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ratpoison: Say good-bye to the rodent

What is Ratpoison?

Ratpoison is a simple Window Manager with no fat library dependencies, no fancy graphics, no window decorations, and no rodent dependence. It is largely modelled after GNU Screen which has done wonders in the virtual terminal market.

The screen can be split into non-overlapping frames. All windows are kept maximized inside their frames to take full advantage of your precious screen real estate.

All interaction with the window manager is done through keystrokes. ratpoison has a prefix map to minimize the key clobbering that cripples Emacs and other quality pieces of software.

If you're wondering how we came up with the name ratpoison, here is the usenet post that started it all.


Dec-19-2006 Apr-2-2006 Apr-10-2005 Feb-22-2005 Feb-4-2005 Jan-14-2005 Dec-12-2004 Dec-12-2004


The current stable version is 1.4.1 and can be downloaded here.

Take a look at http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/ratpoison/ for further information on obtaining ratpoison.

ratpoison is also available via anonymous CVS. goto https://savannah.nongnu.org/cvs/?group=ratpoison for more information. The module to check out is ratpoison.

Mailing Lists

ratpoison has a miscellaneous mailing list for bugs, development, rants and anything else you'd like to share.

You can subscribe to it by going to http://lists.nongnu.org/mailman/listinfo/ratpoison-devel .


We are pleased to announce that ratpoison has found a home on irc.freenode.net. The channel is #ratpoison. Drop by and flame us about ratpoison's subpar KDE support.


Ratpoison documention is formatted with Gnu Texinfo. Go here for an html version of it. If you want the texinfo sources, download ratpoison. Note that the html documentation refers to the latest version of ratpoison. If something described in the manual doesn't work upgrade. If it still doesn't work upgrade more. Eventually you'll be running out of CVS, where all the real action happens.

Having problems? Maybe the FAQ will help.

If the FAQ didn't help, maybe the wiki will.

Wondering what to do with all the spare time you have now that you run ratpoison? Here is what we do.


I don't know what it is about Window Managers, but people complain if they don't get a screenshot. I've told them again and again that ratpoison doesn't have anything to take a screenshot of, but still they insist.

So if you absolutely MUST have a screenshot, here you go:

screenshot (you're not missing anything) screenshot (Somewhat more interesting)

Here are some user submitted pictures of the hardware that ratpoison supports.


Send us money, and we'll send you merchandise. Note! Merchandise has been discontinued until further notice.


Here are some projects that you might find interesting:

Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003,2004 Shawn Betts
This page is maintained by Shawn Betts (sabetts at vcn.bc.ca).