Sway instead of i3

Even though I’m absolutely happy with my i3-gaps, I installed Sway - just out of curiosity. I noticed that it has already been mentioned in other threads, so if you please could share your experience here, it would be great.

Sway is a tiling Wayland compositor and a drop-in replacement for the i3 window manager for X11. It works with your existing i3 configuration and supports most of i3’s features, plus a few extras. (Arch Wiki)

Some of my must have applications still don’t run on Wayland, so the main challenge is to find valuable replacements.

polybar doesn’t work, tint2 doesn’t work

I’ve found 2 solutions so far:

  • waybar, which works, but looks like shit. Probably it may be customized to look better, who knows?
  • py3status, which is actually a plugin to i3 / Sway status bar. It comes with over 100 modules, ready to use and easy to customize.


Some replacement apps, e.g. for taking screenshots or recording video, are listed in the Arch Wiki.

Q&As spotted on the forum

(in relation to Nvidia sucks and I’m sick of it)

Hmmm, I’m not so sure. Bumblebee seems to work on my optimus laptop:

Does anyone have any solution, tips, questions or answers? Please leave them here.

Hmmm, seems like Sway is a helper for i3 like a plug-in. Does the regular i3 keys still function or does Sway take full control?

Nope, it a replacement for the i3 window manager. Own code, own config - everything. You can configure key bindings any way you want, same as in i3.

Interesting. But, it’s interfering with polybar? hmm, I’m going to have to play with Sway to figure this out.

I’m not really getting what you mean. :confused:

Hint: lightdm doesn’t see the Wayland session. GDM, SDDM or you can start it by just the sway command from CLI.

Sorry, this stupid autocorrect thinks it knows better than I in what I am trying to say. Polished indeed. I just didn’t catch the… anyway I meant interfering with polybar.

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Polybar didn’t work well for me. They say it’s possible to make it run, but I didn’t care much, as I never liked polybar, being used to tint2. The latter, according to developer’s statement, would be easier to port on Windows than on Wayland, so I started looking for alternatives (see OP).

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I use tint2 myself. It’s more versatile and easier to suit to one’s taste. imho.

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It’s a window manager for Wayland based on i3, will use your i3 config, but is not 100% compatible.

Tried it for a while. Pretty good for working in terminal, but like @nwg, too many applications I normally use weren’t working too well.

There is also a Wayland window manager based on awesome.

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It includes small but annoying things, like being unable to drag and drop into the browser window. Or thunar opening, but crashing when clicked. If I had a job to do, I wouldn’t waste time on the immature environment. On the other hand: it seems the lightest desktop I’ve ever had, judging from the CPU load. Never before have I seen values below 1% that often on my machine.

The last I read about Sway, it was still in the alpha stage of development. Granted this was a while ago, and I see that they have had a 1.1 release more recently. But judging from their open bugs, I would not be so fast to add Sway, as an a choice WM. Some of these bugs are show stoppers and would greatly impact the wider user base. That said, I would encourage you to use the WM you like, we are a derivative of Arch and therefore you could install any WM or DE you choose.

:smiley: GNU/LINUX Empowers Us.

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After several days of using Sway with AL, vanilla Arch and Void, I could summarize it this way: it’s possible (not necessarily easy) to setup all my basic workshop on Sway. It’s also possible to make it look decent. To full satisfaction I’d need Flameshot.


A word more on proprietary drivers and Bumblebee:

I used the bbswitch-status-temp.sh script (simplified version) from the t2ec repository to display current /proc/acpi/bbswitch, together with nvidia-smi -q -d content in the py3status external_script module. It still indicates nvidia working (“B 52 C” in the top bar).

See https://github.com/nwg-piotr/swayinfo for scripts and configs I use ATM (likely to change any moment. :slight_smile: )

I didn’t expect Steam + Bumblebee to work on Sway.

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No idea on another indicator to add here. :smiley:

Nice & dark @nwg

Hmmm… xfce4-power-manager refuses to work on Sway for some reason. Could anyone name a replacement?

gnome-power-manager, or whatever gnome is using these days. I suspect it will work with Wayland.

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It only seems to display stats…

I’d like to have something to display the low battery warning. It was easy with tint2. :confused: The battery module in py3status has an action like this (notification), but it doesn’t work on Sway, hell knows why.

In case someone else needed battery low/full notifications: https://github.com/nwg-piotr/swayinfo/blob/master/battery_warning.py

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