Computer Science Mojo

~ David's Notes on coding, software and computer science


How to install i3 on Debian 8 in VM VirtualBox

Category: Linux     Tag: Debian   i3   Linux   VirtualBox  
By: David     On: Mon 03 August 2015     

Forget about fancy desktop environments and do a clean install of the awesome windows manager i3 on Debian 8.
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1. Install i3 and xorg

apt-get install i3
apt-get install xorg

2. Create xorg config file

Xorg -configure

(X is upper case) if you get hardware errors, it may be VirtualBox specific and can be ignored
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move it to the right place:

cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  1. Set "startx" to run after login in root do
ls -a

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and there is a ".profile" file, nano open it and add to the end:

if [ -z "$DISPLAY" ] && [ $(tty) == /dev/tty1 ]; then

Some people suggest adding the above commands to ".bashrc" instead, the difference between the two: .bash_profile vs .bashrc

4. Change xorg screen resolution (solution from VirtualBo's Forum)

For this example, we will be setting the resolution to "1920x1080" 4.1. edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf In section "Monitor" add

HorizSync 31-80   
VertRefresh 30-100

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In section "Screen" add

DefaultDepth 16

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Scroll down to "Display" with Depth 16 and add

Modes "1920x1080"

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4.2. Power off the virtual machine and in your host machine use "VBoxManager" to run:

VBoxManage setextradata Debian CustomVideoMode1 1920x1080x16

where Debian is the name of the guest machine
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5. Restart the virtual machine and enjoy i3 on Debian