i3 Window Manager

Sun 08 February 2015

I've been giving the i3 window manager a spin for the last few days after noticing a lot of buzz about it on the webs. I have to say I am very impressed. So impressed I've decided to switch to it from specrwm.

The first thing you notice when you login is that it isn't an ultra-minimalist tiling wm. It comes preconfigured with a status bar which displays some useful system information (no need for Conky) and a system tray at the bottom (no need for trayer). It also has a task bar at at the top (both based on dmenu I believe). It sports some nice, low profile window decorations. It comes with stacked, tabbed and tiling modes which is very handy. It also has a scratchpad facility to keep rarely used windows out of sight (although this wasn't configured by default on Debian Jessie - see below). The config file is simple and easy to understand and the documentation on the site is excellent.

To get the scratchpad, screenlocking and the volume and backlight keys working I added the following to my config file (~/.i3/config):

# Scatchpad - http://build.i3wm.org/docs/userguide.html#_scratchpad
# Make the currently focused window a scratchpad
bindsym $mod+Shift+minus move scratchpad

# Show the first scratchpad window
bindsym $mod+minus scratchpad show

# Volume Keys
bindsym  XF86AudioMute exec amixer sset Master toggle
bindsym  XF86AudioLowerVolume exec amixer set Master 5%-
bindsym  XF86AudioRaiseVolume exec amixer set Master 5%+

# Backlight
bindsym XF86MonBrightnessDown exec exec xbacklight - 10
bindsym XF86MonBrightnessUp exec exec xbacklight + 10

# Lock Screen
bindsym Ctrl+Mod1+l exec xscreensaver-command -lock

I'm still exploring the different options and facilities but I am very impressed on the whole. Time for a screenshot: