Gnome + i3: how to set it up?


So I’m currently on Gnome because I like the way it works and the pop shell with tiling and stacking is a very helpful way of working day to day.

Problem being that I’m having a lot of problems with Nvidia + Gnome/Mutter and I can’t seem to find a fix for them. I’m kind of done trying tbh, considered trying Fedora to see if the problems also exist in Gnome 40 and on another distro but I’m not quite ready to switch distro.

So I was thinking about installing i3 next to gnome to see if my problems persist. Problem being that I have no idea how.

  • I see a lot of comments like “just install i3 and i3-gapps and you’re good to go” but is that really all there is to it? Or do I need to do some additional config?
  • Will i3 just work with all my Gnome apps en config? I read somewhere it works fine with an xfce setup but I can’t seem to find the same experiences with what I’m trying to do.

Sorry for the noob questions. If someone can link me to some battle tested Youtube video or tutorial somewhere on someone doing this step by step I’ll be good to go tbh.

Thanks for the help :pray:

Maybe to clarify. I’m usualy all for just trying stuff out and seeing what works but this is my work computer so in this case I just want to be 100% sure before I attempt something like this.


This looks like a XY Problem

Why not start fixing that first? As seen in this post opened by you, your laptop has:

Apparently is almost same thing as the 5530 model. So, someone wrote more about it here

That will lead you to this github page

Then is mentioned too be an issue with the 5.12 kernel for all Precision 5540 variant laptops:
that points to this gitlab discurrion/issue … and apparently there is a patch for it.

Not sure if Manjaro has it. @philm for sure knows.

To log in the i3wm session is enough, but to have it fully functional, you will have to do some digging and either use the manjaro-i3-settings package, that can’t reside simultaneously with manjaro-gnome-settings, then copy all the files from /etc/skel/ to your home directory, including dot files (hidden files), or create your custom config for looks-and-feel, is totally up to you, but don’t expect it to get it right from the first go without intensive reading about i3: i3 User’s Guide


Hm. I’ll look into the issue and patch you’ve provided. The issues I’m having seem to persist with 5.4/5.10/5.12 though and the information I found was this one on the Mutter Gitlab repo and this one on the arch forum (and some others along the same lines). Neither had a working solution for me.

For the i3 setup. If it’s really that easy, I might give it a try even if it’s just to validate if my issue is related to Gnome/Mutter and best case I might really like i3 and never look back.

I was mostly worried that there was a false sense of optimism with the way people were saying “just install i3 and i3-gaps” and that I might break my system trying because of potential pitfalls nobody mentions.

Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it!

i3 & i3gaps is 2 different versions, you only need 1, gaps is the most popular. it puts spaces between windows.

1 Like

Well, it is handy. Checkout i3-gnome available in the AUR (Arch User Repository).


Ok. Installation went fine. As noted gnome and the manjaro-i3-settings do not play nice so for now I kept it with the bare default. As I thought my issues are related to mutter/gnome. When I log into i3 with my optimus-manager set to hybrid (nvidia does not work) everything works smooth as butter.

So now I’m at a crossroads. Thanks for the information on how to get i3 up and running guys.

This topic was automatically closed 15 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.