How to install BSPWM on Debian

BSPWM (Binary Space Partitioning Window Manager) is a tiling window manager based on binary space partitioning, which represents windows as the leaves of a full binary tree. It is written completely in C. BSPWM is easy to customize and setup. Let’s install BSPWM by following the instructions below.

This has been tried and tested on Debian Jessie and Testing.

Installing the required dependencies.

sudo apt-get install git gcc make xcb libxcb-util0-dev libxcb-ewmh-dev libxcb-randr0-dev libxcb-icccm4-dev libxcb-keysyms1-dev libxcb-xinerama0-dev libxcb-ewmh2

Cloning BSPWM git repository.

git clone

Cloning SXHKD git repository.

git clone

Build and install BSPWM and SXHKD.

Enter the bspwm directory.

cd bspwm

Building and installing BSPWM using Make.

sudo make install

Exiting the bspwm directory after make has completed builing and installing BSPWM.

cd ..

Entering into sxhkd.

cd sxhkd/

Building and installing SXHKD.

sudo make install

Creating ~/.config/bspwm and ~/.config/sxhkd directory to store configuration and dotfiles used by it.

mkdir ~/.config/bspwm
mkdir ~/.config/sxhkd

Coping the configuration files used by BPSWM. and SXHKD

cp -T bspwm/examples/bspwmrc `~/.config/bspwm/bspwmrc`
cd ..
cd sxhkd/
cp -T bspwm/examples/sxhkdrc ~/.config/sxhkd/sxhkdrc

Turning the file into an executable.

sudo chmod +x ~/.config/bspwm/bspwmrc

Coping the bspwm-session file to /usr/bin/.

sudo cp -T bspwm/contrib/freedesktop/bspwm-session /usr/bin/bspwm-session

If you use xinitrc file to manage your DE, you can update your .xinitrc to log you into it.

exec bspwm-session

You can edit the ~/.config/bspwm/bspwmrc to add scripts, services, applications to startup.

To change your keyboard shortcuts simple, edit the ~/.config/sxhkd/sxhkdrc.

You might want to add the following to your bspwmrc, this will set your mouse pointer to a left pointing arrow instead of the default X of xorg.

xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr &

Now we are done setting up BSPWM on Debian. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.

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