The Labs.Com X11 Lab AfterStep
Last update 2001/07/23

The Labs - Design & Functionality For The Net

AfterStep, A alike X11-Window Manager

  1. Introduction
  2. Versions
  3. Primary Resources
  4. AfterStep Clients
  5. Features and Disadvantages
  6. Sample popup menus
  7. AfterStep Clock
  8. Sample Screenshot
1. Introduction
AfterStep is an X11 Window-Manager of one of the best designed. Nowadays Enlightenment and WindowMaker provide more up-to-date design approach, but still lack of a good Pager.

AfterStep comes with it where you can create multiple "virtual-screens" which each can be 2x2 to physical size each. The Pager has been ported from FWVM which is very stable, but doesn't look that well.

Future will be Enlightenment and WindowMaker, hope they implement a good Pager. KDE or Gnome are more wholesome approaches. See for more WindowManagers:
X-Window Managers Overview

2. Versions

There are now two AfterStep developed (fortunatly or unfortunately): I personally go for AfterStepClassic.

3. Primary Resources

Official AfterStep.Org
Frank S. Fejes's maintained web-page, there you find mini-FAQ, latest distribution etc. check his site first, before you read this webpage.
OpenStep by GNU

Other Sites

theme collections
Themes for AfterStep
dedicated themes
Sasha Vasko's AfterStep Page
up-to-date infos)
Matthew Kramer's AfterStep Page
personal site
Alan's Homepage
personal site
David Figueiredo's AfterStep for Solaris
personal site


AfterStep Icon Collection
Our collection, individually pickup your icons ...
Very good place to get icons
Anthony's Icon Library
Huge library, but qualityicons are rare
James A. Robinson's Icon Collection (XPM)
tar.gz 440KB - High quality icons (out of next-icons@gun.com and other collections)
next-icons@gun.com (3Q94)
tar.gz XPM format (2.6MB) - Comprehensive, but not all high-quality icons (10-20% are good)

4. AfterStep Clients

AfterStep Applications
ftp-site with over 20 apps
Collection of dockable Applets
For WindowMaker and AfterStep
Included in AfterStep distribution already (no need to download it)
AfterStep CD-Player
AfterStep Mixer
Email Indicator
The-Labs: AfterStep SystemViuwer
The-Labs: AfterStep NetViuw
The-Labs: Nice desktop add-on
The-Labs: Mounting interface

5. Features and Disadvantages

FEATURE: AfterStep is a NeXT-Desktop alike X11-window manager, it has some advanced design and look-and-feel better as many other X11 window managers (twm, fvwm). The main reason why I use AfterStep because of the design (yup, I like things which look good on screen).

DISADVANTAGE: As AfterStep is even alike NeXT-Desktop look-and-feel, all icons have always the same size (64x64 on screen), not all people like this unflexibility. Iconified applications haven't any label, this means you can't immediatly see what is what (except it has its own unique icon), but there the Window-list module helps you there:

So, if you are interested you have a good-looking window-manager, you may consider to use AfterStep for sometime. If you don't like the design implied restrictions, choose FVWM.

Since AfterStep is based on FVWM, you can share all your modules (like FvwmPager) and so, but keep in mind, that Wharf's ModuleShallow in your .steprc can only shallow quadratic windows (ie. FvwmPager 0 3, 4 virtual screens) in 48x48 doesn't look good at all. You have to run FvwmPager indepedent of Wharf then, .steprc:

    Function "InitFunction" 
            Module  "I"     FvwmPager 0 3 
    Function "RestartFunction" 
            Module  "I"     FvwmPager 0 3 

6. Sample popup menus

In the sample.steprc in the distribution are popup menus defined, here two examples:

Popup "Window Ops" Title "Window Ops" Function "Move" Move-or-Raise Function "Resize" Resize-or-Raise Raise "Raise" Lower "Lower" PutOnTop "(Un)PutOnTop" Iconify "(De)Iconify" Stick "(Un)Stick" Function "(Un)Maximize" maximize_func Nop "" Destroy "Destroy" Close "Close" Nop "" Refresh "Refresh Screen" EndPopup

Popup "HotList" Title "HotList" Exec "Xterm" exec xterm -e tcsh -l & Exec "Netscape 1.12" exec netscape.12 -geometry 585x565 & Exec "Netscape 3.0" exec netscape -geometry 680x565 & Nop "" Popup "Applications" Applications Nop "" Popup "Utilities" Utilities Nop "" Popup "Games" Games Nop "" Popup "Modules" Module-Popup Nop "" Popup "Exit" Quit-Verify EndPopup

For detailes how to change or add menus, look at sample.steprc.

7. AfterStep Clock

AfterStep.98a16 or later you need to MaxShallow the asclock in your .steprc, also with -shape option:

    *Wharf asclock  nil   MaxSwallow "asclock" asclock -shape & 

Beside, you may consider to add SmartPlacement in .steprc so if there is space on your desktop the applications will be placed automatically. Advantage: when you start AfterStep all started application which get shallowed in Wharf (as example) appear without your interaction, else you have to set a position first if you haven't SmartPlacement set. Or explicit add in your .Xresources or .Xdefaults following line:

    asclock.geometry:    -0-0 

AfterStep without asclock wouldn't be AfterStep! Thanks to Beat Christen who programmed asclock.

Finally I implemented asclock as NeXTClock in Java.

8. Sample Screenshot

That's a clean (means almost empty) desktop screenshot:

1280x1024 (reduced to 10%) and my .steprc,
and check my backgrounds

More information on AfterStep later ...

Accesses since June 1, 1996: (provided by WebCounter)


MountIt X11 LabBackgrounds

Hipocrisy of the finest:

"I agree that no single company can create all the hardware and software. Openness is central because it's the foundation of choice."
-- Steve Balmer (Microsoft) blaming Apple regarding iPhone, February 18, 2009

"Things work better when hardware and software are considered together, [..]. We control it all, we design it all, and we manufacture it all ourselves."
-- Steve Balmer announcing Windows 8 Tablet, June 19, 2012

Last update 2001/07/23

All Rights Reserved - (C) 1997 - 2012 by The Labs.Com

Top of Page

The Labs.Com