Provided by: olwm_3.2p1.4-21.1ubuntu1_i386
olwm - OPEN LOOK window manager for OpenWindows
olwm [ options ]
olwm is a window manager for the X Window System that implements parts
of the OPEN LOOK graphical user interface. It is the standard window
manager for Sun’s OpenWindows product, but it will work properly with
any X11 system.
Most command-line options have counterparts in the resource database.
A command-line option will override any setting from the resource
-2d Use two-dimensional look. This is the default for monochrome
-3d Use three-dimensional look. This is the default for color sys‐
tems. This option is ignored for monochrome systems.
Specifies the border color. See the description of the Border
Specifies the background color. See the description of the
Use click-to-focus mode. This is the default focus mode.
Specifies the depth of the visual in which olwm is to run. See
the discussion in the Screen Resources section.
Specify the name of the display to manage. Overrides the DIS‐
PLAY environment variable, if any. In addition, the display
string is exported to olwm’s environment, so processes forked
from olwm will inherit this value.
Use focus-follows-mouse mode. Default mode is click-to-focus.
-fn font-name, -font font-name
Set the font for window titles.
Specifies the foreground color. See the description of the
-multi Manage windows on all screens that a display supports. This is
Use resource-name to look up resources in the resource database.
Specify resources on the command-line. Resources specified here
will override resources found in resource files.
Manage windows for a single screen only, using the default
screen for the specified display. Overrides the -multi option.
When olwm has completed its initialization, it will send a sig‐
nal (SIGALRM by default) to process-id. The signal will be sent
only if this option is present. This is useful for running olwm
from shell scripts (such as .xinitrc) in such a way that the
script waits for olwm to finish its initialization, while leav‐
ing olwm as a child process of the shell script. This can be
done using the following sh(1) construct:
sleep 15 & pid=$!
olwm -syncpid $pid &
Specifies the signal to send instead of SIGALRM. The signal is
specified as a number, not symbolically.
Specifies the class of the visual in which olwm is to run. See
the discussion in the Screen Resources section.
The following options are strictly for debugging. They are not recom‐
mended for general use. Don’t use them unless you know what you are
-all Print a message for every event received.
-debug Equivalent to turning on all debugging options.
Print orphaned events. Orphaned events are events that are
associated with a window or frame that has no entry in the frame
hash table, or events that are not handled by the various event
Run the window manager in synchronous mode.
Specify the basic OPEN LOOK locale category setting. This cate‐
gory will be the base for other locale categories, therefore
there are certain restrictions applied to other locale cate‐
gories (see the following locale handling sections).
Specify the display language OPEN LOOK locale category. This
category affects the contents of workspace menu, window menu and
Specify the numeric format OPEN LOOK locale category. This cat‐
egory affects the numeric format displayed in any message that
Locale is the language and cultural conventions used in the program.
Locale will control the language-dependent part of olwm’s behavior.
The OPEN LOOK international extensions have defined several OPEN LOOK
locale categories as follows:
This is the basic setting for the entire locale mechanism. This
category specifies internal character handling behavior.
This category specifies the language used for displaying menus,
notice messages and error messages.
This category specifies the language used for text input. This
category has no affect on olwm, because it does not accept text
input from the keyboard.
This category specifies the format of date and time. This cate‐
gory has no affect on olwm, because it does not display any date
and time information.
This category specifies the format of displayed numeric data.
Since the Basic Locale setting defines the character handling of olwm,
certain restrictions have been placed on combining the locale category
1. If basic setting is set to other than "C" locale, then all other
locale categories must be the same as basic setting or "C".
2. If basic setting is set to "C" locale, then all other locale cate‐
gories must be in "C" locale.
The following methods are available to inform olwm, the locale set‐
tings, and they are listed in order of priority:
1. Command line options (such as -basiclocale).
2. by resource database.
3. setlocale(3) function defaults (for example: LANG environment vari‐
If command line options are not used to specify locale settings, olwm
will pick up the new locale settings from workspace property (per
changes to the resource database); and change the locale settings
dynamically (for example, to change the language of workspace and win‐
dow menus). All pinned workspace menus will be unpinned during this
locale switching operation.
The input focus
is the window that will receive keystrokes. olwm has two different
input focus modes, which are different ways of transferring the input
focus from one window to another. By default, olwm uses "click-to-
focus" (also known as "click-to-type") mode. This means that you must
click on the window in order to get the focus to it. While a window
has the input focus, the mouse can be anywhere on the screen; the key‐
board events will still go to that window. You can set the input focus
to a window and simultaneously raise it to the top by clicking the left
mouse button in the window’s title bar or border.
olwm has another focus mode called "focus-follows-mouse." In this
mode, whatever window the mouse is pointing to will receive the input
focus. To switch the input focus from one window to another, you sim‐
ply move the mouse to the other window; you don’t have to click at all.
Note, however, that to transfer the focus amongst subwindows of a
single top-level window, you must click in the subwindow, or you must
use focus transfer function keys (if available from the application).
The input focus mode can be controlled with command-line options or by
entries in the resource database. Neither focus mode has inherent
advantages. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference.
OPEN LOOK defines three mouse button functions: SELECT, ADJUST, and
MENU. These functions are mapped to mouse buttons 1, 2, and 3, respec‐
tively. On systems with only two mouse buttons, the MENU function can
be obtained by pressing buttons 1 and 2 simultaneously. This technique
is referred to as mouse button chording. The exact behavior of each of
these functions depends on what object is under the pointer.
Window Title Bar and Borders.
