9wm is an open source window manager for X11, written by David Hogan in 1994 to emulate the Plan 9 window manager Second Edition, 8 ½. Many later minimalist window manager for X were inspired by 9wm or derived directly from it.

The README file in the source distribution 9wm describes it this way:

" 9wm is an X window manager Which Attempts to emulate the Plan 9 window manager 8-1/2 as far as possible within the constraints imposed by X. It provides a simple yet comfortable user interface, without garish decorations or title -bars. Or icons. And it's click- to-type. This will not appeal to everybody, but if you're not put off yet then read on. ( And do not knock it until you've tried it ). "

" 9wm is an X window manager that tries, the Plan 9 window manager 8-1/2 to emulate as much as possible, within the constraints that are specified by X. It provides a simple but comfortable interface without frilly decorations and title bars. Or icons. And he is a "click -to -type". That will not please everyone, but if you are it does not put you off, then read on. ( And they do not make him down before they have not tried it. ) "

9wm has existed an undocumented option - nostalgia for a blit cursor on the John Mackin.


  • As written in C, only the Xlib toolkit used. There are no other dependencies.
  • Right-clicking on the root window opens a menu that window operations allows (move, resize, quit hiding ), a list of hidden windows, which can be shown again by selecting from the menu, and a command to start a terminal emulation typically 9term. There are no keyboard controls.
  • Window borders do not display in the original as the focus. Draggable edges for moving and resizing may be in Plan 9 from Bell Labs and Plan 9 from User Space added.
  • There is a limit of 32 hidden windows.
  • New windows are drawn by prompting the user to bring up a screen rectangle for the window, which can cause another application pulls the focus to itself, if it unexpectedly opens a new window.

Change size of windows

The window geometry is described by drawing a rectangle on the screen. Click to mounting and hold the right button at one corner of the desired rectangle, move the mouse to the diagonally opposite corner and release. Placing new windows and resizing done by wind-up operations.

Window managers that are derived from or inspired by 9wm

  • Larswm
  • Aewm
  • Wm2 and wmx
  • Wmii
  • Dwm
  • Rio