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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.


May-24-2021 Apr-04-2017 Mar-03-2016 Sep-20-2014 Apr-08-2014 Apr-07-2013 June-20-2012 Dec-13-2009 Jul-12-2009 Apr-30-2009 Apr-26-2009 Feb-19-2008


The current stable version is 1.4.9 and can be downloaded here (PGP signature). A gzipped archive is also available (PGP signature).

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

ratpoison is also available via Git. Go to http://savannah.nongnu.org/git/?group=ratpoison for more information.

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 new home on Libera.Chat. The channel is #ratpoison. Drop by and flame us about ratpoison's subpar KDE support.


The 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 Git, 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.


You can support ratpoison development by making a donation using Paypal.


Here are some projects that you might find interesting:

Copyright (C) 2000-2009 Shawn Betts
Copyright (C) 2013,2014,2017 Jérémie Courrèges-Anglas
This page is maintained by Jérémie Courrèges-Anglas (jca at wxcvbn dot org).