Clicking SELECT selects the window, raises it above other windows, and
deselects any other objects. In click-focus mode, the focus is also
transferred to this window. Pressing and holding SELECT and then drag‐
ging the mouse will move windows without raising them or setting the
focus. If this window is selected, it and all other selected windows
are moved simultaneously. Otherwise, just this window is moved, and it
is not selected. If you hold down the Control key while you are moving
a window, motion is constrained to be either vertical or horizontal,
depending on whether you’ve moved farther in a vertical or horizontal
direction. Double-clicking SELECT on the window is the same as select‐
ing the Full Size (or Restore Size) menu item. Clicking ADJUST will
toggle the selected state of this window. If other windows or icons
are already selected, they remain selected. ADJUST is useful for
selecting several windows and icons. Pressing MENU will bring up the
window menu. See the Window Menu section for further details. If the
Alt key is held down, the mouse button functions become accessible any‐
where over the window, not just over the title bar and borders. The
modifier used can be changed; see the description of the WMGrab
resource in the section on Modifier Customization.
You can resize a window by pressing the left mouse button over any of
the resize corners and dragging it to the new location. Releasing the
mouse button will set the new size of the window. If you hold down the
Control key while you are dragging, the resize operation is contrained
to resize vertically or horizontally, depending on whether you’ve moved
the mouse farther in the horizontal or vertical direction.
The Window Button is the small box with a downward-pointing triangle
near the left end of the title bar. Pressing MENU over the window but‐
ton will bring up the Window Menu. Clicking SELECT over the left mouse
button on the Window Button will execute the window menu’s default
action. This will usually close the window into an icon. You can
change the window menu’s default action by holding down the Control key
while manipulating the window menu.
OPEN LOOK pop-up windows have a pushpin instead of a window button. If
the pushpin is out of its hole, pressing a command button within the
window will cause the window to be taken down ("dismissed") after the
command is executed. If you click SELECT on the pushpin, it will move
into its hole. In this state, pressing a command button will execute
the command without dismissing the window. Clicking SELECT over the
pin will pull it out of the hold. This will dismiss the window without
executing any commands. Some windows come up with the pin already in
An icon represents a closed window. You can still do most of the same
operations as with an open window. Moving and selecting icons with
SELECT and ADJUST is exactly the same as for open windows. A similar
version of the Window Menu is available on an icon by pressing MENU.
Double-clicking SELECT will open the icon. Icons cannot be resized.
The X11 Non-Rectangular Window Shape Extension (commonly referred to
simply as the Shape extension) allows windows to have arbitrary shapes.
Olwm will handle these windows by giving them no decoration whatsoever.
Shaped windows can be manipulated by using the WMGrab modifier (Alt by
default) with the mouse buttons. (See the section on Modifier Cus‐
tomization for further details.) Shaped windows can be moved, resized,
closed, opened, etc. like ordinary windows. The selection feedback
for shaped windows is the presence of resize corners floating at the
corners of the bounding rectangle of the window’s shape.
You can select a group of windows and icons by using the left or middle
mouse buttons over the Workspace (the area of the screen outside of all
windows and icons, commonly known as the "root window"). Pressing
either SELECT or ADJUST and dragging the mouse will define a rubber-
band rectangle. When you release the mouse button, the set of windows
and icons enclosed by this rectangle will be operated on. If you cre‐
ated the rectangle using SELECT, the windows and icons within will be
selected, and all other objects will be deselected. If you used
ADJUST, the objects within will have their selected state toggled, and
any other windows and icons already selected will remain selected.
Pressing MENU over the workspace brings up the Workspace Menu. This
menu is customizable, but it typically contains at least the following
items. (The items may appear in a different language depending on the
current locale setting.)
This button has a sub-menu that allows you to invoke applica‐
tions. The default Programs sub-menu contains all of the pro‐
grams in the OpenWindows DeskSet. However, users typically cus‐
tomize this menu to contain many more programs and to contain
nested submenus. See the section on Menu Customization for fur‐
This button has a sub-menu that contains several utility func‐
tions for the workspace, including Refresh (redisplay all win‐
dows on the screen), Lock Screen, and Save Workspace.
This item brings up the Workspace Properties window, which
allows you to view and customize settings of the OpenWindows
Brings up the table of contents of the Help Handbooks.
Brings up a tutorial introduction to the Sun Desktop.
Exit Shuts down all applications and exits the window system. A con‐
firmation notice is popped up first to give you a chance to can‐
cel the operation.
The window menu of most windows has the following items. (The items
may appear in a different language depending on the current locale set‐
Close Close the window to an icon. Any OPEN LOOK pop-up windows are
closed into this icon as well. They will reappear when the icon
is opened. This item is "Open" if you bring up the menu on an
Expand the window to the full height of the screen. If this has
already done, the button is Normal Size instead of Full Size.
Normal Size restores the window to the size it was before you
did the Full Size operation. If the application has specified a
maximum size for the window, this size is used for Full Size
instead of the full screen height.
Move Starts the keyboard-based form of moving the window. Appears
only if OPEN LOOK Mouseless Mode is enabled.
Resize Starts the keyboard-based form of resizing the window. Appears
only if OPEN LOOK Mouseless Mode is enabled.
Back Move the window behind all other windows.
Clear and redisplay the window.
Quit Kill the program running in the window and remove the window.
If the application has elected to participate in the
WM_DELETE_WINDOW protocol, olwm sends a WM_DELETE_WINDOW
ClientMessage instead of killing that window.
OPEN LOOK pop-up windows (as opposed to base windows) have a smaller
window menu. It lacks the Close, Full Size, and Quit items, but it has
two new items:
Causes the window to be dismissed. This button has a submenu
with two items: This Window, which dismisses just this window,
and All Pop-ups, which dismisses all pop-up windows owned by
Owner? Raises and flashes the title bar of the base window that "owns"
this pop-up window.
