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Linux in a Nutshell, Fourth Edition by Aaron Weber, Stephen Figgins, Ellen Siever

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Chapter 19. An Alternative Window Manager: fvwm2

Among the most appealing characteristics of a Linux system are its flexibility, its independence from industry-dominating standards, and the degree of control a user has over his own working environment. Most flavors of Linux come with a default desktop environment replete with handy tools and menus and a consistent look and feel. The most widely used of these desktop environments are GNOME and KDE, the customization of which are detailed in Chapter 17 and Chapter 18, respectively. Both of these environments put a PC-like wrapper around what is basically a no-frills Unix-based system suitable for personal computers. For some people this is a good thing. But if you want a basic, functional desktop, and you’re comfortable editing configuration files to customize your environment, you might instead try the fvwm2 window manager.

fvwm2 is the latest generation of a window manager called fvwm. fvwm predates both GNOME and KDE as a program that can provide multiple virtual screens to expand your desktop real estate. The letters vwm stand for virtual window manager, but the original meaning of the f has been forgotten and has led to much speculation. In fact, among the latest group of the program’s developers are a number of cat lovers who claim the f stands for feline.

The first important concept you should understand in order to work with fvwm2 is that your desktop can be larger than the area of your screen. In fact, fvwm2 allows you to ...

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