What is your favorite Linux window manager?

With so many great open source options to choose from, it's worth taking the time to find one that works for you.
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183 readers like this
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While many Linux users have a strong preference for a window manager of choice, for those just making their way over from Windows or Mac, it may be hard to understand what a window manager is, or that it's even something you have a choice in. A window manager is the part of your system that dictates how individual application windows look, and how you can interact with, control, and arrange them.

There are many choices, some more popular than others. Yesterday, we wished the GNOME Project a happy twenty-first birthday and launched a cheat sheet for interacting with GNOME 3's windows via hotkeys. But others are popular too; our article on "5 reasons the i3 window manager makes Linux better" was last week's most-read article.

How to choose is up to you, but it's common to select a window manager that is a part of a larger desktop environment providing a collection of applications and tools designed to work together to create a seamless experience beyond just arranging windows. But one of the great powers of Linux is that you can mix and match as you choose, creating a totally customized experience that's right for you.

We've asked this question a couple of times before in years past, focused more on the desktop environment than the window manager itself. But we suspect you've got opinions on both, and this is your chance to tell us.

And we know we've left some out. There are just way too many options to include here, so we stuck with the ones that have performed the best in our past polls, as well as some that we've seen emerging interest in, either in the comments or in articles submitted by readers.

If you've got a favorite that's not included here, let us know what it is in the comments, and of course, why it's your window manager of choice.

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29 Comments

Windowmaker

Metacity is no longer the GNOME windows manager it is - sort of - the MATE (GNOME 2 fork) one and it is also forked and named MARCO

Mutter is the name of the GNOME3 WM. also I miss openbox in the list

It seems that the survey was copied from some older article, but not upgraded, please update it.

Hi Miguel,

You're absolutely right that Mutter is the current one for GNOME; I was thinking one and typing the other when I made this poll yesterday. Since it's only been live just a few hours, I went ahead added Openbox to the list as well as a thanks for catching my typo.

In reply to by Miguel Mayol i Tur (not verified)

WindowMaker

herbstluftwm

Gala from elementary OS

Fluxbox for small system footprint, speed and easy config

vtwm

bspwm

Mate :)

bspwm

Explorer.exe

I've always found that one to be a little painful to use. ?

In reply to by Jay Peay (not verified)

LXQT

xmonad

Marco

fluxbox! For a while was enlightenment but, now returened to fluxbox, KDE is always in the second place after I found FluxBox!

Pantheon (Gala)

If we're talking desktop environments (since they're mentioned in the selections), then MATE (and the window manager would be Marco), As for genuine window managers, either Fluxbox or Window Maker.

Compiz-reloaded

I love the burning effect. And now I'm using a lot the tile mode with 9 positions. If I keepr press key combination for the center left it rotates between 3 different sizes

I use Fluxbox - it's simple, easy to use, very flexible and also very powerful. I keep looking at other WMs, but I haven't moved in many years.

Still a long-time user of Enlightenment. I could probably get used to something else if push came to shove, but I like the way it works and I'm *really* fond of its customizability... and it's fast.

fluxbox rules :)
[also WindowMaker & mwm (Motif)]

Qtile

Xfce, but only because I need desktop icons (for convenient access to USB thumb drives). Before I needed USB drive support, I used the (now truly ancient) fvwm window manager, which is extremely fast and lightweight by today's standards.

stumpwm

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