Problems (and solutions) in Manjaro Bspwm (for noobs)

Hi! Recently I installed Manjaro Bspwm and I'm very happy with it. It's fast, stable and highly configurable. However, there are a little issues that appears in the daily use. These problems are easily solvable, but for a noob like me, maybe it can be difficult to understand. So here I try to show these little problems and their solutions. I'm conscious that I'm a linux noob yet, but I hope this are useful for someone. Manjaro Bspwm is a beautiful and useful distro, and was exactly what I'm looked for.

  1. Micro. When I open a text file using Micro, the program always shows an error warning: "Error reading bindings.json: invalid character '"' after object key". This problem has been posted two days ago by eskoONE here, if you are interested in the discussion.

Solution: Search for the bindings.json. There are two of this. One in /etc/skel/.config/micro and another in /home/"username"/.config/micro (change "username" for your real username). To fix the first file, type in a terminal sudo micro /etc/skel/.config/micro/bindings.json . Type your password. This will open the file in Micro. There you'll find a random "y" in the line 35. Simply erase it, save changes with Ctrl+S and exit. The second file should be fixed automatically, but you can try anyways typing micro /home/"username"/.config/micro/bindings.json in a terminal and repeating the previous steps.

  1. Brightness keys don't work: If this happen, a simple solution is the one described here (sorry, it's in spanish, my mother language) but it's not the "real" solution.

The "real" solution is that the keybinds asigned in the sxhkd file (/home/[username]/.config/sxhkd) don't work. And this happens because there was an update in Light, the application Manjaro Bspwm use to manage the brightness, as is described in Arch forums here and here. The solution to this is add the current user to the 'video group' to have permissions to manage the brightness through Light application. To do this, type in a terminal sudo usermod -a -G video "username" . Reboot and the brightness keys should work. To know more about groups, this can be useful.

  1. Changes in bspwmrc file don't apply (actually, this is not a problem, but doesn't let you change desktop names). When I tried to change the desktop names in /home/harold/.config/bspwm/bspwmrc, I noticed that the changes doesn't apply. This happen because a command in this file already set the desktop names. The command is "workspaces_multimonitor &", which calls a script that set the default names for each desktop.

Solution: Comment (simply add a # at the beginning of the line) the line "workspaces_multimonitor &" to "deactivate" this command. Then logout and login and the changes in your bspwmrc file should apply.

This is all. This is my first post and I hope it's useful to another person like me, who likes Bspwm and is yet a unexperienced linux user. More detailed explanations from the experienced people are welcome!


Nice of you to get together this collection of things.

But I should mention..

Dont do this. Never use 'sudo' in your home directory.
It isnt necessary .. and worse it could break permissions there creating a ton of problems.


You are totally right. It's my mistake and sudo isn't necessary in home directory. I corrected it. Thanks!!

Thank you for posting solutions you've found along with the issues. Really helpful.

I will update to solve the brightness issue.

The workspaces_multimonitor command is a sort of catch for when using dual monitors. Unless the user wants to customize the desktop names it normally flows through un-noticed. There should be a comment to notify users of that.

On that topic though, if you're interested there is a script that will dynamically re-name desktops based on the application running within. It's by no means perfect, and bugs increase with the number of monitors. I forked this from the original to avoid using a separate config file.

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I didn't know this exist. Thanks!

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