You can customize olwm’s Workspace Menu by putting a menu description
into a file that olwm will read. When it starts up, olwm will first
look for a file named by the OLWMMENU environment variable. If this
variable does not exist, or if the file is not readable, olwm will then
look in the file named ".openwin-menu" in your home directory. If this
file is not present or is unreadable, olwm will fall back on the system
default menu file. If, for some reason, the system default menu file
cannot be found, olwm will use a minimal, built-in menu. The menu file
that is read can also be modified by the display language locale set‐
ting. The locale name is used as a suffix for the filename. If a
localized menu file is found, it is used in preference to the non-
localized menu file. For example, if the display language local is
"japanese", the file ".openwin-menu.japanese" will take precedence over
the file ".openwin-menu".
Olwm will automatically re-read its menu file whenever the menu file
changes. This lets you make many small changes to a menu file, trying
out the modified menu after each change. The automatic re-reading can
be controlled with the AutoReReadMenuFile resource.
If olwm encounters a syntax error during the reading of any menu file,
a message is printed to the standard error, and the reading of this
menu file is considered to have failed. Olwm will then attempt to read
the next file in the sequence as described above.
The menu specification language has a number of keywords, all of which
are in all upper case letters. The keywords are not translated into
the language specified by the the locale category settings. Keywords
are always in English.
Each line typically specifies one menu button. There are three fields
on each line: a label, the optional keyword "DEFAULT", and a command.
The label is either a single word or a string enclosed in double
quotes. This is the label that appears in the menu button. If the
optional keyword "DEFAULT" appears next, this menu item becomes the
default item for this menu. The rest of the line (excluding leading
whitespace) is considered to be a command. It is executed by sending
it to sh(1). Any shell metacharacters will be passed through to the
shell unchanged. A line containing only the keyword "SEPARATOR" will
add extra space before the next item.
A sub-menu is specified using the special keyword "MENU" in place of a
command. A button is added to the current menu, and clicking or
pulling right on this button will bring up the sub-menu. Subsequent
lines in the menu file define buttons for the sub-menu, until a line
that has the special keyword "END" in the command field is encountered.
The label of the MENU line must match the label on the END line, other‐
wise an error is signaled. Sub-menus can be nested arbitrarily, brack‐
eted by MENU and END lines with matching labels. To make a sub-menu
pinnable, add the special keyword "PIN" after the END keyword on the
line that ends the sub-menu definition.
A sub-menu can be specified in a different file by putting the pathname
of the file after the MENU keyword. In this case, the file so named is
assumed to contain lines that specify menu buttons. The sub-menu file
need not have any MENU or END lines (unless it has sub-menus itself).
The current file need not have a matching END line if the sub-menu is
read from another file.
By default, the label in a menu button is used as the title of the sub‐
menu. This can be overridden by specifying a line that has the special
keyword TITLE in the command field. The label from this line will be
used as the sub-menu’s title. This line can appear anywhere in the
sub-menu definition. It does not add an item to the menu.
The following keywords can be used in the command field of a menu item.
They specify functions that are internal to olwm, that are not invoked
by running a shell.
Move the selected windows and icons behind other windows.
Kills all applications and exits the window manager after get‐
ting confirmation from the user. This is useful for exiting the
entire window system.
Like EXIT but skips the confirmation notice.
Toggle the state of the DragWindow resource.
Toggle the state of the SetInput resource.
Toggle the full-sized/normal-sized states of the selected win‐
dows and icons.
No operation; don’t do anything.
Toggle the opened/closed states of the selected windows and
Quit the selected windows and icons.
Open up a connection to NeWS using psh(1) and send the rest of
the line to it.
Bring up Workspace Properties.
Refresh causes all windows on the screen to be repainted.
Force an immediate rereading of the workspace menu customization
file. Olwm will start a complete search for a menu file (as
described in the Menu Customization section) and use the first
valid file it finds.
Restart the window manager by issuing an exec(2) on argv. This
shouldn’t affect any running applications, nor should it cause
the server to shut down.
Take a snapshot of the set of currently running applications,
and put the command lines so obtained into the file ".openwin-
init" in the user’s home directory. This runs the command
"owplaces -silent -multi -script -output $HOME/.openwin-init".
WMEXIT Exit the window manager without killing any applications.
Here is an example root menu specification.
"My Custom Menu" TITLE
"Command Tool" DEFAULT cmdtool
"Text Editor" textedit
"File Manager" filemgr
"Other Tools" TITLE
"Shell Tool" shelltool
"Icon Editor" iconedit
"Perf Meter" DEFAULT perfmeter
Programs END PIN
"Repaint Screen" REFRESH
"Properties ..." PROPERTIES
Olwm will handle colormap installation for windows that have colormaps
other than the default colormap. There are two colormap focus modes:
"color-follows-mouse" and "color-locked". They are roughly analogous
to the corresponding modes for input focus. However, colormap focus
mode can be completely independent of input focus. The mode in which
the system starts up is determined by the ColorFocusLocked resource
(see the Resources section below).
Olwm keeps track of a set of windows that are eligible to have their
colormaps installed. This set includes all top-level windows of
clients. If any clients have specified other windows in a WM_COL‐
ORMAP_WINDOWS property, these windows are included in the set as well.
