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Motif FAQ (Part 1 of 9)

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Single Page )
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Subject:	Motif FAQ (all parts)
Reply-To: (Ken Lee)
Summary:	Motif Frequently Asked Questions (with answers).
Posting-Freq.:	irregular (re-posted monthly to
Organization:	Kenton Lee, X/Motif Consultant,

Motif FAQ

[Last changed: 1 FEB 2002]

This article contains the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 
often seen in It is posted to help reduce volume in 
this newsgroup and to provide hard-to-find information of general interest.
This article includes answers to the questions listed below. Key:
    + questions NEW to this issue;
    * CHANGES since last issue.

This FAQ is maintained by Ken Lee (

You can obtain the most recent version of this FAQ via anonymous ftp from
a server which will seldom refuse you access. Try any of these URLs:     or

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The Motif FAQ is mirrored at several sites around the world.
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links at:

Send updates and corrections to
Please include the phrase "For Motif FAQ" in your subject line.

The Motif FAQ is now included in a different HTML format with Java applets 
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*** CAVEAT ***
If an answer does not have a "Last modified" date, it's possible the
information may no longer be accurate. Modification dates go back to
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date.  Note also that the older the "Last modified" date, the more
likely the information may be suspect. Pay close attention to version
information discussed in answers, since the information may pertain
only to that specific release.

This posting is Copyright (c) 1997-2002 by Kenton Lee.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Permission is hereby granted to read and
distribute this posting for non-commercial purposes.  Permission to use
this material for any other purpose must first be obtained in writing
from the author.

