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Sam Erickson
Sam Erickson

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Dotfiles Project | For beginners to learn about system configuration

When I first started in Linux, I was obsessed with dot files configuration. Yet, I spent most of my time fumbling around and having no idea what I was doing, copying and pasting snippets of code from various dot files around the internet. Which is not a bad way to learn, but I firmly believe in not adding anything
to your configuration files that you do now fully understand the function and purpose of. Doing so just makes your files cluttered and messy with things you will probably never use.

That Is why I have started this project. I reset all of my dot files and started my system from scratch. The idea here was to rebuild my system to use wayland,
rather than x11, the reason being x11 was creating all sorts of display errors such as tearing. In other words, I was frustrated every time I would try to watch
Netflix as it looked like my computer way broken, even though it was not. The solution was swaywm.

Moving away from X11

The obvious choice was to stop using the software that was causing me so many issues, but there is a catch. There are very few resources on swaywm and that means in order to learn how to create a system that is setup to my liking I was going to need to read lots of man pages, and fumble around figuring things out for myself.

The biggest issue is that nothing from x11 works in wayland. So the first step was figuring out which apps I was going to switch over to, and how to get them tuned to my liking.

  • Web browser: Firefox already supports wayland so no issues there
  • Terminal emulator: For this I use kitty , as it supports images (I ran into issues tying to use w3m).
  • Image viewer: For this I started using imv.
  • Video player: mpv appears to work just fine.
  • Screen casting: green-recorder This works fairly well, though I have not tested it all that much.
  • Screen shots: I am still working this one out
  • App launcher: I am using rofi, though I have not worked on configuring it at all.

I started with the goal of only adding software as I needed it so as to slowly build everything up properly.

The dotfiles project

While copying and pasting other peoples code, and struggling to solve your own issues by reading through threads online, and various blog posts is a great way to learn. I thought there had to be a better way. I could not manage to find very many resources on swaywm so I decided to take things into my own hands and start writing a guide. Once I got under way, I thought why not make it a dot files guide? After all, I am sure there are other out there just like me who want to learn how to configure a system but do not know where to start, thus the birth of the dotfiles project.

In this project the current goal is to work on my personal system adding things as I need them in my day to day life, and document solutions to issues that arise in the project wiki. I realize that dot files are more a personal thing, as not everyone will make use of things that I make use of, but this will serve as a place to start for some people who are looking to get into this sort of thing, but find themselves
overwhelmed on where to start.

This post was originally posted on my blog at

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