My Setup of a Wayland Compositor with all the tools needed to be productive, while only having what is really necessary (minimalistic approach).


This guide will show from A-Z the steps done, the configs modified and tools installed to get a decent working graphical environment, just with a wayland compositor and a lot of open-source community-tools.

As for all we need some concepts and principles. Mine are:

  • If possible let default configuration as is and add custom config clearly visible -> include instead of copy and modify
  • Don’t change keybindings! Use the default ones if possible!
  • If apps run on xwayland or wayland doesn’t matter. We will need both, so we don’t actively force all apps that are theoretically possible to run on wayland to do so (in some years, it might be possible…)
  • I’m going to style everything using Rubik for UI text, FiraCode NerdFont for code and Solarized for colors.
  • This guide shows how things are done, where the tools and configs come from, most config snippets should be shown in this guide, so that someone can follow this and configure it’s sway DE accordingly
  • But: My actual config files can differ from what is in this guide. They are stored in my WALL-E repo: https://github.com/the-technat/WAll-E

Drawbacks & To Do

Linus is always broken and nothing is perfect:

  • Sway doesn’t have the abbility to mirror outputs (https://github.com/swaywm/sway/issues/1666) -> There are workarounds
  • Ranger cannot connect to sshfs, sftp, nfs, smb using my config (rarely used, but would be nice if we could do that)
  • Gnome Keyring should be unlocked using the Yubikey automatically
  • NFT tables firewall not setup (open to the public)


Some of the config files don´t have to be rewritten and can just be linked in. Therefore I maintain a repository with config files for different tools which I usually clone before configuring the environment:

git clone https://github.com/the-technat/WALL-E.git ~/WALL-E

In order to use the config files from this repo I further use stow to symlink the files to the correct location (this ensures further updates over the git repository), so it’s a good idea to install this as well:

sudo pacman -S stow

Also install the fonts now:

yay -aS ttf-rubik ttf-firacode-nerd

Then we can get started with a cup of ☕.


The first thing we need from a basic arch installation is sway (the wayland compositor). In order to further configure sway we also need a browser (firefox), foot (default terminal emulator) and dmenu (default application launcher). Because dmenu runs on X11, we need xorg-xwayland to allow X11 apps to run within our wayland session.

Install them:

sudo pacman -S sway foot xorg-xwayland dmenu firefox swaybg

Now after sway is installed you may ask how to start it? Well it’s as simple as tipping sway on the command line. Well it’s as simple as that, but people tend to make it more complex. There are display managers, shell files, systemd and many more that all can do this for you. I’m fine with running sway from the command line after logging in. One thing I do though is making sure that sway get’s all the environment variables I set in ~/.config/environment.d/*.conf. environment.d is the current most simple way to set environment variables so that they are set for all your user services and with a wrapper script also for all your sway inherited processes.

So let’s write the following wrapper script ~/.local/bin/swayrun.sh that inherits systemd/user env vars:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
set -euo pipefail

# Export all variables
set -a
# Call the systemd generator that reads all files in environment.d
source /dev/fd/0 <<EOF
set +a

exec sway

Make it executable chmod +x ~/.local/bin/swayrun.sh and then you can finally run swayrun.sh which will start sway.

And finally we need to add our user to the seat group:

sudo usermod -aG seat technat

When sway has launched, use Super+Enter to open alacritty, Super+d to launch firefox. For a good introduction in basic navigating in sway, watch the video on sway’s homepage.


If you are are like me and find that unlocking your disk is enough security, you can automatically log into your systemd/user session by setting the following:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/systemd/system/getty@tty1.service.d
sudo cat /etc/systemd/system/getty@tty1.service.d/autologin.conf <<EOF
ExecStart=-/sbin/agetty -o '-p -f -- \\u' --noclear --autologin technat %I $TERM
sudo systemctl enable getty@tty1.service


In a terminal, I copy the default sway config over to ~/.config/sway/config:

mkdir -p ~/.config/sway
cp /etc/sway/config ~/.config/sway/config

Then reload the sway configuration using Super+Shift+c.

Basic configuration directives

This chapter show some basic configuration directives I normally add to sway’s config. Most of if comes from the sway wiki.

Close windows

Change the binding to close windows:

bindsym ctrl+q kill

Swaylock / Swayidle

To lock your screen on keypress or after some idle time there are official packages for sway. The config snippet I use is taken from here.

