About awesome

awesome is a highly configurable, next generation framework window manager for X.

Building and installation

After extracting the dist tarball, run:


This will create a build directory, run cmake in it and build awesome.

After building is finished, you can either install via make install:

make install  # you might need root permissions

or by auto-generating a .deb or .rpm package, for easy removal later on:

make package

sudo dpkg -i awesome-x.y.z.deb
# or
sudo rpm -Uvh awesome-x.y.z.rpm

NOTE: awesome uses cmake to build. In case you want to pass arguments to cmake, please use the CMAKE_ARGS environment variable. For instance:


Build dependencies

Awesome has the following dependencies (besides a more-or-less standard POSIX environment):

Additionally, the following optional dependencies exist:

  • DBus for DBus integration and the awesome-client utility
  • asciidoc and xmlto for generating man pages
  • gzip for compressing man pages
  • ldoc for generating the documentation
  • busted for running unit tests
  • luacheck for static code analysis
  • LuaCov for collecting code coverage information
  • libexecinfo on systems where libc does not provide backtrace_symbols() to generate slightly better backtraces on crashes
  • Xephyr or Xvfb for running integration tests

Running awesome

You can directly select awesome from your display manager. If not, you can add the following line to your .xinitrc to start awesome using startx or to .xsession to start awesome using your display manager:

exec awesome

In order to connect awesome to a specific display, make sure that the DISPLAY environment variable is set correctly, e.g.: exec awesome

(This will start awesome on display :1 of the host


The configuration of awesome is done by creating a $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/awesome/rc.lua file, typically ~/.config/awesome/rc.lua.

An example configuration named awesomerc.lua is provided in the source.


On most systems any message printed by awesome (including warnings and errors) is written to ~/.xsession-errors.

If awesome does not start or the configuration file is not producing the desired results the user should examine this file to gain insight into the problem.

Debugging tips

You can call awesome with gdb like this:

DISPLAY=:2 gdb awesome

Then in gdb set any args and run it:

(gdb) set arg --replace
(gdb) run

Reporting issues

Please report any issues you may find on our bugtracker. You can submit pull requests on the github repository. Please read the contributing guide for any coding, documentation or patch guidelines.


Build Status


Online documentation is available at


The project is licensed under GNU General Publice License v2 or later. You can read it online at (v2 or v3).

generated by LDoc 1.4.6 Last updated 2018-10-20 13:20:04