Introduction to LessTif

The LessTif package contains an Open Source version of OSF/Motif®.

Package Information

Additional Downloads

LessTif Dependencies


X Window System


Lynx-2.8.6rel.5 or Links-2.1pre33 (used to generate the INSTALL documentation file) and Dmalloc

User Notes: http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/lesstif

Installation of LessTif

Install LessTif by running the following commands:

sed -i -e '/ShellP/d' \
       -e '/XMLIBEXPORT extern Cardinal/i#include <X11/ShellP.h>\n'  \
    include/Motif-2.1/Xm/VendorSP.h &&

patch -Np1 -i ../lesstif-0.95.0-testsuite_fix-1.patch &&
./configure --prefix=/usr \
            --sysconfdir=/etc/X11 \
            --disable-debug \
            --enable-production \
            --with-xdnd &&
sed -i "s@libdir)/X11/mwm@sysconfdir)/mwm@" clients/Motif-2.1/mwm/Makefile &&
make rootdir=/usr/share/doc/lesstif-0.95.0

This package requires that it is installed before the test suite is run. The commands to run the tests are located a bit later in the instructions.

Now, as the root user:

make rootdir=/usr/share/doc/lesstif-0.95.0 install &&

Applicatons that utilize Xorg libraries often, and incorrectly, expect to find configuration files in $XORG_PREFIX/lib/X11. While still the root user, create a compatibility symlink with the following command:

ln -v -sf /etc/X11/mwm $XORG_PREFIX/lib/X11

Command Explanations

sed -i -e '...' -e '...' include/Motif-2.1/Xm/VendorSP.h: This command moves one line in the header file to avoid C++ compilation problems.

--disable-debug: Do not generate debugging information.

--enable-production: Build the release version of the LessTif libraries.

--with-xdnd: Enable XDND GNOME compatibility support.

rootdir=/usr/share/doc/lesstif-0.95.0: This installs the documentation into an appropriate directory instead of the non-FHS compliant /usr/LessTif directory.

sed -i "s@libdir)/X11/mwm@sysconfdir)/mwm@" clients/Motif-2.1/mwm/Makefile: This corrects the installation prefix for the mwm directory for FHS compliance.

Testing LessTif

It is advisable to test the installation of LessTif using the included test suite. It is not required to install any of the resulting binaries to validate the installation. Issue the following commands to build the test suite:

cd test &&
./configure &&

To run the tests, issue the following commands:

cd Xm &&
./testall *

You may need to manually close four of the test windows. The first one is from test28 in the list directory. The second one is from test10 in the menushell directory. You should click on the button in the window and choose “exit” (do it twice) to finish the test. The third test is from test20 in the PushButton and the last one is from test24 in the scrolledwindow directory.

As many as 101 tests are known to fail. The patch applied at the beginning of the installation created a file used to compare known failures to the failures from the test run. This file was created from an installation using the current LFS book and should be a fairly accurate representation of the failures you'll encounter. You could see some minor variances, however.

Configuring LessTif

Config Files

/etc/X11/mwm/system.mwmrc and ~/.mwmrc

Configuration Information

The config files are used to customize the behavior of the mwm window manager. Information about customizing these files can be found in the mwmrc(5) man page.


Installed Programs: motif-config, mwm, mxmkmf, uil, and xmbind
Installed Libraries: libDtPrints.so, libMrm.so, libUil.so, and libXm.so
Installed Directories: /etc/X11/mwm, /usr/include/Xm, /usr/include/Mrm, /usr/include/uil, /usr/include/Dt, /usr/lib/LessTif, and /usr/share/doc/lesstif-0.95.0

Short Descriptions


is used to find out configuration information for packages needing to link to the LessTif libraries.


is a window manager that adheres largely to the Motif mwm specification.


is the LessTif version of xmkmf which creates a Makefile from an Imakefile.


is a user interface language compiler which translates a plain text description of the user interface of a Motif application into a machine-readable form.


configures the virtual key bindings of LessTif applications.


is an OSF/Motif® source code compatible library for the X Window System. You can download an excellent reference guide (mainly for programmers) for the Motif-2.1 specification from http://unc.dl.sourceforge.net/lesstif/6B_book.pdf.

Last updated on 2008-05-09 08:00:42 -0500