StumpWM Install

The Right Way

Installed StumpWM last week and have been running it as my Window Manager for a few days. I like it. It's very different to many mainstream Window Managers or Desktop Environments.

StumpWM is keyboard centric. Usable without a mouse. In fact that was the primary design principle. Once StumpWM is running, there is nothing to click. No icons. No buttons. Nothing for the mouse to do.

Documentation is not extensive, and it takes some getting used to keyboard only usage. Once you start to get the feel, its great.

I hit a problem using StumpWm. Sometimes it hangs. Kill Xorg and log back in is the only solution.

StumpWM requires you to install LISP before you install Stump. I installed CLISP - an ANSI Common Lisp Implementation from After the recurring hangs, I searched for a fix and found this:
Multi-threading is available in SBCL, though not in CLISP. Running Swank (or any other command that doesn’t fork or exit) on a single-threaded StumpWM will hang StumpWM. You’ll be able to move the mouse, but the prefix key won’t react anymore. You’ll have to Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to start a new session.
And there's the rub...

I uninstall CLISP and StumpWM and start afresh.

I'm running Debian. Here' s how I did it:

1. Install SBCL

# aptitude install sbcl

2. Install CL-CLX-SBCL. An X11 Common Lisp client library for SBCL

# aptitude install cl-clx-sbcl

3. Install CL-PPCRE. Portable Regular Express Library for Common Lisp 

# aptitude install cl-ppcre

4. Install StumpWM. Common Lisp window manager

# aptitude install stumpwm

Check StumpWM is in the path

# ls /usr/bin/stumpwm

On Debian the default install is under /usr/bin/stumpwm. I have seen references to /usr/local/bin/stumwm on some systems. Check the location to ensure its correct.

Ensure X launches StumpWM by adding a line to .xinitrc

$ echo "exec stumpwm >> ~.xinitrc

Create symlink from .~/xsession to ~/.xinitrc

$ ln -s /home/myname/.xinitrc /home/myname/.xsession

Kill and restart Xorg.

I kept my other Window Manager  in case there were further problems to resolve.

You can add StumpWM as an entry to GDM sessions menu using Emacs or another editor

emacs /usr/share/xsessions/stumpwm.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Tiling Window Manager

Save file. Restart X server.

Normally hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to kill and restart X server. If that fails, as root user, open XTerm and do:

# ps -e | grep X
6408 tty8     00:06:43 Xorg

# killall Xorg 

X server will die and restart.