The Regolith desktop softens the edges around the i3 window manager — and in its latest release it goes even further.

Regolith Linux softens the edges of i3, making the tiling window manager easier to use

For those unfamiliar with it, the Regolith desktop combines GNOME-based system management with a keyboard driven user interface built around i3-gaps, Rofi, and other shortcut-centric tools.

Although still very shortcut dependent — you primarily open, close, move and switch windows and workspaces using keyboard shortcuts — Regolith remoulds i3 into a less intimidating shape.

The Regolith desktop can be installed on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (and above) by adding a PPA. Alternatively, users can download Regolith Linux, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that ships the Regolith desktop experience by default.

Regolith 1.3 Released

While a lot of readers really love the Regolith experience as-is, there were a few pain points that could be improved on — which this release certainly does.

Regolith 1.3 features a brand new GTK theme called Cahuella. This is more closely related to the Adwaita theme (don’t worry, it’s still dark by default) to help ensure that all the included GNOME apps and utilities look as intended.

Also benefiting from a slick new look is the rofi app launcher, which sports a “less distracting” appearance as of this update.

To better help orientate users less familiar with i3, a brand new “shortcuts” cheat-sheet called Remontoire. This displays on first login and is accessible at any time through a smush of ctrl + ? buttons. Of all the improvements this update brings it’s this one I will appreciate the most (sorry but I have the memory of a …Dammit, I can’t remember).

Clicking on blocks in the bottom bar now launches the relevant configuration app, e.g., clicking on the battery block opens the power settings control panel, etc.

A big change to the way notifications work debuts in Regolith 1.3. Rather than showing on-screen toasts the system will update the ‘unread’ count on a notification indicator on the panel.

Other features, changes and improvements include:

  • Improved Network, notifications and other blocks
  • Selection of different compositors
  • New i3-snapshot tool to save/restore window layouts
  • Support for “looks”

To learn more about the desktop and many of the new features included in its latest release visit the brand spankin’ new Regolith website:

Visit the Regolith Website

Upgrade to Regolith 1.3 on Ubuntu

Note: If you have Regolith installed already you must remove the old Regolith PPA from your system before adding the new one to upgrade.

If you currently use Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (or above) you can install the Regolith desktop on top of your existing installation. How? By adding the project’s official PPA to your software sources list.

To do this, open a new terminal window and run:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:regolith-linux/release

Followed by:

sudo apt install regolith-desktop

Log out of your current session and, from the greeter, select the Regolith session and login using your existing username and password.

To stop using Regolith first log out and, at the greeter, select the Ubuntu (or other) session.

To remove/uninstall Regolith desktop run:

sudo apt purge regolith-desktop

If you’d rather install Regolith Linux (an Ubuntu-based distro with the Regolith desktop already installed) you’ll find new .iso images over on the Regolith Linux Sourceforge page.

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