Tag Archives: window

dvtm: Sharp, clean and quick

I had to look back through the old blog to see how far back I had first met dvtm.


I know this probably doesn’t fall into the “console application” category, but I’d be leaving out some great stuff if I didn’t include it.

For a console-based “window manager,” dvtm is about all you need. It differs slightly from things like tmux or screen … in ways I can’t quite describe.

As I understand it, dvtm borrows some code from the suckless project‘s excellent dvm window manager. So if you are used to one, you’ll probably know the other.

I don’t use dvtm much, but I plan to more in the future. I may have to dig around in the code though, and customize it a little. The default keys are less than to my liking.

By the way, if you want it to behave like screen or tmux and allow detachment, dtach is your answer. More on that next.

Bonus: twin, bigger and better than ever

I wasn’t going to mention twin again. I talked about it more than once some years ago, and it is a reasonable substitute for a window manager or a terminal multiplexer. I admit that.

In fact, I wasn’t even going to keep it on my list, because it’s not really an application. But just for kicks I tried it out against the framebuffer on the extra extra machine today, and wouldn’t you know it …


Picture perfect, after all these years. So that’s what I get for poring over old pages of long-dead blogs: Something that seems to have improved. Who’d’ve thunk it.

twin is running here against the framebuffer on an Intel 945GM graphics card — something which is unpredictable at times.

But you can see that it works. You’ll need gpm as a mouse interface, and possibly something other than the default font (may I respectfully suggest Terminus, which works wonderfully at the console).

Shortcomings? Well, there are a few, but only a few. Line drawing is awkward, but that might depend on the application. You can see mc running there with the -a flag, which defaults to plain ascii. htop is hopelessly scrambled.

And mouse movement seems a little clunky, which might not be the fault of twin either. I am accustomed to the speed and snappy behavior of screen-vs; going back to the mouse seems like a delay.

Regardless: You’ll have to try it out and see if it suits you.