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My Love For I3WM
#1
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Hey there,


In an other thread ( i mean there ) We wear getting off topic and start to talk about I3WM. I plead Guilty because i started it.

My point in that thread was just saying it is a great way to master your computer. But for that, is better starting from scratch, that is with some headless (ie arch) and installing exactly what you want. You have several desktop managers choices, several files managers to choice from, several packages to manage the look of your windows (for exemple LX appearance) and eaven several choices for selecting packages. By that i mean a program that mimics what the super-key do in many full DE.

Now it is not for every one. If you are one of the kind of person who keep using his mouse all the time to open files, if you have a tone of icons in your desktop and you keep point and click at them to open pretty much anything, trying I3WM will be a wast of your time. One prerequisites to like it is to use a lot of keyboard shortcuts and also give a good use of workspaces, than you probably will like it. Even if you don't, at least its gonna be an interesting experience.

My self, i am not a mouse/pad fan. when i read a web page, i use the keyboard arrow to scroll through it. I use all the crhomium shortcut as ctl+t to open new tabs, ctl+w to close them, ctl+number to get directly to a specific tab (1 is the one one the left and the other numbers from there) if i have to selcet the "adress bar" i just press F6.
 In netflix i use also the arrows to navigate through the videos and press enter to select them. Until yesterday in my browser i use to connect to youtube.com/tv to get the tv version which was 100% keyboard manageable. But google, sadly closed it down yesterday.

I am not disgressing here, i am making a point: if you love your point and click and play with your mouse as cats do, don't waist your time trying. In the other hand, if you are a keyboard focus person, you spend quite a good portion of your computer time in terminal and or text editor, than a tiling WM is a good idea. But you don't need to be as radical as i am and use all the browser shortcuts Big Grin


I like to adress something i read in the other thread. Something said by TarsolyGer about the fact you can use several desktop in one machine and select them with, for instance, lightdm. It is 100% true. But here is something that happend to me: once i had XFCE and i decided to install I3WM. Every thing was all right until i decided to give I3 a new look. I used LXappearance and i was realy surprise to see it messed up my XFCE looking. I probably did something wrong when i changed the config, but to be honnest i don't now precisely what.

Here is my config file. It is just for functionality, not for looking. I have such a poor artistic skills my DE looks atrocious  Tongue ok it is not quite that bad, but yet it is not the best looking.


Code:
# This file has been auto-generated by i3-config-wizard(1).
# It will not be overwritten, so edit it as you like.
#
# Should you change your keyboard layout some time, delete
# this file and re-run i3-config-wizard(1).
#

# i3 config file (v4)
#
# Please see https://i3wm.org/docs/userguide.html for a complete reference!

# Set the super key as main mod key
set $mod Mod4

#set alt key as an alternative to mod key
set $alt Mod1

# Font for window titles. Will also be used by the bar unless a different font
# is used in the bar {} block below.
#font pango:monospace 8

# This font is widely installed, provides lots of unicode glyphs, right-to-left
# text rendering and scalability on retina/hidpi displays (thanks to pango).
font pango:DejaVu Sans 8

# Before i3 v4.8, we used to recommend this one as the default:
# font -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--13-120-75-75-C-70-iso10646-1
# The font above is very space-efficient, that is, it looks good, sharp and
# clear in small sizes. However, its unicode glyph coverage is limited, the old
# X core fonts rendering does not support right-to-left and this being a bitmap
# font, it doesn’t scale on retina/hidpi displays.

# Use Mouse+$mod to drag floating windows to their wanted position
floating_modifier $mod

# start a terminal
bindsym $mod+Return exec i3-sensible-terminal

# kill focused window
bindsym $mod+w kill

# start dmenu (a program launcher)
#bindsym $mod+d exec dmenu_run
bindsym $mod+d exec rofi -show drun
bindsym $mod+$alt+d exec rofi -show run
# There also is the (new) i3-dmenu-desktop which only displays applications
# shipping a .desktop file. It is a wrapper around dmenu, so you need that
# installed.
# bindsym $mod+d exec --no-startup-id i3-dmenu-desktop

