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Feb 10, 2014

i3, an open source window manager for advanced users and developers

A person who is gifted sees the essential point and leaves the rest as surplus. (cit. Thomas Carlyle)

i3, an open source window manager for advanced users and developers

Let's take a look at this window manager that let you take full control of your workspace and let you summon each and every window in just one shortcut

Introduction - What is a window manager?

To fully understand the potential of i3 wm I think I should start with recalling the meaning of "window manager". Taking a look at wikipedia you can easily find out that a window manager is a "system software that controls the placement and appearance of windows within a windowing system in a graphical user interface".

Also this schema (taken from wikipedia) is quite explanatory, a window manager basically is a system that lays just under the desktop environment and helps the display manager (like the X server) to organize the windows on the screen. There are 4 main types of window manager:

  • compositing wm, i.e., Compiz
  • stacking wm, i.e., MS Windows
  • tiling wm, i.e., i3
  • dynamic wm, i.e., awesome.

I won't get in a detailed description of each type of window manager, for which you can find many documentation on the web. I will focus this blogpost on the tiling windows managers and in particular on i3 wm.

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