Introducing the Fedora i3 Spin

Fedora 34 features the brand new i3 Spin created by the Fedora i3 S.I.G. This new spin features the popular i3wm tiling window manager. This will appeal to both novices and advanced users who prefer not to use a mouse, touchpad, or other pointing device to interact with their environment. The Fedora i3 spin offers a complete experience with a minimalistic user interface and a lightweight environment. It is intended for the power user, as well as others.

The i3 Experience

The i3 window manager is designed and developed with power users and developers in mind. The use of keyboard short cuts, however, will appeal to novices and advanced users who prefer not to use a mouse, touchpad, or other pointing device to interact with their environment. Our intention is to bring this experience to all users, giving them a lightweight environment, usable and extendable, where people can just work.

Design Goals

The Fedora i3 S.I.G work is based on the design goals for the project. These goals determine what we decide to include and how we tune or customize the contents of the Fedora i3 Spin.

The following is a list of the packages included. Others may be added from the Fedora Linux repository as required. Keep in mind that this is a minimalist spin.

Thunar

Thunar file manager is a modern file manager for the Xfce Desktop Environment. It is designed from the ground up to be fast, easy-to-use, lightweight, and full featured.

Mousepad

Mousepad text editor aims to be an easy-to-use and fast editor. This is not a complete development environment, however, it is powerful enough to read code and highlight syntax.

Azote

Azote is a GTK+3-based picture browser and background setter. The user interface is designed with multi-display setups in mind. Azote includes several color management tools.

network-manager-applet

nm-applet is a small GTK+3-based front-end for NetworkManager. It allows you to control, configure and use your network. It will cover everything from wired to wireless connections, including VPN management.

Firefox

Firefox is the default web browser chosen by the Fedora Project to be included in the different projects we ship. While not the lightest weight browser, it is the standard for Fedora Linux.

Get Fedora i3 Spin

Fedora 34 with i3wm is available for download here. For support, you can visit the #fedora-i3 channel on Freenode IRC or use the Users Mailing List.

Fedora Project community For Developers For System Administrators New in Fedora

51 Comments

  1. Tom

    I’ll definitely be trying this spin! Really cool stuff guys.

    • Eduard Lucena

      Thanks! I hope to hear your feedback on our communication channels!

    • Eduard Lucena

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy the spin.

      • Stephen

        I put it on an old Dell Inspiron 1501 which runs a Turion X2 64 CPU and shares the total of 2GB of Ram with the onboard video. I’m typing my reply from it now. Just playing with packaged stuff for now, and getting some (missing) libs installed for them , such as xrandr and imagemagick for azote.

  2. qoheniac

    I use Sway for a year now and Fedora has everything I ever needed already packaged so that I was wondering why there’s no Sway spin.

    • Eduard Lucena

      The Sway SIG works very hard to keep these packages, and we will probably see a spin from them in the near future.

      We produce the i3 Spin because we work with it and use it as a daily driver, to have a spin with i3 makes sense for us.

  3. Ralf

    I tested it some weeks ago. Very small memory footprint, I believe it was about 523 MB memory consumption, compared to Gnome with more than 1 GB. You can navigate via dmenu if you want some navigation in the case you can’t remember a cli-command for example. I liked it a lot and will definitively return to it. I wasn’t aware that you can navigate through files via Thunar.
    Thanks, very cool spin for memory restricted environments or for learning purposes. Some people think that using the mouse to navigate slows you down, which I can somehow imagine.
    I just have to concentrate on writing code again.

    • Eduard Lucena

      Thanks! I hope to hear your feedback on our communication channels!

  4. Richard

    I just came over to fedora to try out gnome 40 which I really am liking so far. However I have been using i3 for the past few years and still would rather use it for work. So this is great news!

    • Eduard Lucena

      Thanks! I hope to hear your feedback on our communication channels!

  5. macsmister

    I really wish all this effort had been geared to create a Sway spin instead. It seems like Sway would be right up Fedora’s alley being “i3 on Wayland”…
    Nevertheless, great job dev team! It’s always nice to have more choice. 😃

    • Cyber Trekker

      Since the i3 spin was instigated by those interested in the i3wm and not those of whom favour Sway, it is completely understandable that an i3 spin was developed.

      If those preferring Sway want a spin, then they have to start a SIG for it and do as the i3 SIG did.

      • Eduard Lucena

        Instigated is a strong word. We use i3 as daily driver and have it in a spin makes sense for us. The Sway SIG make a wonderful work maintaining the Sway packages, and that’s their focus, our focus was to create a spin.

  6. TD Stasio

    I’ve used i3 before and was excited to try it out. I got stuck when it came time to install. All the other spins and labs have a shortcut/icon on the desktop to install but not this one. The SIG page at the Fedora Wiki didn’t have it either. I finally got the answer from a user on #fedora-i3 at Freenode when I went there and asked.

    Command to install: liveinst

    Please add this little but important instruction to the documentation.

    • Eduard Lucena

      Thanks for taking the time to test it. We are working in several aids, including this one. I hope you enjoy the spin!

      • TD Stasio

        When I was first introduced to i3wm I watched the videos available on their website. Once you figure out the basics it’s easy to just fly with it. It’s nice to know there is an official SIG for it now. It would be nice to see something about it at SCaLE next year. 🙂

  7. hammerhead corvette

    This is a long time coming, so glad it’s here and someone is leading the charge ! I’ve used i3 on and off because of configs, glad this is here now !

    • Eduard Lucena

      I hope you can try it and give us feedback! Thanks!

  8. Juan David Sanchez Leal

    I install Fedora 33 on a 2008 Netbook //
    1.5 Ghz Dual Core – 2 Gb RAM – 250 GB SATA

    dnf install i3

    Make it usable.

    • Stephen Snow

      To install from Live ISO, open a terminal (Mod-Enter), then type

      liveinst

      .

  9. Ralf

    Somehow coming from another world, I’m wondering which editor you guys use for your daily work. There are different flavors of vim and I’m actually wondering which one to use and which extensions or extensibility options I actually need?
    I have a couple of books about vim and vim-variants, but no time to take a deep-dive into that topic upfront.

    Any suggestions?

    One additional topic: I recently tried the fish-shell but returned back to bash, since it’s simple and easy to use and I dislike to install additional extensions, since I often work on different machines and I don’t want to waste to much time. Same is true for my editor-setup.

    • I mostly use vim. I don’t like the extensions either for the same reason — I’m a sysadmin who uses several systems and I don’t want things to be different depending on what system I happen to be working on. Vim has always been sufficiently powerful without much modification for me. I will occasionally open up ~/.vimrc and add things like “set nohls” or “set ts=3”, but those tend to just be small ascetic tweaks, nothing functional. For the most part, mastering vim requires understanding vim’s grammar (and a lot of practice).

      • Pablo

        This “wanting to live lean” so it doesn’t matter where you are logged in has been my way forever. But I have come to realize it is not healthy to play vim all around my servers, I am trying to dive into automation and having my systems configured from a set of git repos where deploying changes or rolling them back and having a history of changesets and when were they applied is easy. Plus then you can truly customize your tools.

    • Eduard Lucena

      Like Gregory said, try to learn vim grammar, it’s present almost everywhere. I use vim and I have several vimrc files, that I use depending of the situation, calling them with the -u flag.

      On shells topic, it always is a matter of taste. I use zsh with oh-my-zsh to manage plugins and themes.

      • Ralf

        Yeah, thanks for the update, I think I will take a deep-dive into one of the vim books very soon. Today is the last day of the KubeCon and I have one appointment outside my own walls. Pretty normal day.
        Have a nice week Gregory and Eduard.

  10. Jasper

    Really cool to hear these projects. Nevertheless I favour a sway spin over a Xorg based spin. I’m using sway daily and very happy with it.

    • macsmister

      Curious to know how what you installed to have a good experience with Sway in Fedora.

  11. I use i3 on my office workstation at work because I do a lot of work at the command line on that workstation. I’m working remotely these days, but if/when I return to the office, I’ll probably give this spin a try.

    One thing that I would like to see is a more unified clipboard. Apologies if this has already been fixed, but when I was last using it, copied text often didn’t end up in whichever buffer it is that one receives when they press Shift+Insert to paste text. I’d like as much as possible to end up in that global clipboard/buffer if possible. Ctrl+V doesn’t always work well on terminal applications and, of course, I’d rather not have to reach for the mouse if I don’t have to. Thanks!

  12. João Paulo

    I really liked this spin, very productive and minimalist! Alt + tab nevermore! Congrats

  13. Darvond

    One thing I have to wonder (for the sake of curiosity) is what i3 and Sway did to earn their keep, over things like Ratpoison, xmonad, WindowMaker*, pekwm, Qtile, herbstluftwm, bspwm, calm, herbstluftwm, and all those other window managers that were it not for a difference in codebase and ideas, would otherwise appear similar if not identical to each other?

    *Except WindowMaker. I really like it as an outstanding retro throwback.

    • Eduard Lucena

      I can talk by others, but IMO the popularity comes from tiling* + the easy to write config file without need to know any programming language.

      This exclude WindowMaker, OpenBox and other “stand-alone” window managers.

      • Darvond

        Well, some of them, yes. Other I understand use the hard knock method of requiring recompilement in order to integrate changes? I think it’s mainly the one written in Haskell, but I could be wrong/misinformed.

        While writing configuration files are nice, I do wish there was a slight increase in graphical configurators; even a basic switchboard with all valid settings. Keeping track of all the options for something like Sway and getting the syntax right can be a little voodoo.

      • Darvond

        Sure. Except I’m fairly certain one of them literally requires you to recompile it to apply any configuration, and many of them lack for visual configuration options; even a visual board to toggle options with.

        Sometimes it isn’t easy keeping track of options in Sway (for example); especially regarding the matters of syntax such as setting up the idle or keeping track of all those keybinds.

  14. Wayne Walker

    WooHoo!!!! i3 getting the support it deserves!!!

  15. Peter ten Kleij

    https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/quick-docs/switching-desktop-environments/

    On a stock Fedora workstation install you can do:
    sudo dnf install @i3-desktop-environment

    • Ralf

      Would be interesting if there is something like: rpm-ostree install @i3-desktop-environment. Doesn’t exist, so I’m wondering how to do that…

      • Sampsonf

        Under Silverblue, we can do:

        rpm-ostree install i3

        In GDM, after selection Username, click on the Gear on the lower right corner, selection i3

        Logon, then you are in the i3 environment.

  16. svsv sarma

    I want to give it a try. But where is the verification process and Fedora Media Writer support? Perhaps it is in the trial stage!

  17. Sampsonf

    The i3 spin is very useable for old notebooks with 2GB rams only.

    I am watching closely and hope Chinese input methods like ibus-cangjie will be supported soon.

    • miklo

      For old notebooks I prefer DWM:
      https://dwm.suckless.org/

      • Darvond

        dwm is customized through editing its source code,

        Yeah what‽

        Because dwm is customized through editing its source code, it’s pointless to make binary packages of it. This keeps its userbase small and elitist. No novices asking stupid questions.

        Ah, I see. He nods, with an air of concern.

        I feel like there are several other lightweight non-elitist WMs out there.

        • miklo

          Haha. Yep. DWM is just ultralight and fast. I don’t care about elite 😉

  18. No mouse

    Nice addition. Looking forward to improved productivity!

  19. thrix

    Thanks for this awesomeness! Are there any plans to provide a i3 spin for Silverblue?

    • Sampsonf

      Under Silverblue, we can do:

      rpm-ostree install i3

      In GDM, after selection Username, click on the Gear on the lower right corner, selection i3

      Logon, then you are in the i3 environment.

  20. Now that there is an i3 Spin, a Sway spin would be logical for wayland compatibility. Swap Firefox for Qutebrowser then we have a perfect lightweight spin for keyboard-centered experience. Add Claws-mail client there too … that should do it for emails (though aerc-mail is also cool for terminal nerds)

    • Let’s see if the Sway SIG want to create the spin, we are willing to work with them. Qutebrowser is great, but we will stick with fedora’s default. You can change it! The beauty of FLOSS

  21. mike

    It’s a great start. But needs a lot of refinement. But kudos for this spin. Now how about SwayWM?

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