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The ratpoison logo
ratpoison with a number of applications open
Developer(s) Shawn Betts
Stable release 1.4.6 / April 7, 2013; 12 months ago (2013-04-07)
Written in C
Operating system Unix-like
Type Window manager
License GPLv2
Website www.nongnu.org/ratpoison/

Ratpoison and StumpWM are tiling window managers for the X Window System primarily developed by Shawn Betts. Ratpoison is written in C, and StumpWM re-implements a similar window manager in Common Lisp. Their user interface and much of their functionality are inspired by the GNU Screen terminal multiplexer.[1]


The name "Ratpoison" reflects its major design goal: it lets the user manage application windows without using a mouse.[2] Unlike other tiling window managers like Ion, ratpoison completely ignores the mouse (or "rat"),[3][4] and avoids window decorations as much as possible.[5]


Mark Pilgrim, a frequent user, praised it for being "minimalist" and "configurable".[4] Jeff Covey found it "lightning fast and perfectly stable".[1] Peter Seebach remarked that "the convenience and performance are impressive; the learning curve, however, daunts many users."[3] Similarly, Brian Proffitt observes that "the key commands are well explained in this window manager's man pages, and whatever you do, read these first. The keyboard commands do make sense after some use but initially the learning curve is pretty steep."[5] In the same vein, Bruce Byfield found it (and stumpwm) "virtually unusable until you read the documentation".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Covey, Jeff (12 October 2002), "The Antidesktop", Freshmeat .
  2. ^ Brozefsky, Craig (1999-06-27), "SCWM, Pot and the GPL", comp.os.linux.advocacy,gnu.misc.discuss (newsgroups) .
  3. ^ a b Seebach, Peter (13 March 2006), "The cranky user: Usability off the beaten path", developerWorks, IBM .
  4. ^ a b Pilgrim, Mark (15 March 2007), My Good Easy, archived from the original on 2011-07-18 .
  5. ^ a b Proffitt, Brian (April 10, 2001), "The StartX Files: When the Mouse is An Anathema", LinuxPlanet .
  6. ^ Byfield, Bruce (May 31, 2007), "Keyboard-driven environments open a new window on the desktop", Linux.com .

External links[edit]