A first look at Fedora 40 Sway

I started to look at the Window Manager Sway. Hopefully, in the future, I’ll post more articles on that.

In the meantime, I looked at the Fedora Sway spin (the current version is 40) and will briefly comment on that in this post.

The live environment already provides a Sway window manager and leaves documentation about how to start programs, especially the installer:

Let’s follow the suggestion and select the installer:

The installer is the usual Fedora one:

However, the next part is different from what I have always seen in a Fedora installation, at least the default Gnome one: you have more things to set:

I won’t show the other installation parts since they are standard in Fedora installation. I went with the defaults because I’m trying that in a virtual machine, so I’ll stick with the default partitioning scheme.

After the installation is concluded, let’s restart, and here’s the greeting login screen:

And once you log in:

No more help message: you’re on your own 😉

Probably, a basic knowledge of Sway is required and assumed.

At least, you may remember the SUPER + d shortcut to open the application launcher, and you can run something from there.

It’s better if you know about the basic shortcuts, which are the Sway default in this installation:

  • SUPER+SHIFT+Q: close the current window
  • SUPER+ENTER: run the default terminal, which here is “foot”
  • SUPER+SHIFT+C: reload Sway

The look and feel of the installed and configured Sway is nice; the “Waybar” is configured with a few helpful information. You have the tray icon (on the right) for network connections—the volume control opens a dialog to configure the volume and microphone. Moreover, media keys are already configured. For example, the ones for volume, and you have a visual feedback:

A few screenshot key bindings are also configured:

# Capture the currently active output
# Capture the currently active window
# Select and capture a custom rectangular area

However, you have no visual feedback for such features; more effort could have been made.

Software-wise, you don’t have much installed: you have Thunar as a file manager but no text editor, for example.

The disappointing part is the configuration of Sway: you might expect you have everything already created in the “~/.config” subdirectories, following the standard Sway and other application structures. Unfortunately, it’s not like that: you have nothing in your home directory in that respect. Everything is configured system-wide. Of course, you can customize everything, but you must go through the documentation: https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/fedora-sericea/configuration-guide/.

Several precedence rules are documented in the link, but I find that mechanism quite cumbersome. There are configuration files spread in many places:

You have to add additional files to your home folder or completely override a configuration file with one with the same name in your configuration folder.

I’ve just started experimenting with Sway; such a mechanism is hard to grasp and use.

For example, the installation procedure completely forgot the “Italian” layout I specified for the keyboard! There’s no “~/.config/swat/config” file to modify quickly. Should I copy the default one there and modify it; however, the part about the keyboard layout is not even commented on.

After reading the documentation, I came up with this (the configuration file’s name is my own; I haven’t followed a pattern; the important thing is the directory where the “.conf” file is):

Then, I reloaded Sway with SUPER+SHIFT+C and got the Italian keyboard layout.

But it wasn’t easy…

In general, I had the impression that Fedora Sway is not for beginners of Sway; however, it doesn’t seem to be for Sway experts either: they’d expect to customize Sway as they see fit anyway, and probably they have their dotfiles ready to be used.

However, maybe Fedora Sway is not bad for starting to experiment with Sway in the end. 🙂

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