Man Page - FvwmEvent


Section: Fvwm Modules (1)
Updated: 06 November 2016 (2.6.7)
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FvwmEvent - the fvwm event module


FvwmEvent is a more versatile replacement for FvwmAudio. It can in general be used to hook any fvwm function or program to any window manager event. E.g: Delete unwanted Netscape Pop ups or application error pop ups as they appear, play sounds, log events to a file and the like. Be creative, you'll find a use for it.

FvwmEvent is spawned by fvwm, so no command line invocation will work. From within the .fvwm2rc file, FvwmEvent is spawned as follows:

Module FvwmEvent

or from within an fvwm pop-up menu:

DestroyMenu Module-Popup
AddToMenu Module-Popup "Modules" Title
+ "Event"        Module FvwmEvent
+ "Auto"         Module FvwmAuto 200
+ "Buttons"      Module FvwmButtons
+ "Console"      Module FvwmConsole
+ "Ident"        Module FvwmIdent
+ "Banner"       Module FvwmBanner
+ "Pager"        Module FvwmPager 0 3


The FvwmEvent module communicates with the fvwm window manager to bind actions to window manager events. Different actions may be assigned to distinct window manager events.

FvwmEvent can be used to bind sound files to events like FvwmAudio (RiP) did. It can be used for logging event traces to a log file, while debugging fvwm.

FvwmEvent can also have builtin support for the rplay library. (heritage of FvwmAudio)


The invocation method was shown in the synopsis section. No command line invocation is possible. FvwmEvent must be invoked by the fvwm window manager. FvwmEvent accepts a single argument:

Enables FvwmAudio compatibility mode.

Makes FvwmEvent use alias as its name. This affects which lines from the user's configuration file are used.

Invoking FvwmEvent as FvwmAudio (either by using an alias or creating a symlink) enables FvwmAudio compatibility mode.


FvwmEvent gets config info from fvwm's module configuration database (see fvwm(1), section MODULE COMMANDS), and looks for certain configuration options:

*FvwmEvent: Cmd command
This determines the fvwm function that is to be called with the event parameters. You might want to do one of the following (details below):

        # play sounds
        *FvwmEvent: Cmd builtin-rplay

        # execute distinct fvwm functions
        *FvwmEvent: Cmd

        # execute distinct external programs
        *FvwmEvent: Cmd exec

This version of FvwmEvent has builtin rplay support which does not need to invoke an external audio player to play sounds. The rplay support is enabled when FvwmEvent is compiled with HAVE_RPLAY defined and when FvwmEvent: Cmd is set to builtin-rplay. See remarks below if FvwmEvent is invoked in FvwmAudio compatibility mode.

For example:

        *FvwmEvent: Cmd builtin-rplay
        *FvwmEvent: add_window

rplay can be obtained via anonymous ftp at

        <URL:> or

FvwmEvent also has support for any other external program. e.g: the rsynth 'say' command:

        *FvwmEvent: Cmd "Exec /rsynth/say"
        *FvwmEvent: destroy_window "window closed"

You can also use fvwm's builtin Echo command as FvwmEvent: Cmd to obtain debug output for fvwm events quietly. I used this setup to debug FvwmAuto:

        *FvwmEvent: Cmd Echo
        *FvwmEvent: focus_change "focus change"
        *FvwmEvent: raise_window "raise window"

You can even call different shell commands for each event just by setting

        *FvwmEvent: Cmd exec
        *FvwmEvent: add_window 'killname "APPL ERROR"'

*FvwmEvent: PassId
Specifies that the event action will have an ID parameter added to the end of the command line. Most events will have the windowID of the window that the event refers to, new_desk will have the new desk number. The windowID is a hexadecimal string preceded by 0x, desk numbers are decimal.

