Window Maker Compilation and Installation
A guide to configure, compile and install
WINDOW MAKER from sources.
Table of Contents
This manual is for Window Maker, version git#next.
1.1 Supported Platforms
- - Intel GNU/Linux Systems in general, ix86 and x86_64 but other architectures should work
- - BSD systems
- - Solaris, at least on release 10 and 11
Patches to make it work on other platforms are welcome.
1.2 Software Dependencies
The following software is required to use WINDOW MAKER:
- - X11R6.x
Window Maker can be compiled in older versions of X, like X11R5 (Solaris)
or X11R4 (OpenWindows) but it will not work 100% correctly.
In such servers there will not be application icons and you’ll have trouble using the dock.
Upgrading the client libraries (Xlib, Xt, etc.) will help if you can’t upgrade
The following is required to build WINDOW MAKER:
WINDOW MAKER is known to compile with gcc and clang;
the code source is mostly ANSI C (also known as C89 and C90) but is uses very few of the C99
it also uses a few attributes introduced in the C11 standard but those are detected automatically,
so most compilers should work.
1.3 Special Dependencies
If you want to compile using the sources from the git repository instead of the distribution
package, you will also need:
- autoconf 2.69
- automake 1.12
- libtool 1.4.2
1.4 Optional Dependencies
These libraries are not required to make WINDOW MAKER work, but they are supported in case you
want to use them. Version numbers are indicative, but other versions might work too.
- - libXPM 4.7 or newer
Older versions may not work!
Available from http://xlibs.freedesktop.org/release/
There is built-in support for XPM files, but it will not
load images in some uncommon encodings.
- - libpng 0.96 or newer and zlib
For PNG image support,
- - libtiff 3.4 or newer
For TIFF image support,
- - libjpeg 6.0.1 or newer
For JPEG image support,
Note that if you don’t have it,
configure will issue a big warning in the end,
this is because JPEG images are often used in themes and for background images
so you probably want this format supported.
- - libgif 2.2 or libungif
For GIF image support,
- - WebP 0.4.1 or newer
The reference library from Google for their image format,
- - GNU xgettext
If you want to use translated messages, you will need GNU gettext.
Other versions of gettext are not compatible and will not work.
Get the GNU version from http://www.gnu.org/software/gettext/
- - Pango 1.36.8 or newer
This library can be used by the WINGs toolkit to improve support for UTF-8 and for
languages written in right-to-left direction, in some widgets.
You have to explicitly ask for its support through (see Configure Options).
You can get it from http://www.pango.org/Download
- - libbsd
This library can be used by the WINGs utility library to make use of
strlcpy instead of using built-in functions if your system does not provide them in its
You should let WINDOW MAKER’s
configure detect this for you.
You can get it from http://libbsd.freedesktop.org/wiki/
- - Inotify
If you have Linux’s inotify support, WINDOW MAKER will use it to check for configuration
updates instead of polling regularly the file.
The needed header comes with the kernel, typical packages names include:
- kernel-headers for Slackware and Fedora
- linux-userspace-headers for Mageia
- linux-libc-dev for Debian and Ubuntu
- linux-glibc-devel for OpenSuSE
- - MagickWand 6.8.9-9 or newer
If found, then the library WRaster can use the ImageMagick library to let
WINDOW MAKER support more image formats, like SVG, BMP, TGA, ...
You can get it from http://www.imagemagick.org/
- - Boehm GC
This library can be used by the WINGs utility toolkit to use a
Boehm-Demers-Weiser Garbage Collector instead of the traditional
free functions from the libc.
You have to explicitly ask for its support though (see Configure Options).
You can get it from http://www.hboehm.info/gc/
2 Building WINDOW MAKER
2.1 Getting the Sources
The latest version of WINDOW MAKER (-crm) can be downloaded from
Alternatively, the development branch, called #next is in the git repository at
If you want to use the git versions, you can get it with:
git clone -b next git://repo.or.cz/wmaker-crm.git
then, assuming you have the dependencies listed in Special Dependencies, you have to
to generate the configuration script.
2.2 Build and Install
For a quick start, type the following in your shell prompt:
then, login as root and type:
or if you want to strip the debugging symbols from the binaries to make them smaller,
you can type instead:
This will build and install WINDOW MAKER with default parameters.
If you want to customise some compile-time options, you can do the following:
- (optional) Look at the Configure Options, for the options available.
to get a complete list of options that are available.
- Run configure with the options you want.
For example, if you want to use the --enable-modelock option, type:
- (optional) Edit src/wconfig.h with your favourite text editor and browse through it for some
options you might want to change.
- Compile. Just type:
- Login as root (if you can’t do that, read the I don’t have the root password)
and install WINDOW MAKER in your system:
2.3 User specific configuration
These instructions do not need to be followed when upgrading WINDOW MAKER
from an older version, unless stated differently in the NEWS file.
