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DWM is a tiling window manager for Linux. One of the main charachteristics is, that in order to do any customization and expansion, you have to do it in the source code itself. The base is very minimal, and if you want to a feature, you go the the main website, download a file, patch it in… and hope you get no error messages. :)

DWM is part of suckless utilities, a group of software that aims to minimal at core, but expandable by anyone, who is interested.

Personally I am using version 6.1, because I couldn't compile it for some reason. Many of the stuff on the website is applicable to older version, so I have a nice build now, currently using these patches:

Install DWM

No matter how you acquire DWM - from the website archive for older source, or just cloning the git repo - you need only two command:

$ make


# make install

But I just usually make clean install as root.

Of course if you got some errors, you have to manual interviene. I learned some stuff, from this video:

After install you have to make sure, you can start it either from a display manager or from the terminal via xinitrc. Since I switched to Slackware, I don't use a display manager so I just added this line at the end of of my ~.xinitrc:

exec dwm

I also use this .xinitrc file to launch stuff that needs to be launched. Like my keyboard language, or chaning Caps Lock to Ctrl.

Applying patches

Since I don't use the latest version, I always make sure that I have a backup for the present version that I have patched, so if something doesn't work I still have it somewhere.

If you are using git, well you need to learn how to use git, here is a video that might help with dwm:


Patching can be different, depending on what you want to patch and what version do you have. The patches you see on the dwm site, is for unpatched dwm basically. So until you have a fresh install of it, you will probably hit something on the way.

However learning to patch stuff by hand is very valuable and honestly pretty fun. I don't know how to code or anything advanced, but making something work, is pretty rewarding!

Patch away!

How to change the look?

As everything with dwm, it's in the source code, you dummy! :)

You can change colors, fonts, you can add icons for your tags. Here is a good video about it:

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