Possible to Install i3 or Qtile Alongside XFCE and Have a Stable System?

tl;dr I’d like to learn to use a tiling window manager but I’m nervous about not having a traditional desktop environment to fall back on. I’ve spent a lot of time with XFCE.

I know installing multiple DEs/WMs is not a great idea, but how stable would the system likely be if I went for this type of configuration? Would it matter if I installed the base XFCE or Qtile distro first and then added the second one?

(I’d like to go with Qtile since I’ve already got experience with Python, but if i3 is the way to go for stability because it’s an official flavor, then so be it.)

I’ve now spent hours fighting with KDE to use the correct refresh rate and scan mode for my monitor, and am ready to try something else regardless. I’d rather spend that time learning to use a tiling WM. :slight_smile:

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Xfce and i3 is the way i would try. This is the only multi desktop i would ever install.

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100% possible.

I’ve got EOS with XFCE, but haven’t started XFCE in over 2 years. I’ve got dwm, dusk, and spectrwm as twms installed. Previously have also had leftwm, awesomewm, herbstluftwm, worm, and others.

I disabled lightdm and installed xinit, and log into a tty and start my wm via startx. If the wms put a .desktop file in the xsessions folder, you should be able to start the twm from the gear box or menu drop down functionality of your display manager login screen.

From any of these wms, you can run programs installed, obviously. Like your browser, XFCE’s screen saver, XFCE’s app finder, EOS programs, etc. Just start them from the launching facility.

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It’s been a little while since I wrote it, but the last time I tried, it still worked.

Done, tested and working:
i3 + xfce4,
bspwm + cinnamon,
bspwm + openbox.

Currently using
bspwm as daily driver +
xfce4 for demo-ing, or when stacking is required.

No problems: of course some fiddling with ~/.xprofile and ~/.config/autostart(s)/ is required.

You can switch sessions on the fly, I suggest to choose and stick to your session from boot\lightdm, though.

Peace, Piero

I currently use KDE and another i3wm session, both installed from Cassini. The downside is that I have some duplicates, like file manager dolphin from kde and thunar from xfce. XFCE plus i3wm definitely are a good choice.

It has been a long time since I tried this.

In a i3wm session, open a terminal and launch dolphin. The dolphin binary and all it’s dependencies are installed.

If it works, maybe you can whittle down some of the duplicates.


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Generally, installing a window manager alongside a desktop environement is safer and stabler than installing several desktop environements. However, be carefull with themes and autostarts.

For me good way is, try all unknown software from sandbox or like qemu / virtualbox. It’s a modern way to exploring without messing up anything. Or also dual booting on second additional partition, if you need testing from real hardware. GPT disk layout allow “unlimited” OS installations lol :slight_smile: goodbye.