In color-follows-mouse mode, olwm keeps track of the location of the
pointer and always keeps installed the colormap of the eligible window
underneath the pointer. Thus, you can install the colormap of a par‐
ticular window simply by sliding the pointer into it. The default col‐
ormap will be restored if you move the pointer back out into a window
frame or into the workspace. In this mode, the WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS
properties are tracked for changes, but only to change the set of eli‐
gible windows. Changes to these properties only cause colormaps to be
installed if the eligible window under the pointer has changed as a
result of the set of eligible windows changing. In this mode, no win‐
dow is considered to have the colormap focus; colormap installation
entirely is under control of the user.
In color-locked mode, colormaps are not installed based on pointer
motion. Instead, a particular window is considered to have the col‐
ormap focus. When a window has the colormap focus, colormaps will not
be installed and uninstalled based on pointer motion. If a client pro‐
gram changes the contents of the WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS property on the
top-level window with the colormap focus, olwm will respond by
installing the colormap of the first window named in this property. In
this way, the application whose window has the colormap focus can con‐
trol colormap installation by altering the contents of the WM_COL‐
Note that, according to the ICCCM, if WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS does not
include the top-level window, it is assumed to occur first in the list.
If you want your program to request colormap installation via changes
to WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS, you must make sure that the top-level window
appears somewhere in this property. Otherwise, olwm will always
install the colormap of the top-level window.
The colormap focus may be given to a window in one of several ways.
The user can assign the colormap focus to a window by pressing the
Color-Lock key while the pointer is over the window. If the AutoColor‐
Focus resource is set, new windows will be given the colormap focus
automatically. If the ColorTracksInputFocus resource is set, the col‐
ormap focus will always be given to the window that has the input
In addition to setting the colormap focus, the Color-Lock key has some
additional effects. When you press the Color-Lock key, if the pointer
is within a subwindow named in the WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS property, that
subwindow’s colormap will be installed. If the pointer isn’t within a
window named in the WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS property, or if the pointer is
over the window title bar or border, the colormap of the first entry of
the WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS property will be installed. You can use the
Color-Lock key to install the colormap of a particular subwindow no
matter where it resides in the WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS list. If there is
no WM_COLORMAP_WINDOWS property, pressing the Color-Lock key will sim‐
ply install the colormap of the top-level window.
If you press the Color-Lock key over the workspace, the default col‐
ormap will be installed, and any window with the colormap focus will
lose it. The root window will have the colormap focus.
At any time, you can revert to color-follows-mouse mode by pressing the
Color-Unlock key. Any window with the colormap focus will lose it.
Olwm provides spot help for frames, icons, the Workspace and Window
menus, window buttons, resize corners, pushpins, and the Workspace
itself. This is done via a separate slave program, olwmslave(1). The
slave program is forked automatically when olwm starts up. The forking
of the slave program can be controlled by the RunSlaveProcess resource.
By default, olwm will manage windows on all screens of the display
server. Most operations are unchanged from single screen operation. A
window exists on a particular screen for its entire lifetime. The win‐
dow cannot be moved from one screen to another, nor can it be resized
to cross a screen boundary. Windows invoked from the Workspace menu
will appear on the same screen as the menu. Spot help will appear on
the same screen as the pointer when the Help key is pressed.
Previous releases required modifications to the user’s .xinitrc script
to start multiple instances of olwm, one for each screen. These modi‐
fications are no longer necessary. The default Xinitrc (which contains
a single invocation of olwm) works for both single and multiple screen
Global resources in olwm consist of two resource components. The first
component in the resource name is taken from the trailing pathname com‐
ponent of argv. This value is typically ‘olwm’. This name can be
altered by using the -name command-line argument. The second resource
component names the global attribute being set. It should be one of
the names from the following list. Thus, to set the AutoColorFocus
attribute, one would use "olwm.AutoColorFocus" as the resource specifi‐
Some resources are also interpreted by XView (see XView(7)) and are set
by the Workspace Properties program (see props(1)). For these
resources, olwm will also accept the string ‘OpenWindows’ as the first
resource component. These resources are marked with an asterisk ‘*’.
Colors can be specified using the formats parsed by the Xlib XParseC‐
olor() function. Common formats are color names (see showrgb(1)) and
explicit red, green, and blue values in hexadecimal, preceded by a ‘#’.
For example, a bright magenta would be specified with "#ff00ff".
Boolean values can be specified with the words "true", "false", "on",
"off", "yes", "no", "1", "0", "t", and "nil".
Indicates whether newly appearing windows are to be given the
colormap focus automatically. See the section on Colormap
Installation for further details. Default value: false.
Indicates whether newly appearing windows are to be given the
input focus automatically. Default value: false.
Raise windows automatically when they receive the focus. This
is useful in click-to-focus if you always like to type into the
topmost window. This is useful in focus-follow-mouse when the
AutoRaiseDelay resource is set to a reasonable value. Default
Amount of time to delay, in microseconds, between a window
receiving the focus and raising it above other windows. Effec‐
tive only when the value of the AutoRaise resource is true.
Default value: 0.
Specifies whether the menu file is to be re-read whenever it
changes. Default value: true.
Specifies the background color. This is used for the background
of masked icons. Note: it is not used for the backgrounds of
icon windows such as those used by XView (see XView(7)). This
resource is also distinct from the WindowColor resource.
Default value: white.
BasicLocale (locale name)
Specifies the basic OPEN LOOK locale category setting. See the
section on Locale Handling for more details.
Beep (enumeration) *
Specifies the circumstances under which olwm should beep. Per‐
missible values are the strings "always", "never", and
"notices". The string "never" means that olwm should never
beep, "notices" means that olwm should beep only when a notice
appears, and "always" means that olwm will beep whenever it is
appropriate. Default value: always.
