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How do I install i3 on mac?

asked 2013-06-08 22:47:50 +0000

da12k_l0rd gravatar image

updated 2013-06-08 23:20:59 +0000

I am trying to install i3 on my mac with mountain lion on it. I am at a loss after downloading the latest stable version of the code. Step by step by instructions for a newbie would be appreciated!

Update: I did try just typing in make within the folder using terminal. It gave the following error:

$ make

[libi3] CC libi3/fakeconfigurenotify.c

libi3/fakeconfigurenotify.c:11:10: fatal error: 'xcb/xcb.h' file not found

include <xcb xcb.h="">


1 error generated.

make: * [libi3/fakeconfigurenotify.o] Error 1

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4 answers

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answered 2013-06-11 21:35:25 +0000

Although Mac OSX provides an embedded XServer within their interface (meaning you can run applications that require XWindows like a java app or a ported package), even if you find a way to compile i3, it will certainly not be able to manage mac os windows...

I also run on a macbook pro, but with a ubuntu image that works perfectly out of the box (no hardware dramas or crazy setup). Then I just launch i3 as my window manager... very happy with that.

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+1 for ditching OSes that make trouble with i3 :)

joepd gravatar imagejoepd ( 2013-06-12 18:14:51 +0000 )edit

Marcus Crestani (see our mailing list) uses i3 on Mac OS X and frequently sends patches to fix compilation issues. Write to him to figure out how to use i3 for non-aqua windows (i.e.

Michael gravatar imageMichael ( 2013-06-13 18:34:58 +0000 )edit

answered 2013-06-11 15:58:06 +0000

brotoes gravatar image

It is nigh impossible to install an alternative window manager on OS X. Compiling it will require header files that you don't have. Additionally, even if you somehow succeed in compiling, i3wm manages X windows only. And, while OS X can have/use X, most of its applications do not.

It makes me sad too :(

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answered 2014-01-28 08:58:38 +0000

Bartlomiej Skwira gravatar image

There is also Amethyst

Tiling window manager for OS X similar to xmonad. Was originally written as an alternative to fjolnir’s awesome xnomad but written in pure Objective-C. It’s expanded to include some more features like Spaces support not reliant on fragile private APIs.

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answered 2013-09-25 11:00:10 +0000

gustavnikolaj gravatar image

It is not true that it is impossible - but that's not saying that it is easy. There is an attempt to make xmonad work on OSX. While it's all happening within the boundaries of the normal window manager it is, none the less, a working port.

It is true, that the WM on OSX is not replaceable - but it is indeed modifiable.

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Asked: 2013-06-08 22:47:50 +0000

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Last updated: Jan 28 '14