DWM on archlabs openbox installation

Hello ,
Is it possible to install dwm on an existing archlabs openbox installation? How do I achieve to install archlabs dwm installation alongside this current openbox installation as exactly as would the archlabs installer does it?


Yes, you can install dwm alongside openbox.

The best method would be to download the dwm source and compile it. If you want any patches, patch the source code first, then compile.

If you use a display manager like lightdm, you will need to create a dwm.desktop file so it will show in the menu. Otherwise, you will need to edit your ~/.xinitrc.

If you install dwm from the Arch repo it will just be the default dwm setup. You won’t be able to change anything.


I tried compiling it in MX, but I am getting errors due to I think missing xlib dependencies. I look at the dwm site to if I am missing anything. So far I can’t find out why.

Install the dependencies before compiling,

sudo apt install make gcc libx11-dev libxft-dev libxinerama-dev xorg

You da man @chroot. I owe you a few pints.

You da man too @PackRat. I’m gonna need a keg for all of youse here.

Thank you for all the kind replies. Now I will elaborate few things that happened to me

I used the last latest available ISO to install two WM i.e openbox and DW
Somehow DWM was never installed and openbox is also just a bare blank desktop with nothing near to how an archlabs openbox looks like . So I dont know what happened during the installation process.
I thought I could install DWM lateron from repos ( archlabs dwm ) but somehow I did not find any package like archlabs-skel-dwm on repos .
So does the installer installs it too by compiling it from source? And if so how to achieve that now over the openbox?
Why the installer failed to install DWM?
Hope I provided some more clearer picture now .

dear @chroot sorry but isnt apt a debian package manager ? But I will install the packages you mentioned in the command above.

It seems that some of the packages that could be installed on debian for compiling DWM are not there on arch , perhaps base-devel will solve this purpose


the build dependencies for dwm on arch are:

sudo pacman -Sy base-devel libx11 libxinerama libxft freetype2 dmenu

per the official dwm AUR package:


Edit: I omitted “st” from that line because it’s an AUR package and not installable via pacman out of the official repos.

Was replying to @drummer’s question about DWM on Debian. DWM on AL is no difference from on Arch, so just follow Arch’s wiki. Everything should work flawlessly.

No, the installer will install the package from the AUR; the ArchLabs installer does not build from source like, for example, Gentoo. So if you use baph (should be installed) to install dwm or dwm-git from the AUR you will have that user’s configuration including key bindings for terminal and app launcher (dmenu, I believe). That’s why it is best to get the dwm sources and compile it yourself.. The ArchWiki entry is brief, but if you’re not going to be adding any patches, it’s all you’ll need.

1 Like

I don’t know what happened with your dwm and openbox install.

Check to see if you have the dwm binary in /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin

If the installer installed the binary, but did not create a dwm.desktop file for your display manager, then you’re not going to see any entry on the menu.

How are you logging in; display manager or from the console with startx?

To install dwm just like the installer

mkdir -pv "$dir"
for i in dwm dmenu st; do
	if git clone "https://git.suckless.org/$i" "$dir/$i"; then
		cd "$dir/$i" && make PREFIX=/usr install
		printf "failed to clone %s repo\n" "$i"

To make an xsession for it

mkdir -p "/usr/share/xsessions"
cat > "/usr/share/xsessions/dwm.desktop" <<- EOF
[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Dynamic Window Manager

So dwm is built from source during the install. I stand corrected.

The user is left with ~/suckless/dwm if they want to change the configuration?


@natemaia This did the job done .
How about get same as installer like installed openbox ( because my openbox is barebone somehow) can you guide me how to get that achieved?


I can do that for you if you need, I think you should focus on learning the setup yourself though. That is largely the point of AL after all.


Rightly said

1 Like