When comparing dwm vs Ratpoison, the Slant community recommends dwm for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” dwm is ranked 5th while Ratpoison is ranked 14th. The most important reason people chose dwm is:
Dwm is part of the [suckless suite of tools](http://suckless.org/), and encourages users to extend and configure it by modifying the code itself. To this end, dwm is kept under 2000 SLOC, and is an exemplar of clean, readable code (C). This, while giving users all the flexibility they could ask for, also makes dwm as lightweight as possible, and means that users have a full understanding of how it works.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Encourages user modification
Dwm is part of the suckless suite of tools, and encourages users to extend and configure it by modifying the code itself. To this end, dwm is kept under 2000 SLOC, and is an exemplar of clean, readable code (C). This, while giving users all the flexibility they could ask for, also makes dwm as lightweight as possible, and means that users have a full understanding of how it works.
Pro Simple and small
Dwm is a low-resource window manager that is entirely simplistic in design.
Pro Easy to configure
Configuring dwm is straight-forward thanks to its config.h file (though it will have to be rebuilt for the effects to take place).
Pro Default keybindings and functionality are very useful and well thought-out
An example of this is the application of alt-tab to switch between two tags.
Pro Application grouping with tags
Dwm's design paradigm is to use tags to group clients (applications) that can then be pulled into a view (workspace); this allows you to view multiple clients at once and to assign or reassign those tags and their related views on the fly.
Contrary to most other window managers, when you view a tag you are not ‘visiting’ a workspace: you are pulling the tagged windows into a single workspace.
Combined with rules in the
config.h, this makes for a flexible and responsive means to manage your workflow.
Pro Useful and informative status bar
The dwm status bar can be set to display all kinds of useful information, such as volume level, wifi signal strength, and battery notification.
Pro XRandR/Xinerama support
Dwm has support for XRandR and Xinerama, allowing for multi-monitor support.
Pro Simple config file
Ratpoison is simple to configure as a window manager. In fact, it doesn't necessarily require that much configuration as it is so simple in structure to begin with.
Pro Very little mouse interaction.
Ratpoison is designed to be mainly used with a keyboard and keybindings, making mouse interaction unnecessary.
Pro Support for multiple desktops
Ratpoison offers support for multiple desktops through the use of the rpws script.
Pro Good online documentation
Ratpoison has plenty of documentation (to be found online) on how to operate and configure the window manager.
Con No runtime config file
There is no config file that can be edited after the window manager is compiled: all changes need to be made prior to compiling.
Con By developers, for developers
Basic knowledge of C language, general programming, and compilation are all required.
Con Does not work well with applications that have multiple windows
Being that Ratpoison is a tiling only window manager, trying to use applications that have multiple windows (such as GIMP) becomes a PITA.