You need the following packages:

yay -aS swaylock-effects-git
sudo pacman -S swayidle

Then add the following section to sway’s config:

# Swaylock
# https://code.krister.ee/lock-screen-in-sway/
set $lock swaylock \
    --clock \
    --indicator \
    --screenshots \
    --effect-scale 0.4 \
    --effect-vignette 0.2:0.5 \
    --effect-blur 4x2 \
    --datestr "%a %e.%m.%Y" \
    --timestr "%k:%M"
exec swayidle -w \
    timeout 600 $lock \
    timeout 570 'swaymsg "output * dpms off"' \
    resume 'swaymsg "output * dpms on"' \
    before-sleep $lock

set $lockman exec bash ~/.config/sway/lockman.sh
bindsym Shift+Alt+q exec $lockman

And add the script ~/.config/sway/lockman.sh:

# Times the screen off and puts it to background
swayidle \
    timeout 10 'swaymsg "output * dpms off"' \
    resume 'swaymsg "output * dpms on"' &
# Locks the screen immediately
swaylock --clock --indicator --screenshots --effect-scale 0.4 --effect-vignette 0.2:0.5 --effect-blur 4x2 --datestr "%a %e.%m.%Y" --timestr "%k:%M"
# Kills last background task so idle timer doesn't keep running
kill %%

Note: I used Shift+Alt+q as Binding because $mod+l is already mapped in sway’s default config.

Clamshell mode

I’m using my laptop in a dockingstation when working at home. This is called clamshell mode as your laptop’s screen is closed but the computer is running. The sway docs tell you how you can configure sway to use this.

If requires the following config snippet:

# Clamshell Mode
# https://github.com/swaywm/sway/wiki#clamshell-mode
set $laptop eDP-1
bindswitch --reload --locked lid:on output $laptop disable
bindswitch --reload --locked lid:off output $laptop enable
exec_always ~/.config/sway/clamshell.sh

And a script ~/.config/sway/clamshell.sh:

if grep -q open /proc/acpi/button/lid/LID/state; then
    swaymsg output eDP-1 enable
    swaymsg output eDP-1 disable

Depending on your laptop the output name for your internal screen might be different. You can find the corret name when running swaymsg -t get_outputs and looking for your internal display. You need to change the output Name in ~/.config/sway/clamshell.sh

Application launcher

dmenu runs xorg-wayland. There is bemenu, a replacement for dmenu but native for wayland.

Install the programm:

sudo pacman -S bemenu # Chose option 2

Find the application launcher command starting with set $menu ... and replace it using the following command taken from here:

# Solarized Light
#set $menu bemenu-run -i \
#    -H 21 \
#    --tb "#eee8d5" \
#    --tf "#586e75" \
#    --fb "#eee8d5" \
#    --ff "#586e75" \
#    --nb "#eee8d5" \
#    --nf "#586e75" \
#    --hb "#eee8d5" \
#    --hf "#268bd2" \
#    --fbb "#eee8d5" \
#    --fbf "#586e75" \
#    --sb "#eee8d5" \
#    --sf "#586e75" \
#    --scb "#eee8d5" \
#    --scf "#586e75" \
#    --fn "font pango:rubik 11" \
#    "$@" -m "$(swayfocused)" -p ">"

# Solarized Dark
set $menu bemenu-run -i \
    -H 21 \
    --tb "#002b36" \
    --tf "#93a1a1" \
    --fb "#002b36" \
    --ff "#93a1a1" \
    --nb "#002b36" \
    --nf "#93a1a1" \
    --hb "#002b36" \
    --hf "#859900" \
    --fbb "#002b36" \
    --fbf "#93a1a1" \
    --sb "#002b36" \
    --sf "#93a1a1" \
    --scb "#002b36" \
    --scf "#93a1a1" \
    --fn "font pango:rubik 11" \
    "$@" -m "$(swayfocused)" -p ">"


  • Disable title bars using:
    default_border none
    default_floating_border none
  • Set font for sway:
    font pango:Rubik 11
  • Mark xwayland apps with an [X]:
    for_window [shell="xwayland"] title_format "<span>[X] %title゜</span>"

App autostart

The application launcher is good for programms we start when we use them. But for programms like Dropbox or the Nextcloud Client we might want to start them at boot time. For this I use dex. A programm for working with desktop entry files. Usually applications that want to be autostarted place their .desktop file in ~/.config/autostart/. With dex -a you launch all apps that have a desktop-file in there.

Install the programm:

yay -aS dex

The following has to be in your sway config:

exec dex -a


Sway ships with a default status bar which can be customized a bit. A much more customizable bar is waybar.

Waybar has a seperate config in ~/.config/waybar/. The config file defines all the modules which are displayed and the style.css stylies the modules.

So install waybar:

sudo pacman -S waybar

Then we get the default config:

mkdir -p ~/.config/waybar
curl -o config https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Alexays/Waybar/master/resources/config

Now we need to tell sway to use waybar as our status bar:

bar {
    swaybar_command waybar

Remove or comment the current bar{} block, then reload sway.

