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#1 2021-04-12 07:37:04

Registered: 2018-05-26
Posts: 20

Using i3 As Main Window Manager

Hi everyone, I finally decided to completely switch to i3wm after many years of been XFCE user. I must say, I was missing out on a lot of fun with i3wm. After reading official documentation and a few days of customization it is ready and perfect. I've now removed XFCE and I only use i3 as my main WM for all my computers now.

If you like customizing your linux, you will love i3wm. Today in 2021, i3wm v4.19 is much better than it was years ago. It can do everything that regular wm can and much more. It is much faster than XFCE, especially on older hardware.

Last edited by NullRoute (2021-04-12 09:47:20)


#2 2021-04-12 14:16:40

From: Europe
Registered: 2020-06-04
Posts: 73

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

Yeah I use i3-gaps exclusively, came form gnome.



#3 2021-04-12 14:21:33

Stefan Husmann
From: Germany
Registered: 2007-08-07
Posts: 1,204

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

I always preferred bspwm over i3, but they are very similar. But now I found sway, which is nice.


#4 2021-04-13 04:34:41

Registered: 2018-05-26
Posts: 20

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

@VoDo, I tried i3-gaps and did not like it. This is a personal preference but I think that the whole point of using tilling wm is to not waist any space. I love the fact that I can use every single pixel and in between the windows.

@StefanHusmann, I tried bspwm and couldn't even get it started or configure any monitors properly on it. i3 was just easier switch for me from XFCE world and sway as I understand uses wayland which is not complete yet. Once more wm's support it I may try wayland too. For now X with i3 will do.

Documentation in i3 is very good too. Years ago when I tried using i3 it did not have so many good features. So i just went back to using XFCE, but this month when I tried it was love at first sight. It also could be that I'm a more experienced linux user now too. But every configuration went smoothly for me and everything works good. Another thing I love about i3 is that I can make a change and restart wm in place and continue with my work. I've tried many different wm when I was using XFCE as my main wm but i3wm is just what worked for me out of the box and with all my configuration very well. So I'll stick to it, and learn more. I don't think I need to switch to any other wm now, I have all I need with i3wm. The best part about i3wm is that it just works on all my older hardware. No crashes, no video or monitor issues. Config can be copied and pasted to another box and with just few lines of video card config it will work exactly same way.

To people replying, please don't just spam the post with one liners. Talk more about your experience with the wm you like. But preferably i3wm or i3-gaps at least. Thank you!


#5 2021-05-07 11:58:23

Registered: 2021-05-07
Posts: 1

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

i3 was my first tiling wm so I don't have much experience in this field but I can definitely attest that i3-wm has been a pleasure to work with. Once you have your config file the way you want it you are basically set for life. Multiple installations later it is still so easy to have everything the way it's used to be and honestly I haven't encountered a single thing I wanted to achieve that i3wm couldn't do.
Set up fixed workspaces per monitor so the keyboard navigation is really intuitive and easy to use. Maybe I'm describing stuff that every tiling wm will do but nonetheless i3 is working really well for me.
I'm actually using i3-gaps, even though I understand your reasoning @NullRoute but I am ready to trade some "effective space" for a little bit of visual appeal.
My general setup is i3-gaps+Polybar+Rofi and I can say I'm happy with all of those.

Edit: forgot to mention Compton (or now called Picom) for that sweet transparency wink

Last edited by darkware (2021-05-07 12:00:11)


#6 2021-05-07 14:33:06

From: Norway
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 227

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

I used i3wm for several years, and in those years I couldn't have imagined a better wm. I also do not like i3-gaps, I simply don't want gaps between my windows. I used py3status along with it, and compton as it was called in those days. I particularly liked the vim-like keybindings. The configuration file was also something I found to be easy to work with, overall i3wm was a very pleasant experience for years.

I have switched, but that's because I decided to use wayland. I have been curious about it for a while, so I switched over to sway as my window manager. Sway is pretty much almost identical to i3, you can even use your i3 config for sway. I did do a clean start with sway, and configured it from scratch. I also dropped py3status, and instead wrote a few lines of python myself to get the status bar display that I wanted. From my experience, i3wm and sway are just the same from a user perspective. I did experience a few issues with wayland specifically, related to certain games running in wine. Wayland handles focus differently, and this caused some games to misbehave, but those issues were fixed quite some time ago.


#7 2021-05-07 14:47:36

Registered: 2019-02-01
Posts: 82

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

When I was getting into window managers I also started out with i3wm+i3blocks.
The only complaint & reason why I switched off from it was how the workspaces worked on a two or three monitor setup.
I disliked the fact you only had 10 workspaces that you had to *share* across with all monitors.

For example, if I had workspace 3 open on my main screen and wanted to move a program to workspace 2, there's a chance that workspace 2 was already occupied on another monitor so the program sent to workspace 2 got sent to a different monitor than my main monitor.
This problem wasn't present when I only had one screen attached to my PC.

So far I've been loving dwm as it replaces workspaces with "tags" and you have 9 of those on each screen.
It's also super easy to copy my setup to another machine, as a .tar.gz archive of my build that has all of the source code is only 6.1Mib.
There was a learning curve to patching the project & making my own customizations to the source code but it was worth it. big_smile

But if I found myself in a situation where I had to setup X on a single screen machine without having access to my dwm build, I'd probably install i3 again as it has a pretty sane default config.


#8 2021-05-07 17:01:02

Registered: 2012-05-24
Posts: 66

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

NullRoute wrote:

Hi everyone, I finally decided to completely switch to i3wm after many years of been XFCE user. I must say, I was missing out on a lot of fun with i3wm.

I have a similar story with fluxbox, which I started using on linux maybe 10 to 12 years ago; I also used the similar "BlackBox for Windows" (on XP and up;, which replaces the regular "explorer.exe" desktop manager (surprisingly easy to do: just change one [shudder] registry [/shudder] entry).

Do you have any issues in i3 with setting application fonts and such?

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." -- L.T.


#9 2021-05-27 04:05:45

From: Indianapolis, IN
Registered: 2020-11-25
Posts: 12

Re: Using i3 As Main Window Manager

i3 was fun to learn but I ended up back on XFCE after realizing I could config XFWM to render the same workflow I had as with i3, but far easier and quicker with the XFCE GUI settings manager. Plus, there were less things like xrandr, picom, nitrogen etc to have to mess with. At this point, the only real benefit to me with i3 is an extra 100-200mb of freed up idle memory. Like I said, though, figuring it out was a good time.


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