ArchLabs i3 experience?

I thought that because i had (or maybe had) previously pressed escape to accept defaults and not enter to generate config during first run of the wizard, perhaps something was not ‘pointing’ to the config in my home/.config/i3 folder

So, I thought by running the wizard again and then replacing the generated config with my config it would (on reboot or ctrl+shif+R) start pointing to my config.

But, my logic must have been flawed :slight_smile:

The strange thing is that if I just uncomment the exec i3 in my .xinitrc to boot into i3 on tty1 it uses my ~/.config/i3/config

Actually it also seems to keep the dual monitor settings from openbox even tho havent included them in the i3 config yet. And the left handed mouse.

If those settings are in your ~/.xprofile, they will start with every window manager. I believe they will also be persistent if they are in the openbox autostart file; so once you log into openbox, the settings remain if you log out and then log into i3-gaps.


Thanks, I have monitors in .xprofile, I cant find the LHMouse settings anywhere, maybe I did that via the xfce settings?
I will look into this later, I think I am on the right track now, thanks to your patience :+1:

Did you do a clean install from the latest iso? The basic settings for a left-handed mouse are now included in the default .xprofile with the latest iso. It needs to be un-commented if you’re a southpaw. Thanks for that contribution.

What command are you using to start the window manager? I use this for i3 (no gaps):

startx $HOME/.xinitrc i3

replace i3 with the window manager of choice - openbox-session in your scenario.

1 Like

Since my default is openbox and I want to try out i3 in AL I used (in new console on tty2)

startx ~/.xinitrc i3

But in the new console its not using my i3 config (but the same i3 config works perfectly if I comment out your stuff and just use exec i3 in .xinitrc to boot straight into i3

or its confused since monitor settings arent in config but are in .xprofile or autostart?

My i3 config sets up separate bars for both monitors, one with one without tray, and other diffs but when I start tty2 i3 the bars are both the same at the bottom,

I need to look further into it now, before I get back to you but am stuck in Windows at work :frowning:

I have hope tho :slight_smile:

Seems like this has gone very confusing and there are simpler options.

You just want to switch between two window managers and have it be easy-ish while still using console login. I suggest an alias to edit the xinitrc and switch between

Put this in your ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc depending on which is your login shell

alias i3="sed -i 's/^exec .*/exec i3/' $HOME/.xinitrc && startx"
alias openbox="sed -i 's/^exec .*/exec openbox-session/' $HOME/.xinitrc && startx"

I would use a very simple xinitrc like so (comments removed for brevity, you can leave them if you like)

if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ]; then
    for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/?*.sh; do
        [ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
[ -r /etc/X11/xinit/.Xmodmap ] && xmodmap /etc/X11/xinit/.Xmodmap
[ -r ~/.Xmodmap ] && xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap
[ -r ~/.Xresources ] && xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources
[ -r ~/.xprofile ] && . ~/.xprofile
exec openbox-session

Now all you have to do is logout from whatever you’re using and type openbox or i3 to start either, this will also be made the new default for future autologin (can also be handled but I just didn’t).


I tried that but those aliases (and none of my aliases is .bashrc or .bash_aliases) seem to work after I logout or move to another tty. Is this normal?

The simplest way I can see is for the basic exec openbox-session .xinitrc like you said and then I type startx /usr/bin/openbox-session or startx /usr/bin/i3 after loging out or moving tty.
If I could get an alias working for those it would be simpler.

The problems with my i3 config are to do with where I define monitor layout I think

Bumbling around as usual :rofl:

You did set up arandr yes?

1 Like

No, try adding an echo something or similar command to your shellrc and see if it gets loaded, sounds like anytime you edit anything it all breaks lol.


Yes, but I moved it around:

In .config/openbox/autostart I have:

# Monitors (in ~/.xprofile)
#(sleep 1 && xrandr --output eDP1 --mode 1366x768 --pos 277x1080 --rotate normal --output DP1 --off --output HDMI1 --primary --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off) &

But in .xprofile I have it commented out as well

# Monitors
#(sleep 1 && xrandr --output eDP1 --mode 1366x768 --pos 277x1080 --rotate normal --output DP1 --off --output HDMI1 --primary --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off) &

So how come my monitors are set up properly in openbox? Is there somewhere else I could have put it?

I included the monitors bit in my i3 config too and now i3 is behaving

am currently just using up and down arrows for history to quickly run /usr/bin/openbox-session or startx /usr/bin/i3 after logging out till I work out how to get an alias working

I think i3 and AL are just made for each other. I literally just installed AL and i3 on my work PC even though my work is financial & accounting. I am going to make it work. I just love using the keyboard a lot more instead of using the mouse.

btw, the latest ISO was easy to install.


Theirs lots of info about multi monitors & i3 on the web.
The info here would apply to Arch or Debian.

Also have a look at this post, I ask about tty and logging in to i3wm.

1 Like

My .bashrc:

# ~/.bashrc

# If not running interactively, don't do anything
[[ $- != *i* ]] && return

alias ls='ls --color=auto'
PS1='[\u@\h \W]\$ '

# Aliases
if [ -f ~/.bash_aliases ]; then
. ~/.bash_aliases

Does having my aliases in .bash_aliases make a difference?
I did try testing this by putting your sed aliases above my # Aliases line but that didn’t work, but perhaps?

EDIT: AHA! If I logout then run . ~/.bash_rc then my aliases work!

EDIT 2: Right, after logout, my aliases don’t work until I run . ~/bashrc - and that doesn’t depend on whether they are in .bashrc or .bashrc

Thanks !
I used i3 for some months with Archbang and then EOS - after a difiicult start (WTF do I do now!) I loved it
Although now I have to say I am swinging back to Openbox
I loved the fact that I could customise everything from one file and played around with it a lot but now I was interested in seeing the ‘vanilla’ AL i3 (which is probably not why I should be using i3 :slight_smile: )

Monitors all good now that I put the arandr line in :blush:
Will take a peek at your post for tty :+1:

What shell are you using?
Default for ArchLabs is zsh not bash so the ~./bashrc will not be sourced automatically.

1 Like

Only because I recognised the name on install and was having problems with the installer and so trying to keep everything ‘normal’
How wrong I was

Can I swap to zsh without re-installing and getting back to my setup? (which might be fun anyway)

1 Like

Not necessarily. I’ve used bash all my life everywhere and I’m still alive. :smiley:

1 Like

You’re good. You’re using the right shell to source the .bashrc

Yes, once you have everything working, you can change shells. Takes a bit of work to get everything sourced again. So it’s not a straight up switch.

1 Like

Why not a display manager such as lightdm, sddm, gdm, etc? Much easier for new users to manage the sessions.