I3 as a Window Manager for KDE


ᐅ whereis i3               
i3: /usr/bin/i3 /etc/i3 /usr/include/i3 /usr/share/man/man1/i3.1.gz

Installed packages:


Autostart script:

~/.config/plasma-workspace/env ᐅ cat set_window_manager.sh 
#!/usr/bin/env bash
export KDEWM=/usr/bin/i3

~/.config/plasma-workspace/env ᐅ ls -l
total 4
-rwxr-xr-x 1 alexey alexey 46 Nov 13 08:31 set_window_manager.sh

set_window_manager.sh appears under Startup and Shutdown > Autostart > Pre-startup Scripts. Unfortunately, on startup nothing happens.

This approach used to work on other installations, a while ago. What else can I do?

Hi @Llama,

I see the difference between yours and min is basically just the hashbang (#!). So try changing yours from:

#!/usr/bin/env bash


#!/bin/env bash

I don’t know if it will, I kind of doubt it, but I do hope it helps!

No such luck. It used to work without any shebang, too :frowning:

Is the script executable? What happens if you run it manually?

It’s executable, as you can see at the starting post. Nothing happens when I run it manually. But nothing should happen, I suppose, as KWin is already running.

This should help:


I’ve seen this. For one thing, its outdated. My Autostart dialog looks and behaves differently. The approach is essentially the same, though.

See here:


Link obtained from:

I guess you checked the simple solutions already? Are you using Wayland?

This is not my case at all. It’s all about another desktop environment alongside KDE. I want to replace KWin with i3, which is a legitimate option.

I know, I read the linked page a bit. The first section is about that it’s not running in Wayland.

Is i3 running natively?

Then complete the installation alongside, and afterwards remove Kwin.

It’s complete. As I already told, I’m following a well trodden path. There’s just an unknown variable in the equation rearing its ugly head.

Yes, i3 runs fine natively. Plasma runs on X11. It looks like my Autostart scripts won’t run.

Did you try 5.1.1 - Replacing KWin service ?

1 Like

Thanks! All the steps, as I figured them out.

Create the necessary service:

~ ᐅ cat .config/systemd/user/plasma-custom-wm.service 

Description=Plasma Custom Window Manager


Check the running KWin:

ᐅ systemctl status --user plasma-kwin_x11


ᐅ systemctl mask --user plasma-kwin_x11

Enable i3:

ᐅ systemctl enable --user plasma-custom-wm.service


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