To customize waybar I used this example and just swapped the colors out with solarized theme, rubik as font and the arrows were rearranged a bit. For more information to customize waybar see their wiki.

My new config can be seen here in the git repo, as well as the style.css.

Note: Some arrows have an on-click action. Those actions call a programm in the background. Some of them are not yet installed, so we need to install them now:

sudo pacman -S network-manager-applet


A Clipboard History is useful, therefore we should add one. I’m using cliphist for this.

So first install it and deps:

sudo pacman -S jq xdg-utils wl-clipboard
yay -aS cliphist-bin

Then add the following snippet to sway’s config to store copied items:

exec wl-paste --watch ~/.config/sway/cliphist.sh

Here I’m calling a wrapper script for cliphist. That’s because I want to filter out copies from KeePassXC, they should not land in the history:

#!/usr/bin/env sh
app_id=$( swaymsg -t get_tree | jq -r '.. | select(.type?) | select(.focused==true) | .app_id'  )
if [[ $app_id != "org.keepassxc.KeePassXC" ]]; then
  cliphist store

And then we can also add a keybinding to sway’s config to pick items from the history:

# Solarized Dark
bindsym Shift+Ctrl+h exec cliphist list | \
    bemenu -H 21 \
    --tb "#002b36" \
    --tf "#93a1a1" \
    --fb "#002b36" \
    --ff "#93a1a1" \
    --nb "#002b36" \
    --nf "#93a1a1" \
    --hb "#002b36" \
    --hf "#859900" \
    --fbb "#002b36" \
    --fbf "#93a1a1" \
    --sb "#002b36" \
    --sf "#93a1a1" \
    --scb "#002b36" \
    --scf "#93a1a1" \
    --fn "font pango:rubik 11" \
    "$@" -m "$(swayfocused)" -p ">" | \
    cliphist decode | \

# Solarized Light
#bindsym Shift+Ctrl+h exec cliphist list | \
#    bemenu -H 21 \
#    --tb "#eee8d5" \
#    --tf "#586e75" \
#    --fb "#eee8d5" \
#    --ff "#586e75" \
#    --nb "#eee8d5" \
#    --nf "#586e75" \
#    --hb "#eee8d5" \
#    --hf "#268bd2" \
#    --fbb "#eee8d5" \
#    --fbf "#586e75" \
#    --sb "#eee8d5" \
#    --sf "#586e75" \
#    --scb "#eee8d5" \
#    --scf "#586e75" \
#    --fn "font pango:rubik 11" \
#    "$@" -m "$(swayfocused)" -p ">" | \
#    cliphist decode | \
#    wl-copy

Multiple keyboard layouts

I have multiple layouts defined in my sway config:

input "type:keyboard" {
    xkb_layout "us,us(intl)"

And a keybinding to switch between them:

# Switch between keyboard layouts
# bindsym Alt+Space input type:keyboard xkb_switch_layout next
# Not working: https://github.com/swaywm/sway/issues/6011
# Workaround:
bindsym Alt+Space exec swaymsg -t get_inputs -r \
| jq '[.[] | select(.type == "keyboard") | .xkb_active_layout_index][0] - 1 | fabs' \
| xargs swaymsg 'input type:keyboard xkb_switch_layout'

Currently there is no indication on which layout we currently are, and I miss a notification that tells my to which layout I have changed now.


How doesn’t want notifications on your desktop? I’m using mako as notification daemon.

Install it:

sudo pacman -S mako libnotiy

Then add a line that mako get’s launched when starting sway:

exec mako

You can configure mako by adding a config file in ~/.config/mako/config. Mine has some solarized configs and looks like that:

progress-color=source #268bd2
font=Rubik 11



Sometime you may want to show a progress bar for something that is going on in your system. I have wob configured in my system to do exactly this. The next sections are going to depend on it and I highly recommend you to install it ;).

yay -aS wob

Wob needs to be launched, add the following to your sway config:

exec rm -f $WOBSOCK && mkfifo $WOBSOCK && tail -f $WOBSOCK | wob

Exit sway and come back in, your wob should now be listening in the background. You can test it by sending any number from 0-100 into the pipe at $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/wob.sock:

echo 50 > $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/wob.sock

As you see it’s a command, so the possibilities with it and scripts are endless…

Brightness control

To change the brigtness on your system there are different tools available. I’m using brightnessctl for this task as it’s simple and we can get the current brightness as percentage from it to pass it into wob ;)

First install:

sudo pacman -S brightnessctl

And then add keybindings to sway’s config:

bindsym XF86MonBrightnessDown exec brightnessctl set 5%- | sed -En 's/.*\(([0-9]+)%\).*/\1/p' > $WOBSOCK
bindsym XF86MonBrightnessUp exec brightnessctl set +5% | sed -En 's/.*\(([0-9]+)%\).*/\1/p' > $WOBSOCK

Sound control

My arch guide shows how to install pipewire, but how do you actually control the volume and inputs?

I’m using playerctl and volumectl for this.

Install it:

yay -aS volumectl
sudo pacman -S playerctl

And then set some keybindings:

# Media player controls
bindsym XF86AudioPlay exec playerctl play-pause
bindsym XF86AudioNext exec playerctl next
bindsym XF86AudioPrev exec playerctl previous

# Volume Control
bindsym XF86AudioRaiseVolume exec volumectl up
bindsym XF86AudioLowerVolume exec volumectl down
bindsym XF86AudioMute exec volumectl toggle

# Input control
bindsym $mod+Alt+Ctrl+Space exec ~/.config/sway/mic-mute.sh

~/.config/sway/mic-mute.sh is a small script that mutes or unmutes the default microphone and displays a notification accordingly:


# Check what state the mic is currently
muted=$(pactl get-source-mute @DEFAULT_SOURCE@)

# toggle this state and send according notification
if [[ $muted == "Mute: yes" ]]
  pactl set-source-mute @DEFAULT_SOURCE@ 0 | notify-send -u critical -t 1000 "Mic activated"
  pactl set-source-mute @DEFAULT_SOURCE@ 1 | notify-send -t 1000 "Mic deactived"

GTK Styling

For apps using GTK, we can download and configure a theme.

Either download this and this or install gtk-theme-numix-solarized to get GTK themes.

For your local user this themes should be placed in ~/.themes.

Then you can change the theme by adding the following to sway’s config:

set $gnome-schema org.gnome.desktop.interface

exec_always {
    gsettings set $gnome-schema gtk-theme 'Solarized-Dark'
    gsettings set $gnome-schema icon-theme 'Your icon theme'
    gsettings set $gnome-schema cursor-theme 'Your cursor Theme'
    gsettings set $gnome-schema font-name 'Your font name'

Also see swaywm wiki for more informations about this.

Screen Sharing

For Screen Sharing to work you need the following package and it’s dependencies:

yay -S xdg-desktop-portal-wlr

Once it’s installed, add the following in ~/.config/environment.d/wayland.conf:


Restart and then you should be able to share your screen using your browser.

Upstream Guide

Screen recording

For Screen recording on sway, you can use different programms and approaches. I wanted something that is based on shortcuts, doesn’t necessarily have a GUI but can show the keys you press on the keyboard.

So I ended up writting two simple bash scripts based on the following programms:

yay -aS wshowkeys-git
yay -S wf-recorder

And others that should already be installed or will be installed with this guide:

  • notify-send
  • jq
  • pactl

When you got all those tools and know they are working, you can open your sway config and define two shortcuts, one for starting the recording and one for stopping it. It should look something like this:

bindsym Ctrl+$mod+Alt+s exec ~/.config/sway/start-record.sh
bindsym Ctrl+$mod+Shift+S exec ~/.config/sway/start-record.sh --no-keys
bindsym Ctrl+$mod+Alt+e exec ~/.config/sway/end-record.sh

As you can see those shortcuts call a script that resides along sway’s config. Here are those scripts:


#!/sbin/env bash

## Checks
if ! command -v wf-recorder &> /dev/null
  notify-send -u critical -t 2000 "wf-recorder not installed"
  exit 1
if ! command -v wshowkeys &> /dev/null
  notify-send -u critical -t 2000 "wshowkeys not installed"
  exit 1

## Start wshowkeys
# if --no-keys is passed in, skip wshowkeys
if [ $1 != "--no-keys" ]
  wshowkeys -F 'Rubik 30' -b '#073642' -f '#839496' -s '#859900' -a bottom -m 10 -t 2 &
  pidWshowkeys=$(echo $!)
  echo $pidWshowkeys > /tmp/wshowkeys.pid

## Find default audio source
defaultSource=$(pactl get-default-source)

## Start wf-recorder
currentFocusedMonitor=$(swaymsg -t get_outputs --raw | jq '. | map(select(.focused == true)) | .[0].name' -r)
wf-recorder -a $defaultSource -o $currentFocusedMonitor -f ~/Videos/record$(date +%d%m%y)-$(date +%H%M%S).mp4 &
pidWFrecorder=$(echo $!)
echo $pidWFrecorder > /tmp/wfrecorder.pid
notify-send -t 5000 "Started recording on $currentFocusedMonitor using Audio from $defaultSource"

exit 0


#!/sbin/env bash

## See if we got some pids
pidWshowkeys=$(cat /tmp/wshowkeys.pid)
pidWFrecorder=$(cat /tmp/wfrecorder.pid)

if [ $pidWFrecorder != "" ]
  kill -INT $pidWFrecorder
  notify-send -t 5000 "Recording has been saved to ~/Videos/record$(date +%d%m%y)-$(date +%H%M%S).mp4"
  rm /tmp/wfrecorder.pid
  exit 0
  notify-send -u normal -t 2000 "No recording is running"
  exit 1

if [ $pidWshowkeys != "" ]
  kill -SIGTERM $pidWshowkeys
  rm /tmp/wshowkeys.pid

As you can see, the start script checks you have all the tools installed, then it launches the tools individually (thus the option to disable wshowkeys when using the other keybinding) and remembers the main PID of the processes. It uses the current active screen and current active input sink configured in pulseaudio.

