X1 Wayland Hero

Indeed, while GNOME is already using Wayland by default, and other bigger desktop environment projects like KDE and Budgie are currently working hard on switching their compositors to Wayland, it seems like many simpler standalone window manager projects like Openbox and i3wm are not making plans to switch.

Wayland is quite a different beast from X11, so moving to it would essentially equal having to do a complete rewrite for some of these more minimal window managers. Add to that the fact that Wayland's design requires window managers to provide certain features and services such as compositing (in fact, there really isn't a distinction between a "compositor" and a "window manager" with Wayland), lock screen support, or display management, and it starts to make sense why many of these smaller projects are not bothering to switch.

However, there are developers out there that have jumped on the chance to give writing their own window managers a shot, and we'd like to highlight a few of these projects.


Sway screenshot

Designed as a drop-in replacement for the i3 tiling window manager, sway would be the perfect place to start with using Wayland for somebody already used to i3. Along with supporting most of i3wm's features, it includes its own versions of i3lock and i3bar, and also incorporates features from the i3-gaps fork.

Currently, sway is in the progress of switching to a new Wayland library called wlroots, however, it is still being actively worked on and is receiving bugfixes.

You can find out more about sway and get instructions to install it from the official website or at the sway GitHub repository:

Way Cooler

Way Cooler screenshot

Way Cooler is also a tiling window manager, described by its developers as "heavily inspired by the tiling of i3 and the extensibility of awesome". It's written in Rust, but along with bringing all the security guarantees of the language, it also requires extensions to be granted permissions, unlike X11, where any app has free reign to do things like capture all keystrokes.

Way Cooler also focuses on extensibility. It includes a powerful Lua interface for configuring things like themes, key binds, and window layouts – which will allow its users to switch to Wayland without losing the functionality previously provided in X11 by utilities such as xdotool. It also includes a powerful D-Bus interface for integrating third-party applications such as lock screens with the window manager.

More information about Way Cooler can be found at the official website or at the project's GitHub repository:

Liri Shell

Liri Shell screenshot

Liri Shell is the shell used for the (you guessed it) Liri OS project. Unlike sway and Way Cooler, it is not a tiling window manager, and does not focus on extensibility, however, it already has a good amount of features, such as Material Design UI, customizable keyboard shortcuts, network and volume controls, and notifications.

Liri Shell is shipped with Liri OS, which you can download from the official website, and as usual, you can also get it from the GitHub repository:

What do you think? Are you planning to try any of these window managers out? Let us know in the comments below!