First week with Manjaro / i3wm / Arch
Recently, my favorite game that I play on Windows started crashing and it did so continuously from time to time. I was quite certain it was due to some graphics card driver issue but since I’ve already tried the obvious update attempts it was clear that further troubleshooting would require multiple hours of investigation. So instead of spending that time on Windows issues I thought I’d be better off spending it on learning Linux further. I’ve been reading up on popular distros on Distrowatch and seen that Manjaro has been making its rounds towards the top. I’ve also since long been interested in Arch and since Manjaro is an Arch derivative it was extra interesting to me. I guess the final straw was Jesse Frazelle’s post on fully automating a linux on mac setup where she mentions a preference for i3. I3wm is a tiling window manager which replaces, for example, the start menu and desktop shortcuts with a keyboard based launcher and more importantly automatically places your application windows on your workspace in a configurable tiled pattern. This makes for me, a simple yet efficient usage setup.
Installation went very smoothly at first but then I’ve had to handle a couple of issues which I’m documenting here.
Firefox installation breaking
My first attempt at installing Firefox went sideways. I tried to use the GUI tool Pamac Manager, but it stalled during installation and I tried to cancel it. That was a bad idea as I broke the installation and couldn’t install Firefox even using the standard package manager Pacman anymore. In the end I had to do a complete system upgrade using:
Audio not working
Audo wasn’t preinstalled (only kernel support for ALSA was, more info here) so I had to run this:
pacman -S pulseaudio
Spotify was interesting since it had me get to learn how AUR packages work in Arch. As Spotify doesn’t exist in the standard app repository it is not available through Pacman and instead a community created application installation file needs to be invoked. That is done using “yaourt”. The thing is installing community applications means somewhat of a security risk, so beware. The security risk is visualized using the intimidating pulsing red text “( Unsupported package: Potentially dangerous ! )” when the below command has been invoked:
yaourt -S spotify
Ctrl-d made my terminal disappear
This one was the most annoying by far, and which took me a very long time of googling to figure out the cause of. The issue was that everytime I would happen to hit ctrl-d the terminal I was working in would disappear. And this is something that I do a lot since the standard app launch is with meta key + d, which for me is sadly just next to ctrl. The thing is, the terminal window didn’t terminate which I assumed, it just went somewhere. Not entirely sure where it went, but at least through this article I’ve figure out that it is resolved through this command:
Some issues still to be solved
Pre-installed application ‘fire’ making launch of Firefox annoyingly hard
As i3wm means many things are launched through typing the first letters of an application and then hitting enter it became annoying the third time I did that to Firefox and ended up with a 3D demo rendering a fire sprouting triangles. That app is called fire and comes with the installation of mesa-demos which is required for setting up 3d graphics for gaming. Somehow I’ve managed to at least weight up Firefox before the 3d-triangles-shooter when typing ‘fire’, but still not really been able to remove the app completely.
I have a 144hz monitor which is great for FPS games. I’d like to have 144hz setup everytime I start the machine, but the only instructions I’ve found so far means configuring the below command to always be run in the end of the loading of the operating system’s graphics, which I fear will introduce a flicker and screen reset which will be annoying. So, instead I’m so far running the following command manually, only when I need it:
xrandr –rate 144
Usable terminal with somewhat proper copy/paste
The default terminal emulator has some old school Linux copy/paste functionality which I really can’t appreciate. So I’m trying to figure how to run Simple Terminal instead. Not sure Simple Terminal is perfect, but seems to fit my requirements well enough. I’ve been able to install it and use it, but autolaunching it with a flag set to configure the font size to something more pleasing to the eye still eludes me. So the current workaround is to first launch the default terminal and then manually launch Simple Terminal with the following command:
st -f “Liberation Mono:size=10” &
That’s it for now, so now it is time to get back to actually playing that game!
For you who read this far, here’s a couple of listening tips from my adventures with Manjaro / i3wm / Arch:
First song on system (obviously) https://open.spotify.com/track/0oeEqyEAavgPfFxDYvjAP6?si=lGNp4Ri8R8-11q3sGjHKdw
Main soundtrack https://open.spotify.com/track/0ajM5tgGEf5sL6tQIIV8Xn?si=-q2fsBM7QZ-SQweJuNu4nA