Stacking Window Managers

KWin – window manager for the KDE Plasma Desktop

KWin (pronounced “kay-win”) is an easy to use, but flexible, composited Window Manager for Xorg windowing systems (Wayland, X11) on Linux. Its primary usage is in conjunction with a Desktop Shell (e.g. KDE Plasma Desktop).

KWin supports compositing, which means using 3D effects for handling your windows. This can make window management smoother, easier, more efficient and more natural. It’s hardware requirements are very modest.

It is possible to run KWin as a standalone window manager although it’s not designed for this purpose.

KWin is free and open source software.

Features include:

  • Stable and reliable.
  • Compositing, 3D effects. Advanced compositing settings include VSync, scale method, and compositing type.
  • Easy configuration.
  • Improved efficiency.
  • Uses motion physics to provide windows with a natural feel.
  • Desktop effects like the Cube desktop switcher and Magic Lamp minimize animation.
  • Detects the capabilities of the hardware and if needed gracefully scales its effects down.
  • Script the window manager from the command line.
  • If a machine is under heavy load, KWin automatically disables the compositing temporarily to keep things running smoothly.
  • Special windows settings enables you to define and fix the size and position of an application.
  • Script the window manager from the command line with the WMIface utility.
  • Works well with small screens.

Developer: KDE
License: GNU General Public License


KWin is written in C++. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Return to Stacking Window Managers | Return to Compositing Window Managers | Return to Window Managers | Return to Stacking Wayland Compositors

Popular series
Free and Open Source SoftwareThe largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Each article is supplied with a legendary ratings chart helping you to make informed decisions.
ReviewsHundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software. We offer helpful and impartial information.
Alternatives to Proprietary SoftwareReplace proprietary software with open source alternatives: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Autodesk, Oracle, Atlassian, Corel, Cisco, Intuit, and SAS.
GamesAwesome Free Linux Games Tools showcases a series of tools that making gaming on Linux a more pleasurable experience. This is a new series.
Artificial intelligence iconMachine Learning explores practical applications of machine learning and deep learning from a Linux perspective. We've written reviews of more than 40 self-hosted apps. All are free and open source.
Guide to LinuxNew to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series. We start right at the basics and teach you everything you need to know to get started with Linux.
Alternatives to popular CLI tools showcases essential tools that are modern replacements for core Linux utilities.
System ToolsEssential Linux system tools focuses on small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.
ProductivityLinux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
AudioSurveys popular streaming services from a Linux perspective: Amazon Music Unlimited, Myuzi, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal.
Saving Money with LinuxSaving Money with Linux looks at how you can reduce your energy bills running Linux.
Home ComputersHome computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.
Now and ThenNow and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years. It can be a bumpy ride.
Linux at HomeLinux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.
Linux CandyLinux Candy reveals the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun and escape from the daily drudgery.
DockerGetting Started with Docker helps you master Docker, a set of platform as a service products that delivers software in packages called containers.
Android AppsBest Free Android Apps. We showcase free Android apps that are definitely worth downloading. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series.
Programming BooksThese best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language. Learn a new language today!
Programming TutorialsThese free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to our free programming books series.
Linux Around The WorldLinux Around The World showcases usergroups that are relevant to Linux enthusiasts. Great ways to meet up with fellow enthusiasts.
Stars and StripesStars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA.