The jws FAQ

Q1: So jwm is a window manager?

Hm, not really.
Well yes, jwm used to be a window manager (it is now superceded by wwm), but this FAQ is about jws, the window server.

Q2: What is jws then?

jws is some kind of virtual consoles, like *BSD and Linux have.
It displays two terminal windows at a time (can be configured for a different number of windows) and hides all other windows.

Q3: How do you know that something is happening in the other windows?

There's a status line that displays a marker for each existing (hidden or active) window with the marker changing if there's unread output in the window or beeps.
The beeps are always heard, even if they happen in hidden windows.

Q4: What is needed to run jws?

X11, preferably at 1280 by 1024.

Q5: What about non-text windows?

Plain X11 clients can also be used.
They're obscured by the text windows until you switch to the X11 "window".
The status line is still visible then.

Q6: Ok, that's jws, what is jwm?

jwm was a trivial window manager, even more trivial than twm.
It merely provided a border for the X11 windows, managed their color maps and started external tools on key press events.
It is now superceded by wwm, which is a cleaner reimplementation with currently much the same functionality.

Q7: Why can't I use a standard window manager like fvwm?

The text windows and status line need to stay on top of the screen, like fvwm's "StaysOnTop" attribute. "StaysOnTop" doesn't seem to work with override-redirect windows though. jwm and wwm were written for use with jws, so they support this.
If you implement or enable this feature in your favourite window manager you can use it with jws.
You can also use your favourite window manager if you don't mind windows popping up in front of jws. jws will always relocate itself to the top of the window stack when you switch from X11 to a text window.

Q8: In which way is jws better than screen?

Since jws runs directly on X11 it's able to use antialiased fonts.
I think that's a big improvement - your mileage may vary though.
Some features (like detaching and copy&paste) are still missing from jws, so if you depend on those, screen might be a better choice.

Q9: Why do you recommend 1280 by 1024?

I use the TeX cmtt font scaled to 8 by 15 pixels. It looks nice that way, but I haven't found other size that really "fit".
Especially the 1152 by 900 size of Sun framebuffers is a problem because 1152 isn't divisible by 160 and you'll have to waste screen space.

Q10: How does it look like?

There's a 1280 by 1024 full screen picture of it and a smaller one of the bottom right of it showing the status line.

In the pictures, windows 1 and 2 are active, windows 4, 5, 13 and 19 have unread output and there was a beep in window 4.
The status line looks very roughly like this:

     1  2  3 [4=]5# 6  13# 14  17  19- 20

The markers advance cyclically through the following states: + # = -

Q11: Only two windows at a time?

Yes, currently only two, side by side - unless your screen resolution allows 240 (3 x 80) readable characters per line. They're full height, windows with variable height will be added in later versions.

Q12: How fast is it?

Scrolling is much faster now than in older versions. A fast graphics adapter might help to make it smoother, though.

Q13: Where do I get it?

The latest release is available for download.

Q14: Why is the middle line so thin?

Because the screen size would have to be something like 1284 by 1024 otherwise.
The line is one pixel wide and this pixel is stolen from the character left to it.

Q15: How do jwm and wwm look?

There is no screenshot of jwm, but there is one of wwm in its documentation.

Q16: Why doesn't jlock lock the screen?

The JWS-MAGIC-COOKIE-1 might be missing or misnamed, or your .Xauthority file might be inaccessible to jws or jlock.

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Page created: Aug 23, 1996 - last update: Sep 23, 2000 - version 4.2
Jörg Czeranski