Sway Window Manager


Wayland is a display server that should work as a replacement for X. I've been thinking of trying it out for some time now. Detailed information about wayland and its history can be found in this article. The differences between xorg and wayland can be found here or in this thread. It seems to me the biggest problem with wayland is that it is not network aware (although I haven't used this feature yet in xorg preferring using vnc servers instead) and that some programs will not work with it (for example, redshift).

However, the biggest block for me was that my i3 workflow had been ingrained in my muscle memory and I did not want to lose this. Luckily, I found sway. Surprisingly, it worked with most of my i3 configuration, only having to make changes to custom mapping applications that were x based e.g. feh.

To set sway up, I decided to avoid the version used in pacman, because it seemed to be too old. I went with bleeding edge sway and set it up using:

yay -S wlroots-git sway-git

With this I get the latest version plus all its improvements. The problem though, is that sway sometimes fails to start after a system update. To fix this, I just start up i3 and run the above command again.

This might be subjective, but I found the colours in swaywm when I first used it to be better and brighter. This is something I had always wanted to figure out how to fix in i3, but never got around to doing this.

I also felt that out of the box, it had better support for my touchpad. It did not have a lot of ghost touches, random scrolling behaviour, etc. which in i3, I have to spend a lot of time tweaking and configuring the touchpad settings. In sway, these are the only configurations I had to enable:

input "1267:12328:ELAN1300:00_04F3:3028_Touchpad" {
    dwt enabled
    tap enabled

The problems I have with sway are: