Ubuntu – How to determine which window manager is running


Is there any way (such as a command or environmental variable) to determine what window manager is the one actively running in the current session?

Best Answer

If you have wmctrl installed, the first line of output from command

wmctrl -m

will show you the name of the window manager. If you don't have wmctrl installed, use the following command to install it:

sudo apt-get install wmctrl

Note, man wmctrl (that is, the man page for wmctrl) says in part:

-m Display information about the window manager ...

On my Ubuntu 11.10 / Linux 3.0.0-14-generic #23-Ubuntu x86_64 / metacity 2.34.1 system, the first line of output from wmctrl -m was: Name: Metacity
while echo $DESKTOP_SESSION showed ubuntu-2d and echo $XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP showed Unity.

On a fresh Ubuntu 15.10 install of Ubuntu desktop software on an old laptop, the first line of output from wmctrl -m was: Name: Compiz
while the DESKTOP_SESSION and XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP values were ubuntu and Unity

Related Question