FvwmTabs - a generic tabbing module for the fvwm window manager.
FvwmTabs is spawned by fvwm, so no command line invocation is possible.
The FvwmTabs module is capable of swallowing any fvwm window & treating
it as a tab in a tab-manager window. A tab-manager is sometimes called
Each tab-manager can store any number of windows, each in its own tab.
The number of tab-managers is limited only by system resources. Tab-
managers can even be nested/swallowed within other tab-managers. (ie. a
tab-manager can be added as an individual tab to another tab-manager.)
FvwmTabs can be invoked by inserting the line "Module FvwmTabs" in your
.fvwmrc file. This can be placed on a line by itself, if FvwmTabs is to
be spawned during fvwm’s initialization, or can be bound to a menu or
mouse button or keystroke to invoke it later.
FvwmTabs requires 2 CPAN modules (that are NOT distributed with fvwm)
to be installed on your system. They are Tk and X11::Protocol.
They are available at:
To install either package:
tar zxvf $name.tar.gz ; cd $name ; perl Makefile.PL ; make install
FvwmTabs will tell you if you do not have these packages installed when
you (try to) start it.
FvwmTabs reads the same config file as fvwm when it starts up.
The following options are recognised by FvwmTabs:
*FvwmTabs: activeFG color
The text color of the button for the visible tab. The default color
*FvwmTabs: activeBG color
The backgound color of the button for the visible tab. The default
color is MidnightBlue.
*FvwmTabs: inactiveFG color
The text color of the buttons for the invisible tabs. The default
color is antiquewhite.
*FvwmTabs: inactiveBG color>
The backgound color of the buttons for the invisible tabs. The
default color is royalblue.
*FvwmTabs: titleFG color
The text color used in the titlebar. The default color is black.
*FvwmTabs: titleBG color
The background color used in the titlebar. The default color is
*FvwmTabs: activeRelief style
The relief style to use for active buttons. style can be either
raised, flat or sunken. The default style is sunken.
*FvwmTabs: inactiveRelief style
The relief style to use for inactive buttons. style can be either
raised, flat or sunken. The default style is flat.
*FvwmTabs: buttonYPadding pixels
How much padding to use around top and bottom of tab buttons. The
default value is 3 pixels.
*FvwmTabs: pollRate ms
Specifies how often to check for X events. ms is time in
milliseconds. The default value, 250, should be fine for most
users. If you are on a very slow machine you may wish to increase
*FvwmTabs: buttonFont font
The font to use on the tab buttons. The default font is Helvetica
*FvwmTabs: titleFont font
The font to use on the titlebar. The default font is Helvetica -12.
*FvwmTabs: menuFont font
The font to use on the menus. The default font is Helvetica -12.
*FvwmTabs: fontSelector fontProgram
The external font chooser program to launch when dynamically
changing fonts. The default fontProgram is gfontsel --print -f
"%f". Anti-gnome users might try xfontsel -print -pattern "%f". If
set to none, no font menu options will appear.
*FvwmTabs: autoSwallowClass className [tabManagerId], ...
*FvwmTabs: autoSwallowResource resourceName [tabManagerId], ...
*FvwmTabs: autoSwallowName name [tabManagerId], ...
Specify windows to swallow automatically. These are comma-separated
lists that specify the class/resource/name of a window & an
optional tab-manager id into which the window should be swallowed.
By default, the tab-manager id increments from zero - ie. 0 is the
first tab-manager created, 1 the second, etc, but it may be
overriden by specifying an argument to the NewTabber function. (No
whitespace is allowed in tabber ids.) You can alternatively specify
’any’ or ’lastFocus’ which will put the window in the tab-manager
with the least number of tabs or the last focused tab-manager,
respectively. If no tab-manager number is specified, an implicit
default value of ’any’ is used. Note that
className/resourceName/name can be a (Perl) regular expression.
*FvwmTabs: balloonBG color
The backgound color of the balloon popups that appear over the tab
buttons. The default color is #C0C080.
*FvwmTabs: balloonFont font
The font to use on the balloon popups. The default font is
*FvwmTabs: balloonWait ms
How long the mouse cursor must pause (in milliseconds) over a tab
button before the balloon pops up. The default value is 250.
