awesome (window manager)

Awesome logo.png
Awesome screenshot.png
awesome with a number of terminals open
Original author(s) Julien Danjou
Stable release 3.4.9 / January 17, 2011
Written in C and Lua
Operating system Unix-like
Type Window manager
License GNU General Public License
Website awesome.naquadah.org

awesome is a dynamic window manager for the X Window System developed in the C and Lua programming languages. The latter is also used for configuring and extending the window manager. Its development began as a fork of dwm. It aims to be extremely small and fast, yet extensively customizable and make it possible for the user to productively manage windows with the use of keyboard.

The fork was initially nicknamed jdwm, with 'jd' denoting the first letters of its principal programmer's name, and with dwm reminding of the software project it forked from. The first git repository for what was to become awesome was set up in September 2007. jdwm was renamed to awesome, named after the same phrase used by the How I Met Your Mother character Barney Stinson. awesome window manager was officially announced on the dwm mailing list on September 20, 2007.

Aim of the project

A window manager is probably one of the most used software in your day-to-day tasks, with your Web browser, mail reader and text editor. Power users and programmers have a big range of choice between several tools for these day-to-day tasks. Some are heavily extensible and configurable.

awesome tries to complete these tools with what we miss: an extensible, highly configurable window manager.

To achieve this goal, awesome has been designed as a framework window manager. It's extremely fast, small, dynamic and heavily extensible using the Lua programming language.

Awesome has emerged as a dwm fork featuring customization through external configuration files (see Configuration and customization below). Although highly extensible, the default setup of the window manager is deliberately simplified. In doing so, the author has created what he calls a framework window manager for users to expand and adapt to their own needs.


Configuration and customization

From the very beginning, awesome was conceived as a dwm fork with an external configuration file. As such, its configuration file format, and the process of configuration itself, was subject to special attention by the author.

Early configuration file formats

Prior to the third major release, one of awesome's features was what Danjou termed a 'no complicated configuration'. First versions of awesome (1.x) were simple modification of dwm with flat file configuration which used libconfig. In 2.x branch, Danjou changed the configuration library from libconfig to libconfuse, a different flat file configuration library, somewhat resembling libconfig. During the development of 2.x releases, many customization features were added to awesome, such as titlebars and icon drawing.

New configuration file

On May 20, 2008, Danjou announced in an e-mail to awesome mailing list that a new format for the configuration file will be used in 3.0 release. The new format was placed in a file ~/.awesomerc.lua, and was later moved to ~/.config/awesome/rc.lua. As the extension suggests, the configuration file is written in Lua programming language. Danjou argued that the new format and Lua integration would enable awesome users to customize awesome in ways he previously considered impossible: using a programming language for configuration made it possible to dynamically specify configuration options.

awesome Lua API is now hosted on awesome's homepage, and a tutorial-style article about configuring awesome is posted on the awesome Wiki.

awesome configuration converter

For users migrating from 2.x releases, awesome configuration converter is being developed, although its wiki page states that the development is still in early stages and the software "doesn't work at the moment".

Themes and widgets

It is possible to theme (or skin) awesome by using the window manager's Beautiful library. In line with rc.lua configuration file, theming is also done in Lua, allowing dynamic themes to be created.

Although the default awesome configuration as of 3.2.1 release does not have any status indicators (like wireless network status, battery indicators, etc), users can add these items using widgets. Data for the widgets is supplied using arbitrary Lua code since widgets are defined in the main configuration file.

There is also an alternative Wicked Lua library which can be used for creating widgets. Wicked is not included with awesome, but it can be obtained in binary package form, or otherwise installed with distribution's packaging system, in many distributions including Debian, Arch Linux, Source Mage GNU/Linux, and Gentoo Linux.

Migration to XCB

The 3.0 version, released September 18, 2008, uses the XCB library to communicate with the X server, making awesome the first window manager to use this library instead of Xlib. Work on the XCB port was started by Arnaud Fontaine, one of the current awesome developers, in January 2008.

Arnaud Fontaine announced the move to XCB on the XCB mailing list on April 9, 2008. In his message to the list, he emphasized the following as main advantages of using XCB: "modular architecture; direct access to the protocols; multithreading; asynchronous requests/replies;". The XCB port was completed the following month and Danjou created a new branch based on XCB.

Lua integration

Because of the perceived problems that limited expanding and customization in pre-3.0 version of awesome, the author decided to integrate Lua-based configuration into awesome. The rc1 of the new Lua-scriptable implementation was announced in August 2008. In September 2008, the first version of awesome with Lua API completed in parallel with XCB implementation.

Distribution package availability

awesome is distributed on a wide range of Unix-like operating systems, including Arch Linux, Debian, Gentoo, , Ubuntu, Source Mage GNU/Linux, T2 SDE, AuroraUX, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.

A list of supported packages can be found on download page.

Named releases

awesome versions 1.0 through 1.3 (September–October 2007) were not named. Starting with the first 2.0 release candidate (November 2007), awesome has used named releases. As of January 17, 2011, the latest stable version is 3.4.9 "Smack".

Invaders module

Among standard awesome libraries, there was a library called 'invaders', which contains the Space Invaders video game clone, written by Gregor "farhaven" Best. This module was first introduced in 3.1 release, and subsequently removed in 3.4 release, due to its novelty nature, increasing needs for maintenance and fading interest.


awesome is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2.

See also


External links

Retrieved from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awesome_(window_manager)