 2)*  Is the Motif source code publically available?
 3)*  What is Motif and how does it relate to the X Toolkit and X Window  Sys-
 4)  Where did the name "Motif" come from?
 7)  Is the FAQ available via FTP?
 8)  Can I receive email notification when the Motif FAQ is updated?
 9)  Is this FAQ accessible via WWW?
10)*  Is this newsgroup archived?
12)  How can I contact the Open Group?
13)  Where can I find OSF press releases on Motif and DCE?
14)*  What versions of Motif are there?
15)*  How can I find which version of Motif I have? Xlib or Xt version?
16)  Is there a concise features list for Motif 2.0?
17)  What are the details about new features in Motif 2.0?
18)  Is there a concise features list for Motif 2.1?
19)+  Is there a concise features list for Motif 2.2?
20)  Where can I find Motif 2.1 documentation?
21)*  Is the official Motif documentation available on-line?
22)  I want to use C++ with Motif. Where can I find C++ examples?
23)  Is Motif 2.0 backward compatible with Motif 1.2?
24)  How compatible are Motif 1.2.* and X11R6?
25)  Why aren't the big UNIX vendors shipping Motif 2.0?
26)  Where can I get Motif for UNIX, Linux, or Microsoft Windows?
27)  Is there a list of Motif bugs?
28)  Where can I get a Motif 1.2 Certification Checklist?
29)  What is CDE? What is COSE and how does it relate to Motif?
30)*  Is there a CDE FAQ or newsgroup?
31)  What is the current version of CDE and what are its features?
32)  How does Motif relate to X/Open and CDE?
33)  What is The Open Group?
34)  Is The Open Group assuming responsibility for the X Window System?
35)  What are the current correct trademark statements for X and Motif?
36)  Will CDE and Motif converge? What is the CDE/Motif JDA?
37)*  Has anyone done a public domain Motif lookalike?
38)  Does the Open Group have an application compliance validation service?
39)  What is the motif-talk mailing list?
40)  How does Motif work with X11R5?
41)  Where can I find X technical info on the WWW?
42)  What is Broadway?  I've heard it called "X on the Web".
43)  Where's an HTML version of the Motif FAQ on World Wide Web (WWW)?
44)  Where can I get the HTML widget used in Mosaic?
45)*  What widgets does Netscape use for its  bookmarks  list  and  preference
47)  Is there a Motif tutorial? Xt tutorial? X11 tutorial?
48)  What books are available for Motif application programmers?
49)  What relevant journals are available?
51)  What is the difference between Motif and mwm?
52)  Does anyone have an alternative set of  3-D  defaults  for  a  monochrome
53)  What are some useful mwm resources I can control?
54)  How can I configure mwm, such as changing or adding to root menus?
55)  How can my program determine which window manager is running?
56)  How can I modify the mwm's window decorations with a resource file?
57)  How can I programatically modify the mwm's window decorations?
58)  Is there an ICCCM compliant way of setting window manager decorations?
59)  How can I put decorations on transient windows using olwm?
60)  How can I turn off the Motif window manager  functions  from  the  system
61)  How can I create a multi-colored window manager icon?
62)  How can I keep my shell windows fixed in size?
63)  Why is XtGetValues of XmNx and XmNy of my toplevel shell wrong?
64)  How do I get XmNx and XmNy positions to be honored correctly?
65)  How can my application know when the user has quit Mwm?
66)  How can I tell if the user has selected "Close" from the system menu? How
do I catch the "Close"?
67)  Is there an mwm virtual desktop manager?
68)  Why does mwm 1.2 crash on startup?
69)  How do I obtain the size of a unmanaged shell widget?
70)  How can I create a shell widget with a non-default visual type?
71)  Can a non-shell Motif widget  have  a  different  visual  type  from  its
72)  Why do I get BadMatch errors from my menus when I use a non-default visu-
al type for my application shell?
73)  How do I popup a scrolled list on top of other widgets?
74)  How can I keep my application's window always on top of all other  appli-
cations' windows?
75)  How can I maximize my top level shell?
77)*  What GUI tools exist to assist in developing Motif applications?
79)  Why is geometry management so important?
80)  Why don't my labels resize in a RowColumn widget?
81)  Does XmRowColumn support multiple columns with different column widths?
82)  Why do composite widgets (including  dialogs)  that  were  created  after
their parents were realized appear smaller under 1.2.3 and later?
83)  How does the ScrolledWindow manage resizing?
84)  Does the XmPanedWindow widget support horizontal paning?
86)  How do XmTextField and a single line XmText widget differ?
87)  Why does  pressing RETURN in a text widget do nothing?
88)  Can you reuse the return value from XtParseTranslationTable?
89)  When I add text to a scrolling text widget, how can I get the new text to
90)  How do I scroll text to display the most recently added information?
91)  Does the text widget support 16 bit character fonts?
92)  How can I stop the text widget from echoing characters typed?
93)  How can I replace characters typed with say a `*'?
94)  How can I make a text widget insensitive without graying out the text?
95)  How can I best add a large piece of text to a scrolled text widget?
96)  How can I get the correct colors for scrolled text widget scrollbars (Sun
97)  How can I highlight text in the Text widget?
98)  How can I select all of the text in a widget programmatically?
99)  Can I customize the pointer cursor or insert position indicator  used  by
the text widget?
100)  How can I change colours of text in the Text widget?
101)  How can I change the font of text in the Text widget?
102)  Is there an emacs binding for the text widget?
103)  What if I have problems with the backspace/delete keys?
104)  How can I use a file as the text source for a Text widget?
105)  How can put Text in overstrike mode instead of insert?
106)  How can I make the Delete key do a Backspace?
107)  Can I change the tab stops in the XmText widget?
109)  Should I create an XmList widget as a child of automatic  XmScrolledWin-
dow or use the XmCreateScrolledList() convenience function?
110)  How do I best put a new set of items into a list?
111)  Can I have strings with different fonts in a list?
112)  Can I get a bitmap to show in a list item like I can in a Label?
113)  Can I have items with different colors in a list widget?
114)  How can I line up columns in a list widget?
115)  Can I grey out an item in a list widget?
116)  Can I have multi-line items in a list?
117)  How can I tell the position of selected items in a list?
118)  How can I  configure  a  scrolled  list  widget  to  show  a  horizontal
scrollbar when some list items are wider than the window?
119)  How can I programatically select all of the items in an XmList?
121)  What is libPW.a and do I need it?
122)  What are these compile errors: Undefined symbol _regcmp and _regex?
123)  What's wrong with the Motif 1.0 File Selection Box?
124)  How can I keep my file selection  boxes  from  resizing  when  I  change
directories or filters?
125)  What's wrong with the FileSelectionBox under Solaris?
127)  Why don't labels in a Form resize when the label is changed?
128)  How can I center a widget in a form?
129)  How do I line up two columns of widgets of different types?
131)  Why doesn't the enter or return key activate the button with focus?
132)  Why can't I use accelerators on buttons not in a menu?
134)  What widgets give the look of push buttons, but behavior of toggle  but-
135)  Can I customize XmToggleButton to use my own indicator graphic (e.g.,  a
check mark)?
137)  What is XPM?
138)  How do I convert my XPM file into a Pixmap?
139)  How can I display a multi-color image in a widget?
140)  Can I use XmGetPixmap in Motif 1.2 to create colored images?
141)  Why does XpmCreatePixmapFromData fail with a pixmap containing  a  large
number of colors?
142)  How can I convert a Sun/GIF/TIFF image to a pixmap?
143)  How can I use Motif's pre-defined pixmaps?
145)  Can the XmScale widget have arrows or tick marks in Motif 2.0?
146)  How can I set the color of a XmScale widget's trough?
147)  How does Motif implement mouse button auto-repeat on the scrollbar's ar-
row buttons?
149)  How can I align the text in a label (button, etc) widget?
150)  Why doesn't label alignment work in a XmRowColumn?
151)  How can I set a multi-line label?
152)  How can I have a vertical label?
153)  How can I have a Pixmap in a Label?
154)  Why doesn't the XmLabel widget obey the XmNwith  and  XmNheight  that  I
give it?
155)  How do you set the background  color  of  a  label  widget  using  XtVa-
157)  How can I send an expose event to a Drawing Area widget?
158)  How can I know when a DrawingArea has been resized?
159)  How can I create a drawing area widget with a visual type different from
its parent?
160)  How can I display postscript in a Motif widget, such as XmDrawingArea?
162)  How can I create a message window in an XmMainWindow?
164)  How do I tell if a scrolled window's scrollbars are visible?
165)  How can I programatically scroll a XmScrolledWindow in XmAUTOMATIC mode?
166)  What widget does the XmScrolledWindow use for its clip window?
167)  How do I create a scrolled window with only one scrollbar?
169)  How can I change the cursor used in Motif menus?
170)  How do I put my help menu on the far right of my menubar?
171)  Can I change or disable the menu bar accelerator from the default (F10)?
172)  How do I set the current choice in a radio box or an option menu?
173)  How can I determine the item selected in a a radio box or option menu?
174)  How can I change the cascade indicator on an option menu?
175)  How do I unset an XmToggleButton in a radio box?
176)  Can I place a radio box in a pulldown menu?
177)  How do I make a menu choice insensitive if it  was  created  with  XmVa-
178)  What widgets can I put inside a menubar?
179)  Can I have a cascade button without a submenu in a pulldown menu?
180)  Should I have a cascade button without a submenu in a pulldown menu?
