Linux Tactic

Streamlining Software Development with Suckless: Prioritizing Simplicity Over Bloat

Introduction to the Suckless Tools

Linux is known for its range of extensive features that allow for flexibility and customization. However, as software continues to add new features, it leads to bloat, making the software heavier and slower.

This bloat also contributes to a less secure system, leaving it open to more vulnerabilities. So, what can we do about it?

Thats where Suckless comes in. Suckless is a community of developers who share the same vision of developing software that is efficient and secure.

They believe that features are not necessary to make software better and that the focus should be on simplicity. Sucklesss motto is less is more.

By removing unnecessary features, software can become more lightweight, secure, and efficient. In this article, well dive deeper into how you can use Suckless to achieve your software development goals.

Explanation of the Problem with Software Features

Have you ever downloaded a software program and noticed that its slow and cumbersome to use? Part of the reason for this is the unnecessary features that have been incorporated into the program.

Features add to the codebase, making the software larger, which can result in slower performance. Additionally, features may also be less secure because, with more code, there will be more potential vulnerabilities.

Large software programs that contain hundreds of features can be a nightmare to navigate. In contrast, Suckless provides a solution by making software more manageable.

They believe that the core functionality should be first and foremost. Suckless programs are designed to remove unnecessary features, thereby making software programs more streamlined and Suckless and Their Solution

At the core of Sucklesss mission is the desire to present software in the cleanest, most manageable form possible.

Rather than frontloading dozens of features, they approach programming from its most essential components, ensuring that every line of code is vital to the programs functionality. To this end, Suckless provides patches that you can use to customize and shape your software according to your requirements.

A patch typically consists of a .diff file that you apply using the patch tool. If you need to customize Suckless software to address your particular use case, a patch can enhance functionality or streamline aspects of the software.

Getting Started with Suckless

Before you compile any Suckless software, you need to set up a suitable system for compiling code using either GCC or tinycc.

You can install GCC, which is a widely used C compiler, by using a package management system within your operating system.

Tinycc is a lightweight C compiler thats easy to install and use. You can compile code using either of these compilers with the same commands.

To start using Suckless, download one of their programs to your computer. You can install one of their programs either by downloading the source code or by using a package manager.

Once you have the source code installed, its time to compile the code to generate the executable file. To compile the software, navigate to the programs source code directory and enter the command to compile it.

Heres an example of how to compile the st terminal using GCC:


$ git clone git://

$ cd st

$ make


The make command will generate the executable binary file for st and make it available for use.

Choosing and Implementing Features with Patches

Suckless believes in keeping software simple and clean. Therefore, the Suckless tools are designed to be as lightweight as possible and to do the job they are intended to do.

If you need additional functionality thats not provided by a particular tool, Suckless offers patches that you can use to customize the tool according to your needs. To customize a tool using a patch, youll need to find the patch that you want to use.

Suckless maintains an up-to-date list of patches on their website, and each patch has documentation that explains what it does. To apply a patch, youll first need to download the .diff file.

The .diff file contains the information about the changes that the patch will make to the source code. You can apply the patch using the patch tool that comes with most Linux distributions.

To apply a patch using the patch tool, navigate to the directory containing the source code for the tool and enter the following command:


$ patch -p < patch-name.diff


This command will apply the patch to the program and change the source code to reflect its changes. Once youve applied the patch, you can recompile the code to generate the executable binary file.


By understanding Sucklesss approach to software development and implementing it in your projects, you can make your programs more lightweight, secure, and efficient. To get started, you need to install the necessary tools for compiling, which include either GCC or tinycc, and choose and implement the features using patches.

With these tools, you can develop software that prioritizes functionality over unnecessary features and provides the best experience for end-users. Suckless is a unique and innovative approach to software development that prioritizes simplicity and functionality over superfluous features.

This approach is evident in all their projects, from terminal emulators to web browsers and window managers. In this article, well delve into some of Sucklesss projects and explore them in more detail.

Well also discuss what you can expect from projects developed using Suckless. Suckless Terminalst: Simple Terminal

The Suckless Terminalst is a lightweight and fast terminal emulator that is intentionally minimalistic in functionality.

The Simple Terminal (st) program is designed to provide the most essential functions of a terminal emulator without the added features of larger, more complex terminal emulators. One of the things that make st stand out is its flexibility.

It is highly customizable, with a built-in suckless patching system that allows users to modify the program to meet their specific needs. Simple changes, such as adding colors or changing fonts, can be incorporated into the terminal with relative ease.

DWM: Window Manager

DWM is a unique and highly customizable tiling window manager. Unlike other window managers, such as GNOME or KDE, which use overlapping windows, DWM uses a tiling system where windows are non-overlapping.

This makes it ideal for managing multiple applications and windows with ease. DWM is highly extensible, with a built-in patching system that allows users to modify and customize the program according to their needs.

Despite its seemingly simple interface, DWM is sophisticated and powerful, making it a popular choice among developers. Surf: Simple Web Browser

Surf is a unique web browser that relies on external tools to perform functions that would typically be handled by the web browser.

For example, Surf does not have a back button, but instead relies on an external package ‘tabbed’, which provides a simple interface for managing and switching between tabs. The Surf web browser is highly customizable, allowing users to specify options such as the search engine, home page, supported file types, and more.

One of the benefits of Surf is its small size, making it ideal for use on machines with limited resources. Additionally, its minimalistic interface provides a streamlined and distraction-free browsing experience.

Sinit: Startup and Process Control

Sinit is a minimalistic system initialization program that provides startup and process control functionality for Linux systems. It is designed to be lightweight, fast, and reliable, making it perfect for use in small, minimalistic systems.

One of the things that make Sinit stand out is its simplicity. Unlike other init systems, such as Systemd or Upstart, Sinit is easy to use and configure, with minimal dependencies.

This makes it ideal for systems that require minimal overhead or that rely on a high level of system stability.

What to Expect from Suckless

Its important to note that Suckless software is intentionally minimalistic, meaning that many of the features typical of larger software programs may be missing. This can be a good thing, especially for developers looking to streamline and simplify their software programs.

However, its important to note that Suckless software may not be suitable for everyone. Some users may require additional features and functionality, which may not be available in Suckless software programs.

In cases where additional features are required, developers may need to use conventional software programs. That said, Suckless software programs are highly extensible, and there are many patches available that can be used to incorporate additional functionality into the programs.

However, this requires some level of experimentation and bravery on the part of the developer. Its also worth noting that Suckless software programs may not be compatible with all Linux distributions.

Some distributions may require additional libraries or dependencies that may not be available in Suckless software programs. As such, users may need to experiment with different distributions or dual-boot systems to find one that works for them.


Suckless is a unique and innovative approach to software development that prioritizes simplicity and functionality over superfluous features. Their projects are designed to be lightweight, fast, highly customizable, and easy to use, with minimal dependencies.

While their approach may not be suitable for everyone, it can provide a streamlined and efficient alternative to conventional software programs. With Suckless, users are encouraged to experiment with patches and customization, making it an exciting and dynamic option for developers looking to create efficient and reliable software.

In conclusion, Suckless provides a unique approach to software development that prioritizes simplicity and functionality over bloat and unnecessary features. Their projects, including the Simple Terminal, DWM window manager, Surf browser, and Sinit initialization program, are lightweight, customizable, and highly efficient.

While Suckless’s approach may not be suitable for all users, it offers an exciting and innovative alternative for developers seeking to streamline their software programs. With a focus on experimentation and minimal dependencies, Suckless provides a compelling solution for anyone looking to build fast, reliable, and efficient software.

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