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Ion is a tiling tabbed window manager designed with keyboard users in mind.

Ion divides the screen into tiles and places windows in these tiles by default. Each tile has a set of tabs for the windows within it. It also allows windows to be made 'floating' and placed freely. Ion can be controlled through the keyboard alone or together with a mouse.

Ion comes pre-configured with a number of useful functions that you run by typing the function keys. It can be configured and extended using the Lua language. It also supports extension modules written in C.

 Ion3 10 January 2009

Free to download



Tuomo Valkonen


System Requirements

Support Sites:

Selected Reviews:
Fun with the Ion window manager

Features include:

  • Tiled workspaces with tabbed frames
  • Designed to be primarily used from the keyboard
  • Fully documented configuration and scripting interface on top of the lightweight Lua extension language
  • Modular design
  • The query module implements a line editor similar to mini buffers in many text editors. It is used to implement many different queries with tab-completion support: show manual page, run program, open SSH session, view file, goto named client window or workspace, etc. Menus are also displayed as queries
  • A statusbar that adapts to the tilings, taking only the space it really needs, modulo constraints of the layout. The statusbar can also be configured to swallow other (small) windows, and does so automatically for Window Maker protocol dockapps, and KDE-protocol system tray icons
  • Full screen client windows are seen as workspaces on their own. It is possible to switch to a normal workspace while keeping several client windows in full screen state and also switch clients that do not themselves support full screen mode to this state
  • The scratchpad module provides a conveniently toggleable area for random tasks, akin to the consoles of many FPS games
  • Supports floating windows of the PWM flavour. These can be had as separate workspaces without an underlying tiling, or floating on top of a tiling. Tiled windows can be detached to float, and reattached

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