Using Chunkwm as a Window Manager

Using Chunkwm as a Window Manager (2020 Update)

As a window manager for macOS servers, Chunkwm is a responsive and functional program that better organizes desktop environments. Web developers and users integrate Chunkwm into the accessibility of the server when using Chunkwm as a Window Manager. In collaboration with home-brew installation plugins and skhd’s command key integration, the Chunkwm organizer is an ultimate tool for creating user-friendly interfaces and responsiveness in user control.

What is Chunkwm?

In essence, the Chunkwm software is a tiling window manager compatible with macOS. This extension deploys plugins to support its functionality. Depending on the extension, users may configure different default layouts, display features, develop sort-key bindings, and adjust text programing. Through updated macOS versions, like macOS High Sierra (10.13.16) and the macOS Mojave (10.14.5) updates, Chunkwm supports users with the various applications of window managing and organization.

Window Tiling Manager Benefits

The importance of a functional and compatible window tiling managers are to better equip users and developers with tools that enhance project productivity and promote better content management. A windows tiling manager (WTM) adapts users and developers to personalized interface layouts. With the adjustment, the layouts fill displays with multiple screens for better interactivity between server and user. Through preference settings, users may implement specific rules to create more original designs. To explain, layouts refer to “tiling,” which users and developers adjust for better window organization. Organizers consist of elements such as tiles, desktop columns and rows, master centers and slave, monocle, and floating features that better assist users and developers with window managing.

Features of Chunkwm

Features of Chunkwm


When using Chunkwm, they are a couple of general features that apply to the window manager program. The two general features are plugin API and status bars. Beneficially, Chunkwm allows users to equip plugins within the accessibility settings of macOS servers. Depending on the plugins, additional modifications and more straightforward display configurations can improve the window manager. On the downside, the default Chunkwm program does not come with a status bar to evaluate user actions during projects.


Primarily, the web developers and users of Chunkwm find that its features of window mobility are essential during project development on macOS desktop. Through Chunkwm, users enable critical functions within the program that will allow modifications os window properties and options to send windows to alternative positions on the desktop interface.

Without an extension or modification to Chunkwm, however, users opt-out of other useful developer tools. For example, the developer tools range from removing window shadows, enabling window transparency, controlling window layers, editing sticking windows, and moving windows by clicking frames.


Equally important, space features enhance window managers for developers. Chunkwm relies on space features, like creating and destroying spaces application, to improve window responsiveness and functionality. However, without an extension or modification to the Chunkwm setup, additional features are not available. For better window management, space improvements refer to elements like create and destroy without “anim,” space movements, and internal space switches.

Latest Chunkwm Updates

The most recent edition of Chunkwm is the Chunkwm v0.4.10 alpha release. Additionally, there are other update versions like tiling v0.3.17, border v0.3.6, and ffm v0.4.0. For better software performance, Chunkwm operates on the taste versions of macOS. Versions like macOS High Sierra update 10.13.6 and Mojave update 10.14.5 are compatible with the Chunkwm windows manager. As a caution, users and developers with older versions may experience unwanted errors and lack of accessibility features when operating fewer new servers.

SIP Updates

First, Chunkwm’s new applications assist users with disabling the macOS System Integrity Protection (SIP) systems. To elaborate, the macOS update version 10.13 and version 10.14 includes the System Integrity Protection (SIP) for better file and directory protection. This protection disables modifications to specific data resources.

How Does Chunkwm Work

How Does Chunkwm Work?

As an organizer tool, Chunkwm combines files, data, and programming to operate.


In the process, the window manager stores and uses a “/tmp/chunkwm_$USER-pid” PID-file to run Chunkwm. In particular, this PID-file manages various app removal process. With Chunkwm, a user may cancel an application to remove a file. However, if the user deletes an existing application file, the PID-file will control the application removal. For better maintenance, the PID-files are recreated. The users restart applications.