Specifies the color used for window and icon borders. Default
ButtonFont (font name)
Font to be used for buttons in menus and notices. Default
This value is used when bringing up a menu. If the mouse moves
more than this amount while the menu button is down, the menu is
considered to be in press-drag-release mode. Otherwise, the
menu is in click-move-click mode. Default value: 5.
If true, indicates that the colormap focus is to be set automat‐
ically to any window that receives the input focus. See the
section on Colormap Installation for further details. Default
Specifies the initial state of the colormap focus policy. If
true, the default colormap is locked into the hardware. If
false, the colormap of the window under the mouse is kept
installed. See the section on Colormap Installation for further
details. Default value: false.
CursorFont (font name)
Specifies the font to be used for cursors. It is probably not
useful to change this unless you have an alternate cursor font
with the same encoding as the OPEN LOOK cursor font. Default
value: -sun-open look cursor-*-*-*-*-*-120-*-*-*-*-*-*.
Specifies a file containing a bitmap to be used as the default
Specifies a file containing a bitmap to be used as the default
Specifies the string to be used in the title bar of windows that
have not provided a string in the WM_NAME property. Default
value: No Name.
DisplayLang (locale name)
Specifies the display language OPEN LOOK locale category. See
the section on Locale Handling for more details.
DragRightDistance (integer) *
The number of pixels you must drag the mouse to the right in a
menu item to bring up a submenu. The submenu always comes up
when you move over the menu mark (the right-pointing triangle),
regardless of the drag-right distance. Default value: 100.
DragThreshold (integer) *
This is the number of pixels the mouse must move while a mouse
button is down in order to have the action be considered a drag.
If the mouse moves fewer than this number of pixels while the
button is down, it is considered to be click instead of a drag.
Default value: 5.
If true, drags the entire image of the window when you move it.
Otherwise, just drags the window outline. Default value: false.
Specifies the amount of "hysteresis" provided when moving win‐
dows past the edge of the screen. When you move a window or an
icon, it will pause when it touches the edge of the screen.
This is to allow you to easily position windows right up against
the edge of the screen. If you move farther, the window or icon
will continue to move past the edge. You can prevent windows
from ever lapping off the screen by setting an extremely large
value (say, 10000) for this resource, and you can disable this
feature entirely by specifying a value of zero. Default value:
Number of times the title bar is flashed when the "Owners?" menu
item is activated. Default value: 6.
Amount of time, in microseconds, for which the title bar is
flashed when the "Owner?" menu item is activated. Default
If this is set to true, olwm will not enforce the ICCCM require‐
ment that windows must have the input hint set in order to
receive the input focus. This option is useful if you run
clients that aren’t ICCCM-compliant, like many X11R3-based
clients. Default value: false.
Specifies the foreground color. This color is used mainly for
the text of window and icon titles and in menus. Default value:
GlyphFont (font name)
Glyph font used for drawing OPEN LOOK graphics. Changing this
font is mainly useful for changing its size. Specifying a dif‐
ferent font, such as a text font, will result in undesirable
behavior. Default value: -sun-open look
Number of times to flash the open/close "zoom" lines. Default
Amount of time to pause while open/close "zoom" lines are not
visible. Default value: 1.
Amount of time to pause while open/close "zoom" lines are visi‐
ble. Default value: 20000.
IconFont (font name)
Font used for icon names. Default: Lucida-Sans.
IconLocation (enumeration) *
One of the words "top-lr", "top-rl", "bottom-lr", "bottom-rl",
"left-tb", "left-bt", "right-tb", or "right-bt". These specify
that icons should be arranged along a particular edge of the
screen, ordered from left to right or top to bottom as appropri‐
ate. The words "top", "bottom", "left", and "right" are syn‐
onyms for "top-lr", "bottom-lr", "left-tb", and "right-tb",
respectively. Default value: top.
In click-to-focus, the input focus is normally indicated by a
solid rectangle in the title bar. In focus-follows-mouse, focus
is normally indicated with two lines in the title bar. If this
resource is true, the style of highlighting is inverted with
respect to the focus style. This results in two lines for
click-to-focus and a solid bar for focus-follows-mouse. Default
Specifies whether olwm should attempt to keep transient windows
above their owner window. Default value: true.
KeyboardCommands (enumeration) *
Permissible values for this resource are SunView1, Basic, and
Full. Values are case-sensitive. In Full mode, all OPEN LOOK
Mouseless commands implemented by the window manager are active.
See the section on Key Binding for further information. In
Basic mode, the keys active are Open, Front, Help, and the col‐
ormap keys. In SunView1 mode, the only keys active are Open and
Front. Default value: Basic.
MinimalDecor (list of strings)
Specifies a list of windows that are to be decorated minimally.
Decoration on such windows includes only a thin border and
resize corners, with no title bar or window button. The value
should be a whitespace-separated list of strings. Each string
should specify an applications class or instance name, as passed
in the WM_CLASS property. Most applications set this property
based on the name of the executable (i.e. argv). For exam‐
ple, to specify that the clock and the calculator should be dec‐
orated minimally, you would use the following resource:
olwm.MinimalDecor: calctool clock
Many applications will allow you to override the value of the
WM_CLASS property using the -name option on the command line.
Default value: (null).
Specifies the amount of time, in milliseconds, that olwm is to
wait for subsequent events to disambiguate chorded mouse button
MultiClickTimeout (integer) *
The time, in tenths of a second, that differentiates a double-
click from two single clicks. Default value: 5.
Numeric (locale name)
Specifies the numeric format OPEN LOOK locale category. See the
section on Locale Handling for more details.
