From Fedora Project Wiki

i3 Spin

Summary

Create an official Fedora Spin shipping the popular i3 window manager. This Spin would be the first Fedora Spin to feature a tiling/window manager instead of a traditional desktop environment.


Owner


Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 34
  • Last updated: 2020-11-24


  • FESCo issue: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>
  • Tracker bug: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>
  • Release notes tracker: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>


Detailed Description

The Fedora i3 SIG began in May 2020 with a goal of creating an official Fedora Spin featuring the i3 tiling window manager. Since then, a community of i3 enthusiasts around the Fedora community has collaborated to define what an official Fedora i3 Spin would include, how it might work, and how the Fedora community might differentiate this Spin from other ready-to-use i3 implementations already in the open source ecosystem.

The SIG has outlined the following design goals to guide construction of the Spin (see i3 SIG Design Goals for details):

  1. Simple is better than complex.
  2. Fast is better than features.
  3. There should be one—and preferably only one—obvious way to do it.
  4. Now is better than never.

These Design Goals inform and guide decisions regarding the Kickstart. They are also the basis for the SIG's decisions about future changes to the i3 Spin.

In summary, this Change is represents the realization of work that began in May 2020. The goal is to create an official Fedora Spin based on the i3 SIG's kickstart.


Feedback

No Fedora Spin currently features a window/tiling manager. The i3 SIG includes newer and older Fedora contributors who use i3 and believe it would be a popular Spin if available to the Fedora Community. Community feedback informs this Change.

What did Twitter have to say?

Here are some tweets of what people had to say in response to news that the i3 SIG is working on a Fedora i3 Spin:

Always wanted to see if I can use tiling manager. If fedora is making official Spin then I can try it.


Yes, would love to have i3 on Fedora if you guys can pull it off. Good luck!



Benefit to Fedora

This Change benefits end-users who run Fedora on a desktop or laptop, particularly low-end consumer-grade hardware.

An i3 Spin would provide a better initial installation experience for Fedora users installing i3 for the first time. Currently, end-users who wish to use i3 on Fedora must install another Edition or Spin of Fedora, then install the i3 window manager (and related packages) separately (a process often requiring use of an external guide or tutorial). Additionally, this "two-step" method adds unnecessary packages to the user's system, particularly if the end-user does not wish to use another desktop environment.

Moreover, the i3 SIG hypothesizes an official i3 Spin will have the lightest footprint (memory and base install size) of any Fedora Edition or Spin, but testing this hypothesis requires more data.


Scope

  • Proposal owners:
    • Finalize kickstart composition. The i3 SIG is finalizing a list of packages for an integrated i3 desktop.
    • Work with RelEng to build. The i3 SIG needs to work with Release Engineering to pick up the i3 Spin in regular composes.
    • Test Day coordination. Work with the Fedora QA team to plan and run a series of Test Days to solicit early feedback. An excited group of users in our IRC/Telegram are ready to help.


  • Other developers: N/A (not a System Wide Change)
  • Policies and guidelines: N/A (not a System Wide Change)
  • Trademark approval: N/A (not needed for this Change)


Upgrade/compatibility impact

Since the Fedora i3 Spin is a Spin, it assumes new installations only. There is no upgrade/compatibility impact from the Spin.

Eventually, the i3 SIG will also create a package group (composition) for i3 and i3-extended. Fedora users can more easily switch from another desktop environment by installing the package group.


How To Test

1. Boot the Fedora i3 Spin ISO image either on bare-metal or in a virtual machine (V.M.).

2. Confirm successful boot into a configured i3 environment with basic packages available.

3. Launch Anaconda installer. The Anaconda installer can be launched either from a terminal or via the application launcher dmenu.

4. Confirm no major issues with windows and display. The installed system uses lightdm as the login manager and comes preinstalled with i3 as the default desktop environment with default applications present for most uses cases.


User Experience

New Fedora users can install i3 from https://spins.fedoraproject.org instead of installing another desktop, and then manually installing i3 after the initial install. This reduces the number of steps needed to start using i3.

Additionally, the i3 Spin intends to be a ready-to-use, integrated i3 configuration. Often a new i3 user must find or set up other system utilities for things like networking, profile management, and other common desktop functions. The Fedora i3 Spin offers a ready-to-go environment that aims to offer an integrated, lightweight environment without pulling in larger dependency stacks from other desktops.


Dependencies

See %packages in fedora-i3-common.ks.


Contingency Plan

  • Contingency mechanism: If a blocker bug comes up that breaks composes of the i3 Spin in time for Fedora 34, the Change can be bumped to a future Fedora release (e.g. F35).
  • Contingency deadline: Change Checkpoint: 100% Code Complete Deadline (Tue 2021-02-23)
  • Blocks release? No


Documentation


Release Notes

TBD.