to fit your needs. The action of main interest is called 'wmiirc': it is executed on startup.


Beside all thanks to the wmi contributors, the following people have contributed especially to wmii in various ways:

  • Christoph Wegscheider <christoph (dot) wegscheider (at) wegi (dot) net>
  • Georg Neis <gn (at) wmii (dot) de>
  • Uwe Zeisberger <zeisberg (at) informatik (dot) uni-freiburg (dot) de>
  • Uriel <uriell (at) binarydream (dot) org>
  • Scot Doyle <scot (at) scotdoyle (dot) com>
  • Sebastian Hartmann <seb (dot) wmi (at) gmx (dot) de>
  • Bernhard Leiner <bleiner (at) gmail (dot) com>
  • Jonas Domeij <jonas (dot) domeij (at) gmail (dot) com>
  • Vincent <10 (dot) 50 (at) free (dot) fr>
  • Oliver Kopp <olly (at) flupp (dot) de>
  • Sebastian Roth <sebastian (dot) roth (at) gmail (dot) com>
  • Steve Hoffman <steveh (at) g2switchworks (dot) com>
  • Christof Musik <christof (at) senfdax (dot) de>
  • Steffen Liebergeld <perl (at) gmx (dot) org>
  • Tobias Walkowiak <wal (at) ivu (dot) de>
  • Sander van Dijk <a (dot) h (dot) vandijk (at) gmail (dot) com>


[2] [3]

--Anselm R. Garbe

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