Additionally, users may alter PID-files to correctly perform PID-files while active boots and ensures that interaction and monitoring of files are managed more efficiently. Usually, this process runs on the front-end of window managers, but may also process through daemon servers for more efficient integration between servers and window manager. Developers may configure a PID file through various methods. One method, users may outsource the environmental variables by programming the code “PIDFILE=” path/tp/pidile.” Alternatively, the user may create flags within a VM, args manager with the text “-kernel pidfile ‘” path/to/profile.”‘


In regards to commands, Chunkwm collaborates closely with Unix. Through a Unix domain, command sockets file under the text “/tmp/chunkwm_$USER-socket” to store commands within the window manager. In simpler terms, the window manager performs operations through controls that allow the program to save messages directly on the Chunkwm Unix domain sockets. Moreover, Chunkwm limits users for setting personal input keybindings and requires an extension. For instance, users and developers may install specific actions onto the skhd platform for better window manager functionality.


As a third party program, “skhd” orients keyboard bindings to create actions onto Chunkwm for users and software developers. This extension also refers to a hotkey daemon, which improves the Chunkwm design. Improvements in responsiveness and functionality are noticeable with skhd due to its DSL text file format. Fortunately, “skhd” also performs with pid-files to enable user edits during project management. Primarily, developers use functions like “–reload,” for user-direct configuration edits. Specifically, The function identifies as “/tmp/skhd_$” PID-file. Additionally, users access features such as “hot load configurations files,” “hotkey pass-throughs,” “modal hotkey-systems,” and “application-specific hotkeys.” Other functions of “skhd” are “blacklist applications,” “use media-keys,” and “key-press” tools for improvements in developer commands.

SKHD Installation

To startup “skhd,” simply run the program within the program document. Then, enable accessibility requests to allow API. Next in order, restart “skhd” and uninstall secure keyboard settings. This step will source “skhd” to better connect with the user server to receive action keys.


For installation and window manager improvement, Chunkwm integrates with Homebrew for better command responsiveness and screen management. In detail, Homebrew is a package management system that assists users with macOS application installments. The software is an open-source program that integrates onto MacOS operating systems within Linux command lines. Additionally, the software runs on Ruby on Rails programming for better compatibility for macOS users.

HomeBrew Installation

For simplicity and security, installing Chunkwm with Homebrew prevents complexity and unwanted errors from occurring on MacOS environments. Administrators require several steps to ensure the correct installation onto the Chunkwm window manager. First, the administrator requires to present the text “brew tap crisidev/homebrew-chunkwm” onto the terminal. Next, insert the function “brew install –HEAD –with–tmp-logging Chunkwm.” Furthermore, apply the service “brew install –HEAD –with-logging koekeishiya/formulae/skhd.” Once performed the primary key inputs, install the skhd program onto the existing terminal. This ensures current keybinding and shortcuts onto the hotkey daemon to the MacOS server.

From the Homebrew browser, users may start the applications of both Chunkwm and “skhd.” With the following function, users input the instruction “brew services start Chunkwm.” Then, the users follow instructs another sequence such as “brew services start skhd.” In combination, the gaps or spacing between the desktop environment and presentable screens are allocated to other regions of the desktop.

Alternative Window Manager

Alternatively, Yabai is an alternative to Chunkwm. The tiling window organizer followed a similar design and was also developed by the same team for Chunkwm. Moreover, the programming language supports the “C99” format and also conforms with MacOS. In comparison to Chunkwm, the windows manager also requires an inactive System Integrity Protection (SIP). In this example, the handicap of System Integrity Protection (SIP) will enable developers to embed additional programming and scripts into the MacOS window server. Jointly, the disabling of the System Integrity Protection (SIP) feature and installment allows users the capability of embedding scripts. Once set up, Yabai supports window manager modifications, spaces, and interfaces that comply with

Yabai Alternative Features

Although similar, Yabai shares differences with Chunkwm. The differences are user abilities with the software when enabling and disabling the macOS System Integrity Protection (SIP). As the table below shows, there are differences in general, window, and space features. From the illustration, both Chunkwm and Yabai are capable of sending windows to another area and modifying window properties. Upon speculation, they’re clear distinctions between Yabai and Chunkwm. Most notably, Yabai better equips users with features like general status bars, window management and controls, and space editing.