To end the recording, the other script just takes the PIDs from a file and stops them gracefully.

Simple, easy to understand, separated tools for separated tasks. What do you want more?

System Utilities

As the intro says, sway is not anything. We need some good tooling to be productive. We already modified sway to lock like we wanted it to look, but not we need tools.

For an Engineer the shell environment is probably the most important environment as it’s his workplace, his workspace and can be customized however he wants.

So to start off, let’s setup the shell environment and then go over to other applications.

Terminal Emulator

When you use a graphical environment you don’t have the TTY directly, so you need some sort of a terminal emulator to work with. My prefered terminal emulator therefore is kitty.

Get it:

sudo pacman -S kitty

Then swap the default emulator in sway’s config:

set $term kitty

After a reload kitty is the new default terminal emulator.

Kitty has a config file in ~/.config/kitty/kitty.conf that you can customize to your likings. There is a default file already there. Here are some of the things I customized:

copy_on_select yes
# Writting to clipboard is allowed, reading must be asked each time
clipboard_control write-clipboard write-primary read-clipboard-ask read-primary-ask
# Remove trailing spaces when pasting lines, not when pastinc rectangle selections
strip_trailing_spaces smart

enabled_layouts *
term xterm-kitty # anything else doesn't make sense
scrollback_lines 5000 # history is always good
enable_audio_bell no # no need for sounds
cursor_blink_interval     0.5 # mustn't be super slow nor super fast

# Custom Keybinding
map shift+insert        paste_from_selection
mouse_map middle release ungrabbed paste_from_clipboard
map kitty_mod+enter new_window_with_cwd
map kitty_mod+n new_os_window_with_cwd
map kitty_mod+t     new_tab_with_cwd

# Thememing
include ./theme.conf # theme taken from https://github.com/dexpota/kitty-themes

The docs tell you all the options you have and how to configure them.


A Terminal Emulator launches a shell by default. My prefered one is ZSH using the oh-my-zsh framework. Zsh is already installed and my default shell, when followed the Arch Linux guide.

If not done, change your shell like so:

sudo pacman -S zsh
chsh -s /sbin/zsh
# close terminal and open a new one to take affect

Note: You must enter your password to change the shell of your user.

Then I get the framework:

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh)"

Now you can edit the .zshrc file to your likings, change themes, add plugins and more. See the docs for how to do things.

I changed the following important things:

  • ZSH_THEME="agnoster"
  • ZSH_CUSTOM="/home/technat/.zsh-custom"
  • plugins=(git gpg-agent sudo helm kubectl cp extract terraform k3d argocd aws kubectx docker)
  • prompt_context () { } -> redefine prompt for agnoster theme
  • RPS1='$(kubectx_prompt_info)' -> to see the current context on the right
  • if [ -n "$RANGER_LEVEL" ]; then export PS1="[ranger]$PS1"; fi used to indicated that this shell is spawned from ranger
  • zstyle ':completion:*:*:docker:*' option-stacking yes & zstyle ':completion:*:*:docker-*:*' option-stacking yes -> docker completion fixes

In addition I have a lot of aliases in the ~/.zsh-custom/aliases.zsh. To see them all see here


I have setup a GPG identity as described here for different purposes. So one part of my Sway-DE is configuring gpg to be ready for git commit signing, ssh authentication and more.

Import GPG Identity

First we need to import our identity. If not already installed, get the required packages:

yay -S gnupg

Then add the following config to ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf:

