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CHOOSEWM(1) General Commands Manual CHOOSEWM(1)


choosewm - Select a window manager to be used.


choosewm [-f] [-p] [-t]
choosewm [-t] -c


choosewm presents a window to let the user choose a window manager to start. By default it shows everything registered as window manager at the Debian menu system, but it allows global and local configuration to change that data.


Allow the user to change the default. Beside telling choosewm to not start the chosen window manger, this mostly changes the text of some buttons and labels
Show the selection window unconditionally.
Do not start the window-manager, but print it to stdout.
Do not ask by opening an X11 window, but ask on the terminal. Needs a terminal as stdin. This is activated by default with -c and DISPLAY not set.


After reading /var/lib/choosewm/windowmanagers, treating anything before a equal (=) sign in a line a name and everything after that as window manager path, choosewm checks /etc/X11/choosewm/config and after that by default .choosewm/config in the user's $HOME-directory. Lines containing only spaces or starting with a # are ignored. Every other line may contain one of the following commands:

Add an additional window manager to the list. name will be shown in the list, path will be started.

This option is only useful to add something that should be only added to this list. If you installed a window manager by hand, please consider to register it in the Debian menu instead. That way all potent enough window managers will be able to offer switching to that window manager by menu.

Do not list the window manager with path in the list to choose from.
Use the window manager defaultwindowmanagerpath as default, when no last selection of the window manager is available.
Read the user's config from $(HOME)/filename. If filename is -, no user config is read.

Default is .choosewm/config

Create the file $(HOME)/filename, if the user selected to not be asked about the window manger, and do not ask if this file is present. (Unless -f is command line argument.)

Default is .choosewm/dontask

Read the last decision from the file $(HOME)/filename, and save the decision of the user there.

Default is .choosewm/lastwm

If the last decision is oldpath, change it to newpath.
If the last decision is oldpath, change it to newpath and force showing of the selection window.
If the user has chosen path as window manager, write instead output to the file as new last decision.
Are used to set strings to be shown to the user in labels, buttons or headers. The CONFIGTAG variants are used with -c.

The following are the currently definied Tags and their default values:
sCONFIGHEADER: Choose default Window Manager
sHEADER: Choose Window Manager
sCONFIGWELCOME: Please choose the default window manager and whether to reask at start time.
sWELCOME: Welcome, please select a Window manager to use.
sCONFIGASK: _Ask when starting
sASK: _Ask again at every login
sSELECT: _Start
sCANCEL: _Log out


The current home directory of the current user.
If no default is specified in the config files nor by the user's last choice, the content of this environment variable is tried before the path /etc/alternatives/x-window-manager is pointing to is tried.


Global config file read.
Default system window manager file.
Default link to compute a default.
Default user config file.
Default file to store the users default.
Default file to signal not asking when existant.


update-menus(1), xsession(1).


choosewm was written by Bernhard R. Link <>.

This manual page was written by Bernhard R. Link.