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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The ratpoison logo
Ratpoison with a number of applications open
Developer(s) Shawn Betts
Stable release 1.4.5 / 2009-07-12; 6 months ago
Written in C
Operating system Unix-like
Type Window manager
License GPL

In computing, ratpoison is a tiling window manager for the X Window System primarily developed by Shawn Betts. Its user interface and much of its functionality are inspired by the GNU Screen terminal multiplexer.[1] Its name reflects a major design goal of ratpoison: it lets the user manage windows without using the mouse.[2] Unlike other tiling window managers like Ion, ratpoison completely ignores the mouse,[3][4] and avoids window decorations as much as possible.[5] Ratpoison is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Its intended successor is Stumpwm; ratpoison was growing increasingly large, and Betts decided to largely reimplement its functionality in Common Lisp.[6]

The reception of ratpoison depended on the effort invested in learning it. 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".[7]


  1. ^ a b Jeff Covey (12 Oct 2002) The Antidesktop, Freshmeat
  2. ^ SCWM, Pot and the GPL From: Craig Brozefsky - Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,gnu.misc.discuss - Date: 1999/06/27
  3. ^ a b Peter Seebach (13 Mar 2006) The cranky user: Usability off the beaten path, IBM developerWorks
  4. ^ a b Mark Pilgrim (15 March 2007) My Good Easy (2007)
  5. ^ a b Brian Proffitt (April 10, 2001) The StartX Files: When the Mouse is An Anathema, LinuxPlanet
  6. ^ "StumpWM grew out of the authors' frustration with writing ratpoison in C. Very quickly we realized we were building into ratpoison lispy-emacs style paradigms. We had a REPL hanging off 'C-t :', hooks, and a growing subset of Common Lisp in the implementation ... It was clear what we really wanted was a window manager written in Lisp from the ground up with lots of room for customizing and real-time hacking." "Background" from the Stumpwm wiki
  7. ^ Bruce Byfield, Keyboard-driven environments open a new window on the desktop, May 31, 2007,

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Using Ratpoison article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Welcome to the WikiTextBook on

Using Ratpoison
The logo for Ratpoison

This is a new wikibook that is aimed to help the average user work with the simple yet powerful window manager ratpoison. Please note that this book is very far from finished, but if you want to help, feel free to write some!

Table of Contents

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