The Whim Window Manager

The first talk Friday morning was by Steve Redler. Steve demonstrated the Whim window manager he co-developed with George Peter Staplin. Entertaining presentation and great kiosk potential (an area I dabbled in at a previous employer). Without further ado, my notes:

Ever since he learned Tcl/Tk his projects always seem to succeed. He's a linux zealot :-) for the last nine years because he can tweak every last bit of it. Couldn't tweak X11 window managers because he doesn't have a deep understanding of xlib.

Whim was made possible by George Peter Staplin and the Pwm extension he created to allow more/better interaction to xlib from Tcl/Tk. Supplied the missing bits needed for Tk to be able to be used as a window manager. George is an xlib expert.

The background is a Tk canvas. Has weather info and Tcl'ers Wiki rss feeds for real time information. Task bar is a secondary component (separate starkit). Built in ability to take a screenshot.

Started project because he had usability issues with Microsoft Windows and various Linux windows managers. Works with lots of open windows. Whim allows him to add some simple Tcl code to control new behaviors that are more usable for him. Configuration through text files (with Tcl code). No GUI to configure the window manager (yet).

Since Whim is a starkit you can run it under another window manager (Gnome, KDE) and try it out first. Or run Whim inside of whim. Has support for multiple desktops (workspace management?).

Whim applets can be internal to Whim or external programs. Have shared IPC via shared arrays (array sync) built on (inspired by?) the work Jean-Claude did some years ago on Tequilla.

Whim has had support for using Tile since the beginning.

One good use would be industrial automation and kiosk development where you want to tighten things down interaction-wise. Goal is to have it work as a GUI in industrial plants where he has full control but kiosk users don't.

Been in use around the clock for approaching two years now.


—Michael A. Cleverly

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