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Initial setup

I will assume you are working on a fresh, installation of Alpine standard. Otherwise see these instructions.

Enable Community Repository

We need the Community Repository available for access to the i3 packages. Instructions are available on the Repositories page.

Install drivers

Ensure you have the required drivers.

# apk search xf86-input*

# apk search xf86-video*

These are the drivers I needed but the ones you need might differ.

# apk add xf86-video-intel xf86-input-intel xf86-video-fbdev xf86-video-vesa

Install fonts

Install some fonts. If you start i3 without fonts it will be unusable.

# apk add terminus-font

Install dbus

Install dbus and set it up.

# apk add dbus

# dbus-uuidgen > /var/lib/dbus/machine-id

# rc-update add dbus

Install X11

Install X11 and set it up.

# setup-xorg-base

Install i3 etc

Install i3, the i3 status bar and a terminal.

# apk add i3wm i3status xterm

Set up a non-root account

Set up a non-root account. (Call this whatever you like.)

# adduser thomas

# addgroup thomas input

# addgroup thomas video


Now you can start i3 manually.

# startx /usr/bin/i3

Note: The default configuration is minimal and most menu options won't work unless you customize and/or install additional packages. More information is available in the i3 user guide.

Starting i3 on login

To have i3 start automatically on login, you should set up xinit. There are different ways to do this. The arch wiki has good, transferrable information on this.