Yabai Alternative Features

Yabai Installation

As a substitute, the Yabai tiling windows manager is available for developer installation. The first step requires administrators to install command tools. For example, the line tool sequence shows as “Xcode-select –install.” Next, developers may disable the System Integrity Protection (SIP) on macOS. In order, the administrator needs to reboot MacOS by pressing command and R. Then, the next step is to head over to the “terminal” from the “utilities” menu. Next, entering the following code “csrutil enable –without debugging” to MacOS 10.13 or the law “curtail enable –without debug –without fs” to MacOS 10.14 will assistant users with proper SIP disabling.

Once again, perform and new macOS reboot. Finally, check the System Integrity Protection (SIP) on the macOS terminal. To check, navigate to the terminal’s text with  “csrutil status.” Additional steps, such as allowing access to Accessibility API for Yabai and Skhd and Yabai configurations occur after the user status check

Chunkwm Installation

Installing and using Chunkwm as a window manager is quick and straightforward for developers. Through the terminal, clone a home-brew tab and program the text “Brew install Chunkwm.”

Chunkwm Installation

Next, administrators copy to Home Directory Command: “cp/usr/local/opt/chunckwm/share/examples/cunckwmrc ~/.chunckwmrc” onto the terminal. After, copy plugins to the Home Directory Command: “Ln – sf/usr/local/opt/chunchwm/share/chunckwm_plugins ~/.chunckwm_plugins.” The next step is to install KHD. The KHD program runs in the background and enables users to perform intersecting keys. The function display is “cp /usr/local/opt/chunkwm/share/examples/.khdrc ~/.khdrc.”

Chunkwm Installation guide

Form there, start the KHD Command: “brew services start Koekeishiya/formulae/khd.” Next, start Chunkwm Command: “brew services start to consider/chunckwm/chunckwm.” The installation of Chunkwm will then assist users and developers with window navigation, window position changes, assigning and editing key shortcuts, settings configuration within window styles, and adjustments in style gap defaults. Additionally, the Chunkwm window manager may uninstall from MacOS servers through additional modifications and extensions. Highly recommended, developers should implement both “Brew” and “MacPorts” for the exporting and removal process of Chunkwm.

Chunkwm User Commands 

Once Chunkwm installation is complete, developers may better manage screens and control keys for projects. Through a Vim text editor, the Chunkwm software, and Homebrew and had recourse tools, modify additional key bindings for user responsiveness through the window manager. For instance, the .skhrc file will improve navigational features for Chunkwm window manager users. Commands like “alt” plus “h,” “j,” “k,” “l,” navigate window positions in leftward, upward, rightward, and downwards. Meanwhile, command keys like “alt” plus “p” and “n” allow users to navigate to previous or next windows from the macOS desktop.


For better window transitions and improvements to desktop windows, Chunkwm is an essential window manager tool. Using Chunckwm improves responsiveness in user commands and serves as an effective way to manage multiple screens during project development. In combination with other extensions and plugins, the tiling window manager for macOS desktops supports various hotkey commands and advanced monitor displays for users and developers.

angelo frisina sunlight media

Author Bio

Angelo has been involved in the creative IT world for over 20 years. He built his first website back in 1998 using Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop. He expanded his knowledge and expertise by learning a wider range of programming skills, such as HTML/CSS, Flash ActionScript and XML.

Angelo completed formal training with the CIW (Certified Internet Webmasters) program in Sydney Australia, learning the core fundamentals of computer networking and how it relates to the infrastructure of the world wide web.

Apart from running Sunlight Media, Angelo enjoys writing informative content related to web & app development, digital marketing and other tech related topics.

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