Switching to i3wm from Gnome

i3wm configuration

If you like the tiling window manager like i3wm and you want to switch from Gnome there are somethings missing like the network manager applet, the volume control, add/connect bluetooth devices and in some cases the gnome-keyring to handle passwords, private keys and certificates.

To fix that, there are some config tweaks and programs that would make the switch to i3 better. For this i going to use Fedora 34

first we install i3 and some additional packages:

sudo dnf install i3 i3status-rs i3lock feh rofi blueberry network-manager-applet volumeicon flameshot numlockx lxappearance

then we can edit the configuration, under $HOME/.config/i3/config if it doesn’t exist copy from /etc/i3/config and add the settings

# this is already present in the config, but it needs the package network-manager-applet
exec --no-startup-id nm-applet

Dynamic menu

# rofi 
bindsym $mod+d exec --no-startup-id rofi -show run -lines 10 -eh 2 -width 30 -padding 800 -font "Roboto Mono for Powerline 10"


Or if you prefer to use the default dynamic menu included on i3 instead of rofi

bindsym $mod+d exec --no-startup-id i3-dmenu-desktop


Bluetooth icon and settings

# bluethooth icon and settings
exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/blueberry/blueberry-tray.py
exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/blueberry/blueberry-obex-agent.py

Volumen icon

exec --no-startup-id volumeicon

Virtual Machines Spice protocol, useful if you are working with virtual machines and share the clipboard content with the host

exec --no-startup-id /usr/bin/spice-vdagent

Metadata trackers, for file preview thumbnails

exec --no-startup-id /usr/libexec/tracker-miner-fs
exec --no-startup-id /usr/libexec/tracker-extract
exec --no-startup-id /usr/libexec/tracker-miner-rss

Looks and feel GTK apps and icons lxappearance can help to write the gtkrc settings to set the icon/theme/cursor settings it will write the config on $HOME/.gtkrc-2.0 and $HOME/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini

exec --no-startup-id gdbus call -e -d org.freedesktop.DBus -o /org/freedesktop/DBus -m org.freedesktop.DBus.StartServiceByName org.freedesktop.Tracker1 0
exec --no-startup-id xdg-user-dirs-update

Gnome keyring

exec --no-startup-id /usr/bin/gnome-keyring-daemon --start --components=pkcs11
exec --no-startup-id /usr/bin/gnome-keyring-daemon --start --components=secrets
exec --no-startup-id /usr/bin/gnome-keyring-daemon --start --components=ssh

Status bar

bar {
    font pango:DejaVu Sans Mono, FontAwesome 10
    position top
    status_command i3status-rs $HOME/.config/i3/status.toml
    colors {
        separator #666666
        background #222222
        statusline #dddddd
        focused_workspace #0088CC #0088CC #ffffff
        active_workspace #333333 #333333 #ffffff
        inactive_workspace #333333 #333333 #888888
        urgent_workspace #2f343a #900000 #ffffff

Numlock active

# numlock
exec_always --no-startup-id numlockx on 

Desktop screenshots

# screenshot app
exec_always --no-startup-id flameshot

# screenshot current screen, where the pointer is, delay 3 seconds
bindsym --release Print exec flameshot screen -d 3000 -p /home/user/Pictures

# screenshot gui to anotate image
bindsym --release Shift+Print exec flameshot gui -p /home/user/Pictures

Screen view with the status bar and the applet icons for blueberry, flameshot, NetworkManager and Volume icon




For dual monitors you can use RandR and arrange the monitor position, using xrand commands my current setup has dual monitors one connected with display port and the other with hdmi

To check the monitor information you can use

xrandr -q
# dual monitor config i3
exec --no-startup-id xrandr --output DisplayPort-0 --auto --left-of HDMI-A-0


And last for Google Chrome, the sync is paused when we switch to i3, and that is because the password store change depending on the desktop environment on i3 it switch to plain but on Gnome it use the keyring to fix this you only need to start Chrome with the parameter password-store

google-chrome --password-store=gnome

Some references:

linux  i3  shell  fedora