Anyone played with a tiling WM on Fedora?


New to this forum. I run Fedora 37 with stock Gnome and want to try out a tiling window manager. Preferably something with Wayland and with analog of Gnome’s “Activities” view. (I know it’s contrary to the tiling functionality but I want to use floating windows a lot, too, and with them the aforementioned “Activities” view is most useful.)

Are there manuals on how to install such things on Fedora easily? Or good configs maybe?

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You should first read about tiling wm options, and choose one of them, most of them are available in official Fedora repo.

I like dwm, and have a little page on it. The page’s best feature is a link to a post on Debian forums.
Anyway, it’s at Using dwm. I think there’s now a Wayland version.
It’s called dwl. GitHub - djpohly/dwl: dwm for Wayland . I haven’t used it though.
I have used sway, a Wayland version of i3m. It was fine, but I much prefer dwm. I3m and its Wayland counterpart, sway, do seem more popular in general. I started on dwm more or less by chance and have gotten to prefer it. @sallyahaj gave a good link to an article about tiling managers in general, Most of them have quite usable configurations out of the box.
These days, on Fedora, I usually use openbox, but if I remember correctly, Fedora had a nice addition of a wrapper script to dwm to make it easier to configure.

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Great page on dwm :wink:
Having migrated from BSDs to Linux I’m struggling most of the time on “how is it done here”, e.g.

  • Are you using Fedora Workstation as a basis or do you start with Fedora Server?
  • How do you get things like automatic power management done? Like: warn, if battery level is low, suspend on non-activity, suspending when no-one is logged in (login manager waits for users)
  • How to get regular stuff done w/o having to install almost all of Gnome again (dbus, SAMBA access, etc)

From my point of view, it looks like Linux (Gnome?) is moving things up into GUI instead of utilizing the power of the command line (you know: little utils that do their job well + invoking them from a GUI program).

Firstly, thanks much for the kind words. I’ve been at a BSD shop for years now, and after Free, or any BSD, Linux does often make me feel somewhat at sea.

I agree with you, Linux does seem to be getting more and more GUI oriented. Even many official docs seem to assume you’re using GUI.

Specifically, I usually start with choosing minimal install, then add X and such afterwards. So, I try to avoid installing Gnome, though RH and Fedora are so deeply tied to it, that you often can’t avoid pulling in large parts of it

To figure out what you need for say, Gnome, you can do
dnf group list |grep -i gnome
And you’ll see "GNOME Desktop environment

Then you can do dnf install @'GNOME Desktop environment'

Here’s a nice link though they don’t mention how, Windows like, RH and friends tend to put spaces in names, so you would need the quotes as I used above.

Mostly, I boot into text mode and use startx. I don’t really use power management in Linux as my main workstation is FreeBSD right now. I’d just wind up doing a web search.

And yes, I agree, RH, and most LInux, is moving to be more like Windows. In fairness, they’re way ahead of FreeBSD in things like wireless, and also, for example, a test install of Fedora workstation found my printer/scanner with no effort on my part, whereas with FreeBSD I had to startpage (which I use instead of google) how to get it working, which, in the end, I got from an ArchLinux wiki article. :slight_smile:

Depending upon your needs/wants, you might be happier with VoidLinux, which is more FreeBSD like (and BSD like in general), including root’s default shell being csh. (Though I think that’s going to be changed to sh).

ArchLinux is another more CLI oriented distribution, though it does use systemd, don’t know how much that is a factor for you.

Dbus can be installed as a separate package, I don’t know what it pulls in, I think I get it when I install xorg-x11-server-Xorg, though it may be pulled in with something else. I don’t keep that much track of what i pull in, but you can do dnf install samba-common, for example and see what else it pulls in, and if it pulls in too much choose to not install it.

IMNSHO, once much of Linux embraced systemd, they sort of gave up on the idea of do one thing and do it well. Poettering, of course, went back to Microsoft, after making Linux more MS like. But, I am an old grouch who yells at clouds. so don’t take my views too seriously. In short, I do agree that much of LInux, especially the RH and Ubuntu based distributions, are going more and more towards GUI.

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Many thanks for your suggestions, @sallyahaj and @scottro ! I have already looked into the opportunities in the world of window managers. It seems that for those who want to keep Gnome, the options are Sway and, indeed, DWL. So that X and Wayland don’t get mixed up.

There should be a community Fedora Sway release soon. We’ll see how complete and pre-set it will be.

There’s also Hyprland. I could be wrong but this window manager doesn’t seem completely mature.

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How did Sway feel compared to DWL? Was it any slower because the config is not compiled into a binary? Was there any micro-delay when switching workspaces?

I haven’t use dwl, only dwm. I am far more familiar with dwm than i3, which is what sway is based on. But both seemed fairly fast, though on a laptop with an nvme drive and 16G of RAM, the only place where I’ve tried sway, I didn’t notice any speed difference, but, I didn’t notice any speed difference between dwm and openbox.

On the laptop, I haven’t really stressed it. All I do is play videos, do some browsing and open terminals. Now, I’m not really familar with sway/i3, and didn’t do much workplace switching. I would say that on a reasonably modern machine, I don’t think you’re going to see much difference.

Though there isn’t a sway version as far as I know, there is a sway rpm

I tried out DWM and i3 (although I tested the latter two or so years ago), and I noticed that with i3 there were minimal, really almost unnoticeable but still annoying glitches when switching workspaces.

There’s a Sway Spin coming up with Fedora 38. I am looking forward to testing it because with my level of expertise, I prefer a ready-made solution.

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it is my first experience using sway in fedora. previously i was using gnome and enjoy that.
but for the ease life, you prefer to use i3 instead of sway. i3 is more familiar and many tweak bornt for i3 environment

Though I have not done much with the BSDs since SunOS I am 100% with you on minimal installs. RH got out of the desktop arena but fedora has a large community of what I affectionately catagorize as MSWindows/MacOS wannabes (is there work on new paradigm desktop replacement computing in a fedora community). Fedora is much larger than the desktop focus and being able to use quite up to date packages rather than an enterprise distribution’s rather ancient versions keeps things fun. To get really minimal installs on fedora means doing kickstart installs, strategically adding to the dnf excludes list and being very selective choosing packages, which for me means testing installs in a vm.

There is also work being done to use container workflows to install on bare metal though it begins with fedora ELN rather than rawhide. The tier0 and tier1 are nice rather minimal package sets as one of the target audiences is cloud with very high fanout. I am hopeful that this will lead to changes in packages/package dependencies to make building small footprint systems better.

Small to large in fedora: iot, coreos, server, workstation and I start with something more minimal that server minimal. It is a lot less work than LFS or gentoo etc…