# change focus
bindsym $mod+j focus left
bindsym $mod+k focus down
bindsym $mod+l focus up
bindsym $mod+m focus right

# alternatively, you can use the cursor keys:
bindsym $mod+Left focus left
bindsym $mod+Down focus down
bindsym $mod+Up focus up
bindsym $mod+Right focus right

# move focused window
bindsym $mod+Shift+j move left
bindsym $mod+Shift+k move down
bindsym $mod+Shift+l move up
bindsym $mod+Shift+m move right

# alternatively, you can use the cursor keys:
bindsym $mod+Shift+Left move left
bindsym $mod+Shift+Down move down
bindsym $mod+Shift+Up move up
bindsym $mod+Shift+Right move right

# split in horizontal orientation
bindsym $mod+h split h

# split in vertical orientation
bindsym $mod+v split v

# enter fullscreen mode for the focused container
bindsym $mod+f fullscreen toggle

# change container layout (stacked, tabbed, toggle split)
bindsym $mod+s layout stacking
bindsym $mod+z layout tabbed
bindsym $mod+e layout toggle split

# toggle tiling / floating
bindsym $mod+Shift+space floating toggle

# change focus between tiling / floating windows
bindsym $mod+space focus mode_toggle

# focus the parent container
bindsym $mod+q focus parent

# focus the child container
#bindsym $mod+d focus child

# switch to workspace
bindsym $mod+ampersand workspace Www
bindsym $mod+eacute workspace Term
bindsym $mod+quotedbl workspace  3
bindsym $mod+apostrophe workspace 4
bindsym $mod+parenleft workspace 5
bindsym $mod+minus workspace 6
bindsym $mod+egrave workspace 7 Vlc
bindsym $mod+underscore workspace 8 PcManFm
bindsym $mod+ccedilla workspace 9 LeafPad
bindsym $mod+agrave workspace Atom

# move focused container to workspace
bindsym $mod+Shift+ampersand move container to workspace Www
bindsym $mod+Shift+eacute move container to workspace Term
bindsym $mod+Shift+quotedbl move container to workspace 3
bindsym $mod+Shift+apostrophe move container to workspace 4
bindsym $mod+Shift+5 move container to workspace 5
bindsym $mod+Shift+minus move container to workspace 6
bindsym $mod+Shift+egrave move container to workspace 7 Vlc
bindsym $mod+Shift+underscore move container to workspace 8 PcManFm
bindsym $mod+Shift+ccedilla move container to workspace 9 LeafPad
bindsym $mod+Shift+agrave move container to workspace Atom

#moving some windows to specific WorkSpaces
for_window [class="Pcmanfm"] move to workspace 8 PcManFm, workspace 8 PcManFm, focus
for_window [class="vlc"] move to workspace 7 Vlc, workspace 7 Vlc, focus
for_window [class="Atom"] move to workspace Atom, workspace Atom, focus
for_window [class="Leafpad"] move to workspace 9 LeafPad, workspace 9 LeafPad, focus



# reload the configuration file
bindsym $mod+Shift+c reload
# restart i3 inplace (preserves your layout/session, can be used to upgrade i3)
bindsym $mod+Shift+r restart
# exit i3 (logs you out of your X session)
bindsym $mod+Shift+e exec "i3-nagbar -t warning -m 'You pressed the exit shortcut. Do you really want to exit i3? This will end your X session.' -b 'Yes, exit i3' 'i3-msg exit'"

# resize window (you can also use the mouse for that)
mode "resize" {
        # These bindings trigger as soon as you enter the resize mode

        # Pressing left will shrink the window’s width.
        # Pressing right will grow the window’s width.
        # Pressing up will shrink the window’s height.
        # Pressing down will grow the window’s height.
        bindsym j resize shrink width 10 px or 10 ppt
        bindsym k resize grow height 10 px or 10 ppt
        bindsym l resize shrink height 10 px or 10 ppt
        bindsym m resize grow width 10 px or 10 ppt

        # same bindings, but for the arrow keys
        bindsym Left resize shrink width 10 px or 10 ppt
        bindsym Down resize grow height 10 px or 10 ppt
        bindsym Up resize shrink height 10 px or 10 ppt
        bindsym Right resize grow width 10 px or 10 ppt