Every user on your system that wishes to run WINDOW MAKER must do the
- Install Window Maker configuration files in your home directory.
wmaker.inst will install WINDOW MAKER configuration files and will
setup X to automatically launch WINDOW MAKER at startup.
You can type
man wmaker to get some general help for configuration
and other stuff.
Read the User Guide for a more in-depth explanation of WINDOW MAKER.
You might want to take a look at the FAQ too.
WINDOW MAKER has national language support. The procedure to enable national
language support is described in the dedicated
Enabling Languages support in README.i18n.
2.5 Configure Options
These options can be passed to the configure script to enable/disable
some WINDOW MAKER features. Example:
./configure --enable-modelock --disable-gif
will configure WINDOW MAKER with modelock supported and disable gif support.
Normally, you won’t need any of them.
To get the list of all options, run
2.5.1 Installation Directory
The default installation path will be in the /usr/local hierarchy;
a number of option can customise this:
Standard options from autoconf to define target paths,
you probably want to read Installation Names in INSTALL.
More standard options from autoconf, today these are not used by WINDOW MAKER;
they are provided automatically by autoconf for consistency.
Specific to WINDOW MAKER, defines the directory where WPrefs.app will be installed,
if you want to install it like a GNUstep applications.
If not specified, it will be installed like usual programs.
Specific to WINDOW MAKER, this option defines an additional path where pixmaps will be
searched. Nothing will be installed there; the default path taken is DATADIR/pixmaps,
where DATADIR is the path defined from --datadir.
Specific to WINDOW MAKER, defines the directory where system configuration
files, e.g., WindowMaker, WMRootMenu, etc., are installed. The
default value is SYSCONFDIR/WindowMaker, where SYSCONFDIR is
the path defined from --sysconfdir.
2.5.2 External Libraries
Unless specifically written,
configure will try to detect automatically for the libraries;
if you explicitly provide --enable-FEATURE then it will break with an error message
if the library cannot be linked;
if you specify --disable-FEATURE then it will not try to search for the library.
You can find more information about the libraries in the
Never enabled by default, use Boehm GC instead of the default libc
Disable GIF support in WRaster library; when enabled use libgif or libungif.
Disable JPEG support in WRaster library; when enabled use libjpeg.
Refuse use of the libbsd compatibility library in WINGs utility library,
even if your system provides it.
Disable ImageMagick’s MagickWand support in WRaster, used to support for image formats.
Disabled by default, enable Pango text layout support in WINGs.
Disable PNG support in WRaster; when enabled use libpng.
Disable TIFF support in WRaster. when enabled use libtiff.
Disable WEBP support in WRaster. when enabled use libwebp.
Disable use of libXpm for XPM support in WRaster, use internal code instead.
The following options can be used to tell
configure about extra paths that needs to be
used when compiling against libraries:
specify additional paths for libraries to be searched.
The -L flag must precede each path, like:
specify additional paths for header files to be searched.
The -I flag must precede each paths, like:
2.5.3 X11 and Extensions
configure will try to detect automatically the compilation paths for X11 headers and
libraries, and which X Extensions support can be enabled.
if you explicitly provide --enable-FEATURE then it will break with an error message
if the extension cannot be used;
if you specify --disable-FEATURE then it will not check for the extension.
Autoconf’s option to specify search paths for X11,
for the case were it would not have been able to detect it automatically.
If you activated support for Native Languages, then X11 may use a hack to also configure its
locale support when the program configure the locale for itself.
configure script detects if the Xlib supports this or not;
this options explicitly disable this initialisation mechanism.
XKB language status lock support. If you don’t know what it is you probably don’t need it.
The default is to not enable it.
Disable use of the MIT shared memory extension.
This will slow down texture generation a little bit, but in some cases it seems to be necessary due
to a bug that manifests as messed icons and textures.
Disables support for shaped windows (for
The Xinerama extension provides information about the different screens connected when
running a multi-head setting (if you plug more than one monitor).
The RandR extension provides feedback when changing the multiple-monitor configuration in X11
and allows to re-configure how screens are organised.
At current time, it is not enabled by default because it is NOT recommended (buggy);
WINDOW MAKER only restart itself when the configuration change, to take into account the new
2.5.4 Feature Selection
Disable animations permanently, by not compiling the corresponding code into WINDOW MAKER.
When enabled (the default), you still have a run-time configuration option in WPrefs.
Disable support for Motif’s MWM Window Manager hints.
These attributes were introduced by the Motif toolkit to ask for special window appearance requests.
Nowadays this is covered by the NetWM/EWMH specification, but there are still applications that rely on MWM Hints.
Add support for the ICCCM protocol for cooperative window manager replacement.
This feature is disabled by default because you probably don’t need to switch seamlessly the window manager;
if you are making a package for a distribution you’d probably want to enable this because it allows users to give
a try to different window managers without restarting everything for an extra cost that is not really big.
Disable support for dragging and dropping files on the dock, which launches a user-specified command
with that file.
Starting from version 0.65.6 this feature is enabled by default.
This feature is auto-detected, and you should not use this option.
When compiling a library (wrlib, ...), gcc has the possibility to filter the list of
functions that will be visible, to keep only the public API, because it helps running programs
configure script checks if this feature is available;
if you specify this option it will not check anymore and blindly trust you that it is supposed to
work, which is not a good idea as you may encounter problems later when compiling.
This feature, disabled by default, allows to add a user-defined custom menu to applications;
when choosing an entry of the menu it will send the key combination defined by the user to that
application. See Application User Menu in NEWS for more information.
Selection of the domain used for translation of the menus;
see Translations for Menus in README.i18n.
2.5.5 Developer Stuff
These options are disabled by default:
If you intend to re-run the
configure script often, you probably want to include this
option, so it will save and re-use the status of what have been detected in the file
Enable debugging features (debug symbol, some extra verbosity and checks) and add a number of
check flags (warnings) for the compiler (in gcc fashion).
Enable generation of code coverage and profiling data;
if the DIRECTORY is not specified, use coverage-report.
This option was meant to be use with gcc;
it was not used recently so it is probable that is does not work anymore;
configure script will not even check that your compiling environment has the
appropriate requirements and works with this.
Despite all this, if you think there’s a use for it and feel in the mood to help, do not hesitate to
discuss on the mailing list [email protected] to get it working.
3.1 Platform Specific Notes
- - GNU/Linux in general
Make sure you have /usr/local/lib in /etc/ld.so.conf and that you
ldconfig after installing.
Uninstall any packaged version of WINDOW MAKER before installing a new version.
- - RedHat GNU/Linux
RedHat systems have several annoying problems.
If you use it, be sure to follow the steps below or WINDOW MAKER will not work:
- if you installed the WINDOW MAKER that comes with RedHat, uninstall it before upgrading;
- make sure you have /usr/local/bin in your
PATH environment variable;
- make sure you have /usr/local/lib in /etc/ld.so.conf before running
- - PowerPC MkLinux
You will need to have the latest version of Xpmac.
Older versions seem to have bugs that cause the system to hang.
- - Debian GNU/Linux
If you want JPEG and TIFF support, make sure you have libtiff-dev
and libjpeg-dev installed.
- - SuSE GNU/Linux
If you installed the WINDOW MAKER package from SuSE, uninstall it before trying to
compile Window Maker or you might have problems.
- - MetroX (unknown version)
MetroX has a bug that corrupts pixmaps that are set as window backgrounds.
If you use MetroX and have weird problems with textures, do not use textures in title bars.
Or use a different X server.
3.2 I don’t have the root password :(
If you can’t get superuser privileges (can’t be root) you can install Window Maker in your own
For that, supply the --prefix option when running configure in step 2 of building
You will also need to supply the --with-gnustepdir option, to specify the path for
./configure --prefix=/home/jshmoe --with-gnustepdir=/home/jshmoe/GNUstep/Applications
Then make /home/jshmoe/bin be included in your search
PATH, add /home/jshmoe/lib
LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable and run
Of course, /home/jshmoe is supposed to be replaced by your actual home directory path.
If you are upgrading from an older version of WINDOW MAKER:
- Configure and build WINDOW MAKER as always
- Install WINDOW MAKER (but do not run
- Read the NEWS file and update your configuration files if necessary.
When you have some trouble during configuration (while running configure), like not being able to
use a graphic format library you think you have installed, look at the config.log file for
clues of the problem.
4.1 Error with loading fonts, even if they exist
This is probably a problem with NLS (Native Language Support), you probably want to look at the
Troubleshooting in README.i18n
or try rebuilding without NLS support, which is done with:
4.2 configure doesn’t detect libtiff, or other graphic libraries
Delete config.cache, then rerun configure adding the following options to
(among the other options you use):
Put the paths where your graphic libs and their corresponding header files are located.
You can put multiple paths in any of these options, as the example of --with-incs-from shows.
Just put a space between them.
4.3 configure doesn’t detect libXpm
Check if you have a symbolic link from libXpm.so.4.9 to libXpm.so
4.4 Segmentation fault on startup
- Check if the version of libXPM you have is at least 4.7
- Check if you have an updated version of ~/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker
If you’re not sure, try renaming ~/GNUstep to ~/GNUtmp
and then run
4.5 "...: your machine is misconfigured. gethostname() returned (none)"
the host name of your machine is set to something invalid, that starts with a parenthesis.
man hostname for info about how to set it.
4.6 The root menu contains only 2 entries. ("XTerm" and "Exit...")
WINDOW MAKER could not read your menu definition file.
You should check the output of
wmaker for an error, it may be visible in the console or in the