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Note: The package testing/river is currently broken. See this comment by the developer https://gitlab.alpinelinux.org/alpine/aports/-/merge_requests/27227#note_191521 on the GitLab merge request.

River is a dynamic tiling Wayland compositor. An introduction to River can be found in this blog post by the developer for the 0.1.0 release.

This wiki was written starting from a fresh install using the Alpine 3.14.2 x86_64 extended .iso. The steps begin from the first reboot after running setup-alpine and performing a sys install to disk.

Many steps below were taken from the wiki entry for installing Sway.


Login as root.

Edit the repositories file and uncomment the community and testing repos. For 3.14.2, we need edge/community to get the correct software versions to support River:

Contents of /etc/apk/repositories

http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.14/main #http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.14/community #http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/edge/main http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/edge/community http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/edge/testing

Install & configure eudev:

apk update apk add eudev setup-udev

Then install graphics drivers appropriate to your system:

apk add mesa-dri-gallium # gallium apk add mesa-dri-classic # or classic

The following links contain guides for setting up the video stack.

Install River and the documentation:

apk add river river-doc mandoc

Install your choice of additional packages:

This list includes icons, fonts, and a terminal emulator named foot which is the default in River's sample init file that we will use later.

apk add adwaita-icon-theme foot ttf-dejavu

Set seatd to start automatically at next boot and also manually start it for this session:

rc-update add seatd rc-service seatd start

Create a new user and update group membership:

adduser sodface addgroup sodface audio addgroup sodface input addgroup sodface seat addgroup sodface video addgroup sodface wheel

Install sudo and run visudo, uncommenting the desired permissions for the wheel group:

apk add sudo && visudo

Logout and log back in as the new user.

Running River

Before running River for the first time, copy the sample init file from /etc/river to ~/.config:

install -Dm0755 /usr/share/doc/river/example/init -t ~/.config/river

Start River:

XDG_RUNTIME_DIR=/tmp river


Following are a few notes that are most certainly not related to River whatsoever but rather discovered while running River so I'm tacking them onto the end of this wiki.

Firefox 89.0.1 complains on launch "glxtest: libpci missing", resolved by:

sudo apk add pciutils-libs

Firefox 89.0.1 complains continuously "Unable to load hand2 from the cursor theme", resolved by:

mkdir -p ~/.icons/default ln -s /usr/share/icons/Adwaita/cursors .icons/default/cursors