TWM window manager on RHEL 7

by Joe Grant (@dba_jedi), Principal Architect

I recently went to one of my most referenced blog articles, only to find that it had been deleted. It was for installing the TWM windows manager on Red Hat 7 based distributions, like Oracle Linux and CentOS. Luckily with the old URL, and the Internet Archive at:, I was able to find what I needed. So for those who need a very basic windows manager for Linux, here you go.

At issue is Red Hat’s decision to remove the window manager TWM from their version 7 distribution. Every now and again, you will have a minimal Linux installation for a server, however you still need some sort of GUI for completing a software installation. At House of Brick, we find that this is very common when doing Oracle Database installations. There are several tools out there that will allow for exporting of X windows, but one of the easiest ways is to simply start a vncserver session on the Linux server and then to do the install from there. Having TWM always provided a minimal windows manager for this display.

The reason for Red Hat’s decision to remove TWM is likely that there is no one actively updating it, so it is stuck at version 1.0.3. On the plus side, it is only a single executable and the version 6 RPMs install on a version 7 OS just fine.

To install it, simply go to your favorite CentOS mirror and find the RPM:


Copy it to your OS, and run the following as root to install it.

rpm -ivh --nodeps xorg-x11-twm-1.0.3-5.1.el6.x86_64.rpm


There are a few dependencies that you can resolve simply by installing the following packages. A simple yum search and yum install will do in this case. Go ahead and allow yum to resolve any dependencies.

  • xorg-x11-font-utils.x86_64
  • xorg-x11-fonts-100dpi.noarch
  • xorg-x11-fonts-75dpi.noarch
  • xorg-x11-fonts-Type1.noarch
  • xorg-x11-xauth.x86_64 libX11.x86_64
  • dbus-x11.x86_64
  • xorg-x11-server-utils.x86_64
  • xorg-x11-xkb-utils.x86_64
  • xterm


The following command should do the trick. This may seem like a lot to add, but it is still much better than installing a full GUI desktop.

yum install xorg-x11-font-utils.x86_64 xorg-x11-fonts-
100dpi.noarch xorg-x11-fonts-75dpi.noarch xorg-x11-fonts-
Type1.noarch xorg-x11-xauth.x86_64 libX11.x86_64 dbus-
x11.x86_64 xorg-x11-server-utils.x86_64 xorg-x11-xkb-
utils.x86_64 xterm

Lastly, you may get a font load error. To resolve this error, use the following for your xstartup in the .vnc directory.

# Simplified vnc x session
[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid '#222E45'
vncconfig -iconic &
xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
LANG=C twm &


The “LANG=C” is the bit that resolves the error.

For those who need a very basic windows manager for Linux, and don’t want to install a full GUI desktop, this blog offers an alternate method.

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