evilwm installation guide

Building from source

See the evilwm home page for downloads. Once you have a copy of the source code, either the git repository or by downloading a tar archive, building is very straightforward.

In addition to the standard C compiler tools, you will need X11 development files installed. Under Debian, the x11proto-dev, libx11-dev and libxrandr-dev packages should suffice.

The source distribution does contain a configure script, but this is not from the GNU build system. It is a minimal bash script provided to simplify multiarch cross-builds under Debian. Instead, edit the Makefile to modify build flags for your platform.

Then, building and installing is very simple:

$ make
$ make install

That's it! But if you need to install to a different prefix, you can override with something like:

$ make install prefix=/usr/local

Starting evilwm

The install process puts a file called evilwm.desktop into /usr/share/applications, so depending on your desktop manager, you may simply be able to pick evilwm from a menu when you log in. Otherwise, most managers will run Xsession, which will look for a file in your home directory called .xsession and run it (so be sure it has execute permission). Here's a simple example .xsession file:

test -f $HOME/.Xresources && xrdb -merge $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid \#400040 -cursor_name left_ptr
/usr/bin/evilwm -snap 10 &
exec xclock -digital -padding 2 -g -0+0

Note that in this case 'xclock' is the magic process (the one that, if you kill it, your session dies). Also note that it sets the cursor shape and background colour with standard X tools (evilwm won't do this for you).

See here for a more complete example of a .xsession file. Obviously, it depends on a lot of external packages.

If you typically start X by typing startx from the console, you might need the .xsession file to be called .xinitrc. A symlink should suffice.

After starting, you should be able to bring up an xterm with Control+Alt+Enter. For more information on configuring and using evilwm, see the manual.

Updated 18 Jul 2021