I hope I am asking this in the right place... I had been using Arch + i3 for many years. I was pretty happy but some of the functionality that should be available on my laptop was not. I figured out a few tips and tricks to get some things to work (media keys, etc) but still not everything was right. So, I decided to install Antergos because it is basically Arch but handles a lot of the "under the table" work automatically. I initially installed Cinnamon but just wasn't too happy. Everything worked...and quite well! But it isn't i3. So I installed i3 but things don't work quite the same.

For example, I can no longer control my keyboard backlight like I could in Cinnamon. The mousepad gestures work differently, and the volume no longer works, etc. Some of these problems I can fix manually (i3 config) but my question is, what is it about Cinnamon that everything works? Is there a configuration file that I am not seeing that will shed some light or allow me to port to i3?

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


Cinnamon is a full-fledged desktop environment (DE), which means it has all sorts of daemons running in the background to improve your experience, and also graphical settings menus and more integrated apps. The best option if you need all the things a DE can provide except for the (lame) stacking WM (window manager) is to simply replace said WM with i3.

This should work (it even comes with a PKGBUILD, you just install it and you should get an option for i3 + Cinnamon or something on your login screen).
You will have to bind some keys manually to cinnamon functions in your i3 config though.

Actually I'm going to do just what I described, but with windowchef instead of i3.
I'm also on Antergos, tried rolling GNOME + windowchef but it refused to work (and after some customization attempts I figured out that GNOME isn't for me, it's way too limiting, coming from a KDE + bspwm setup).

  • Great stuff. Thanks a bunch. Lately I have moved back to XFCE (very customizable), but I am going to look into this option because it seems like it is exactly what I am looking for.
    – aserwin
    Jul 24, 2017 at 1:56
  • It is going to feel a bit hacky because a DE is meant to be used as-is (with a bit of configuration, of course) and you're coming and swapping stuff out. Note that it's also possible to use another WM in XFCE (or any other DE) and even a little easier (as a rule of thumb, lower-end DEs tend to be more modular. Although KDE 5 is very modular in comparison to the massive behemoth that GNOME 3 is)
    – ohmree
    Jul 24, 2017 at 6:48
  • I appreciate the advice. I have been using Linux distros for 10 years or so and am really only lately thinking about customization (one of the primary tenants of Linux, in my opinion)... what I have been really enjoying about i3wm is the fact that it takes almost ZERO resources. Very little memory and almost no CPU to run. I have noticed a similar situation with XFCE... so, I am basically taking your advice and experimenting! Thanks again.
    – aserwin
    Jul 24, 2017 at 23:54
  • KDE also felt really snappy for me. I have 16 gigs of ram, an Intel Core i7-3820 @ 3.60GHz and some very old, crappy AMD GPU since my good one burnt to death. I don't know if it's because KDE 5 is more optimized nowadays or because of my CPU & ram but it didn't feel heavy at all. I do know for sure that KDE got much better at everything that has to do with resource usage, I just don't know how much of that snappiness is my hardware and how much of it is just KDE
    – ohmree
    Jul 25, 2017 at 0:20

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