Trying Out i3 Window Manager

The title says it all. I have been trying out i3 windows manager on both Windows 10 and on Linux. Overall I like it, and I am using it right now to write this blog post.

How I got interested

@jessfraz tweeted about running i3 on WSL. Later in the thread:

What is i3?

In short, it brings mac like window tiling powers to your linux (and now through WSL Windows) machine. All manipulated by hotkeys, switch from window to window, workspace to workspace. Resize, move and change windows, open/close mostly anything you can think of to keep your hands on the keyboard and off the mouse.

Learning i3

After watching this video I was hooked.

I followed the path explained in Brian Ketelsen’s blog post and configured i3 on my work laptop under WSL. After resolving a hotkey conflict, I really like how it works. It is like a superpower.

A few days later I installed and configured the laptop I use for most non-work projects, an older Thinkpad X1 with Solus-Linux, I have been using Budgie since I installed Solus, running i3 is quite a change. Luckily the second video in the Code Cast i3wm series walks through many of the steps to make i3 feel more polished.

I am still stumbling here and there on less common actions, I am forcing myself to think of the hotkeys before resorting to looking at the quick reference card.


After a week, I am still booting into i3 on my linux machine. At work on win10 I have stopped bothering. The extra complexity of the window manager combined with a few conflcting hotkeys is just enough friction to slow me down and erase the gains of i3.

Where I am finding i3 most useful is for writing and updating posts. The ability to have a browser, Atom and a command line all at once is the Goldilocks of workspace set-ups.

Written on March 31, 2018