# https://github.com/drduh/config/blob/master/gpg.conf
# https://www.gnupg.org/documentation/manuals/gnupg/GPG-Configuration-Options.html
# https://www.gnupg.org/documentation/manuals/gnupg/GPG-Esoteric-Options.html
# Use AES256, 192, or 128 as cipher
personal-cipher-preferences AES256 AES192 AES
# Use SHA512, 384, or 256 as digest
personal-digest-preferences SHA512 SHA384 SHA256
# Use ZLIB, BZIP2, ZIP, or no compression
personal-compress-preferences ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP Uncompressed
# Default preferences for new keys
default-preference-list SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 AES256 AES192 AES ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP Uncompressed
# SHA512 as digest to sign keys
cert-digest-algo SHA512
# SHA512 as digest for symmetric ops
s2k-digest-algo SHA512
# AES256 as cipher for symmetric ops
s2k-cipher-algo AES256
# UTF-8 support for compatibility
charset utf-8
# Show Unix timestamps
# No comments in signature
# No version in output
# Disable banner
# Long hexidecimal key format
keyid-format 0xlong
# Display UID validity
list-options show-uid-validity
verify-options show-uid-validity
# Display all keys and their fingerprints
# Display key origins and updates
# Cross-certify subkeys are present and valid
# Disable caching of passphrase for symmetrical ops
# Enable smartcard
# Disable recipient key ID in messages
# Default/trusted key ID to use (helpful with throw-keyids)
#default-key 0xFF3E7D88647EBCDB
#trusted-key 0xFF3E7D88647EBCDB
# Group recipient keys (preferred ID last)
#group keygroup = 0xFF00000000000001 0xFF00000000000002 0xFF3E7D88647EBCDB
# Keyserver URL
#keyserver hkps://keys.openpgp.org
#keyserver hkps://keyserver.ubuntu.com:443
#keyserver hkps://hkps.pool.sks-keyservers.net
#keyserver hkps://pgp.ocf.berkeley.edu
# Proxy to use for keyservers
#keyserver-options http-proxy=
#keyserver-options http-proxy=socks5-hostname://
# Verbose output
# Show expired subkeys
#list-options show-unusable-subkeys

Then import my public key:

export KEYID=0x22391B207DAD6969
gpg --recv 0x22391B207DAD6969

And assign it ultimate trust:

$ gpg --edit-key $KEYID

pub  rsa4096/0x22391B207DAD6969
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: never       usage: C
     trust: unknown       validity: unknown
sub  rsa4096/0x2E8A914D0D5D6195
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2023-05-29  usage: A
sub  rsa4096/0xBC3ECF83D49EB271
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2023-05-29  usage: E
sub  rsa4096/0x9537A18EF9A0A4EB
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2023-05-29  usage: S
[ unknown] (1). Nathanael Liechti <technat@technat.ch>
[ unknown] (2)  Nathanael Liechti <root@technat.ch>

gpg> trust
pub  rsa4096/0x22391B207DAD6969
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: never       usage: C
     trust: unknown       validity: unknown
sub  rsa4096/0x2E8A914D0D5D6195
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2023-05-29  usage: A
sub  rsa4096/0xBC3ECF83D49EB271
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2023-05-29  usage: E
sub  rsa4096/0x9537A18EF9A0A4EB
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2023-05-29  usage: S
[ unknown] (1). Nathanael Liechti <technat@technat.ch>
[ unknown] (2)  Nathanael Liechti <root@technat.ch>

Please decide how far you trust this user to correctly verify other users' keys
(by looking at passports, checking fingerprints from different sources, etc.)

  1 = I don't know or won't say
  2 = I do NOT trust
  3 = I trust marginally
  4 = I trust fully
  5 = I trust ultimately
  m = back to the main menu

Your decision? 5
Do you really want to set this key to ultimate trust? (y/N) y

pub  rsa4096/0x22391B207DAD6969
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: never       usage: C
     trust: ultimate      validity: unknown
sub  rsa4096/0x2E8A914D0D5D6195
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2027-11-05  usage: A
sub  rsa4096/0xBC3ECF83D49EB271
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2027-11-05  usage: E
sub  rsa4096/0x9537A18EF9A0A4EB
     created: 2022-05-29  expires: 2027-11-05  usage: S
[ unknown] (1). Nathanael Liechti <technat@technat.ch>
[ unknown] (2)  Nathanael Liechti <root@technat.ch>
Please note that the shown key validity is not necessarily correct
unless you restart the program.

SSH Authentication

We are using the gpg-agent here for ssh authentication.

First add a config in ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf:

# https://github.com/drduh/config/blob/master/gpg-agent.conf
# https://www.gnupg.org/documentation/manuals/gnupg/Agent-Options.html
ttyname $GPG_TTY
default-cache-ttl 60
max-cache-ttl 120
#pinentry-program /usr/bin/pinentry-curses
#pinentry-program /usr/bin/pinentry-tty
#pinentry-program /usr/bin/pinentry-gtk-2
#pinentry-program /usr/bin/pinentry-x11
#pinentry-program /usr/bin/pinentry-qt
#pinentry-program /usr/local/bin/pinentry-curses
#pinentry-program /usr/local/bin/pinentry-mac
#pinentry-program /opt/homebrew/bin/pinentry-mac

Then make sure your shell is launching the gpg-agent by adding the following to your rc file:

export GPG_TTY="$(tty)"
export SSH_AUTH_SOCK=$(gpgconf --list-dirs agent-ssh-socket)
gpgconf --launch gpg-agent

I’m using the gpg-agent plugin for oh-my-zsh, it does basically the same.