If true, olwm will use the WorkspaceColor resource to set the
workspace (root window) background color. If false, olwm will
not change the root window background. This is useful If you
prefer to set your own workspace color using xsetroot(1) or a
similar program. Default value: true.
Turns on backward compatibility for older applications that have
a habit of always setting the PPosition flag in the WM_NOR‐
MAL_HINTS property, even when they haven’t set a position. This
most often occurs with X11R3-based clients. Without backward
compatibility, these windows will always appear in the upper-
left corner of the screen. With backward compatibility, these
windows will be positioned according to the default OPEN LOOK
window placement policy, along the diagonal of the screen. This
option will not affect windows that have a geometry specified on
the command line. Default value: false.
PopupJumpCursor (boolean) *
Specifies whether to warp the cursor to popup windows. Default
Specifies whether a window is to be raised when it is activated
via a Mouseless command. Default value: true.
Determines how the Refresh menu items on the window and
workspace menus operate. If the value is true, olwm will walk
the window hierarchy and send exposure events to every window.
This is useful for refreshing windows that have backing store.
If the value is false, olwm will map a window and then unmap it,
causing all windows underneath that do not have backing store
get get exposures. When this feature is on, the Refresh opera‐
tion generates a large amount of client-server traffic. It may
be useful to turn this feature off if the connection transport
has low bandwidth or long latency. Default value: true.
If true, reverses the sense of black and white on monochrome
screens. Ignored for color screens. Default value: false.
Specifies the thickness of the "rubber-band" line that is drawn
when a window is resized, when a group of windows is selected by
dragging a rectangle on the root, and when a window is moved and
the value of the DragWindow resource is false.
If false, disables the running of olwmslave(1) at startup time.
If the slave process is not running, Spot Help will not be
available on objects owned by olwm such as pushpins and resize
corners. Default value: true.
Number of seconds to wait while the Save Workspace operation is
in progress. If all applications haven’t responded with this
amount of time, the operation is considered to have failed.
Default value: 30.
SelectDisplaysMenu (boolean) *
If true, pressing the SELECT mouse button will bring up a menu
item’s submenu (if any) instead of executing the submenu’s
default action. Default value: false.
Number of pixels of "fuzz" to be applied when selecting windows
and icons by dragging a rectangle on the workspace. Consider an
object that lies almost entirely within the selection rectangle,
but that laps outside the rectangle by a few pixels. The object
will be considered to be within the selection rectangle if it
laps outside by fewer than or equal to "fuzz" pixels. Default
If true, double-clicking on a window will push it to the back
instead of zooming it to its full size. Default value: false.
If false, the SELECT mouse button will not select windows and
icons. Its other functions are unaffected. The ADJUST mouse
button can still be used to select windows and icons. Default
Controls whether olwm grabs the server while menus and notices
are up. Default value: true.
SetInput (enumeration) *
This controls the input focus mode. If the value is "select",
it means click-to-focus. If the value is "followmouse", it
means focus-follows-mouse. Default value: select.
Indicates whether the geometry box should be shown while moving
windows and icons. Default value: false.
Indicates whether the geometry box should be shown while resiz‐
ing windows. Default value: false.
Determines whether icons will snap to a grid when they are
moved. Default value: false.
TextFont (font name)
Font used in the text of notices. Default: Lucida-Sans.
TitleFont (font name)
Font used in title bars atop windows and menus. Default:
Specifies whether the save-under attribute of transient windows
is to be forced on. Default value: true.
Specifies whether transient windows should have title bars.
Normally, transient windows have a title bar and resize corners,
but no window button or pushpin. Setting this resource to false
will remove the title bar from transient windows. Default
Specifies whether to use 3D OPEN LOOK when possible. If false,
3D look is never used. If true, 3D is used unless the display
hardware cannot support it. Default value: true.
Specifies whether to use a 3D look for the frame borders. If
true, the frames will be given a 3D look; otherwise, they have
the same thick border as in 2D look. Some people prefer the
look of 3D frames, but it is more difficult to distinguish
selected from unselected windows with this option turned on.
Default value: false.
Specifies whether the window resize corners are to be in the 2D
or 3D look. Default value: false.
WindowColor (color) *
Specify the color of windows. This is the "BG1" color for 3D
OPEN LOOK. It is used for the backgrounds of windows, menus,
and notices. Other the 3D effect is achieved by using highlight
and shadow colors derived from this color. Default value: #ccc.
This specifies a 20% gray value.
WorkspaceColor (color) *
Specify the color for the workspace (root window). On startup,
olwm will set the root window’s background color to the color
specified by this resource, and it will restore the deafult
background on shutdown. To turn off this behavior, see the
description of the PaintWorkspace resource. Default value:
In addition to the global resources described above, olwm also uses
screen-specific resources. The first component of the resource speci‐
fication is the trailing pathname component of argv. The second
component is the screen number appended to the string ‘screen’. The
third component of the resource name is the name of the resource
itself. For example,
enables reverse video on screen number 1 for olwm. To affect all
screens, you can use resource wildcarding. For example, ‘olwm*Reverse‐
Video: true’ will set reverse video for all screens olwm manages.
The following resources are available both globally and on a per-screen
basis. A screen-specific resource overrides the corresopnding global
setting for that screen. Note that screen specific settings for
WorkspaceColor and WindowColor will only affect olwm; this may cause
clashes with XView clients which only use the global setting.
The following resources allow the selection of visuals other than the
screen’s default. Available visuals may be listed with the xdpyinfo(1)
Specify the visual depth to be used when searching for visuals.
Default value: none.
Specify the visual class to be used when searching for visuals.
