5 Underrated dwm patches

Philip Thomas K.

08 January 21


When I started using dwm as my window manager, there were approximately 20 to 30 patches available on the suckless website. Now there are exactly 184 patches to choose from, a large proportion of which offer novel features to dwm.

However, patching dwm is not exactly a easy task, when patching more than three to four patches, the basic patch utility starts to freak out when the line numbers change. I use git to maintain my own version of the suckless git repo. Then I apply patches as branches, allowing me to apply more patches. However, I still need to resolve merge conflicts when they occur. This limits me to around 9 patches.

Because of this, I have had to choose wisely when it comes to the patches I apply. Five of the patches that I have, are patches that I seriously feel do extend the functionality of dwm, and of those five, some are quite underrated. This list goes from what I perceive as the most popular to the least.

1. pertag

The pertag patch is a no-brainer patch. It allows you to maintain any combination of layout and master to slave ratio in each tag. By default, when you change your layout or your master to slave ratio, this change is reflected in all your different tags. Now, each tag can have a different layout.

2. swallow

The swallow patch is familiar to many dwm users as most dwm user tend to operate heavily with terminal windows. When opening a video or document using the terminal, you also tend to see the stderr or a live log output in the terminal, which basically renders that terminal as useless.

Yet, you cannot close that terminal neither since it is the parent process, and closing the terminal closes the video or document. With the swallow patch, dwm draws your video or document over the terminal, thus removing the issue entirely.

3. moveresize

By default, floating windows are moved and resized using the pointer. This patch allows you to do it purely using keybindings. It makes the floating layout far more useable.

4. focusmaster

This patch adds a keybinding to send focus to the window that is currently in master, especially useful for when your focus is in the middle of the stack.

5. warp

This patch sends your pointer to the middle of the window you change to or if there are no windows, to the middle of the monitor you switch to. Useful to trackpad users.

Best Regards,