Will the Real Fvwm Discussion Forum Please Stand Up?

Looking for where the “latest” and “most active” Fvwm discussion is happening, and I am baffled. Though the fvwm.org page says that this forum is the preferred discussion place, it looks like it hasn’t been active in a couple of years. Then theres the fvwm mailing lists. Then there’s the “Discussions” tab on github. Then there’s #fvwm IRC. Where is the real discussion happening? Or is the lack of activity here due to Fvwm dying a silent death? I hope not!!!

Hello, @rubykat,

The answer to all of your questions is “yes”. :slight_smile:

Any/all of those places are monitored. However, the best place to find us is probably on IRC (libera.chat) in ‘#fvwm’.

These forums are still active, but we don’t usually see a plethora of people posting here day-to-day, which is why the activity can look as though it has dwindled somewhat.

As for fvwm dying a silent death… well, I’m still “working” on it in the sense that people keep finding bugs and logging them in Github ;), but I am trying to write a compositor for Wayland which mimics fvwm. fvwm3 has come about as far as I can take it, without flogging the proverbial dead horse it has become – so there won’t be any big new features for it.

Hope to see you around!


So you basically feel that fvwm3 is a dead horse… because you’re slogging away at it alone without any help?

Hi @rubykat

No, I wouldn’t say that per se – rather, I feel as though there’s not much else which could be added to fvwm3, feature-wise. It does as much as I believe any one would want by default (and more), and can always be customised if not.

Fair enough. Fvwm has always been fabulous in regard to customisation. I just hope Fvwm3 takes up traction with the major distros, otherwise I’m not likely to be using it – not a criticism in any way, I just prefer to minimise using things which require me to bypass the package manager.

That’s interesting. How is that project coming along?


It’s coming along slowly. The biggest hurdle is the fact that compositors now have the choice of deferring to CSD (Client-Side Decorations) or SSD (Server-Side Decorations).

In the XLib world on top of X11, that had all of the drawing primitives available to compose how a window frame could look (see for example XDrawSegments()). This is then what allowed the window to reparented into – and hence the theme was always set on that outer window.

With Wayland not being a server in the sense that X11 is, the SSD drawing primitives are at the mercy of third-party libraries – the de facto one being libcairo (cairographics). This is good at drawing vector-based graphics, but doesn’t provide the same primitives as Xlib does.

So for example, I can use cairographics to draw a rectangle, but I cannot get each side of that rectangle to be a different colour. This is important in terms of setting themes. Likewise, it’s not possible to render the handles of a window, due to how rectangles work – they’re not made of individual lines joined together.

Now, I could use pixman for this – which is the backend codebase which cairographics is built on top of, but that has the same problem I described above – I could use it to get to render a rectangle composed of four distinct sides, but I can’t join the lines together in a way which makes theming useful.

So all-in-all – I cannot yet find a way to style a window using these external vector graphics, such that I can get the 3D-style of a window decoration that FVWM/MWM has.

That sucks.

Without this, the style would look like every other compositor out there, and that’s utterly boring.

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Would it be possible to draw a very narrow rectangle and pretend it is a line?

Hi @rubykat

Yes, perhaps – but this is only one tiny part of large inconsistencies – such as line-joining not being configurable.

Regarding the mailing lists, it doesn’t seem like the mailing lists as described at fvwm.org/Community are working, at least for me.

I tried subscribing on 2022-09-03, and never got anything back from the mailing list software. On 2022-09-05 I emailed fvwm-owner@fvwm.org and still haven’t heard anything back.

Message headers, mail server IP addresses, exact times, and other gory details are available upon request.

Is there an alternate point-of-contact I should try, or should people just consider them dead?

I’ll email Jason, and get beck to you. Thanks for letting me know.

OK, thanks. Please let me know if you (or he) want any details on the messages.

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Jesse Smith in his latest DistroWatch review (Garuda Linux), says it politely about Linux in general.

A lot of Linux developers (and users) are my age or older and we’re often set in our ways, or adverse to change. As such the community at large has been reluctant to adopt newer approaches and technologies, even when the benefit is obvious.

Fvwm has perfected the default setting (which is excellent) and expects users to customize it. Same as Arch Linux does. In the early 20s users loved this approach. Today, many want first to know what it does at its best and then customize it. There are so many alternatives and choices available today, that there is no interest or time to build from a minimal setting.

There are so many alternatives and choices available today, that there is no interest or time to build from a minimal setting.

To a certain extent I think the big new things that happen with FVWM, don’t happen to FVWM (v3 not withstanding). Instead other people take FVWM as the starting point for their new window manager idea and build from there. That doesn’t make for good news copy the way “I built my system from scratch using a soldering iron and a magnet” does, but it’s a lot better use of everyone’s time, I think.

Granted it does make maintaining FVWM a bit of a thankless job, I expect. (Oh, hey, BTW, thanks, you guys!)

“Many of the popular window managers in use today are related to FVWM: Afterstep, Xfce, Enlightenment, Metisse and many more”. (Fvwm Wikipedia)

It is very interesting, ThomasA, to hear that you are thinking about a Wayland … umm, port, or such, of FVWM. I was just reading about Arcan and came here to ask if there was any interest in bringing FVWM to Arcan… as I asked on IRC a few years ago if there were any thoughts about FVWM on Wayland and IIRC you told me that it was a fairly low priority as you weren’t that enamoured with Wayland.

The article I was reading was this Lash#Cat9: A radical new Linux UI for keyboard warriors • The Register

Don’t know if that resonates with anyone.
Although given how less supported Arcan is vs Wayland bringing FVWM to Arcan could surely be a lot of work.