Until recently, I didn’t know that one you could integrate i3wm with XFCE so nicely. Given that I never felt comfortable using i3wm without the benefits of a DE (in this case, XFCE), I always found myself coming back to XFCE and then feeling inefficient with it since I didn’t like how much one has to use the mouse just to configure two windows side by side. On top of this, screen state becomes precious when you’re using a laptop. However, just the other day I read that one could use XFCE with i3wm which ends up bridging the benefits of using a DE and a tiling window manager, at least for me. In the light of this, I decided to set up XFCE with i3wm. This is how I did it:
- I started with a new installation of XFCE Manjaro. However, this process is distro independent and it should work with any distro with XFCE as a DE. So, the first step is to have XFCE installed.
- Now you must install i3. On an Arch-based distro, type the following in the terminal:
sudo pacman -Sy i3-wm. Alternatively, you can use your distro’s software center to install it.
- Deactivate xfwm and xfdesktop in Settings -> Session and Startup -> Session and set their Restart Style to Never. Save the session after you’re finished.
- Now activate i3wm by hitting Add in Settings -> Session and Startup -> Application Autostart. Make sure you add i3 in the Command field. You can enter whatever you want in the Name and Description fields.
- In Settings -> Keyboard -> Application Shortcuts, remove all the default keyboard shortcuts by shift-selecting them and then clicking Remove.
mkdir ~/.i3 && cp /etc/i3/config ~/.i3/configin the terminal to create both the i3 directory and its configuration file in your home directory. Now, you can edit config at
~/.i3/configto your liking. For more information about all the details, visit i3wm.org.
- Given that you disabled xfdesktop you won’t be able to set wallpapers using XFCE,
so you must install a package called Nitrogen using your distro’s software center
sudo pacman -Sy nitrogenif you’re using an Arch-based distro.
- The XFCE panel should work as usual. However, the Workspace Switcher plugin doesn’t seem to reflect i3’s workspace number sometimes. For this reason, in the plugin’s properties, I enabled Show miniature view so I can see miniatures of the open windows in a particular workspace instead of the workspace number.
This is how my setup ended up looking:
This post was originally posted on Saturday 10 February 2018.