Valid visual classes are StaticGray, GrayScale, StaticColor,
PseudoColor, TrueColor, and DirectColor. Names are case-sensi‐
tive. Default value: none.
Specify the visual ID to be used. Note: specifying a visual by
its ID is not portable, as IDs may vary from server to server
and even from one invocation of a server to the next. Default
Olwm implements OPEN LOOK Mouseless operation. This is a set of func‐
tions bound to keys that enable one to use the window system entirely
without a pointing device. Some Mouseless functions are also useful
for "cross-over" users, who may want to use them as accelerators for
One can navigate from window to window using the Next Application, Pre‐
vious Application, Next Window, and Previous Window functions, bound by
default to Alt-n, Alt-Shift-n, Alt-w, and Alt-Shift-w, respectively.
(See the section on Key Binding for more detailed information.) You
can bring up both the window and the workspace menu using Alt-m and
Alt-Shift-m, respectively. Once a menu is up, you can navigate through
it by using the arrow keys or by pressing the first letter of the menu
item you want to go to. You can execute the current item by pressing
Return, or you can cancel the menu using Stop or Escape.
You can also move and resize windows use Mouseless functions. This can
be accomplished by selecting the Move or Resize items on the window
menu. (Keyboard acclerators for these items are Alt-F6 and Alt-F7,
respectively.) In Move mode, you can use the arrow keys to move the
window in the desired direction. You can also hold down the Control
key to "jump" the window by a larger distance each time you press an
arrow key. In Resize mode, the first arrow key selects the edge you
are moving, and subsequent arrow keys move that edge. For example, to
shrink a window from the right (that is, to move it right edge to the
left) you would first enter resize mode using Alt-F7, press the right
arrow key to select the right edge, and then press the left arrow key
to move the edge to the left. As in move mode, you can hold down Con‐
trol to "jump" the edge by a greater increment. You can press Return
to accept the new size or location, and you can press Escape or Stop to
abort the move or resize operation.
Key bindings are specified using resources. There is one resource per
function, and the value of the resources are the keys to which the
function is bound. The resource value consists of a comma-separated
list of key specifications. Each key specification consists of a
keysym optionally followed by modifier keysyms; the modifier keysyms
are separated by ‘+’ signs. For example, to bind a function to F2,
control-F3, and alt-shift-F4, one would use the value:
Any keysym whose key is in the modifier mapping may be used as a modi‐
fier. The following can also be used as aliases for common modifier
keysyms: Shift, Lock, Control, Ctrl, Ctl, Meta, Alt, Super, and Hyper.
Resource names are prefixed with the trailing pathname component of
argv, followed by KeyboardCommand (note that this is singular, not
to be confused with the KeyboardCommands resource), followed by a
resource from the following list. For example, the resource specifica‐
tion for setting the Stop function would typically be:
Each item in this list is followed by its default keyboard binding and
a description of what the function does. Items marked with an asterisk
‘*’ involve keyboard grabs. Other items are active only while olwm is
in a mode, such as when a menu is up. Note: most of the functions that
require grabs are active only when the KeyboardCommands resource is set
to Full. See the description of this resource in the section on Global
Stop (L1, Escape)
Abort the current mode or action.
DefaultAction (Return, Meta-Return, Enter)
Execute the default action for the current menu or notice.
Select the current button.
Toggle the selected state of the current object.
Bring up a menu on the current object.
InputFocusHelp (?, Control-?)
Bring up Help on the object with the input focus.
Move up one item.
Move down one item.
Move left one item.
Move right one item.
JumpUp (Control up-arrow)
Move up ten items.
JumpDown (Control down-arrow)
Move down ten items.
JumpLeft (Control left-arrow)
Move left ten items.
JumpRight (Control right-arrow)
Move right ten items.
RowStart (Home, R7)
Move to the start of the current row.
RowEnd (End, R13)
Move to the end of the current row.
Move to the start of the data.
Move to the end of the data.
Move to the first item.
Move to the last item.
NextElement (Tab, Control-Tab)
Move to the next item.
PreviousElement (Shift-Tab, Control-Shift-Tab)
Move to the previous item.
Open (Alt-L7) *
Open the object with the input focus.
Help (Help) *
Bring up Spot Help on the object under the pointer.
LockColormap (Control-L2) *
Install the colormap of the subwindow under the pointer, and
give the colormap focus to the top-level window containing the
pointer. See Colormap Installation
for further details.
UnlockColormap (Control-L4) *
Revert to color-follows-mouse mode, and unset colormap focus.
See Colormap Installation
for further details.
Front (Alt-L5) *
Bring the object with the input focus to the front.
FocusToPointer (Alt-Shift-j) *
Set the focus to the window under the pointer.
NextApp (Alt-n) *
Move the focus to the next base window. Windows are ordered
clockwise starting at the top. Icons come after all windows,
also in a clockwise fashion. Order proceeds from the last icon
on a screen to the first window of the next screen. After the
last screen, the order wraps back around to the first screen.
PreviousApp (Alt-Shift-n) *
Move the focus to the previous base window. See NextApp for
details about the window traversal order.
ToggleInput (Alt-t) *
Move the input focus to the previous window that had the input
NextWindow (Alt-w) *
Move to the next window in the family of windows consisting of a
base window and a set of popups. Windows are ordered clockwise,
starting at the top of the screen.
PreviousWindow (Alt-Shift-w) *
Move to the previous window in the family of windows consisting
of a base window and a set of popups. Windows are ordered
clockwise, starting at the top of the screen.
TogglePin (Meta-Insert) *
Toggle the state of the pin of the window with the input focus.