When launched, you can observe, that the gpg-agent has automatically detected our gpg-sub-key for authentication and made sure it’s available for SSH authentication:

ssh-add -L

Of course the yubikey needs to be plugged in for that, otherwise you won´t see any identity.

You can then still adjust your ssh config as you like, if you want to give some hosts a hint which key to use (to prevent ssh from trying all keys it finds) you can save the public key from the above output to a file and point IdentityFile to this public key file. See here for details to this trick.

Commit signing

Grab your public key:

gpg --armor --export $KEYID |wl-copy

And add it into your SCM account.

Then tell git to use this key for signing:

git config --global user.signinkey $KEYID

Switch yubikey

If you have imported your gpg identity on a laptop and are using your backup key instead of the primary one, you must first tell that gpg (with the backup key plugged in):

gpg-connect-agent "scd serialno" "learn --force" /bye


On Arch you almost always needs multiple programming languages. So this section lists common tools for different languages that are needed for IDEs, programming and yay.


sudo pacman -S go
# add them to your .zshenv or ~/.config/environment.d/go.conf
export GOROOT="/usr/lib/go"
export GOPATH="/home/technat/go"
export GOBIN=$GOPATH/"bin"


sudo pacman -S python python-pip


sudo pacman -S terraform
yay -aS terraform-docs terraform-ls # language server


sudo pacman -S yamllint yq


sudo pacman -S jq


Now comes my editor. I use it to edit many files including the programming languages I installed above.

There are a bunch of plugins set in my .vimrc file. All the required tools should already by installed in the languages section, so we can simply link the .vimrc.

cd ~/WALL-E
stow vim
git submodule update --init --recursive

Note: the last command pulls all the vim plugins using git submodules.


Ranger is a terminal file manager written in Python.

I’m working on getting this my default file manager, so let’s install it:

sudo pacman -S ranger
yay -S atool unzip mediainfo highlight w3m ffmpegthumbnailer python-pillow
yay -aS dragon-drop

To configure it get the default config into ~/.config/ranger/rc.conf and edit it or use your existing config:

cd ~/WALL-E
stow ranger

Files opened with wrong programm

The ~/.config/ranger/rifle.conf file tells ranger how to open files.

Here are some modifications I did on my way:

  • onlyoffice needs to be replaced with onlyoffice-desktopeditors for documents to open correctly
  • Added mime ^image, has vimiv, X, flag f = vimiv -- "$@" to the images section

Visual Studio Code

For coding it’s sometimes easier to use an editor like vs code instead of vim.

You install it like so:

sudo pacman -S code

Those are the extensions I like to install:

  • Go (golang)
  • Docker (ms-azuretools)
  • Terraform (hashicorp)
  • Vim (vscodevim)
  • YAML (Redhat)
  • MarkdownLint (DavidAnson)
  • Gitpod & Gitpod Remote (Gitpod)
  • Helm Intellisense (Tim Koehler)
  • Makefile Tools (Microsoft)
  • Github Codespaces (Github)
  • EditorConfig for VS Code (EditorConfig)
  • Pop Theme (Nathaniel Webb)
  • WSL (Microsoft)

Keybindings not default:

  • Add Cursor Below -> Ctrl+Alt+Down
  • Add Cursor Above -> Ctrl+Alt+Up
  • Copy Line Up -> Shift+Alt+Up
  • Copy Line Down -> Shift+Alt+Down

I use settings snyc via Github, so all settings are already synced on a new instance of vs code.

grim & swappy

Screenshots under Wayland can be done with different tools. I use grim in combination with swappy to edit them on the fly. To make handling easier grimshot as a wrapper to grim is used.

Let’s installt them:

sudo pacman -S grim swappy
yay -aS grimshot

The tools need some keybindings to do screenshots:

# Screenshot // Screenshot active display
bindsym --locked Ctrl+Alt+s exec /sbin/grimshot --notify save output - | swappy -f - & SLIGHT=$(light -G) && light -A 30 && sleep 0.1 && light -S $SLIGHT

# # Screenshot // Screenshot current window
bindsym Shift+Alt+s exec /sbin/grimshot --notify save active - | swappy -f - & SLIGHT=$(light -G) && light -A 30 && sleep 0.1 && light -S $SLIGHT

# Screenshot // Screenshot selected region
bindsym $mod+Shift+s exec /sbin/grimshot --notify save area - | swappy -f - && SLIGHT=$(light -G) && light -A 30 && sleep 0.1 && light -S $SLIGHT

As you can see the keybindings pass the screenshot to swappy, a tool to quickly edit screenshots. This tool can be customized in ~/.config/swappy/config:

save_dir=$(xdg-user-dir PICTURES)/screenshots


To get dropbox running we install it:

yay -aS dropbox dropbox-cli

The dropbox-cli autostart y command places a .desktop file in ~.config/autostart which will execute dropbox when sway is started.

