more fvwm users! … did=272101

It seems that fvwm needs more loyal users. Shouldn’t we get together and do something to bring some popularity back to it?

  • Phil

There is always a debate wether a free software need to get more and more users. For commercial software, it is obvious that the more the clients are, the more the benfits.

However, I think that for a free software like fvwm, tough it is desirable to keep a certain amount of users, to assure that bug are reported, and that quality is maintained (and maybe to give developpers courage), once some critic mass is reached, there is no need to try to get more and more user, which usually lead to change the motivation that make fvwm unique.

For instance, to get more users, one could ask for a GUI for configuration, while Thomas Adams clearly explains what there can’t be such a thing in one of its page.

(sorry for my really poor english… hope to do better next time)

I think it’d be highly interesting to see a breakdown of Window Manger use by distro.

For instance, on Gentoo FVWM is so popular the main thread devoted to it has been broken up several times to make for easier reading. Slackware has a fairly devoted FVWM fan base. It’s also one of the very few WMs available under Cygwin.

But on forums for Suse and Fedora and so on, it hardly seems to get a mention.

I guess it’s mostly down to FVWM being a “tinkerer’s” WM. If you’re not the type to spend a lot of time hunting thru the man pages to work out how to set up a hefty config file, you’re not going to FVWM much. . .

Thanks for the links!

I already have KDE, Gnome, Xfce (my current default) and Fluxbox and my Linux friend mentioned Fvwm in a “wonder how their doing …” type question.

So I looked it up, thought it looked cool and downloaded it and emerged (Gentoo’s install command) it and now I’m not sure what to do, where to make the configuration changes or just a point to start!

There are several ways you could go from there.
To quickly get a grasp of what fvwm has to offer, you could emerge the fvwm-themes package.
Or, if you don’t feel like installing it, you could check out a nice default config.
Once you’re getting the hang of it, you could check out Nicks config from scratch.
Then again, if you fancy some of the user contibuted configurations, you could just fetch them, copy them to ~/.fvwm and enjoy.

That’s true, but I think FVWM doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves in the “lightweight” wm realm. Most of the people I mention FVWM to say something like, “what? is that still available?” When people think lightweight these days, they think Flux/Black/OpenBox, which is a shame because FVWM is so powerful and flexible.

That’s why I tell friends that they were thinking of an older iteration, and that the newer one is the F(ast)V(ersatile)W(indow)M(anager) :smiley:

I’ve experienced the same thing with a friend which uses FVWM on one old laptop (I guess because he did not upgrade it for years) and to his mind, fvwm was one of the “simplest” WM. He was rather astonished to see the topic “screenshot dans config”, and that fvwm was able the emulate almost perfectly every other WM, with goodies like translucency.

Not this old polemic again? :slight_smile: I’ve done this one so many times, it’s like being on a never-ending merry-go-round – every thing comes back full circle, and the good old debate continues.

Let’s review some of the history of WMs and DEs, shall we? And then let’s look at a few other things, also dispelling why stupid polls such as the one Linuxquestions are currently holding are worthless. (Hey, you know it’s all good fun. :slight_smile:)

Back in the eighties, and even before, existed a program called ‘W’ – oddly enough this was the precusor to what is now known as ‘X’ (or X11, to those of us that vaguely recall X10.) Back then, all that was available was twm, the Grandfather of them all. In 1993 things changed though, with Rob Nation deciding to write what we now know as Fvwm. At the time, was there any popularity contests? Did it even matter whether person A used twm and person B used Fvwm? I doubt it – in fact, it was the case that everyone was using twm – and lets’ face it, twm is quite an underrated WM. You can do a fair few things with it, if you dig deeper into its config files and such.

But skip forward a few years to the mid-nineties, and you’ll find that the WM niche market exploded, with a dozen or so other WMs all using (wait for it…) FVWM as their code-base. Let’s not get confused here – KDE and GNOME are separate entities in themselves, but what they have done is proven to be a victim of their own bloat. You’d expect the logic of faster machines to mean people wouldn’t mind running KDE and/or GNOME – they have the power to do so, right? Well, maybe. But it does seem that more and more people are looking back to WMs, or at least something more ‘light-weight’ for their usage. Whether this is because people have realised that the glitzy DEs lack the functionality they’re wanting or what have you. is unclear.

So what does this mean? At one point FVWM (because it was all that existed at one point, save for twm, and no one wanted to use that) was all that was available. For years, RedHat had peddled FVWM as the de-facto WM in its use – even going as far as have a desktop competition in 1996 – which spun the release of the ‘AnotherLevel’ package – which in my eyes was what really allowed me to sink my teeth into FVWM in a big way. I loved it. But there was a price to pay – people still now fill with dread at the memories of (gasp) using a text editor to configure their WM.

Nasty, eh? Well, when you consider that people today are tending to switch from DE (KDE?) --> WM (FVWM) the last thing they’re going to want to give up is the nice set of QT dialog windows which (after completing a 20 page “wizard”) meant that they could then make their mouse move slower (why they wouldn’t read ‘man xset’ is beyond me, but never mind.) So they perhaps overlook FVWM as old and obsoleted in favour of, say, Fluxbox. Well, OK. Great. That seems to hit a nice medium, right? Pffft.

FVWM is, alas always going to have a small userbase when compared to KDE or Fluxbox. But that’s not a bad thing. You have to remember that {Flux,Open}box and its ilk strike a happy medium with users – pretty dialogs, and no functionality. Eye-candy for the clueless that ultimately don’t care. But that’s what suits them. And so be it.

