Installation

These are the few packages I installed to get basic yet confortable acces to my desktop.

sudo apt install i3 i3status dmenu i3lock xbacklight feh
  1. i3 is the windows manager itself.
  2. i3status is the status bar with some basic system information.
  3. dmenu helps you to find and execute applications.
  4. i3lock lets you lock the session.
  5. xbacklight lets you control the brightness of your screen.
  6. feh lets you set a custom wallpaper.

Once the installation is completed you can logout and login choosing the new desktop i3.

First thing you’ll see is a prompt to make some minimal configuration. It happens as expected using Trisquel but I had problems when installing on Debian: you may choose your $mod key.

The $mod key is needed to perform some actions, like open applications.

Some commands

Open a terminal.

$mod + Enter 

Open dMenu, then you can write the app name and open it.

$mod + d

The next aplication opened on the same screen will split vertically or horizontally.

$mod + [h,v] 

The window on focus gets maximize.

$mod + f 

Close the current window.

$mod + shift + a 

Move focus around: It performs the same action than $mod + cursor keys.

$mod + [i,k,l,m] 

The pointer shape changes and you can close an application.

1. $mod + d
2. xkill
3. click on the window you need to close

It opens a new workspace or it navigates between them.

$mod + [1-9] 

It exits the current session.

$mod + shift + e

It navigates between windows.

$mod + cursor keys

It moves the current window.

$mod + shift + cursor keys

In order to customize i3wm you need to edit this file:

~/.config/i3/config

i3-config-wizard let us reset the config file if anything goes wrong. After modifying the config file we have to save the changes and refresh:

$mod + shift + r

Some interesting applications.

  • Alsamixer for sound control.
    sudo apt install alsa-utils
    
  • xbacklight for brightness control.
    xbacklight -set 90
    
  • nmcli as network manager.
  • mc (Midnight commander) as files browser.
  • glances as System monitor.
  • tmux as terminal multiplexer.

Using feh you can update the background image.

exec feh --bg-scale ~/path/to/wallpaper.png

Finally I set tmux as defult in my bash: Edit / Profile / Run a custom command instead of my shell:

tmux

And that is, I hope it helps you to get started.