i3wm on Manjaro

I recently got a hankering to use my terminal more. I guess I’ve been afraid that I may have gone soft using so many graphical applications. All that effort I put into learning keyboard shortcuts and command sequences may have gone away a little bit from disuse. Well, I don’t want that to happen! So I’m going back to what I’ve been good at.


I’ve already written about this window manager a little bit. But one of the recent tendencies in the Linux world is to make distributions around a single desktop environment, such as “XFCE Edition” or “KDE Edition” or whatever. In a way this makes sense, because each of those environments takes up quite a bit of space. If you know you want Gnome, why would you want KDE installed? Good question. With a tiling window manager, there are very few dependencies. So it makes sense to create an edition that is so lightweight as i3. That’s what Manjaro has done

Out of the box, i3wm comes with very little configuration. The default setup is quite vanilla. In fact, it would have to work hard to taste as good as vanilla. But the Manjaro edition has some very nice configs from the get go. It has a number of nice keybindings that are a little more complete than the default set. Conky is set up out of the box, as are the status bar and the compositor. URXVT is the default terminal. There is a nicer menuing system called mroc I think. Dmenu is included. Lxappearance and nitrogen for wallpaper are available. There are a number of nice fonts installed, so right from the boot up your desktop looks good, even if you don’t touch a thing. This cannot be said for most distros on the default i3wm installation.

Dreaded Mouse

One of the things I see once I start using this desktop is that I’ve grown quite accustomed to using the mouse. I’ve even gotten several very nice gaming mice that fit my palm like a highly egonomic glove. For environments like Cinnamon, which has been my daily driver for several years now, I guess this makes sense. It’s just that the mouse becomes superfluous on i3. But I used to be really fast in Vim, and after having gotten used to the mouse and editors like Sublime and Atom, I’ve lost speed and smarts in Vim. Rats!

Imagine if I could do all of my coding in Vim! Well, I’m sure I can, but it will take some doing to get used to that. There are so many files to edit and to have open all the time, I’m completely dependent on the mouse and Atom. I’ve been watching quite a few YouTube videos from programmers showing their workflow while using Vim. I just haven’t made the leap to how I can do it on a project with, say, 100 files and with 40 of them open at any one time. But eventually I’ll figure out how to do it.