DEV Community

Cover image for I cannot leave tiling window managers anymore!
Sérgio Araújo
Sérgio Araújo

Posted on • Updated on

I cannot leave tiling window managers anymore!


I have used gnome-shell for a very long time until taking tiling widow managers seriously. As a vim user I am already used to suffer a while until creating muscle memory and having my thoughts becoming actions in terminal...

The first attempt:

Bspwm. Using a post from "Terminal root" (Marcos Oliveira), the recipe was quite easy to follow and I started tweaking my shortcuts and so on.

The awesom and dwm

I became curious about other tiling window managers and started using awesome, at this time I already had my suckless terminal build and gradually became more prone to use dwm, of course I miss some desktop features, but in general it's worth paying the price, loosing some desktop features, even because new scripts and tips are appearing all the time.

The PopOS gnome-shell extension

For now I will continue to use my dwm and once in a while I will try the PopOS solution to see if they can convince me to get back to gnome-shell.

See my dotfiles here:

The st I am using is a copy of st-bonk, there is a copy of it on my dotfiles.

Eventually this article will grow

I am thinking in gradually share some of my ideas, some of them would be considered craziness but some could inspire you (possibly).

The first one is istalling a package called lsd cargo install lsd it adds icons to folders and files as you type ls, this way it becomes easy to know what whe have in our terminal, even when you are changing your terminal colors at every 5 minutes with a crontab like this:

# crontab -e
# >/dev/null 2>&1 <- used to preven sending e-mail's
# in order to get your DISPLAY run the command below
# env | grep -i display
# If you do not set this variable feh will not change your wallpaper
# source:

*/5 * * * * /home/sergio/.local/bin/wal -qi /home/sergio/.dotfiles/backgrounds >/dev/null 2>&1
* */1 * * * /bin/newsboat -x reload  # reload hourly
* * * * *  /home/sergio/.dotfiles/bin/ >/dev/null
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

You can download the above code (raw) at this link

The lsd (ls with icons) in action

Image description

One of my wallpapers, because I am used to collect good images:

Image description

Check battery state:

Notice that we have one line in our crontab that call the bellow script

# File: /home/sergio/.dotfiles/bin/
# Last Change: Mon, 26 Sep 2022 16:40:52
# crontab example where you can use this script:

# battery_status=$(upower -i /org/freedesktop/UPower/devices/battery_BAT0 | awk '/state:/ {print $2}')
# battery_level=$(acpi -b | grep -P -o '[0-9]+(?=%)')
battery_status=$(cat /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/status)
battery_level=$(cat /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/capacity)

if [ $battery_level -ge 95 ]; then
    if [[ "$battery_status" == "Charging" ]]; then
        dunstify -i "battery-charging" -r 1245 --urgency=LOW  "Battery Full" "Level: ${battery_level}%"
        #paplay /usr/share/sounds/freedesktop/stereo/complete.oga
elif [ $battery_level -le 20 ]; then
    if [[ "$battery_status" == "Discharging" ]]; then
        dunstify -i "alert" -r 1245 --urgency=CRITICAL "Battery Low" "Level: ${battery_level}%"
        # paplay /usr/share/sounds/freedesktop/stereo/suspend-error.oga
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Notification system

I am using dunst, here on voidlinux I had to uninstall xfce4 so it does not mess things up.

Image description

Image description

Image description

All my dunst configuration is here the only thing you have to do is change /home/sergio in the dunstrc.


During idle time we can activate our lock screen, and xautolock does more than that, it has a -corners option where you can say:

1 - (0) Do nothing
2 - (-) Do not lock screen while over this corner
3 - (+) After some seconds here we are going to lock your screen

The xautolock corners follows this order: Top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right.

My corners option is this: -corners "++--" and my entire xautolock command is this:

pgrep -x xautolock >/dev/null ||  xautolock -time 5 -locker slock -nowlocker slock -detectsleep -corners ++-- -cornerdelay 3 -notify 5 -notifier "/home/sergio/.dotfiles/bin/" &
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The below:

# File: /home/sergio/.dotfiles/bin/
# Last Change: Thu, 06 Oct 2022 13:33:31
# References:
# tags: [screensaver, dunst, dunstify,  notification, xautolock, x11]

set -e

# gets mouse x coordinate
mousex (){
    echo "$(xdotool getmouselocation --shell | awk -F= 'NR==1 {print $2}')"

pos=$( mousex )

for p in $(seq 0 2 100); do

    dunstify --icon screensaver \
        -h int:value:"$p" \
        -h 'string:hlcolor:#ff4444' \
        -h string:x-dunst-stack-tag:progress-lock \
        --timeout=500 "about to lock screen ..." "move or use corners"
    sleep 0.05

    if [ "$pos" != "$(mousex )" ] ; then
       dunstctl close
       exit 1

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

dmenu record script

In this link at paste.bin

The st-bonk build

I have added transparency to the st-bonk, in my dotfiles I have a copy of it with the mentioned patch applyed, hence it will be easy for you to remap your gnome-terminal in gnome-shell, for instance, and have a decent transparent terminal.

