Using i3wm with Fedora


FWIW, I only tried it out today after reading this post. I can say it is seemingly quick to start up, but I find it difficult to tell the difference in truth. It seems to be working fine, and my pretty terminals are OK. The flatpaks I’ve used are working as expected, but again, only part of a day using it. I have been much more focused on buildah/podman/skopeo/rpm-ostree/ostree and a bit of fedora-toolbox. Aaannd my dotfile clean up.


I ran WindowMaker for a few years but I’ve gotten so used to GNOME 3 that I don’t see the point of mental gear-shifting when there are so many more useful technologies crying out, “Learn me!” :wink:

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I’ve been using Gnome for some time and I will always fall back to it as my default. But I like to check things out, and am on a bit of a Silverblue learning mission.


FWIW if you like i3, Sway is basically an i3/i3-gaps alternative for Wayland instead of X11. I used to use it and it worked pretty well, though I ended up switching to GNOME when I got sick of trying to configure my media keys…


I intend on checking out sway, I had read it was a fork of i3WM that was for Wayland. I have noticed the display looks better in Gnome on Wayland than i3WM on Xorg, although I haven’t used Gnome on Xorg to compare, and I didn’t get tweaking my graphics settings. So it’s first glance opinion.


Every time a new release of GNOME comes out, I try Wayland but almost always go back to Xorg after a few days. There are always annoying little things that don’t work that people should have found and fixed long ago.


I have observed Wayland has steadily gotten better since it’s release. One of the initial issues I had with it aside from the lack of applications being ready for it, was it was slower than Xorg at first start after login. Also the graphics cards still seem to be more Xorg oriented, though I still think my display looks better on Wayland than Xorg, I just can’t tweak it as much. The fonts especially seem to be rendered finer on Wayland.


The issues I was having were mostly in GNOME Boxes and Virtual Machine Manager - rendering of guest displays was either janky or missing blocks of pixels. Last time I checked it was during the Fedora 29 beta.


I was playing with it a bit, and it really is an adjustment from Gnome. I hadn’t remembered the difficulty one faced that first time you opened X on Slackware and didn’t even know how to get a terminal, just how to exit. Those were some fun times!


I’ve been using LXDM as a lightweight alternative to gdm for managing my i3 session for a few months now and I’m quite happy with it. Here is how I set it up as best I can remember:

Run lxsession-default-apps to configure LXDM to launch i3wm:

  1. Core applications -> Windows Manager: i3
  2. Autostart -> Manual autostarted applications: uncheck “#@lxpanel”, “#@pcmanfm” and “#@xscreensaver

The stuff under “Known Applications” corresponds to the drop-in files under /etc/xdg/autostart and will very depending on what you have installed on your system.

Use lxappearance to manage your theme. I like the “Greybird” window theme with the “Oxygen” icon theme personally.

Use lxsession-logout to end your session:

$ grep lxsession-logout ~/.config/i3/config
bindsym $mod+Shift+e exec /usr/bin/lxsession-logout

Install i3lock for screen-locking support:

$ grep i3lock ~/.config/i3/config
bindsym $mod+l exec i3lock -i /var/lib/lxdm/clouds.png

You can also customize the login theme a bit in /etc/lxdm/lxdm.conf. Here are my personal customizations:

$ diff a/lxdm.conf b/lxdm.conf
< gtk_theme=Clearlooks
> # gtk_theme=Clearlooks
> gtk_theme=Greybird
< bg=/usr/share/backgrounds/default.png
> bg=/var/lib/lxdm/clouds.jpg
< bottom_pane=1
> bottom_pane=0
< theme=Industrial
> # theme=Industrial
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