Musca – A new tiling window manager

with 6 comments

Searching for something in freshmeat a couple of days ago, i stumbled upon a small tiling window manager named Musca. You’ll say “What? Another one? For what reason?”. Hey! Why not? Well we all know that the 3 kings are ratpoison, dwm and ion. All features that were first introduced by them made tiling window management what it is today. Now take all the features that you actually liked in all of them and implement them in something new. The result is Musca. Musca is a tiling window manager that is written from scratch in C and has many features including:

  • Extremely small (binary is 97Kb and zipped package 37Kb), light and elegant
  • Simple configuration via config.h (Yes it needs recompiling)
  • Manual window tiling, that means no restrictions on layout setups
  • Group management support, that means no pesky tagging but actual groups
  • Simple mouse tasking, following click to focus philosophy
  • Frame management is followed by color indication so you actually know in what mode your frames are.(ie the catch-all mode that forces all windows opened in a specific frame is green)
  • Musca has multiscreen support out of the box and can manage groups to screens automatically
  • Uses dmenu as requirement for windows,groups and wm management
  • No obstructive status bars, panels, and such but you can use one if you like (e.g. trayer,dzen2 etc)
  • It is named after a star constellation…Yes that’s a plus. 😀
  • A nice feature called unmanaged_windows ( remember remember 😀 ). That let’s you make musca ignore windows and not assign them in frames. 😉

I really like Musca. Its light, small and configurable. Its still in devel state but its very usable and i have put aside stumpwm for now.  I had all my key bindings configured in seconds and Musca’s engine/group management philosophy was like second nature since, i use ratpoison and stumpwm. 🙂

Musca is actively developed and created by Sean Pringle. His website can be found here where he hosts his projects and other fun stuff.

UPDATE: New version of Musca, as of 9th March, is out with a *TON* of features that simplifies a lot of stuff including

  • floating support (via stack Musca command)
  • Added new commands!
  • Layout saving..thats means ENDLESS CAPABILITIES!!
  • Musca now has an external command interface for client management
  • Now you can undo layouts 😀 No more accidental layout windows
  • External startup configuration file to configure your window manager
  • Its getting better and better each day!! 😀

UPDATE:  The post is a bit old of course. Musca is more mature now and has even more features 😀

A pic of musca running on my Slackware 12.2 Laptop



Written by aperturefever

March 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

6 Responses

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  1. You’ve got pretty sweet statusbar going on the screenshot. Care to share it?


    March 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm

  2. Thanks for visiting. Its conky with 2 different configuration files (2 different instances). You can find them in Downloads page.


    March 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm

  3. Did you try XMonad ? How would you compare it to Musca ?


    April 13, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    • Yes i have tried Xmonad and i would say that its much more modular compared to musca. Its much more mature with a huge community and dedicated fans. As i recall it doesnt have custom layouts but its not difficult to create one. Via extreme patching you can make it really awesome and is very very stable out of the box. But fyi i dont use it. Musca in the other hand has custom layouts, its small (no 500mb dependencies for Haskell), but is still in development, with small community, some small bugs. The really great thing is that the main developer is open minded and accepts many feature requests and patches thus making musca even more powerful. In a small sentence musca is a rewritten ratpoison with some critical changes in mind towards productivity.


      April 14, 2009 at 7:22 am

  4. I’m glad you are enjoying musca, but I just want to point out to you that musca doesn’t need recompiling anymore. I used to edit the config.h file like I did with dwm, but I realized that you can make a .musca_start file in your home folder to edit your configuration there without all the hassle.


    November 19, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    • Agreed. Its an old thread 🙂


      November 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm

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