Xubuntu Tiling

Getting Xubuntu set up as a faux tiling window manager

I've always been interested in XFCE, it's lightweight and predictable. A couple of years ago I got into tiling window managers and even though I've moved away from them, mostly due to work , I still found myself the most productive while using them.

Recently I've began distro hopping (installing OSes in VMs) to tinker. The one that's stuck around the longest is Xubuntu Impish and the time has come to attempt to make it work somewhat like a tiling window manager. If this goes well it could very well end up being my daily driver.



I very much like the Orchis gtk theme xfce-look link, specifically the compact dark variety.

You'll need to change the theme in a couple of places:


I like the Tela-icon-theme icon set Pling link.

For information on how to install new XFCE themes.


There is also an Orchis-Dark firefox theme Firefox addons link.



First I added the Workspace switcher to the panel, and set it to 'Buttons' appearance. I then moved it between the launcher and window list.

Next I opened Workspace Settings (you can do this from the Workspace Switcher settings). I set the number of workspaces to 10, and updated the Workspace names to simply be 1 through 10.

Keyboard shortcuts

Switching workspace

One thing I like to do with tiling window managers is set up Super+:number: for quick workspace switching. To achieve this on XFCE you need an extra tool wmctrl which can be installed with sudo apt install wmctrl.

Open up Keyboard > Application Shortcuts and add the following shortcut 10 times (one for each workspace) incrementing both numbers each time: Command wmctrl -s 0 Shortcut Super + 1.

You should now be able to press Super + 6 to switch to workspace 6. Happy days.

Move window to workspace

First you'll need another tool xdotool install with sudo apt install xdotool. We'll use xdotool in a script to move the currently active window to a specific workspace when Super+Shift+:number: is pressed.

Before we add the keyboard bindings we need to write a little script:

wmctrl -r $(xdotool getwindowfocus getwindowname) -t $1

I saved this as ~/bin/move-window and made it executable with chmod +x ~/bin/move-window.

The script takes a single number argument that corresponds to the workspace index you'd like to move a window to.

xdotool getwindowfocus getwindowname simply get's the name of the currently focused window which is used in wmctrl to move the window.

Now it's time to open Keyboard > Application Shortcuts and add the follow shortcut 10 times (one for each workspace) incrementing both numbers each time: Command ~/bin/move-window 0 Shortcut Super + Shift + 1.

If you press Super + Shift + 0 the Keyboard application should move to workspace 10. You can confirm by switching to workspace 10 with Super + 0.