labwc 0.5, know what's new in this this server composed for Wayland

The release of the new version of labwc 0.5, which is positioned as a development of a composite server for Wayland with features reminiscent of the Openbox window manager (the project is presented as an attempt to create an Openbox alternative for Wayland).

Among the features of labwc is the minimalism, compact implementation, extensive customization options and high performance. It is based on the wlroots library, developed by the developers of the Sway user environment and providing basic functions to organize the work of the Wayland-based composite manager.

Of Wayland's extended protocols, wlr-output-management is supported for configuring output devices, layer-shell for organizing the work of the desktop shell, and Foreign-toplevel for connecting your own panes and window switches.

It is possible to connect plugins with the implementation functions such as creating screenshots, displaying wallpaper on the desktop, placing panels and menus. Animated effects, gradients, and icons (with the exception of window buttons) are basically not supported.

To run X11 applications in an environment based on the Wayland protocol, use of the XWayland DDX component is supported. The theme, basic menu and hotkeys are configured through configuration files in xml format.

In addition to the built-in root menu configurable via menu.xml, third-party application menu implementations such as bemenu , fuzzel and wofi can be included, plus Waybar, Ambar or LavaLauncher can be used as a panel, although it is suggested to use wlr- randr or kanshi to control the connection of monitors and change their parameters.

Main novelties of labwc 0.5

In this new version that is presented, it stands out as the main novelty that High pixel density displays (HiDPI) are supported.

Besides it regrouping of elements is provided when additional output devices are disabled and also changed settings related to handling the event of moving elements with the mouse.

Other changes that stand out is that added the ability to shrink a window after it has been moved (unmaximize on move), as well as support for the sfwbar (Sway Floating Window Bar).

We can also find that the CycleViewPreview option was added to preview the content while switching between windows using the Alt+Tab interface.

Of the other changes that stand out from this new version:

  • Added support for client menus.
  • Provided the ability to run applications in full screen mode.
  • Added the ability to bind an action when moving the mouse cursor off the edge of the screen.
  • Added support for the WLR_{WL,X11}_OUTPUTS environment variables supported by wlroots.
  • Added support for control gestures (shift and pinch zoom).

How to install LABWC?

For those who are interested in being able to install this composer on their system, they must follow the instructions that we share below.

The distribution that has the easiest installation method is Fedora and to install labwc, just open a terminal and in it we are going to type:

sudo dnf install labwc

Those who are users of Arch Linux, Manjaro or any other distribution derived from Arch Linux, they must open a terminal and in it they will type the following command to download the necessary dependencies:

sudo pacman -S meson wlroots cairo pango libxml2 glib2

After that, they will get the LABWC source code by running the following command in the terminal:

git clone https://github.com/johanmalm/labwc
cd labwc
meson build
ninja -C build

Now, for those who are users of Debian, UBuntu or any other distribution based on either of these two, they must type the following in the terminal:

git clone https://github.com/johanmalm/labwc
cd labwc
meson build
ninja -C build

Finally, it is mentioned that in the future, support for Openbox configuration files is planned and Openbox skins, provide HiDPI screen work, implement support for layer-shell, wlr-output-management and external top-level protocols, integrate menu support, add the ability to drop on-screen indicators (osd) and interface to switch windows in Alt + Tab style.

For those who are interested in learning more about LABWC, they can visit the site of the project on GitHub.


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