trying out i3 from xfce.

So... looking through a few of the i3 'issues' here and etc. just wanted some clarification or input from the i3 people.

I've been running the XFCE community edition but like a few users have found I spend more time on the keyboard than clicking around, and as such have been tinkering with i3 gaps which I installed via the official packages.

I've begun to think however that as a second DE it isn't really suitable because its design paradigm means it wants to set certain things in a way that slightly conflicts with XFCE.

While I am pretty new to i3 and all the tinkering I do like it. So my question here is:

Will it make my life easier if I ditch XFCE entirely, and focus on configuring i3 to my exact liking? Or can the two DE's live happily side by side?

Im just gonna post this here .. pretty i3 with xfce

okay, thanks. I skimmed through it - some useful stuff in there - but I'm trying to avoid 'workarounds' etc.

I'm not wedded to XFCE it just happens to be what I chose when I switched to Manjaro. But I can happily live without lots of widgets and buttons - most of those either get in the way, break periodically, or can't be configured to one's exact liking.

Give me simple, plain, configurable any day.

Install a vanilla i3 ISO to a VM and see if you like it.

I used XFCE for a long time, and i3 intrigued me. So I did a side-by-side install. Worked good, even with a couple of software issues (little known/used). Got them solved with some help here.

Decided to go all-in with i3, and did a clean install. No regrets at all.

I use i3 as WM for MATE and it works quite nicely:

Don't see why it wouldn't work for Xfce too.

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very interesting. Thank you.

Perhaps I've misunderstood something? I thought that Manjaro XFCE was basically a core system, with XFCE desktop applied? And that by installing instead Manjaro i3 - while it isn't supposed to be a fully featured 'desktop' means I have a functional computer and menu, window display etc?

I thought that MATE is simply another DE and that the DE choice is about looks vs resource use vs features etc?

My 'issues' to date, using i3 as a second DE have been to do with most of the blogs and fixes asking to write to files like ~/.xsession which are also used by things like lightdm - effectively a part of XFCE .iso. So, if I were to start tinkering with certain configs, I'd be effectively cross-referencing parts of the user settings from within each DE... leading to conflicts.

@anon27588196 reply above makes me feel I too should perhaps just go "all in" and can XFCE? I only chose it because I DON'T want eye candy, animations, lots of "click here to do this" type of stuff. What I want is a responsive, low resource use, basic but easy to configure system. Since I can launch my browser, pacman etc. from i3's dbus menu system, why would I need to keep XFCE around - beyond the fact that I'm familiar with it?

Am I right in thinking that just installing the Manjaro i3 .iso (I've just downloaded it) will provide a working system as it stands?

Don't mix i3 the window manager with the i3 community version. i3 itself is just a window manager (in that matter the equivalent on Xfce would be xfwm), which is used by the i3-community edition. The community edition adds also other packages, some of them are even Xfce-packages (xfce4-power-manager, mousepad). If you are interested in the package list take look here.

Lightdm is also included in the i3 community version. Only another greeter is used (lightdm-gtk-greeter on xfce and lightdm-slim-greeter on the i3 community edition). It should be possible to launch just i3 and load need elements of xfce in the autostart (by selecting at login in lightdm).

I do not think it would be a problem to use i3 and Xfce in parallel or to change the window manager in Xfce from xfwm to i3 (this not a difficult thing to do:

For example I use awesome and Xfce in parallel. I select awesome in lightdm. I started with the configuration for awesome (~/.config/awesome/) of the community edition, where I made some changes in the autostart script to match my more system (e.g. use gnome-polkit instead of mate-polkit). The only point where xfce interferes to an extent are the keybindings (as I still use xfce4-settings). However, this can be solved by simply deleting all keybindings of xfce (I would recommend to keep a backup of ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml, this is where the keybindings of xfce are stored.)

One reason why I keep Xfce (with xfwm) on my computer is that someone other than me, who is probably not familiar with a tiling wm and my keybindings, can use my computer.

Try it first on live-USB or a virtual machine to see if it suits you (especially the tiling)


Manjaro's i3 already did all the 'workarounds'. Once u installed the edition you can see a lot of resemblance from xfce and other desktop environments and in the end you realize that the edition comprises of only a window manager and applications from various desktop editions.

