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Sway is a tiling Wayland compositor. It's a drop-in replacement for the i3 window manager.



# apk add eudev
# setup-udev

Graphics drivers:

Add user to the input and video groups:

# adduser $USER input
# adduser $USER video

Install some TTF fonts:

# apk add ttf-dejavu

seatd daemon:

# apk add seatd
# rc-update add seatd
# rc-service seatd start
# adduser $USER seat

elogind, optional for suspend on lid close support.

Install sway:

# apk add sway sway-doc
# apk add                \ # Install optional dependencies:
    xwayland             \ # recommended for compatibility reasons
    foot                 \ # default terminal emulator
    wofi                 \ # wayland menu for application selection and screensharing
    swaylock swaylockd   \ # lockscreen tool
    swaybg               \ # wallpaper daemon
    swayidle               # idle management (DPMS) daemon

Configure XDG_RUNTIME_DIR. Add the following to shell init scripts, for the default ash shell it is ~/.profile:

if test -z "${XDG_RUNTIME_DIR}"; then
  export XDG_RUNTIME_DIR=/tmp/$(id -u)-runtime-dir
  if ! test -d "${XDG_RUNTIME_DIR}"; then
    mkdir "${XDG_RUNTIME_DIR}"
    chmod 0700 "${XDG_RUNTIME_DIR}"

Launch Sway with dbus support:

dbus-launch --exit-with-session sway


An example config is provided at /etc/sway/config. Copy it to ~/.config/sway/config and read through it to learn the default keybindings.

For additional information, start at man 5 sway and read the upstream wiki.

Launching program under Wayland

For some programs, additional configuration is needed to launch them natively under Wayland and to support special features such as screen sharing.

To launch Firefox natively under Wayland and to enable support for screensharing, you need:

  • Install and configure PipeWire
  • Install xdg-desktop-portal and xdg-desktop-portal-wlr package
  • Install wofi for screen selection
  • Launch support programs on sway startup: Add exec pipewire and /usr/libexec/xdg-desktop-portal-wlr to ~/.config/sway/config
  • Export the following variables:
export XDG_SESSION_TYPE=wayland

Scaling for high resolution screens

Without further configuration, program interfaces might be too small to use on high resolution screens.

Via sway

Sway supports the per-display configuration of

  • fractional (e.g., 1.5x), and
  • integer scaling (e.g., 2x)

However, fractional scaling is discouraged due to both the performance impact and the blurry output it produces. In this case, where 1x scaling is too small and 2x scaling is too large, program-specific GTK/QT based scaling is recommended. See below.

To enable Sway scaling, the user can first try out different scaling factors with wdisplays package. Note the output name (eDP-1, LVDS-1) and try apply scaling factors such as 1 and 2. To make changes permanent, add

output <name> scale <factor>

to ~/.config/sway/config.

Via GTK/Qt

# for GTK-based programs such as firefox and emacs:
export GDK_DPI_SCALE=2

# for QT-based programs
export QT_WAYLAND_FORCE_DPI="physical"
# or if still too small, use a custom DPI
export QT_WAYLAND_FORCE_DPI=192 # 2x scaling
export QT_QPA_PLATFORM="wayland-egl"

Make clipboard content persistent

By default the clipboard content does not persist after terminating the program: you copy some text from Firefox and then exit Firefox, the copied text is also lost.

Install clipman from test repo and add the following to sway config:

exec wl-paste --type text/plain --watch clipman store --histpath="~/.local/state/clipman-primary.json"
bindsym $mod+h exec clipman pick --tool wofi --histpath="~/.local/state/clipman-primary.json"