Patches list on my dwm:

These are the patches I am using:

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Of course this is the hardest part, figuring out what patches attend better your needs but at the end you will get the hang of it. Some chages do not even need the patch command, for example the "shiftview.c", the c file we map to jump to the next tag like MODKEY + ]

/* add this line before keys[] */
#include "shiftview.c"
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
/* the shiftview.c file */
/** Function to shift the current view to the left/right
 * @param: "arg->i" stores the number of tags to shift right (positive value)
 *          or left (negative value)
shiftview(const Arg *arg) {
    Arg shifted;

    if(arg->i > 0) // left circular shift
        shifted.ui = (selmon->tagset[selmon->seltags] << arg->i)
           | (selmon->tagset[selmon->seltags] >> (LENGTH(tags) - arg->i));

    else // right circular shift
        shifted.ui = selmon->tagset[selmon->seltags] >> (- arg->i)
           | selmon->tagset[selmon->seltags] << (LENGTH(tags) + arg->i);

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Now at the key table put these lines:

{ MODKEY,   XK_bracketleft,     shiftview,   {.i = -1} },
{ MODKEY,   XK_bracketright,    shiftview,   {.i = +1} },
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Rules to tame your windows:

Specially for firefox download windows I figured out a solution (I have the switchtotag patch installed):

For scratchpad terminals I have a patch and of course the rules also are listed here.

static const Rule rules[] = {
    /* xprop(1):
     *  WM_CLASS(STRING) = instance, class
     *  WM_NAME(STRING) = title

    /* class              instance    title       tags mask     switchtotag    isfloating   monitor */
    { "Gimp",             NULL,       NULL,       0,            0,             1,           -1 },
    { "Firefox",          NULL,       NULL,       2 << 0,       1,             0,           -1 },
    { "TelegramDesktop",  NULL,       NULL,       1 << 4,       1,             0,           -1 },
    { "ranger",           NULL,       NULL,       4 << 0,       1,             0,           -1 },
    { "pulse",            NULL,       NULL,       0,            0,             1,           -1 },
    { "St",               NULL,       NULL,       1 << 0,       1,             0,           -1 },
    { "term2",            NULL,       NULL,       0,            0,             0,           -1 },
    { "htop",             NULL,       NULL,       0,            0,             1,           -1 },
    { "scratchpad",       NULL,       NULL,       0,            0,             1,           -1 },
    { "scratchy",         NULL,       NULL,       0,            0,             1,           -1 },
    { "nvim",             NULL,       NULL,       1 << 8,       1,             0,           -1 },
    { "newsboat",         NULL,       NULL,       1 << 5,       1,             1,           -1 },
    { "Nemo",             NULL,       NULL,       1 << 7,       1,             0,           -1 },
    { "Firefox",          "Places",   "Library",  0,            0,             1,           -1 },
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The last line has the solution for the problem

The terminal font:

Iosevka Mayukai Original

My backgrounds folder

My wallpapers

If you want to create thumbnails easily read this article

Image description

Tweking rofi to get awesome dialogs:

I have discovered an amazing rofi setting collection here

Image description

Image description

Top comments (6)

voyeg3r profile image
Sérgio Araújo • Edited

As I mentioned in the article I am still adding tips and code to it, and I will keep reading the comments, that's why good platforms like are important. Almost every post I make I get some idea to improve my stuff. By the way, I could not find your dwmblocks, so I can steal some icons from it :)

voyeg3r profile image
Sérgio Araújo

It worked now, I was interested in the separator you are using. Currently I am using slstatus.

raguay profile image
Richard Guay

Tiling WM are usable on macOS as well. I’m using Amethyst and it works great. I also use Hammerspoon to do the things Amethyst doesn’t.

voyeg3r profile image
Sérgio Araújo

I have got the message: 401 Unauthorized when I tried viewing your files

fffabiorj profile image
Fabio Oliveira

Hey bro, What are you using that moment? What do you think about the new cosmic pop os?

voyeg3r profile image
Sérgio Araújo

I have never used PopOS, actually I have no computer righ now