When comparing spectrwm vs dwm, the Slant community recommends dwm for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” dwm is ranked 5th while spectrwm is ranked 12th. 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 like Xmonad light
Spectrwm behaves largely like Xmonad (which is a good thing) without the ~700 MB GHC dependency and with plain text config files
Pro Has a plain-text config file that it can reload while it's running
The config file can be reloaded while the WM is running, allowing the user to see the results of editing the config without logging out and back in again.
Pro Sane defaults
Inspired by xmonad and dwm, spectrwm has defaults that any normal user would enjoy rather than using an odd language or asymmetric window layouts.
Contains a basic set of options and doesn't require a language to configure it.
Pro Great for beginners
The defaults, simple design, and plain text config file make spectrwm a fantastic WM for those who aren't that familiar with Haskell, for example, and who just wish to get something substantial up and running.
Pro Supports floating windows
Spectrwm offers built-in keyboard shortcut support for floating windows.
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 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 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 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.
Con Difficult to master
It does take time to learn the ins and outs of all that can be changed by editing the configs. It can also take some time to finally attain a configuration that is perfect.
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.