Getting Started Guide (of sorts )…
There are people who could probably explain it better than I can, but here’s my take on Regolith and i3 in general. I’m neither a dev, nor do I do any work in the IT sector whatsoever, so if I can do it, so can you!
I can understand the hesitation and difficulties that go with trying something completely different and going outside your comfort zone with i3. I’ve been there, and I remember it well, since I’ve only been on i3 for maybe 6 months. But to embrace a tiling WM is to embrace minimalism, efficiency and an adventurous spirit! (Isn’t the last bit what a BDLL distro challenge is all about???)
i3 is probably the besting starting point into tiling WMs, as configuring it requires no programming knowledge whatsoever. The config file is simple enough to understand. It’s located at:
I suggest keeping the config file open because not only will it give you easy access to the keybindings when you can’t see the desktop conky cheatsheet, but you can make customisations on the fly.
There are just a few keybindings that are probably a MUST to memorise and the rest you will learn as you spend more time using it. These are:
super + space = program launcher (used to launch nautilus, firefox, etc)
super + enter = terminal
super + shift + q = kill active window
super + shift + e = quit i3 back to login screen
super + backspace = toggle whether the next window you open will be tiled horizontally or vertically
(tip: look for the thin blue line on the border of your currently active window to see where the next window will go)
super + [number key] = move to a specific workspace
That’s probably the bare minimum of shortcuts you will need to memorise. Get those down pat and you are well on your way.
The last shortcut on that list is particularly important because part of the paradigm shift is making use of the workspaces. This is key to making good use of a tiling WM. Run out of space? Just go to the next workspace.
Take your time. Don’t try and learn all the keybindings at once. That’s what the cheatsheet and/or keeping the config file open is for.
If you decide to make changes to the config for yourself, don’t forget to save it, then reload it with:
super + shift + c (or super + shift + r).
One modification I can probably suggest to make out of the gate is to change the default terminal it opens (super + enter) to “gnome-terminal”. I don’t know why they chose to use “st” (simple terminal from suckless) as it’s just not as familiar/easy to users transitioning from other DEs. I’ll use this as an example:
super + space; and open nautilus/files
- copy /etc/regolith/i3/config to ~/.config/regolith/i3/ (you may need to create this folder)
- open the file you just copied over ~/.config/regolith/i3/config
- find this section in the config file:
#start a terminal
bindsym $mod+Return exec /usr/bin/st
- replace the command at the end with /usr/bin/gnome-terminal
- save the file
super + shift + c to reload the config
There you’ve customised the config! Sorry if this was obvious for some, but it was just an example. Now you can customise to your hearts content. Change the keybindings to things that might make more sense to you. This will help you to remember them.
Spend time looking over the config file, it gives you a good understanding of what i3 is capable of. I’ve noticed it doesn’t even implement all of the functions of i3 - so there’s even more to discover.
In case anyone is curious here’s my config for i3 on arcolinux:
Take some time to read other people’s i3 configs such as Erik Dubois and Luke Smith. It’ll give you more of a sense of what i3 can do.