i3 is a tiling window manager, completely written from scratch. The target platforms are GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems, our code is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) under the BSD license. i3 is primarily targeted at advanced users and developers.
fragment from i3wm.org
This post has been updated to work with Ubuntu 13.10
I started using i3 as my window manager eight months ago, since then I’ve been using i3 alone, at first it was a pain, all things I was used to in a traditional desktop environment no longer worked as I expected, usb automounting, sound indicator with media controls, wallpaper, screen-saver… all gone. You can have some of those things back, but you have to install and configure them individually, they work pretty well but they are still replacements and not everything works as you are used to from another desktops.
A friend of mine who recently started working on the place where I work, showed me his desktop setup using xmonad over a gnome 3 session, replacing its own window manager with a tiling window manager, but keeping all the goodies from gnome. Xmonad installs by default a gnome session using xmonad as window manager in addition to a just xmonad session. So I decided to replicate it for i3, which was dead easy.
If you are using Ubuntu with unity, you will need to install gnome 3 and i3. Do it by running
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-session gnome-settings-daemon gnome-panel i3
then create the file
/usr/share/xsessions/gnome-i3.desktop and put this inside
[Desktop Entry] Name=GNOME with i3 Comment=A GNOME fallback mode session using i3 as the window manager. Exec=gnome-session --session=i3 TryExec=gnome-session Icon= Type=Application
finally create another file in
/usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/i3.session containing the following
[GNOME Session] Name=gnome-i3 RequiredComponents=gnome-settings-daemon;gnome-panel;i3;
Now restart your session manager and select “Gnome with i3” as your session.
$ sudo service lightdm restart
If you don’t like having the Gnome desktop as a window inside your i3 you can disable it with the following command:
$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false You can also restore the setting repeating the command but changing false to true.