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#1 2022-08-18 18:57:28

From: West Bengal, India
Registered: 2022-02-11
Posts: 179

Can i3wm spy on me?

So today I was watching this youtube video and exactly at 11:32 distrotube mentioned that why he doesn't like i3wm. One of the main reasons being that it uses proprietary syntax(i3 config syntax). Although i3 and i3 gaps are open source i3 uses a proprietary syntax. Now one of the main reasons I use linux is because it is free and open source and I know that I am the one who has full access to my os. I am not that good in reading source codes but I get a rough idea when I read them because I am still learning programming languages. So is there a way that i3 can spy on me? Because it is possible to hide a malicious code inside that syntax and we have no way verifying them. I already asked the same exact question in r/i3wm but got no answers.

Last edited by RounakDutta (2022-08-18 19:00:43)


#2 2022-08-18 19:26:30

Registered: 2021-04-12
Posts: 648

Re: Can i3wm spy on me?

I watched the part where the guy talks about 'i3', and although he uses the term 'proprietary', he's just trying to say that i3 uses its "own" syntax in its config, and that he is not used to that. I'm not a native English speaker, but to me it sounded like he was just looking for a fancier term to describe the "i3-way"... That being said, 'i3' claims to be FOSS (I haven't examined its code myself), but if it weren't, you'd know by now.

Since you're concerned about security, you may want to take a look at 'sway' (also see the link below).

Last edited by dogknowsnx (2022-08-18 21:16:30)

RI - Rest your Eyes and Self

"We are eternal, all this pain is an illusion" - Maynard James Keenan


#3 2022-08-19 08:15:00

Registered: 2022-05-28
Posts: 16

Re: Can i3wm spy on me?

Having used i3 (and now sway), I can tell he’s referring to the fact that it used its own syntax and not a well known configuration file format like JSON, YAML or TOML. The same holds for sway which is an “i3 for Wayland”.

So, there’s no spying or malware involved here.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. — Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)


#4 2022-08-19 13:21:19

From: Norway
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 261

Re: Can i3wm spy on me?

I haven't watched the video, but if you look at the source code for i3wm, which is here:

You will notice that every part of the source code is covered by the same license, the BSD-3-clause license, which is a very open and permissive license. There is nothing about i3wm which is proprietary, you can also have a look at the source files that specifically deal with configuration. Those source files are also covered by the same license as the rest of the code.

I would suggest to not listen to some random youtube video, and instead look at the actual code and license. Either the person who made the video are using the word "proprietary" incorrectly, or they simply have no idea what they are talking about.


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