Best option for trying Sway?

I use EndeavourOS / gnome / btrfs-timeshift as my daily driver and my system is quite fine-tuned for my workflow (main apps: neovim, brave/firefox, evolution, kitty/alacrity, signal/, zotero, latex, nextcloud). However, I want to try and eventually migrate to a tile window manager and chose the I3/sway route since it seems to be the natural choice for a newbie in tile window managers. I mostly live in Wayland, sway is the best option for me.
The question is:
Should I install sway in a different partition and work my way through or would it be ok to install in my current system?
The first seems more reasonable but time is of essence to me so if I could have a working system sooner it is more likely that I’ll stick with it and learn faster, which makes the latter very attractive since I would have already all my apps installed and properly configured.
Thus, maybe I should rephrase the question to:
Would installing sway on a working gnome system break it in any ways? Would you advise against that?
Apologies for the convoluted question, but it is indeed a complex use case.

Why are you using timeshift? Presumably, that you can restore your system to the previous state if you screw something up. So why are you afraid of screwing something up? :slight_smile:

Just install Sway alongside GNOME. Probably nothing will break. If it does, restore a snapshot.

That said, I have zero experience with Sway, and the last time I used GNOME was when 'Buntu stopped shipping Unity and forced me to use it (which I am grateful in the end, because it introduced me to KDE). Also, I don’t use Wayland (bad support for advanced tools which I depend on, specifically: xeyes :eyes:).


Thanks for the prompt reply. You have a good point with timeshift.
It will fix my system in case it breaks so I am less afraid of a catastrophe, which is the very reason I am even considering messing with my daily driver. The issue I am afraid of regards the configuration files, which can be a pain to get it fixed. These are linked via git (using stow), so I might just take the plunge and go for it. I am just trying to assess from those used to TWM in general (and sway in particular) whether there is anything I should be aware of in this transition.

I hear you on the GNOME/KDE debacle. I actually liked/used both back and forth since the days of gnome 2 (which I do miss). In the last two years I have been more on gnome because I became addicted to its overview and to the set of extensions I use now. Most of the extentions can be replicated in plasma but not the overview. It seems that plasma 5.24 replicates it now (Nicolo Ve has a youtube video on it) so I might just try it too - after trying sway, of course :slight_smile:

I did not use Wayland either, but in my laptop it does work a lot better when changing configurations (home - 2 monitors, work - 1 monitor, conferences - various setups) so I am using it in the laptop.

I use Plasma and, occasionally, dwm. No conflicts whatsoever, but dwm is so simple and minimalist, I can’t imagine it would have any problems. I expect it would be the same for Sway and GNOME.

The best way to figure out is to try it.

Thanks Kresimir. You gave me the gently push I was needing :slight_smile:
I’ll just check my timeshift first before doing it.

One of the possible alternatives is installing sway into a VM. Then you will not get the problems you might anticipate, but the experience is reasonably good (provided you have enough disk space and RAM).
Of course a VM install is not the same as a native install, but is a step forward.

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Another approach would be to:

  • Make a snapshot of your system in your current user account
  • Create a new user account with admin rights
  • Log out and log into the new user account
  • Install Sway as per instructions in the EnOS’s Github page for Sway

In this way you would effectively isolate your current users’ home and its configs from the other account with Sway.


You should be able to install alongside GNOME to be honest.

But on a different user. So you don’t conflict your theming and autostart.


I prefer mine sauteed with a little garlic and butter. Served with a side of jasmine rice and mixed veggie. Cracked black pepper to taste.

Pro tip: it pairs very well with a dry white. Pinot Gris or similar.

@Manuel, thanks for the suggestion.
I actually want it on bare metal as I’m interested to know how it interacts with my hardware (and learn twm in the process)

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Thank you, pebcak!
This would indeed solve my issue so I’m marking it as the solution.
I do confess that I went ahead before seeing your reply and installed directly under my own account. It did mess with auto start and theming, so now I’ll have to figure out how to “harmonize” the two WMs.
To be fair, the pros so far seem to compensate for these two side effects as I have a system that is working close to my gnome install (in terms of settings, that is).
Yet, if I had to do it over I’d probably try your solution first.


Thank you, Odiouslmp.
See my comment on the solution by pebcak.
I jumped the gun and did it using the same user. I’ll try to adjust these settings and keep both sway and gnome to coexist in my machine.
It does seem feasible to get them to not interfere too much with each other. Time will tell.

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I don’t believe I have admin privileges to execute a dry white command…
Will try to escalate permissions, though!

$ pacman -Syyuu pinotgris

Always force the refresh and downgrade in case they run out of the original order.

Unless you configure it to do so, Timeshift DOES NOT backup anything in /home.

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