February 4, 2018

My Linux Experience — Manjaro i3

Manjaro i3 desktopManjaro i3 desktop

After spending a few days with Ubuntu and Gnome (see [My Linux Experience Day Two][1]) I wanted a chance to finally try a tiling” window manager. I’ve heard that they’re difficult at first but awesome once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Sounds right up my alley, so I installed [xmonad][2], rebooted, logged in, and…

Nothing. The login area faded away and the screen stayed exactly the same, but empty. I had expected a blank screen because that’s what xmonad starts with, so thought maybe this was it. I tried a few of the magic key combinations and again, nothing. Frustrated, I thought I’d look for alternatives to xmonad, just to get a feel for that type of window manager and see if I liked working that way.

[i3wm][3] seemed popular and well-liked and a decent alternative to xmonad so I decided to install it. While poking around I ran into [Manjaro i3 Community Edition][4]. What’s that? It’s a [Manjaro Linux][5] derivative that uses i3 and a sane configuration by default. I’d never even heard of Manjaro Linux before. It’s based on Arch, which everyone told me was difficult, but it was highly ranked on [DistroWatch.com][6], so throwing caution to the wind, I wiped the ThinkPad and installed Manjaro i3.

I’m so glad I did. i3 is terrifying and I’m still swearing a lot, but I can see the future and it looks efficient, lightweight, keyboard-driven, and cool.

Another welcome side effect is that the trackpad is now behaving properly. Not sure what the deal with was with Ubuntu but this is way better.

I have a long way to go before being remotely efficient on Linux but I’m having so much fun that it’s totally worth it.

[1]: https://jack.baty.net/2018/my-linux-experience-day-two/ [2]: http://xmonad.org/ [3]: https://i3wm.org/ [4]: https://manjaro.org/community-editions/ [5]: https://manjaro.org/ [6]: https://distrowatch.com/

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