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labwc - Man Page

a Wayland stacking compositor


labwc [options...]


Labwc is a wlroots-based stacking compositor for wayland.

It is light-weight and independent with a focus on simply stacking windows well and rendering some window decorations. Where practicable it uses clients for wall-paper, panels, screenshots and so on.


The compositor will exit or reload its configuration upon receiving SIGTERM and SIGHUP respectively. For example:

  kill -s <signal> $LABWC_PID
  killall -s <signal> labwc

Each running instance of labwc sets the environment variable `LABWC_PID` to its PID. This is useful for sending signals to a specific instance and is what the `--exit` and `--reconfigure` options use.


-c,  --config <config-file>

Specify a config file with path

-C,  --config-dir <config-directory>

Specify a config directory

-d,  --debug

Enable full logging, including debug information

-e,  --exit

Exit the compositor by sending SIGTERM to `$LABWC_PID`

-h,  --help

Show help message and quit

-m,  --merge-config

Merge user config/theme files in all XDG Base Directories

-r,  --reconfigure

Reload the compositor configuration by sending SIGHUP to `$LABWC_PID`

-s,  --startup <command>

Run command on startup

-S,  --session <command>

Run command on startup and terminate compositor on exit. This is useful for session management as it allows the session client to terminate labwc by exiting itself. This is a Wayland specific use-case because under X, xinit starts the server and keeps it alive for as long as the session client. Thus either the session client starts the Window Manager, or the Window Manager can be launched independently first. On Wayland, the Compositor is both Display Server and Window Manager, so the described session management mechanisms do not work because the Compositor needs to be running before the session can function.  As some session clients support both X11 and Wayland, this command line option avoids re-writes and fragmentation.

-v,  --version

Show the version number and quit

-V,  --verbose

Enable more verbose logging

Session Management

To enable the use of graphical clients launched via D-Bus or systemd service activation, labwc can update both activation environments on launch. Provided that labwc is aware of an active D-Bus user session (i.e., the environment variable `DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS` is defined), the compositor will invoke the commands

  systemctl --user import-environment

(when available) to notify D-Bus and systemd with the values of the following environment variables:


This behavior is enabled by default whenever labwc uses the "DRM" wlroots backend (which implies that labwc is the primary compositor on the console). When other backends are employed (for example, when labwc runs nested in another Wayland compositor or an X11 server), updates to the activation environment are disabled by default. Updates to the activation environment can be forced by setting the environment variable `LABWC_UPDATE_ACTIVATION_ENV` to one of the truthy values `1`, `true`, `yes` or `on`; or suppressed by setting the variable to one of the falsy values `0`, `false`, `no` or `off`.

Whenever labwc updates the activation environment on launch, it will also attempt to clear the activation environment on exit. For D-Bus, which does not provide a means for properly un-setting variables in the activation environment, this is accomplished by setting the session variables to empty strings. For systemd, the command `systemctl --user unset-environment` will be invoked to actually remove the variables from the activation environment.

See Also

labwc-actions(5), labwc-config(5), labwc-menu(5), labwc-theme(5)

Referenced By

labwc-actions(5), labwc-config(5), labwc-menu(5), labwc-theme(5).