Xmonad/Notable changes since 0.8

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This page is for keeping a record of significant changes in darcs xmonad and xmonad-contrib since the 0.8 release. (0.8.1 was a maintenance release, with no changes to user functionality. It simply includes ghc-6.10.1 related updates and workaround for 64-bit users building xmonad-contrib on ghc-6.10.1.)

The idea is to put here a list of things which a user upgrading from 0.8 to 0.9 might like to know, so that they are sure to be included in the 0.9 release notes.

Changes to the xmonad core

  • Spawned processes are now handled by xmonad. Using 'exec xmonad' in startup files now "does the right thing."
  • New --restart command line flag to restart a running xmonad process.
  • Focus changes across screens with mouse, even for empty workspaces.
  • XMonad now exports (.|.), no need to import Data.Bits.
  • StackSet exports focusUp', focusDown' for Stack in addition to focusUp/Down StackSet versions.
  • defaultConfig :: XConfig has new handleEventHook:: Event -> X All field supporting custom event hooks. The function should return True to have the default handler run afterward. (See Graphics.X11.Xlib.Extras Event, Core.hs, Main.hs)
  • X is now typeable. (Enables Language.Haskell.Interpreter, i.e. hint integration, see xmonad-eval project below.)

Changes to xmonad-contrib

Updated modules

Modules formerly using Hooks.EventHook now use Event from core. Note: EwmhDesktops users must change configuration by adding a handleEventHook to XConfig.


  • Actions.CycleWS now includes HiddenWS type.
  • Actions.Submap now supports a default action, enabling looping to, e.g., set volume, or using an explicit 'exit submap' key.
  • Actions.Plane has a planeKeys function to automatically set up default workspace navigation.
  • Actions.Search has more searches.
  • Actions.WindowBringer now works with external programs other than dmenu, such as nafai's gtkmenu
  • Actions.CopyWindow has new runOrCopy
  • Actions.WindowGo has raiseMaster variant of runOrRaiseMaster


  • Hooks.EwmhDesktops requires new handleEventHook = ewmhDesktopsEventHook, added to defaultConfig.
  • Hooks.DynamicLog module has a new 'statusBar' function to simplify status bar configuration. Similar 'dzen' and 'xmobar' quick bar functions have changed type to allow better compositionality.The 'dynamicLogDzen' and 'dynamicLogXmobar' have been removed.
  • Hooks.UrgencyHook now can be configured with reminders at intervals, and urgency can be cleared with a keybinding even without "visiting" the urgent window.


  • Layout.Grid has configurable aspect ratio.


  • Config.Kde has optional KDE 4 specific settings.
  • XMonad.Prompt has more tab completion settings, configurable history filter, several bug fixes.
  • Util.XSelection has new functions to allow transforming the selection before acting on it.

New contrib modules

  • Actions.GridSelect -- Graphically go to, select, do things with windows. With additional colourizers and documentation.
  • Actions.SpawnOn -- Binding actions, hook, and prompts to spawn on given or current workspace.
  • Actions.WithAll -- apply functions to all windows on a workspace.
  • Actions.CycleWindows -- useful ways to change focused or unfocused window order, including cycle recent windows, focus nth window.
  • Layout.Monitor -- Many useful functions for gkrellm, clock, widget type windows
  • Layout.FixedColumn -- Very neat variation on Tall, using window hints to decide master width, e.g. have your terminal automatically be 80 columns wide in the master.
  • Layout.GridVariants -- More customizable Grid, and very fine SplitGrid, see xm-contrib documentation (once 0.9 is released)
  • Layout.ThreeColumnsMiddle -- Master in center three column layout
  • Layout.CenteredMaster -- Somewhat like a combination of Master's mastered modifier with Magnifier, adding a master frame above tiled windows that is centered or at the top right of the screen.
  • Layout.Mosaic -- A very versatile easy to configure layout that can yield anything from Full to TwoPane to Grid by using a list of relative areas to layout panes and limiting the number of windows shown to the number of list elements.
  • Util.Paste -- For pasting strings to windows

Deleted modules

  • Config.PlainConfig is now a separate project, shepheb's xmonad-light.

Related Packages

Asgaroth's xmonad-eval uses the hint interpreter to manipulate xmonad state during runtime via normal haskell expressions ala emacs eval.

For users of >=ghc-6.10, the hlint package parses haskell source and offers suggestions on how to improve it.