Compile IceWM on Cygwin

Install Dependencies
Install these packages from cygwin setup.exe (and any subsequent packages that become selected). For me it’s easiest to switch the view from “Package” to “Full” and search by name.

  1. gcc-g++: GNU Compiler Collection (C++)
  2. libgdk_pixbuf_xlib2.0-devel: GNOME Pixel buffer library (X11 development)
  3. libXft-devel: X.Org X Freetype libary (development)
  4. libXrandr-devel: X.Org X RandR extension library (development)
  5. make: The GNU version of the ‘make’ utility
  6. pkg-config: A utility used to retrieve information about intalled libraries
  7. xinit: X.Org X server initializer

Build and Install IceWM

  1. Download the latest version of IceWM from
  2. Extract using a command similar to: tar -xzvf icewm-1.3.7.tar.gz
    (change the filename as necessary)
  3. cd to the resulting directory
    example: cd icewm-1.3.7
  4. Execute the command (all one line): ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc --libexecdir=/usr/sbin --localstatedir=/var --datadir=/usr/share --mandir=/usr/share/man --infodir=/usr/share/info --disable-i18n --disable-nls --enable-shaped-decorations --enable-gradients --enable-corefonts --disable-xinerama
  5. $ ln -s /usr/bin/cygintl-8.dll /usr/lib/intl.dll
  6. $ make
  7. $ make install
  8. $ make install-docs
  9. $ make install-man

Configure IceWM as the Default Window Manager for xinit

  1. $ sed 's/twm/icewm/' /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc > ~/.xinitrc
  2. $ xinit -- -rootless

Configure IceWM as the Default Window Manager for

  1. Edit the file /usr/bin/ using your favorite editor
  2. Scroll down to the command to execute XWin and replace the -multiwindow command line switch with -rootless
    For example, you might change the line
    XWin -multiwindow -clipboard -silent-dup-error &
    XWin -rootless -clipboard -silent-dup-error &
  3. Ensure that other window managers will not be executed by commenting them out with a pound (#) sign and add the command icewm & as shown below
    # twm &
    icewm &

Similar changes can be applied to /usr/bin/startxwin.bat to launch X11 and IceWM from a Windows shortcut.


The built-in Infadel theme is my favorite. More can be downloaded from

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. IceWM on Cygwin « .khom - September 11, 2011

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