NetBSD Changes Its Default X11 Window Manager After Two Decades

Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 28 September 2020 at 07:00 AM EDT. 24 Comments
It's 2020 and NetBSD has changed its default X11 window manager after more than two decades with TWM.

NetBSD isn't going too far though away from TWM as its default X11 window manager in that they are now using the CTWM fork. As for the CTWM fork, they describe its benefits over TWM as: "the primary advantages are that it's still incredibly lightweight, but highly configurable, and has support for virtual desktops, as well as a NetBSD-compatible license and ongoing development. Thanks to its configuration options, we can provide a default experience that's much more usable to people experienced with other operating systems."

This change comes after NetBSD developer Nia Alarie was installing NetBSD for different individuals and surprised/inspired by their reaction of seeing the TWM default that there was now sufficient motivation for a change.

With this move to CTWM, the default NetBSD window manager finally supports features like an auto-generated application menu, various keyboard shortcuts, better screen resolution handling, and more. There is even talk of HiDPI support for NetBSD, but first they need to import some larger bitmap fonts.

This change to the CTWM default is made for NetBSD-Current. More details via this blog post. Those wanting to learn more about this TWM fork can visit
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