Monday, May 20, 2013

i3 -- a tiling window manager

I had used wmii for several months, and almost forgot it till today when my Ubuntu 12.04 stuck. I launched top and found the compiz consumed most of the resource of my PC. Of course I didn't find out the cause (due to my time and my skill level) and finally restart the system in command line mode.

So I recalled wmii the wonderful and lightweight window manager.

But I also recalled some reasons which prevented me using wmii as my main window manager:

  1. I didn't know how to make wmii show the system panel (that was the gnome panel) which keeps something like volume controls and daemon icons of ibus and Dropbox, etc.
  2. I have had two monitors and didn't know how to make wmii work with dual-monitor setting

I did some quick search and found an interesting article written by Tanguy: Tiling window managers.

The article listed three tilting window managers among which I've only used wmii. I heard of awesome but haven’t try it yet. After reading Tanguy's introduction, I decided to try i3.

I also did some more search about the system panel and finally got what I want. I listed some setting in my i3 configuration file (~/.i3/config):

# start-ups
exec unity-2d-panel
exec nm-applet
exec ibus-daemon
exec dropbox start -i
exec ~/Downloads/copy/x86/CopyAgent

# for dual-monitor
exec xrandr --output DVI-I-1 --auto --left-of DVI-I-2

where the DVI-I-1 and DVI-I-2 are my monitors detected by using the command xrandr.

Here is my working monitors with i3 as the window manager:

Using i3 window manager with dual monitors.

Close-up of the Unity panel.

I am not sure whether I got the dual-monitor setting right. In my case, the monitors show two different workspace but not a single workspace with extension monitor.

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