License: GPL
Activity Rating: High

AfterStep is based on Fvwm, but it is designed to emulate some of the look and feel of the NEXTSTEP® user interface, while adding useful, requested, and neat features. It started life under the name of Bowman, by Bo Yang, but has since moved past simple emulation and into a niche as its own valuable window manager.

Major changes from Fvwm are:

  1. NeXTSTEP-alike title bar, title buttons, borders and corners.
  2. AfterStep's Wharf is a much worked-out version of Fvwm's GoodStuff. To avoid copyright complications it is not called a "dock."
  3. NeXTSTEP style menu. However the menus are not controlled by applications, they are more of pop-up service lists on the root window.
  4. NeXTSTEP style icons. These styles are hard-coded in the program, thought to be good for a consistent look of NeXTSTEP interface.

However, the flexibility of Fvwm was not traded off. The initiation file, .steprc, recognizes most of the fvwm( 1.24r) commands. Virtual screen and pagers are still intact. Fvwm modules should work just fine. However, compatibility with Fvwm-2 is not planned.

Here are some example configuration files, with screenshots. The configuration files should be renamed to .steprc in the top level of your home directory, except for the now out-dated bowman configuration.

The Official AfterStep HomePage contains a wealth of information including more screenshots, precompiled binaries, and some nice icons. It also contains the latest version of AfterStep, which has now advanced considerably from its previous incarnation as Bowman.

Other AfterStep related pages include:

There are several small applications available which are designed to be swallowed into a Wharf bar. These include ASMail, which is a mail-checker like xbiff, ASModem, which displays the status of your modem, and ASCD, a fully functional CD Player. They are all available from the "AfterStep applets" page listed above.

There is a replacement library for libXaw, called neXtaw, which attempts to emulate the look and feel of the NeXTSTEP desktop. It is based on the popular Xaw3d library which gives standard Athena widgets a 3D look. Also of interest is ascp, the AfterStep ControlPanel, which is a graphical tool for configuring AfterStep. It was originally written using Tcl, but has since been converted to use GTK+ widgets.