Ubuntu – How to determine which window manager is running


Is there any way (such as a command or environmental variable) to determine what window manager is the one actively running in the current session?

Best Answer

  • If you have wmctrl installed, the first line of output from command

    wmctrl -m

    will show you the name of the window manager. If you don't have wmctrl installed, use the following command to install it:

    sudo apt-get install wmctrl

    Note, man wmctrl (that is, the man page for wmctrl) says in part:

    -m Display information about the window manager ...

    On my Ubuntu 11.10 / Linux 3.0.0-14-generic #23-Ubuntu x86_64 / metacity 2.34.1 system, the first line of output from wmctrl -m was: Name: Metacity
    while echo $DESKTOP_SESSION showed ubuntu-2d and echo $XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP showed Unity.

    On a fresh Ubuntu 15.10 install of Ubuntu desktop software on an old laptop, the first line of output from wmctrl -m was: Name: Compiz
    while the DESKTOP_SESSION and XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP values were ubuntu and Unity

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