        # back to normal: Enter or Escape
        bindsym Return mode "default"
        bindsym Escape mode "default"
}

bindsym $mod+r mode "resize"

# Start i3bar to display a workspace bar (plus the system information i3status
# finds out, if available)
bar {
        status_command i3status
}


#####################
# my own key binding#
#####################


bindsym $mod+c exec "chromium"
bindsym $mod+$alt+c exec "chromium --incognito"
bindsym $mod+$alt+f exec "pcmanfm"
bindsym $mod+$alt+g exec "google-chrome-stable"
bindsym $mod+$alt+m exec "clementine"

# shutdown
bindsym $mod+Shift+s exec "shutdown now"

# So we can switch for one tho the other WS using arrow keys
bindsym $mod+$alt+Left workspace prev
bindsym $mod+$alt+Right workspace next

#################
#default startup#
#################


#so numlock is on by default:
exec_always --no-startup-id numlockx
# Mousepad scroll and clic:
exec_always --no-startup-id synclient TapButton1=1
exec_always --no-startup-id synclient VertEdgeScroll=1
exec_always --no-startup-id synclient MaxSpeed=1.5
#wallpaper:
exec_always --no-startup-id feh --bg-scale /home/greg/images/truth.jpg
#compton
exec_always --no-startup-id compton

#here we start a terminal in WorkSpace2, go back to WorkSpace1 and open chromium there
exec chromium
exec --no-startup-id i3-msg 'workspace Term; exec termite; workspace Www'

#title shenanigan so we have a little space before the name.
for_window [class=".*"] title_format "   %title"


# Pulse Audio controls
bindsym XF86AudioRaiseVolume exec --no-startup-id pactl -- set-sink-volume 0 +5% #increase sound volume
bindsym XF86AudioLowerVolume exec --no-startup-id pactl -- set-sink-volume 0 -5% #decrease sound volume
bindsym XF86AudioMute exec --no-startup-id pactl set-sink-mute 0 toggle # mute sound


# Sreen brightness controls
bindsym XF86MonBrightnessUp exec xbacklight -inc 20 # increase screen brightness
bindsym XF86MonBrightnessDown exec xbacklight -dec 20 # decrease screen brightness


######################
# Color configuration #
######################

# class                 border  backgr. text    indicator child_border
client.focused          #4c7899 #211C1C #ffffff #211C1C   #211C1C
client.focused_inactive #333333 #5f676a #ffffff #484e50   #5f676a
client.unfocused        #333333 #222222 #888888 #292d2e   #222222
client.urgent           #2f343a #900000 #ffffff #900000   #900000
client.placeholder      #000000 #0c0c0c #ffffff #000000   #0c0c0c

client.background       #ffffff
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#2
After researching i3, I see that it is not for me. I am a two finger typist. Typing never came naturally. The current desktop on my main Ubuntu system is a solid mass of icons.

I did make a new headless Arch virtual machine today. I think I will use Openbox and create a custom GUI desktop. Openbox appears to be more amenable to GUI.

Richard
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#3
I have used i3 for the majority of my Linux time and only recently have swtched to other solutions. It is truely nice, however I find that its manual approach to window management can be annoying. I personally don't care much about tiling or stacking, as long as the window management is automatic, meaning that I never have to manually arrange the layout. I find that dwm does this well for the most part, despite lacking in other areas. I am currently working on a project to bring autatic window management to Wayland, but I doubt I'll finish that anytime soon...
My website - My git repos

"Things are only impossible until they’re not." - Captain Jean-Luc Picard
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#4
Yes indeed Richard, if tiling WM are not for you and yet, you want to try to build your "DE", then openbox is a nice alternative. You not gonna have your desktop icons but a right click menu which mimics it. I believe the difference is not that big.
i don't know if you are interested in it, but here is a video about headless and openbox https://youtu.be/_FZCXVgiORA?t=508 the link starts after the debian headless install.

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@leon,

I see what you mean, but for the time been i am fine with it. But since i know a little of python coding, i may try QTile at some point in the future. But not in a near future.
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#5
Tuxinho,

That U-tube about openbox is great. That guy is clear, fast, and through. Great stuff. Thank you.

Richard
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