181)  What is the best way to create popup menus?
182)  How do popup menus work?
183)  How can I disable the button 3 grab if I am not using popup menus?
184)  Should I use translation tables or actions for popup menus?
185)  What are the known bugs in popup menus?
186)  Can I have multiple popup menus on the same widget?
187)  How can I change the shell title of a tear-off menu?
188)  Can I programmatically tear-off a menu?
189)  What widgets are valid within Motif menus?
190)  Can I create multi-column popup or pulldown menus?
191)  How can I keep my program from hanging if a user activates a popup  that
is a child of an insensitive push button?
193)  Where can I find info and examples of the Motif drag and drop protocol?
194)  How can I disable Drag and Drop in my Motif 1.2 client ?
195)  Can I register client data for the Motif XmDropSite drop callback?
196)  Can unmanged widgets be valid (drag-and-drop) drop sites?
198)  How can I specify the widget that should have the keyboard focus when my
application starts up?
199)  How can I specify my own keyboard traversal order?
200)  How can I determine which widget has keyboard focus?
201)  How can I direct the keyboard input to a particular widget?
202)  How can I have a modal dialog which has to be answered before the appli-
cation can continue?
204)  When can I free data structures passed to or retrieved from Motif?
205)  What memory leaks are known? Why does my application grow in size?
206)  Why do I get so many uninitilized memory read (UMR) errors  when  I  run
Purify[tm] on my Motif programs?
207)  Why does my application take a long time to start up?
208)  My application is running too slowly. How can I speed it up?
209)  Why is my application so huge?
210)  How can I improve performance when creating  and  deleting  hundreds  of
text widgets?
211)  After I call XtSetValues, when will I see the changes in my GUI?
213)  What string functions differ in Motif 1.1 and 1.2?
214)*  How can I get the ASCII text out of an XmString?
215)  When can XmStrings used as resources be freed?
216)  Why doesn't XmStringGetNextSegment() work properly?
217)  Why does using XmStringDraw cause a BadFont error?
218)  How can I control color of individual strings to show status, etc.?
220)  How do I stop my dialog disappearing when I press the help button?
221)  How do I make my own dialog?
222)  Why do dialog title bars have "_popup" or  "<-popup"  concatenated  onto
the widget name?
223)  How can I force a dialog window to display?
224)  How can I control placement of a popup widget?
225)  How can I set the dialog's default button?
226)  How can I create a dialog that behaves like, but  looks  a  little  dif-
ferent from, XmMessageBox?
227)  How can I use Motif's message dialog bitmaps in my own dialogs?
229)  What is ViewKit? Is there a free version?
230)  Is there a C++ binding for Motif?
231)  How can I avoid C++ String class and typedef char *String conflicts?
232)  How can I have a C++ member function in a callback?
233)  Is there a Common Lisp binding for Motif?
234)  Is there an Ada binding for Motif? (Part 1 of 2)
235)  Is there an Ada binding for Motif? (Part 2 of 2)
236)  Is there a Poplog binding for Motif?
238)  Is it easy to build Motif for a Sun?
239)  How do I build Motif 1.2.2 on Solaris 2.1 with Sun C?
240)  What compile errors/warnings might I get in both Sun 3 and Sun 4?
241)  On a Sun 3, what are the mwm startup error messages about?
242)  Are there problems making shared libraries on a Sun?
243)  Why does the OpenWindows server hangs when I popup a menu with Button 3?
244)  Has anyone made shared libraries on an IBM RS/6000?
245)  What is the error  "Unaligned access in XmString" under Ultrix?
246)  Can bugs in Sun's OpenWindows server cause Motif clients to crash?
247)  Why does Motif on Linux crash when I open a file selection box?
248)  Are there compatibility problems between some Linux Motif libraries  and
libc5 or glibc?
249)  How can I install Motif on my PC?
251)  What is causing the messages "unknown keysym name osfDown..."?
252)  What happens if I can't install Motif Keysyms?
253)  Why has OSF introduced Keysyms into Motif 1.1?
254)  Why do accented characters not work with Motif applications linked  with
X11R6? What is the Compose file?
255)  TOPIC: UIL
256)  What is UIL and why is it so popular?
257)  What is Mrm?
258)  How do I specify a search path for ".uid" files?
259)  Can I specify callback functions in resource files?
260)  How can I set a multi-line label in UIL?
261)  Is there a program that can convert a UIL file to tclMotif?
262)  Why does my SCO UIL application fail to open 60 UID files?
264)  How can I keep track of changes to iconic/normal window state?
265)  How can I check if my application has come up iconic?
266)  How can I start my application in iconic state?
267)  How can an application iconify itself?
268)  How can an application de-iconify itself?
269)  Why doesn't MWM display an iconify button on my dialog windows?
271)  Where can I get ComboBox, SpinBox, or Tree graph widgets?
