pop-os shell over i3

Tue, Oct 11, 2022 2-minute read

pop-os shell over i3

I have been an i3 user for maybe two years now. It is a great experience, or I should say, the good parts make for a great experience. The bad parts make for a terrible experience (for me).

I’m not a ricer, I don’t care about gaps. I just want to switch between panes and windows easily. In i3, I put golang in window 6, webstorm in 5 and pycharm in 4. All my browsers go in 2 (I usually run two browsers at the same time - Vivaldi and Opera). Email in 10, VirtualBox in 9, and so on.

This works so much better than Gnome or whatever’s tabbing experience. Yes, I can use workspaces but its really not the same.

In saying all this, there are some things I don’t like:

  • learning all the esoteric short keys
  • it needs a lot of customisation
  • sometimes things don’t work well
  • resizing things can be a pain
  • I use a mouse 30-40% of the time so it needs to work

Whereas, I like Gnome’s “it just works” approach. Running some applications work much better in a Gnome environment, for instance, OBS.

Today I found pop-os shell. It seems like a great alternative. At work, I use Gnome because I need to work, not fiddle with i3 customizations - the juice ain’t worth the squeeze. So, I installed it pop-os/shell at work and instantly fell in love with it. It’s not perfect but it basically covers my needs - I don’t think I need all that i3 provides, shell is enough.

The only big thing that sucks and its not shell its stupid as Windows. At home I’m a linux native but at work I recently had to switch from a linux workstation to a beefy windows box where I use VMWare to run my fedora VM. The thing that fucking sucks is that windows hardcodes the Super/Win key shortcuts, such as WIN+L (and WIN+G for XBOX crap). This totally breaks shell’s vim bindings.

Update: After nearly a month of running pop-os shell, I really love it. Its super simple and meets my needs. I do miss the switching between workspaces using the i3 number system but other than that, everything else Just Works.


#linux #i3 #tiling #windows