SuspendMouseless (Alt-z) *
Temporarily suspend all key grabs associated with Mouseless
ResumeMouseless (Alt-Shift-z) *
Resume grabs after temporary suspension.
QuoteNextKey (Alt-q) *
Pass the next key sequence to the application with the focus,
ignoring any grabs.
Refresh (Alt-F8) *
Repaint the window with the focus.
Back (Alt-F5) *
Move the focus window behind other windows.
OpenClose (Alt-F2) *
Toggle the open/clos state of the window with the focus.
FullRestore (Alt-F3) *
Toggle the full-sized/normal-sized state of the window with the
Quit (Alt-F9) *
Quit the window with the focus.
Owner (Alt-F10) *
Flash the owner of the popup window with the focus.
WorkspaceMenu (Alt-Shift-m) *
Bring up the workspace menu.
WindowMenu (Alt-m) *
Bring up the window menu on the window with the focus.
Move (Alt-F6) *
Move the window with the focus.
Resize (Alt-F7) *
Resize the window with the focus.
OpenClosePointer (L7) *
Toggle the open/close state of the window or icon under the
RaiseLower (L5) *
Raise the window under the pointer if obscured by other windows.
Otherwise, lower the window if it obscures other windows.
Olwm will alter the operation of certain mouse-based functions based on
the state of the modifier keys. The relationship between the alter‐
ation and the associated modifier keys is controlled by a set of
resources. Resource names are prefixed with the trailing pathname com‐
ponent of argv, followed by Modifier, followed by a resource from
the list below. For example, the resource specification to bind the
Reduce modifier would typically be
The value of each resource is a comma-separated list of modifier
keysyms. Each item in this list is followed by its default modifier
and a description of what it does.
Constrain a move or resize operation to be only on a horizontal
or vertical direction.
Ignore (Lock, NumLock, mod5, Mode_switch)
The set of modifiers to be ignored when processing mouse events.
This resource should contain the set of locking modifiers, so
that mouse actions are still interpreted properly even while
locking modifiers are in effect.
When moving windows, temporarily invert the sense of the Drag
Window resource. When resizing a window, temporarily move the
window as long as this modifier is held down. Return to resiz‐
ing when the modifier is released.
When moving windows, reduce the amount of mouse motion by a fac‐
tor of ten.
Sets the default item for a menu.
Using the WMGrab modifier allows access to the mouse button
functions anywhere over the window, not just over the window’s
title bar and border.
Specifies the X11 server to which to connect.
LANG, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGE, LC_TIME
These variables specify which locale to use when other methods
of locale announcement are not available. (See the section on
Locale Handling for more details.)
Specifies a file to use for the Workspace Menu.
Contains the user-customized Workspace Menu specification.
Contains the default Workspace Menu specification.
Stores the command lines obtained during the Save Workspace
OPEN LOOK is a trademark of AT&T.
The X Window system is a trademark of the Massachusetts Institute of
OpenWindows is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Rosenthal, David S.H. Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual
for X11. Copyright 1989 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This document is commonly known as the ICCCM. It is an X Consortium
Standard that specifies conventions to which all X11 clients must
OPEN LOOK Graphical User Interface Functional Specification. Copyright
1989 by Sun Microsystems, Inc. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.
OPEN LOOK Graphical User Interface International Extensions Functional
Specification. Draft 1.1 (May 10, 1990). Copyright 1990 by Unix
The resource names do not follow any classing structure. There is no
general way to specify resources on a per-client basis.
There is no way to reconfigure the mouse buttons. This makes it impos‐
sible to use olwm on a system that has a one-button mouse with no pro‐
vision for simulating a second or third mouse button. (It is possible
to use olwm with a two-button mouse. See the section on Mouse But‐
The Exit menu item on the Workspace Menu doesn’t really shut down the
server. It kills off all clients being managed by the window manager,
and then it exits the window manager itself. This works properly if
some outside agent such as xinit(1) or xdm(1) is waiting for the window
manager or a client to exit. The outside agent will take care of shut‐
ting down the server or reinitializing it. If you’ve started up the
server a different way, this option may not work. Instead, the server
will be left running with no clients and no window manager running, and
you will have to login from elsewhere to kill the server. An alterna‐
tive for users of X11/NeWS is to add the following entry to the root
Exit POSTSCRIPT shutdownserver
This will shut down the server immediately, with no confirmation what‐
Olwm is fairly simplistic about how it manages its keyboard bindings.
For example, if you bind a function to control-F2, olwm will grab F2
with the Control modifier and with all combinations of the Lock and
NumLock modifiers. If another locking modifier is in effect, olwm’s
passive grab will not be activated, and thus the function will not
Olwm cannot manage multiple locales at one time, therefore all clients
should be running in the same locale. The "C" locale is the exception.
Applications using the "C" locale (such as non-internationalized appli‐
cations) can be mixed with applications using one other locale.
Olwm does not handle different sizes of the glyph fonts well. Each
locale can define a different size for the default font (for example,
the default glyph font size is 12 for the "C" locale and is 14 for the
"japanese" locale). Olwm does not re-position the window decorations
after switching locale, therefore the window decorations may appear to
be wrong. To remedy this problem partially, olwm will not change the
font when locale is switching from non-"C" locale to the "C" locale
(fonts for non-"C" locales are always supersets of the font for "C"
There is no input focus feedback for nonrectangular windows. The title
string of nonrectangular windows cannot be displayed.
Olwm will not dynamically track screen-specific resources. Only
changes to global resources are applied.
The interaction of the AutoColorFocus, ColorFocusLocked, and Color
TracksInputFocus resources and the color locking and unlocking keys is
6 August 1991 olwm(1)