Using the 'Manjaro i3' edition saves u a lot of time because it is preconfigured with application configurations, fixes for abnormalities and even eye candies so you can expect a lot of things working out of the box and having a certain degree of consistency. However having i3 on top of an xfce edition install would need a few tweaks here & there to get that consistency desired. Nevertheless the outcome of all this personal configurations enables you to have a working xfce & an extra window manager in case you want a lighter system.

In my opinion there is nothing manjaro i3 cannot do what manjaro xfce can do, so i think you're gonna do well in manjaro i3. Stick with the man pages and wikis, you will not look back to desktop environments any longer. Just my opinion..

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i noticed this but it's a non factor for me, i'm liking awesome-wm, possibly even more than openbox but the jury is still out on that. i set mod+p in settings for pamac, but in awesome's config it's "menubar" so sometimes it opens pamac and sometimes menubar, but thats just me acclimating to awesome's way of configuration. i3 felt like this:
in all fairness i could of changed all of i3 keybindings to suit what felt comfortable to me, i wanted to like it, i tried to like it, the shoe just didnt fit :frowning_face:

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I also like awesome-wm. I do not mind the keybindings of xfce, I deleted/remapped some of them or assigned them identical to awesome (e.g. launch terminal with Super+Return).

I deleted the keybinding to menubar, as I found myself using rofi most of the time and because I use mod+p as shortcut for xfce4-display-settings --minimal

I can relate to this. I also tried i3 first, but it felt not right to me and the transition from a more mouse-driven environment like xfce to a tiling manager felt a lot easier with awesome IMO.

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heh, i just yesterday i stopped using nitrogen to set the wallpaper at startup (that was only a temporary haphazard of doing it anyhow). im in the process of having awesome solely control the keybindings but tbh the defaults are damn near perfect, same for the way the tiling works, perfect.

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hey wow! thanks everyone for the helpful replies!!

Sorry I didn't reply earlier - for some reason I don't receive notifications despite being subscribed to the thread. Maybe it's something to do with keep switching haha :wink:

Rather than respond individually, will just say that yes, thanks you many of the useful comments above have proved themselves to be true. Yep it took the hassle out of it by using the community edition. It created a complete OS from the get-go.

Am absolutely LOVING this tiling WM. i3 was the place to start, but it's the principle/interface I love. SO much time wasted driving a mouse about the screen.

Also wanted to add I (feel) that I've made some significant improvements to the overall look and feel from doing things that were either never a part/need of the XFCE edition or, if they were, I never found them. I'm referring to having really sorted out the ~/.Xresources use and writing out the configs via the bmenu - a superb tool IMO.

So, just to heap a bit more love on it, one thing that is REALLY bugging me. Small but...

I do get that this is based on Manjaro, I really do! But can someone PLEASE tell me:

where does all this green get applied?? I love Manjaro, have no great plans to go 'full Arch' but... I detest having to look at the lurid green cursor as one example. And BEFORE someone points out that there's a colour editor in the xfce4-terminal - I know! However, what I'm referring to are things like:

Using mocp now, does everything I need to replay my music. Don't need a resource heavy app. But just like launching a terminal session in urxvt, it defaults to lurid green or orange colour scheme.

I've read A LOT of docs, trust me I have! And while I've learned a lot of really interesting things about the underlying architecture, rather than use something like for styling, and which implies that I have to load and export individual colour schemes on a per app basis, and which is both fiddly (having to edit things like .Xresources, .bashrc, terminalrc etc and I feel makes future upgrading difficult, I'm sure there must be some other file in the system that implies this green everywhere?

Is this colour use able to be change on a '--per -user' basis, as it were, particularly as I'm aware of the undesirability or writing into root level files and folders? Yes, sometimes that has to be done, but surely this Manjaro theming can be overwritten at local level?

If someone can tell me which file to either edit, delete or replace I will be even happier than I am now :slight_smile:

It’s complicated. Iirc a combination of i3’s config file for i3, and xresources. My strong recommendation is to 1) backup any file you are working on (cp config config.orig for example), then start playing.

On one install of arch I have multiple copies with different names and just change the name for the one I want active. For my manjaro I did it differently - I basically have multiple color entries in my config files, and comment the ones that I am not using. I like that approach more but everyone is different.

