Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


F(?) Virtual Window Manager, a virtual window manager for the X Window system. Originally a twm derivative, fvwm has evolved into a powerful and infinitely configurable environment for UNIX systems.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Features
3 Quotations
4 Examples
5 Family Tree
6 Resources


Fvwm logo, in use prior to 2004
In July 1993, irritated with the then ubiquitous
twm after experiencing many of its limitations during his work analysing acoustic signatures for the DoD, Rob Nation began hacking twm to find out why it used so much memory, and to add support for virtual desktops.

Already well known for his popular rxvt terminal emulator, Rob worked on reducing the memory consumption of his new window manager. Deciding to test fvwm's reception, on June 1, 1993 Rob bundled it with an rxvt release, it was a success, many people were tired of the awkward and limited twm and were hungry for a capable replacement.

Fvwm is renowned for it's high quality code base, many developers base their own projects on fvwm in order to benefit from the years of refinement and development. Many of the popular window managers in use today are related to fvwm, Afterstep, XFce, enlightenment, and many more.

Originally, fvwm was the Feeble Virtual Window Manager, but at some point the meaning of the F was lost. When google published the old news group archives acquired from DejaNews, the original meaning was re-discovered, however the fvwm developers decided they prefer the "Mysterious F" interpretation and it has stuck to this day.


An extensive list of Fvwm features would require a very large document, this is a partial list based on the version distributed with Fvwm.

Many of these features can be disabled at runtime or compile time, or dynamically for specific windows or loaded and unloaded as modules, or many other possibilities. These are not rigid features, the fvwm developers do not propose to know how your desktop should work or look like, these can be configured to work, look and behave the way you want them to.


"fvwm is the way to go. [...] Looks nice, works fine, has all the important features and is small to boot. I like much of the twm stuff, but twm is rather ugly and has some problems. fvwm looks much nicer and does it all and is very configurable."
"Question: What is your favourite window manager? Alan: Are you trying to start a fight with someone! I don't know. Mostly I used fvwm." "An uncluttered desktop design for some serious hacking" "I've been a confirmed fan of fvwm ever since I started using this layout; it increases my efficiency fantastically. Every other Linux window system has bad ideas about the focussing --- every option of KDE and GNOME is broken in some important way!" "The name FVWM used to stand for something, but I forgot what. (Feeble, famous, foobar? It doesn't really matter, this is an acronym based society anyway.)"


Fvwm can be made to resemble and behave any other window manager or environment, or be used to form totally original creations. These are some screenshots from fvwm users.

Family Tree