272)  How can I create a transparent widget?
274)  What are some good references for creating  widgets  (subclassing  widg-
275)  How can I achieve binary  compatibility  using  the  XmResolvePartOffset
277)  How can an application be informed of signals?
278)  How do I control the repeat rate on a SUN keyboard?
279)  How can I identify the children of a manager widget?
280)  What functions can an application use to change the size or position  of
a widget?
281)  Can I use XtAddTimeOut, XtAddWorkProc, and  XtAddInput  with  XtAppMain-
282)  Why does XtGetValues  for  XmNx  and  XmNwidth  return  extremely  large
283)  Can I use XmGetPixmap() with widgets that have non-default visual types?
284)  What is the matter with Frame in Motif 1.2?
285)  What is IMUG and how do I join it?
286)  How do I set the title of a top level window?
287)  How can I disable the color scheme mechanism in CDE or HP VUE?
288)  Can I use editres with Motif? Is there an editres tutorial?
289)  Where is the editres protocol documented?
290)  Why does an augment translation appear to act as replace for some  widg-
291)  How do you "grey" out a widget so that it cannot be activated?
292)  Can I change the graphics drawn by insensitive widgets?
293)  Why doesn't the Help callback work on some widgets?
294)*  How can I implement "bubble help" or "tool tips" with Motif?
295)  Can I specify a widget in a resource file?
296)  Why are only some of my translations are being installed?
297)  Can I have separate translations for shifted and unshifted keys?
298)  What are these "non-existant passive grab" warnings?
299)  How do I have more buttons than three in a MessageBox?
300)  How do I create a "busy working cursor"?
301)  Can I use the hourglass that mwm uses?
302)  What order should the libraries be linked in?
303)  How do I use xmkmf for Motif clients?
304)  How do I use imake with Motif 2.0?
305)  How do I make context sensitive help?
306)  How do I debug a modal interaction?
307)  Why can't I install my own colormap using XInstallColormap?
308)  How do I install a private colormap?
309)  How do I get correct shadow colors to match other color changes?
310)  What color algorithm does Motif use?
311)  How can you access the superclass widget from  which  Motif  convenience
dialogs are subclassed?
312)  Can the Motif 2.0 Notebook widget display non-rectangular "file tabs"?
313)  How does the clipboard mechanism work?
314)  Why does the xyz application core dump when I cut and paste?
315)  Why is XtWindow(widget) == 0?
316)  How do I debug X protocol errors (e.g., BadWindow,  BadMatch)  in  Motif
317)  Why doesn't XtNameToWidget (widget, "MyName") work?
318)  Why does my callback's client data structure  contain  incorrect  values
when the callback is called?
319)  How can an application manage events on multiple displays?
320)  Can a Motif application create windows on mutiple screens (on  a  multi-
screen workstation)?
321)  Why do I get "Error: attempt to add non-widget child "dsm" to parent"?
322)  Why do I get link errors about "XShape" symbols?
323)  Why do I get link errors about "ICE" and "SM" symbols?
324)  Why does my X11R6 program crash with undefined symbol "LowerCase"?
325)  How do I programatically control xwd to dump a specific window?
326)  How can I display an xwd in a window (without using xwud)?
327)  Can I write a multi-threaded Motif application?
328)  How can I dump my widget instance  tree  in  a  way  that  reflects  the
329)  How do I get the events for gadgets? Or the name of the gadget?
330)  Can I set the foreground and background colors of  gadgets  (e.g.,  con-
venience dialog buttons)?
331)  Can I use a gadget as the parent of a dialog shell?
332)  Which other widget features do gadgets lack?
333)  Where can I get the xmon or xscope programs to trace my X protocol?
334)  What does the error "Couldn't find per display information" mean?
335)  Can I set widget fallback resources after I've called XtAppInitialize()?
336)  Can I use the newline character in widget names?
337)  Is anybody out there selling Windows95 look-alike widgets?
338)  How can I convert my OLIT programs to the Motif look & feel?
339)  What does this mean: Warning: Cannot find callback  list  in  XtAddCall-
340)  If a single widget has multiple callback functions, are they all execut-
ed?  If so, in what order?
341)  Why are some widgets still visible after  I  call  XtDestroyWidget()  on
342)  If I call XtGetValues on a resource that does  not  exist  for  a  given
widget, what value is returned?
343)  Can I reparent a widget (change its parent)?
344)  Are there any "year 2000" issues within Motif?
345)  Can I suppress or customize Motif warning and error messages?

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Section Contents

Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Single Page

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Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer: (Ken Lee)

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM