Tutorials/Using Other Window Managers with Plasma

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Introduction

KWin is the default window manager (WM) in Plasma and has lot of features, but only support floating windows. Plasma let you use another window manager for example i3, bspwm or any other tilling window manager.

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Warning
Other window managers are only available when using X.org. These changes can not be made for Wayland sessions.


Most window managers require few, if any, changes to their configuration files.

Some considerations to be aware of when using another window manager:

  • Tiling window managers may have problems with components like panels. For some configuration options will help alleviate issues
  • Most window managers do not have their own compositors, and therefore lack such features as animations and transparency. If such effects are desired, a compositor, such as compton, is required

Using Another Window Manager with Plasma

Single User: Using System Settings

This is the simplest method, but only affects the user for which it is added

Kde-i3-integration.png

  • Create a shell script (kde-i3.sh as an example), containing the following
    #!/bin/sh
    export KDEWM=/usr/bin/i3
    

Replace /usr/bin/i3 with the path to the window manager desired.

  • Start System Settings
  • Select Startup and Shutdown
  • Select Autostart
  • Click the Add script button below the list
  • Enter the location of the script created earlier, or use the folder icon to use a dialog to find it. Click OK, the script will be added to the list
  • In the Run On column, select Before Session Startup from the drop down list
  • The chosen window manager will be used the next time you log in

System Wide: Adding an XSession

If superuser (root) access is available, a new session file for X.org can be created.

This has several advantages: the alternate session is available to all users of the system, and changing back to KWin is as simple as logging out and then back in

To add a session for an alternate window manager, as the superuser

  • Copy the existing Plasma session flie
    cp plasma.desktop plasma-i3.desktop
  • Using a text editor, open the file and change the Exec line, and optionally the Description
    [Desktop Entry]
    Type=XSession
    Exec=env KDEWM=/usr/bin/i3
    DesktopNames=KDE
    Name=Plasma (i3)
    Comment=Plasma by KDE w/i3
    X-KDE-PluginInfo-Version=5.14.4
    
  • The display manager must be restarted, most easily by rebooting

I3 configuration

Installation

Before starting the configuration, you should make sure i3 or i3-gaps are installed on your system. If not use your packet manager or Discover to install one of this two packages. You should also install a compositor, because unlike KWin, i3 don't ship with an integrated compositor. I recommend the use of compton.

Create a default i3 configuration

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Note
If you already have an i3 configuration file (usually at .i3/config or .config/i3/config), you can skip this step.


Open a console and type i3-config-wizard. This command open a small windows that will help you create a configuration file.

I3-wizard.png

Some i3 keybinding can be used to provide better integration with Plasma.

# Open logout confirmation screen with $mod+e
bindsym $mod+Shift+e exec qdbus org.kde.ksmserver /KSMServer org.kde.KSMServerInterface.logout -1 -1 -1
# Open krunner with $mod+d
bindsym $mod+d exec qdbus org.kde.kglobalaccel /component/krunner org.kde.kglobalaccel.Component.invokeShortcut 'run command'

Some i3 window rules help you to have notification and some other plasma windows as floating windows:

for_window [title="Desktop — Plasma"] kill; floating enable; border none
for_window [class="plasmashell"] floating enable;
for_window [class="Plasma"] floating enable; border none
for_window [title="plasma-desktop"] floating enable; border none
for_window [title="win7"] floating enable; border none
for_window [class="krunner"] floating enable; border none
for_window [class="Kmix"] floating enable; border none
for_window [class="Klipper"] floating enable; border none
for_window [class="Plasmoidviewer"] floating enable; border none
for_window [class="(?i)*nextcloud*"] floating disable

bspwm

For the most part, bspwm requires little additional configuration.

  • A single Plasma panel, in most cases, is detected properly and bspwm will not place windows in its space. If the panel does present a problem, or when using multiple panels, the following may be added to .bspwmrc
    bspc config top_padding size
    where size is the size in pixels of the panel. Also valid are bottom_padding, left_padding, and right_padding. As many of these directive may be used as necessary for multiple panels.

This page was last modified on 29 December 2018, at 06:59. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.