*FvwmTabs: balloonMsg msg
Message to display in balloon popups. The default value is
*FvwmTabs: autoResize bool
bool can be either true or false. If true, windows in the tab-
manager automatically resize to the dimensions of the largest
window in the tab-manager. The default value is false. If the user
performs an explicit resize of a tab-manager window, all windows in
the tab-manager are resized to the new window size.
*FvwmTabs: stateFile file
FvwmTabs has the ability to preserve its state (ie. remember the
windows it has swallowed as tabs) b/w fvwm restarts. file specifies
the name of a temporary file to record the state in, so it can be
reconstructed when FvwmTabs restarts. The default file is
*FvwmTabs: fixedSizeTabs bool
bool can be either true or false. If true, the tab-manager will
ensure each tab-button has the same dimensions. If false, the
selected tab is expanded so that it is fully visible. The default
value is false.
*FvwmTabs: showTitlebar bool
Show internal titlebar. If set to true a titlebar appears below the
row of tab-buttons & displays the title associated with the current
window. This titlebar is capable of displaying long or multi-line
titles. The default value is true.
*FvwmTabs: useTMTitlebar bool
Add the title associated with the selected tab to the tab-manager
titlebar. (ie. the titlebar at the top of the window, distinct from
the titlebar below the tab-buttons.) Default value is true.
*FvwmTabs: dragDropIcon imageFile
Specify the icon to display when performing a drag-&-drop operation
to reorder the tab-buttons. FvwmTabs will search the ImagePath for
this image unless an absolute filename (ie. filename begins with
’/’) is specified. The default value is none. If none (or an
invalid file) is specified a * is used.
*FvwmTabs: bBuggyFocus bool
FvwmTabs tries to work around a limitation in Perl/Tk (there is no
way to access the timestamp associated with WM_TAKE_FOCUS events).
On some systems this doesn’t work and sometimes tab-managers have
trouble acquiring the focus. If this happens to you, try setting
this option to true. This can lead to focussing race-conditions
(tab-managers temporarily "steal" focus in some situations) but
this is less annoying than not being able to focus at all.
*FvwmTabs: enableSwallowDND bool
Swallow windows that (are moved to) overlap a tabber. Note:
drag-&-drop can be enabled for individual tabbers via the menu. The
default value is true.
*FvwmTabs: swallowDNDTolerance tol
Determines how much a window must overlap a tabber for it to be
swallowed when drag-&-drop is enabled. If the value has a %-sign
appended to it, windows must overlap by the specified percentage of
the current size of the tabber. If no %-sign is present, the value
is treated in units of pixels. The default value is 10 (pixels).
*FvwmTabs: useIconsOnTabs bool
Show the mini icon associated with each window on its tab button.
Note: mini icons for apps that use EWMH icons look a bit distorted.
This is because of the poor image resizing algorithm used in Tk.
This should be rectified in the near future. The default value is
*FvwmTabs: killIcon image
Image to use on kill toolbar button. Default is none.
*FvwmTabs: addIcon image
Image to use on add toolbar button. Default is none.
*FvwmTabs: swallowIcon image
Image to use on add toolbar button when tabber will swallow next
window to popup. Default is none. By using a separate icon to
addIcon, this option provides visual feedback on when a tabber will
unconditionally swallow the next window to popup.
*FvwmTabs: releaseIcon image
Image to use on release toolbar button. Default is none.
*FvwmTabs: menuIcon image
Image to use on menu toolbar button. Default is none.
FVWM FUNCTIONS FOR KEY BINDINGS
A number of fvwm functions are available once the FvwmTabs module is
Create a new tabber. Optional argument is tabber name. No
whitespace is allowed in the tabber name. Can also prefix
Example: NewTabber --geometry=+200+400 scottie
Add a window (as a tab) to a tabber.
Show/select the next tab.
Show/select the previous tab.
Show/select the last selected tab (if there was one).
Release a tabbed window back to fvwm.
Release a tabbed window back to fvwm & iconify it.
Release all windows in a tab-manager back to fvwm.
Release all windows in a tab-manager back to fvwm & iconify them.
Destroy a tab-manager. All windows in the tab-manager are released
back to fvwm.
Pick a new window to add to a tab-manager. Selecting this option &
clicking on a window will add the selected window to the tab-
Pick & add new windows to a tab-manager until ESC is pressed.
Show/select tab tabNo in the tab-manager. tabNo is zero-based. ie.