Docs and further informations: Arch Wiki Guide


sudo pacman -S keepassxc

Pro Tipp: Install the KeePassXC-Browser extension to directly paste passworts into login masks when linked.


Some programms need the gnome-keyring. So let’s install it:

yay -S gnome-keyring


A terminal based mail client. Install it:

yay -S mutt

And then you need a config file in ~/.config/mutt/muttrc that looks something like this:

# General
# Source secret config values from encryted file
# source "gpg -dq $HOME/.my-pwds.gpg |"
source .my-pwds # or unencrypted file
# content: set my_pass="password_here"
set my_user=technat@technat.ch
set realname="Nathanael Liechti"
set from="technat@technat.ch"
set use_from=yes
set ssl_force_tls=yes
set ssl_starttls=yes

set folder=imaps://mail.infomaniak.com:993/
set imap_user=$my_user
set imap_pass=$my_pass
set spoolfile=+INBOX
set imap_check_subscribed
set header_cache=~/.cache/mutt
set message_cachedir=~/.cache/mutt
unset imap_passive
set imap_keepalive=300
set mail_check=30
set postponed = +INBOX/Drafts

set smtp_pass=$my_pass
set smtp_url=smtps://$my_user@mail.infomaniak.com


The tools needed:

sudo pacman -S virt-manager vde2 qemu qemu-arch-extra edk2-ovmf bridge-utils dnsmasq

Give yourself permissions for virtualization:

sudo usermod -G libvirt -a technat

Of course virtualization support has to be activated in the BIOS…

USB Drives automount

The following articles are helpful:

Install the following packages:

yay -S udisks2 udiskie

There are two ways of running udiskie:

  1. Systemd-service as user
  2. Exec in sway config

If you want option 1, install and enable the service:

yay -a udiskie-systemd-git
systemctl --user enable --now udiskie.service

Note: This version does not support a tray icon unless you edit the service file.

For option 2 add the following to your sway config:

exec udiskie -Nt &

If you notice that udiskie does not mount your thumb-driver you may want to check here for permission errors.

PDF Viewer

For PDFs you need a reader. There are many options. I tried some of them and setteled on zathura:

sudo pacman -aS zathura zathura-pdf-mupdf
xdg-mime default zathura.desktop application/pdf

Image Viewer

For Images yo uneed a viewer. There are many options. I tried some of them and setteled on vimiv:

yay -S vimiv
xdg-mime default vimiv.desktop image/jpeg
xdg-mime default vimiv.desktop image/png


yay -S kubectl
yay -S kubectx


yay -S docker docker-compose


A graphical environment for bluetooth. Install it:

yay -S blueman


Get the AppImage from here, make it executable and put it somewhere in your PATH (eq /home/technat/.local/bin).

Then add the following as kmeet.desktop into ~/.local/share/applications to make it launchable by your application launcher:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Infomaniak video-conferencing

Finally you need the following dependencies:

yay -S fuse2fs


Get the AppImage from here, make it executable and put it somewhere in your PATH (eq /home/technat/.local/bin).

Then add the following as kdrive.desktop into ~/.local/share/applications to make it launchable by your application launcher:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Infomaniak file sync

Finally you need the following dependencies:

yay -S fuse2fs


Can be installed directly:

yay -aS ungoogled-chromium-bin

To manage extensions see the instructions here.

Installed extensions:

  • KeePassXC-Browser
  • AdBlcok - best ad blocker

Some sites allow all cookies to save sessions.

Screen Mirroring

We can workaround the lack of screen mirroring in sway by using wl-mirror.

Install the following tools:

yay -S wl-mirror pipectl slurp

And then configure yourself a keybinding that executes wl-mirror. I’m using a wrapper-script too that I grabbed from here. My keybinding then looks like this:

bindsym $mod+p exec bash ~/.config/sway/wl-present.sh mirror


Sometimes used for meetings:

yay -S teams

Thunderbolt Docks

Linux supports Thunderbolt Docks natively. See here for some docs about it.

If you are curious or want to manually authorized devices, you can install bolt to inspect and deal with TB devices.

yay -S bolt

And then use it as boltctl.


My prefered note app

yay -S joplin joplin-appimage

Set default apps

This section collects things that are opened with the wrong programm.

  • Default browser: xdg-settings set default-web-browser firefox.desktop

Further reading