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dwl is a compact, hackable compositor for Wayland based on wlroots. It is intended to fill the same space in the Wayland world that dwm does in X11, primarily in terms of philosophy, and secondarily in terms of functionality. Like dwm, dwl is:
dwl is not meant to provide every feature under the sun. Instead, like dwm, it sticks to features which are necessary, simple, and straightforward to implement given the base on which it is built. Implemented default features are:
Features under consideration (possibly as patches) are:
Feature non-goals for the main codebase include:
dwl has only two dependencies: wlroots and wayland-protocols. Simply install these (and their
-devel versions if your distro has separate development packages) and run
make. If you wish to build against a Git version of wlroots, check out the wlroots-next branch.
To enable XWayland, you should also install xorg-xwayland and uncomment its flag in
All configuration is done by editing
config.h and recompiling, in the same manner as dwm. There is no way to separately restart the window manager in Wayland without restarting the entire display server, so any changes will take effect the next time dwl is executed.
As in the dwm community, we encourage users to share patches they have created. Check out the patches page on our wiki!
dwl can be run on any of the backends supported by wlroots. This means you can run it as a separate window inside either an X11 or Wayland session, as well as directly from a VT console. Depending on your distro's setup, you may need to add your user to the
input groups before you can run dwl on a VT.
When dwl is run with no arguments, it will launch the server and begin handling any shortcuts configured in
config.h. There is no status bar or other decoration initially; these are instead clients that can be run within the Wayland session.
If you would like to run a script or command automatically at startup, you can specify the command using the
-s option. This command will be executed as a shell command using
/bin/sh -c. It serves a similar function to
.xinitrc, but differs in that the display server will not shut down when this process terminates. Instead, dwl will send this process a SIGTERM at shutdown and wait for it to terminate (if it hasn't already). This makes it ideal for execing into a user service manager like s6, anopa, runit, or
-s command is run as a child process of dwl, which means that it does not have the ability to affect the environment of dwl or of any processes that it spawns. If you need to set environment variables that affect the entire dwl session, these must be set prior to running dwl. For example, Wayland requires a valid
XDG_RUNTIME_DIR, which is usually set up by a session manager such as
systemd-logind. If your system doesn't do this automatically, you will need to configure it prior to launching
export XDG_RUNTIME_DIR=/tmp/xdg-runtime-$(id -u) mkdir -p $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR dwl
Information about selected layouts, current window title, and selected/occupied/urgent tags is written to the stdin of the
-s command (see the
printstatus() function for details). This information can be used to populate an external status bar with a script that parses the information. Failing to read this information will cause dwl to block, so if you do want to run a startup command that does not consume the status information, you can close standard input with the
<&- shell redirection, for example:
dwl -s 'foot --server <&-'
If your startup command is a shell script, you can achieve the same inside the script with the line
You can find a list of Wayland applications on the sway wiki.
dwl's IRC channel is #dwl on irc.libera.chat.
dwl began by extending the TinyWL example provided (CC0) by the sway/wlroots developers. This was made possible in many cases by looking at how sway accomplished something, then trying to do the same in as suckless a way as possible.
Many thanks to suckless.org and the dwm developers and community for the inspiration, and to the various contributors to the project, including: