How to install BSPWM on Debian

Jun 24, 2015

BSPWM (Binary Space Partitioning Window Manager) is a tiling window manager based on binary space partitioning, that represents windows as the leaves of a full binary tree. It is written completely in C. BSPWM is really easy to customize and setup. Lets 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.

Entering into 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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Darryl Dias

I am a student, artist, and author currently living in Florida. My interests range from technology to arts. I am also interested in programming, writing

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