Is FVWM having a low poll rating a bad thing? No. It’s a good thing. FVWM is not easy – heavens, I am the first person to admit that. But it’s not meant to be – not with the power it has. But for the people that are using it, it’s because they want to. They like tinkering about. Heck, FVWM for me has been a fantastic front-end to X11 and Xlib programming. You probably won’t all realise it, but actually all of the FVWM commands a wrappers around low-level Xlib calls. That’s how powerful Xlib is. And as far as I know, no other WM exploits it in quite the same way.

So you see, who gives a rat’s packet whether FVWM comes out tops or not? There’s a hell of a lot of people that are using FVWM but don’t speak out – but they’re still using it. But for the people that are using it – be proud. FVWM can emulate everything other WMs can to a lesser or greater extent. People have already started moving to FVWM thanks already to our efforts – a slow process, but it’s not the point of a takeover. If that happens, we’ll go the same way KDE has. People will get bored, and look for other alternatives. No, let then come. We’ll educate, not eradicate. :slight_smile:

– Thomas Adam

That’s one of the great things I like about Linux; choice. With Microsoft Windows you have … Windows (big choice. whoopie.)

I mention this to some friends and they bring up themes and such. While they can make the system LOOK different (and some look pretty cool) they are still running Windows GUI.

I enjoy being able to fool around with DEs/WMs and find their strengths and weaknesses and the balance between customization, speed and built-in utilities. For me, I don’t mind tinkering… for my wife, she needs more hand-holding. There’s something for each of us, not "one size fits all.

Well, I am this close to switching to another WM because there isn’t much community suppport.

Not much community support for Fvwm? :open_mouth: Or did I miss something along the way :confused:

More community support per number of users. Far less community support than I’d like. Plus it’s been easting up too much of my time :slight_smile:

Well it only eats up as much time as you give it of course. It is a fact that you shouldn’t expect the same amount of users to jump to help you as is the case with KDE, Gnome and the hip WMs of the moment. Also the amount of options you have with Fvwm make it impossible to know and predict all possible behavior, boiling down to the fact that there won’t always be somebody capable of helping you or if there is somebody then they need to be available too…

But if you don’t have the time to spend on Fvwm and there is an alternative that works the way you want, why lot switch to it? We’ll still be here for you when and if you decide to go back to Fvwm :slight_smile:

I won’t reiterate what theBlackDragon has already said – I couldn’t have said much more myself. :slight_smile: What I am interested in more is what you feel is lacking from the FVWM ‘community’. What is it that you thought it would be but isn’t? I’ve already said it doesn’t matter – in terms of numbers, that is. But if it’s more a social thing, I’d like to know.

There have been some plans via an IRC-discussion about setting up ‘’ – an FVWM con for Linux events, etc. As an aside ther has been discussion of some of us from England meeting up… but that’s pending. :slight_smile:

– Thomas Adam

What I think is a problem is that the fvwm community looks dead to the
comming user, at first glance. Yes I know, this has been discussed
before, but I still think that it is the problem.

I totally agree that a good community is not quantity based, but it
may be hard to find.

It wasn’t until I “accidently” ran into this site that I found out
that the fvwm community wasn’t dead, and what is possible to do with
fvwm (Screenshots & configs).

What if I had not stumpled into I would still be stuck
clicking through wizards in KDE…

The Official FVWM Home Page looks outdated, and I don’t think that it
is just a matter of taste – modern websites just looks different.
Judging from the “Last updated” entries, and that fvwm 2.6 is still
mentioned to be released in 2003, comming fvwm users will have a hard
time finding any activity (the FVWM Forum link as an exception :wink:).

Something like is a good idea. What about a dedicated fvwm
community site with fvwm events, wikis, script collection, forum (this
forum…)? A revision of, or a new site? I know, too much of it
could easily strangle the community, so it is all about balance.

Sorry, I just have to nitpick about some of these :blush:
There is a link to this site on
Also, you can niftily change the theme on from those nice buttons which look like you are in fvwm. Which is kinda cool IMO. :smiley:

Don’t get me wrong, but I like the kind of elitism which doesn’t show off all the best one has to offer, but hides its beauty from the rush of the masses. Err. Many. Or something.

Hmm. I suppose so. But then anyone that has the foresight to lookup wouldn’t have to follow the trail of breadcrumbs too far to reach either the wiki pages or the forum, and all roads lead back to each site…

I disagree. The deconsolidation of sites as it is at the moment is a nice gesture, and is certainly no different from the myriad of perl websites that are in existance – and they’re all meant to be official, yet there’s plenty to choose from.

– Thomas Adam

How often do you use/check IMHO, a web page should look like (guess what) a web page… Not a WM. I have to hover the mouse over each button too see what it does. That shouldn’t be nessescary on a web page.

Ahh, the strength of the Internet… But a potential user who doesn’t know that the community exists may turn around and go to instead.

I was stuck in KDE far too long, because I didn’t know anything better (yes ,I had been exploring, quite a lot). I didn’t like fluxbox’s heavy use of menus, nor xfce’s centered dock that leaves just too much screen space unused…

I definitely like the idea of deconsolidation, but keep in mind that the potential user doesn’t think: “fvwm is my dream WM, and I will try to find everything I can about it”.

I think you’re missing my point – the main site is mentioned quite heavily in the docs distributed with FVWM. That, and because there are more fvwm-related sites away from, that increases the chances of people realising it’s still active. In fact, the “potential user” really only needs to type in “fvwm” into a search engine; the main site, and these forums are listed quite high up. But I’m not interested in the potential user’s ability and inclination to search – I was more interested in how the “community” is somehow lacking.

– Thomas Adam

Sorry if I expressed it wrong (second language). What I meant was that the “potential user” may be scared away by the inactivity of the official website. There are many dead projects around, and by experience, people tends to skip to another project.

Yes I understand that. But since no one can come up with any lacks of the community :wink:, I presented the one I could find (considering my one month’s experience of fvwm): The lack that made it take so long time for me to find my WM…