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    I’ve used Arch + xfce + i3 for a long time, but recently switched to MX Linux. On one hand, I felt a lot more productive when I used i3. On the other hand, I feel like if xfce just allowed more advanced key actions, I’d be able to replicate the most used features from i3. Normally I just conjure up a tiled configuration of terminal and file explorer windows with some keypresses, and work with those.

    One of the drawbacks of using i3 is that nobody else can use your computer. Also, your head is full with key combinations. This usually works well, but if I didn’t touch my computer for a month, I’d have to stare at my config file for a while before being able to do some things.

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      One of the drawbacks of using i3 is that nobody else can use your computer.

      This is a primary benefit, in my opinion.

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        your head is full with key combinations

        If i3 offered a close button in the title bar, everything is the same as your typical window manager.

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          I use i3wm since 2013 and failed several times to go back to “normal” DEs. The only thing that I was missing was a bit more dynamism (e.g. simply switching between color schemes or hiding the i3bar with a keyboard shortcut). I wrote a little tool that makes this possible. As far as I know I am the only user, but I am happy with it: https://pypi.org/project/i3configger/

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          i3lock for the win!

          Considering that most of my time is either spent in Firefox or the terminal, i3 is an ideal WM.

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            I mainly used i3 on my laptop as a student, as the tilted desks in auditoriums make using a mouse nigh on impossible and trackpads just kinda suck. I switched to dwm after a while though.

            As an emacs user I want to give exwm a try soon to see how viable that is for day-to-day usage.

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              I’ve been using EXWM as my sole window manager on all of my devices for years and it’s possibly the biggest productivity boost in my setup, ever (apart from lower-level things like investing in Nix). FWIW, my configuration (not actually all that complex is here, especially config/desktop.el.

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                Nothing to add here except my switch to EXWM was similar; I look back on my pre-EXWM days as a kind of dark ages.

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                  Is there some advantage that EXWM has over i3?

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                    Yes, EXWM treats every X client as just another Emacs buffer, so you don’t have to use two separate sets of bindings to manipulate something depending on whether it’s inside Emacs or outside it. Every other WM in the world lacks this incredible feature.

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                  What makes it so productive for you compared to other tiling wms?

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                    It’s difficult to explain concisely, because it requires some understanding of Emacs (i.e. one should be over thinking that Emacs is a text editor).

                    Emacs is my primary workflow tool and having my window manager integrated into that means that there’s no longer an additional “layer” to deal with, I can use all the same tools and mechanisms to manage my windows as I use to manage everything else. I can also introspect and modify my WM the same way I would my Emacs-based mail client.

                    There’s a longer form blog post I’m working on about this, if you’re interested I can send you the draft (though I’m not particularly happy with it yet).

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                      I am interested, please do :)

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                I have been using i3 for the past half year or so on my work computer and have grown very fond of it.

                I might be something of a hoarder, I usually wind up with easily a dozen terminals, two editor windows, two browser, a chat, etc. I find that on typical drag-and-drop window managers I spend a lot of time (and mental energy) locating my stuff, shifting windows around, organizing stuff. I find that with a tiling window manager, I have almost no wasted space and an easy way to organize the windows such that what I am using often is close together and what is seldom used together is further separated. Instead of shifting windows the whole day, I typically set up my split once and keep it until my laptop crashes. If i3 hasn’t been a boon for productivity, it has at least been positive for not feeling burdened with mundane housekeeping tasks.

                That being said, i3 is not a desktop environment. You will find that when you start programs from the GTK or KDE families, things will look odd and will not be integrated, at times. I am not sure I could stomach this at home for a laptop that I also use for more leisurely activities. Also, nobody else can use your computer anymore. Whether this is a curse or a blessing depends ;)

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                  You will find that when you start programs from the GTK or KDE families, things will look odd and will not be integrated, at times.

                  You can launch gnome-settings-daemon in your .xsession or whatever to handle your fonts and themes; that’s pretty lightweight and works regardless of what WM/desktop you use.

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                    I agree with this. As far as I’m concerned, common floating window managers are manual window manages. Splitting tiling window managers (like i3) are semi-automatic window managers. Layout-based tiling window managers (like xmonad) are automatic window managers. You simply cease managing windows completely, and leave that task to your… window manager.

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                    I’ve used yabai (né ChunkWM) and skhd on MacOS as a mouseless BSP-based window manager for several years now. While not exactly easy to setup/configure and not quite as powerful as i3 due to the MacOS window manager being a bit tougher to hook into, I’ve found it to be quite productive to use.

                    As a downside, what /u/rustybolt said is 100% true:

                    One of the drawbacks of using i3 is that nobody else can use your computer. Also, your head is full with key combinations. This usually works well, but if I didn’t touch my computer for a month, I’d have to stare at my config file for a while before being able to do some things.

                    These go doubly for yabai/skhd, since no one is expecting a keyboard based window manager on what looks to be a vanilla MacOS install.

                    yabai: https://github.com/koekeishiya/yabai

                    skhd: https://github.com/koekeishiya/skhd

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                      I’ve been using i3 for ~7 years, first on Arch, then on RHEL, and now on Debian/Ubuntu. The packaging varies widely- I compiled from source on RHEL, but the version in the Ubuntu and Debian repos is generally up-to-date and Arch is of course, recent.

                      The best way I’ve found to think about the custom keybindings is just another mode in a modal editing environment. I have the Meta key bound to all window actions in i3, and the keybinds are as vim-like as possible. When using vim within i3, it’s simple to mentally switch from “change active buffer in a split with Ctrl+h” to “change active window in window manager with Meta+h”. Once the keybinding barrier between application and window manager is similar but clearly delineated on different modifier keys, muscle memory from one applies to the other and the whole environment feels more cohesive. The same kind of logic applies to whatever your memory-mapped keybinds are, for example I bind Meta+F2 to a program launcher because of years of using KDE and GNOME.