0 is the first tab, 1 is the second, etc.
Add a window (as a tab) to a tab-manager.
Swap the selected window with the window on its immediate left.
Swap the selected window with the window on its immediate right.
Select a tab-manager for a new window to be added to.
Swallow windows that (are moved to) overlap a tabber.
By default, FvwmTabs reads a default user configuration file FvwmTabs-
DefaultSetup which defines several useful key-bindings for FvwmTabs.
You can tell FvwmTabs NOT to read this file with "SetEnv
FvwmTabs_NoDefaultSetup" - this environment variable must be set before
starting the module.
All of the key bindings can be changed using the standard fvwm Key
command & making use of the aforementioned fvwm functions. ie.
Key (FvwmTabs*) A A CM Function AddTab
Then, pressing Ctrl-Alt-a (when the focus is in a tab-manager) will
allow you to click on a window to add to the tab-manager.
The default key bindings (set in the FvwmTabs-DefaultSetup file) are:
Ctrl-Alt-n & Ctrl-Alt-Tab
Mouse bindings on Tab Buttons
Mouse-1 on a tab-button displays the window associated with the tab.
Mouse-2 on a tab-button releases the window associated with the tab
back to the window manager as a standalone window.
Mouse-3 on a tab-button releases the window associated with the tab
back to the window manager & iconifies it.
The tab-buttons can be reordered with a drag-&-drop operation initiated
with Ctrl-Mouse-2. A dragged tab is inserted before the tab-button onto
which it is dropped.
Mouse bindings on Toolbar Icons
Mouse-1 on the "menu" button will bring up a menu of options. See MENU
Mouse-1 on the "release" button will release the selected window from
Mouse-2 on the "release" button will release all windows from the
tabber, and iconify them.
Mouse-3 on the "release" button will release all windows from the
Mouse-1 on the "add" button will add the next window you click on to
Mouse-2 on the "add" button will add the next window to popup to the
Mouse-3 on the "add" button will add every window you click on (until
you press Esc) to the tabber.
Mouse-1 on the "kill" button will Close the selected window.
Mouse-2 on the "kill" button causes FvwmTabs to try to kill the
selected window itself.
Mouse-3 on the "kill" button will Kill the selected window.
Mouse-1 on the "menu" button will bring up a menu of options:
Release All will release all tabbed programs back to the window manager
as standalone windows.
Release All (Iconify) will release all tabbed programs back to the
window manager as iconised standalone windows.
Add will add the next mouse-clicked window to the tab-manager.
Add Next will add the next window that is created to the tab-manager.
Multi Add keeps adding mouse-clicked windows to a tab-manager until the
escape key is pressed. Useful for adding multiple windows to a tab-
manager at once.
Font shows a sub-menu enabling you to dynamically configure the
button/title/menu fonts, using the external program identified by the
Show Titlebar toggles the display of the titlebar below the tab-
Window Tabizer Dialog will popup a dialog box for specifying windows to
swallow. Windows can be specified explicitly (by name) or by using a
(Perl) regular expression matcher. (Note: / character is automatically
The menu options between the separators will display the window/tab
associated with the text. (The menu text is actually the title
associated with the window. The text on each tab-button is the icon
About pops up a dialog with version/developer information.
Close will close the FvwmTabs window, invoking Release All in the
· Tab-managers don’t take focus when iconified.
· FvwmTabs doesn’t obey "ClickToFocus" mode.
· FvwmTabs has a problem swallowing shaded windows.
· Using "Maximise" to resize tab-manager windows prevents dynamic
resizing from working.
Please send bug reports, feature requests & queries about FvwmTabs to
the fvwm mailing list: email@example.com. Be sure to include the word
"FvwmTabs" somewhere in the subject line.
Features to be added to FvwmTabs in the future (in no particular
· Colorset support. (use Colorset tracker from fvwm-perllib)
· Use Ctrl-Mouse-1 instead of Ctrl-Mouse-2 to reorder (drag-&-drop)
· option: menu item to sort tabs by name, file extension, etc.
· For autoSwallow options that specify a tab-manager, create the tab-
manager if it doesn’t already exist. (default behaviour is not to
There is some useful information about FvwmTabs, including a short
tutorial, on the authors website:
FvwmTabs is GPL software.
Scott Smedley <firstname.lastname@example.org>