i3 Tiled Window Manager
This is way out of date now
The information in this post is so out-dated that I wonder why I'm keeping it around. I guess I'm a digital hoarder...
Recently, I stumbled upon a thread on Reddit about the i3 Tiled window Manager.
To say the least, I was intrigued. I've been looking for ways to increase productivity on my Linux desktop for a bit now. Usually that just meant customizing Gnome Shell to display system information (CPU, Net, Temps, etc..) but that wasn't really doing much for me.
Then i3 happened! I'm in love, and may never go back to Metacity.
On F17, the install was painless since the latest packages (at the time of writing) were in the repos.
yum -y install i3 i3status i3lock
Sadly, on F16, the packages in the repo are a bit out of date, so I compiled both i3 and i3status from source. I left i3lock out, since I really didn't use it...
yum -y groupinstall "Development Tools" yum -y install xcb-util-devel libxcb-devel xcb-proto libev-devel libxkbfile-devel libXcursor-devel libX11-devel yajl-devel bison flex asciidoc rxvt-unicode xorg-x11-apps dmenu xorg-x11-fonts-misc dzen2 startup-notification-devel pcre-devel alsa-lib-devel wireless-tools-devel libconfuse-devel
After all that loveliness completes, we should be ready to build i3 from source.
wget http://i3wm.org/downloads/i3-4.2.tar.bz2 tar -xvf i3-4.2.tar.bz2 cd i3-4.2 make sudo make install
wget http://i3wm.org/i3status/i3status-2.5.1.tar.bz2 tar -xvf i3status-2.5.1.tar.bz2 cd i3status-2.5.1 make sudo make install
At this point, we should have i3 and i3status ready to roll.
After the install, you can logout and select the new i3 session and start using it. If you run the vanilla i3 session, you'll lose a few back-end items that run with gnome (like the keyring manager). The next session covers how I integrated i3 and gnome.
Gnome Integration for Both 16 and 17
i3 is great, but I did miss having the gnome-keyring (among others) so I went on a quest to get this done. I won't bore you with the journey, suffice it to say it was long and full of forums, so here is what gets it all working nicely.
I created a new session to log into so I could keep a vanilla i3 as a fall-back, just in case. The first command echos a string into the file /usr/share/xsessions/gnome-i3.desktop
#Install xsession config echo -e "[Desktop Entry]\nEncoding=UTF-8\nName=i3 + GNOME\nComment=improved dynamic tiling window manager\nExec=/usr/bin/gnome-session --session=i3-gnome" > /usr/share/xsessions/gnome-i3.desktop
Then I created the gnome-session file that the above xsession file calls during login.
#Install gnome-session config echo -e "[GNOME Session]\nName=gnome-i3\nRequiredComponents=gnome-settings-daemon;\nRequiredProviders=windowmanager;notifications;\nDefaultProvider-windowmanager=i3\nDefaultProvider-notifications=notification-daemon\nDesktopName=GNOME-i3" > /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/i3-gnome.session
This solution 'worked' for only about 30 seconds after login, then gnome would crash. The fix for this was registering the session with dbus. I'll admit, I don't fully understand this script, but it works...
Just create 'dbusregister.sh' in ~/.i3/ and copy this code into it.
### OLD WAY!!! ### #!/bin/bash - if [ -n "$DESKTOP_AUTOSTART_ID" ]; then echo "Registering with Gnome Session Manager via Dbus and id $DESKTOP_AUTOSTART_ID" dbus-send --session --print-reply=string --dest=org.gnome.SessionManager "/org/gnome/SessionManager" org.gnome.SessionManager.RegisterClient "string:i3" "string:$DESKTOP_AUTOSTART_ID" else echo "DESKTOP_AUTOSTART_ID not set." fi
Then make it executable.
Next, edit your i3 config file (~/.i3/config) and add this line
### OLD WAY!!! ### #Fix for Gnome Crash exec --no-startup-id ~/.i3/dbusregister.sh
The new hotness for the dbus issues!! (Thanks Leho Kraav!!)
### NEW WAY ### # Add this line to your ~/.i3/config file exec echo “.i3/config: DESKTOP_AUTOSTART_ID $DESKTOP_AUTOSTART_ID, registering with org.gnome.SessionManager”
Now that we have the xsession, gnome-session, and dbus-fix in place, we can log-out and select the "i3 + Gnome" session.
The next step is configuring i3 to your liking. I won't put my configs here yet, as they are still evolving (almost daily). i3 is VERY well documented, so just head over to the site and start reading the user guide!