Migration to Sway
It’s a three day weekend, so what better time to tinker with a new window manager?
I’ve been happily using KDE for the past year. Before that, Pop OS had me fully converted to tiling workflows so I’ve been using a tiling kwin script called Bismuth to bring a little bit of that workflow to KDE. It’s alright. It has a few bugs and pain points and obviously isn’t the same as using an environment built around tiling, but it’s gotten the job done I suppose.
Out of wanting to look at something a little less hacky I decided to take a look at Sway, an i3-compatible Wayland window manager. Both of those details were great signs to me: I had been wanting to migrate to Wayland and I’d briefly used Regolith Linux before, a set of pre-configured i3 packages.
I’ll confess. The thing that’s always kept me on full desktop environments rather than more minimal window managers is laziness. But now that I’ve got a config I’m happy with, it really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. There were definitely things I needed to setup myself that would’ve already been there on a full DE, but stealing and tweaking other people’s configs online was hugely helpful in getting over that. The man page for sway’s config was also a great resource that saved a ton of time.
But even after I thought I had a complete setup, I kept running into little things here and there that I needed to implement or fix. Like…
- Realizing way too late that I need a way to logout
- Finding out that bluetooth devices don’t automatically reconnect after waking from sleep
- I didn’t even know a bad terminal emulator config could break ssh
- Qt apps being broken under Wayland
None of those took more than 10 minutes to address, but when you keep running into issues like those you realize that the setup turns out to take a bit longer than you plan on.
My favorite part of the switch so far is how modular my setup feels now. That really goes a long way for customization and making a setup feel like your own. Also, speed. My laptop isn’t old at all (8th gen i5, 12GB ram, SSD) and the switch still makes my hardware feel completely new.
Was it worth it? Probably not, actually. I still did sink too much time into this only to end up with a workflow very similar to my previous one. But I’m glad I went through it and would recommend it to other tinkerers. I had fun and I’m happy now to have a setup that is both fully functional and mine.