*FvwmEvent: window-manager-event action-or-filename
Binds particular actions to window manager events.

e.g. for audio-events:

        *FvwmEvent: startup
        *FvwmEvent: shutdown
        *FvwmEvent: unknown

        *FvwmEvent: new_page
        *FvwmEvent: new_desk
        *FvwmEvent: old_add_window
        *FvwmEvent: raise_window
        *FvwmEvent: lower_window
        *FvwmEvent: old_configure_window
        *FvwmEvent: focus_change
        *FvwmEvent: enter_window
        *FvwmEvent: leave_window
        *FvwmEvent: destroy_window
        *FvwmEvent: iconify
        *FvwmEvent: deiconify
        *FvwmEvent: window_name
        *FvwmEvent: icon_name
        *FvwmEvent: visible_icon_name
        *FvwmEvent: res_class
        *FvwmEvent: res_name
        *FvwmEvent: end_windowlist

        *FvwmEvent: icon_location
        *FvwmEvent: map
        *FvwmEvent: error
        *FvwmEvent: config_info
        *FvwmEvent: end_config_info
        *FvwmEvent: icon_file
        *FvwmEvent: default_icon
        *FvwmEvent: string
        *FvwmEvent: mini_icon
        *FvwmEvent: windowshade
        *FvwmEvent: dewindowshade

        *FvwmEvent: visible_name
        *FvwmEvent: sendconfig
        *FvwmEvent: restack
        *FvwmEvent: add_window
        *FvwmEvent: configure_window

        *FvwmEvent: visible_icon_name
        *FvwmEvent: enter_window
        *FvwmEvent: leave_window
        *FvwmEvent: property_change

The window related event handlers are executed within a window context. Previously PassId was used for this purpose, but now using PassId is not needed.

Note: The enter_window event is generated when the pointer enters a window. With the -passid option, that window's id is passed to fvwm. An enter_window event is generated too when the pointer leaves a window and moves into the root window. In this case, the id passed is 0.

Note: When the shutdown event arrives, FvwmEvent may be killed before it can trigger the associated action.

Provided fvwm supports it (not yet), there's an additional event to replace all fvwm beeps with a sound:

        *FvwmEvent: beep

*FvwmEvent: Delay 5
Specifies that an event-action will only be executed if it occurs at least 5 seconds after the previous event. Events that occur during the delay period are ignored. This option is useful if you don't want several sounds playing at the same time. The default delay is 0 which disables the Event delay.

*FvwmEvent: StartDelay delay
Specifies that an event-action will only be executed if it occurs at least delay seconds after the startup event. Events that occur during the delay period are ignored. This option is useful when fvwm starts and restarts using an audio player. The default delay is 0.


The following options are only valid with builtin rplay support. i.e: when FvwmEvent was compiled with HAVE_RPLAY defined. They are used only if FvwmEvent: Cmd is set to builtin-rplay.

*FvwmEvent: RplayHost hostname
Specifies what host the rplay sounds will play on. The hostname can also be an environment variable such as $HOSTDISPLAY.

*FvwmEvent: RplayPriority 0
Specifies what priority will be assigned to the rplay sounds when they are played.

*FvwmEvent: RplayVolume 127
Specifies what volume will be assigned to the sounds when they are played.

FvwmAudio Compatibility Mode

When invoked in FvwmAudio compatibility mode (see above), FvwmEvent accepts the following options to provide backwards compatibility for FvwmAudio:

*FvwmEvent: PlayCmd command
This is equivalent to using *FvwmEvent: Cmd to Exec commands. This determines the independent audio player program that will actually play the sounds. If the play command is set to builtin-rplay then the builtin rplay support will be used.

*FvwmAudio: Dir directory
Specifies the directory to look for the audio files. This option is ignored when rplay is used.


It's REALLY noisy when fvwm starts and restarts using an audio player. You can use FvwmEvent: StartDelay to fix this problem.


This module has evolved of FvwmAudio, which in term is heavily based on a similar Fvwm module called FvwmSound by Mark Boyns. FvwmAudio simply took Mark's original program and extended it to make it generic enough to work with any audio player. Due to different requests to do specific things on specific events, FvwmEvent took this one step further and now calls any fvwm function, or builtin-rplay. If fvwm's Exec function is used, any external program can be called with any parameter.

The concept for interfacing this module to the Window Manager, is original work by Robert Nation.

Copyright 1998 Albrecht Kadlec. Copyright 1994, Mark Boyns and Mark Scott. No guarantees or warranties or anything are provided or implied in any way whatsoever. Use this program at your own risk. Permission to use and modify this program for any purpose is given, as long as the copyright is kept intact.


1994  FvwmSound  Mark Boyns       (
1994  FvwmAudio  Mark Scott       (
1996  FvwmAudio  Albrecht Kadlec
1998  FvwmEvent  Albrecht Kadlec  (


FvwmAudio Compatibility Mode