Urxvt (again if memory serves) relies on Xresources for color palette.

Incidentally, I started with a basic Xfce desktop when I first started using manjaro, and just added i3, conky etc. afterwards. I use the lightdm slick greeter and it works without a hitch.

Thanks - useful :slight_smile:

So you are saying (?) that indeed this IS a matter of individually configuring things?

I do certainly keep backups - anything I intend to edit is first copied over to a remote location.

I've gone quite a way with 'theming' insofar as once I learned to ensure the changes were merged into my .Xresources, and I had nevertheless already applied a rough pass of a colour scheme to my xfce4-terminal (yup! still using it for day to day) I noted unexpected things happening. A good example would be:

I'm using ncmpcpp with mpd. All lovely. If I open my xfce4-terminal and then start up ncmpcpp it displays in the same colours. Lovely! But if I launch ncmpcpp through the shortcut binding I've applied (in i3 obviously), and for which I decided to use their syntax and thus exec terminal -e 'ncmpcpp'it err... opens in a completely different colour theme. Darn!

So sure, I'm very happy to spend the time tweaking - I still can't get over how come all of this costs less than a pint of beer! - but as above, if there were some way that part of .profile or even .xinitrc were reading from some set of paths and finding this overall green theme, then that's what I'd prefer to edit. I realise it's purely cosmetic, but when one spends half of every day working on the computer well :slight_smile: but of course it IS highly instructive. I never knew there could be so much to learn about computer systems.

Just reread your last post. Each user has his own xresources file in their home directory. Same with the i3 and i3status config files.

If they are not present i3 will use the ones in your /etc directory. Don’t mess with them in place. Just copy them to the appropriate spot in your home directory. Read the arch wiki for more info.

Regarding the color schemes used by ncmpcpp I would have to look into it. Does it display property from any terminal, just incorrectly from your command shortcut? It may be launching into a different terminal which gets its theming from another source. They all do things differently. Which is annoying at times.

sorry if I wasn't clear in my earlier. To more fully explain:

I've read all the relevant docs at xorg, and a lot of stuff on the Arch wiki, along with stuff about terminals and etc. So I spent quite a bit of time mucking about with my xresources and ensuring that the changes were applied, as well as poking around my system for any other possible candidates.

Although I have 'themed' my xfce-terminal, I actually plan to migrate to urxvt and/or vim or maybe Emacs in the future, so it's more a case of aesthetics in that regard. But, to get back to the point

If I launch, say, urxvt from a bash shell (I hope my terminology is correct) the urxvt window inherits the colour scheme. If I then launch ncmpcpp from that urx window, it too displays theose colours.

Using the shortcut from i3, and which I assumed means "launch the required program with appropriate terminal" (because I deliberately didn't specify the xfce4 one) then I see that ncmpcpp launches in completely different colours. So clearly it's inheriting colours from some other scheme. Obviously I've been editing my xresources but I don't have orange and brown in there!

I noted that when I installed kid3 and ran it, out popped this horrible sort of peppermint/pistachio coloured interface - sort of like the Manjaro Maia palette. I certainly don't have any of those colours in my local files.

So yes, it's annoying. It also seems to be, reading around, somewhat inevitable. However, I was largely just checking that the people who assembled this community edition didn't impose some overall theme on it which is causing these colours.

Of course it doesn't help that I don't yet know how to debug urxvt or ncmpcpp... the help file on the latter couldn't be more brief!

What I expect is happening is when your shortcut is executed, it is launching the default terminal. Type in

echo $TERM

and I would be willing to bet the result is not urxvt. For the install I'm using now (arch) it's xterm-256.

Try changing the default terminal to urxvt. in your .bash_profile or .bashrc. My advice is not 100% accurate because I'm not a guru so no guarantees.

mine is xterm-256 also!

But... thanks for this - something else I can now look into, as those schemes are also catered for :slight_smile:

Haha... when I got into Linux a few years back, I never thought I'd be spending a Saturday morning learning about bash profiling!

I can recommend Spacemacs (or Emacs with Evil-mode):
Spacemacs basically uses Evil-mode (which is basically vim inside of emacs) with useful extensions to emacs and a package management system with layers.
I think vim-keybindings will suit you better than emacs (e.g. hjkl to scroll)

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