VTWM 5.4.6b review

by rbytes.net on

VTWM, one of many TWM descendants, implements a Virtual Desktop, meaning that what is currently on screen is just a portion of a larg

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 969K
Developer: D. J. Hawkey Jr.
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VTWM, one of many TWM descendants, implements a Virtual Desktop, meaning that what is currently on screen is just a portion of a larger workspace. What portion of the virtual desktop that is displayed, and whatever windows might be visible within it, are simple point-and-click operations within a scaled representation of the workspace.

When the X Consortium released the X Window System, they included TWM, the "Tab Window Manager" (aka "Tom's Window Manager", after Tom LaStrange, the main author).

It was primitive looking by today's standards, somewhat resembling the not-yet-even-thought-of MS Windows 3 interface. However, it sported shaped titlebars, several forms of icon management, user-defined macro functions, and click-to-type or pointer-driven focus, all configurable on the fly with a text file.

Here are some key features of "VTWM":
VTWM's is user-configurable: The VD's initial scale, size, and position. The colors of the VD, the real screen, and the windows within. The windows that may or may not be represented within. External image (XPM) files can decorate the VD and the real screen.
VTWM's is not constrained. The VD can be freely moved and resized - it's just another managed window, after all.
VTWM allows the real screen to be positioned anywhere within the VD, or aligned on an user-defined grid. VTWM can toggle this behavior on-the-fly.
VTWM has "doors". They move the real screen to preset or set-on-the-fly coordinates in the VD with a single click or keystroke.
VTWM's root window is really the root window - applications that can draw on the root can do so unhindered.
VTWM supports the moving and resizing of windows on the display from it's representation in the VD.
VTWM doesn't support moving a window on the display into the VD, or visa-versa. Not yet.
VTWM's does generate more X protocol traffic than some other implementations, which may be a concern if a remote server is used.

What's New in This Release:
m4 processing of the resource file.
Rather than lifting it from another TWM derivative, it's a scratch-written implementation that does away with that little temporary file. It'll even let you pass options to m4 on the command line. A compile-time option. Bravo, Jason!
Regular expressions ("RE"s).
If VTWM's own wildcard support in resource files isn't sophisticated enough, this certainly is. A compile-time option.
Sound effects.
What? Pocketfluff! But it is kind of fun, the audible cues can be helpful, and it incurs just a little overhead. A compile-time option.
Applet regions.
Spending too much time setting geometry strings for all those little tool applications you have up all the time? You're going to love this!
Scrolling menus.
When the number of menu entries exceeds the display's height. Better than cascading menus, we think.
3D Doors and Virtual Desktop.
These last two complete the implementation. Finally.

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