Manjaro Experiment

After years on Debian, running i3, I decided to try out a more traditional Linux setup, and take a stab at gaming on Linux. I chose Manjaro for a few reasons:

Why "not Debian"

Debian is home for me. I have used it for years on both work machines, servers, personal desktop. But it comes with its own quirks. Starters - I am running base Debian, not a Debian based system, which generally means some packages are out of date. To get around this I run Sid/Unstable. This hasn't been a particular issue, but sometimes there are version conflicts and other just nuisances and no real easy way to get every package in the proper version configuration. This was a particular pain-point with getting Steam (nonfree too which adds another layer of configurations) Wine and a few other packages all set up. Plus 32-bit!


I have been using i3 as my window manager and without really any other desktop environment programs. My login is the typical tty debian login. But running i3 and then having windows appear, especially game windows which can be tempermental, getting tiled to have to break it out again is just a hassle. While I could've gone with another Debian base running a proper desktop environment + window manager I figured that'd be boring and I'd just be trying out the programs and not the Linux, which is half the fun.

That being said. i3 is Linux for me. Being able to just move between windows with a macro and every bit of it just being intutive (after you've learned!) is a productivity booster. Which is why I still use it on my work machine, and can't see myself ever switching off.


I've used Gnome and XFCE as desktop environments before, and they're fine, but I've always like the customability, flexibility, and polished look of KDE.

Setting up KDE for an i3 addict

By default KDE isn't really too hard to "get used to" since it feels like any other OS, especially a windows setup. But the main thing I needed to change is the meta+<key> commands.

Doing this helped make me feel at home so far, and not have to retrain my brain.

Some of the key remappings

Setting up the KWin window keymapping was really what made me feel at home. For the first few hours with it, I felt as limited in my productivity as with Windows. KDE and Windows share by default a lot of the same keymappings around window manipulation and virtual desktop changes. Switch to desktop N setting this as meta+<N> where N is the dekstop 1-10 (0). Switch to Window to the Left/Right/Up/Down This was one I was nervous wouldn't exist as a keybind. But What was meta+alt+<dir> was mapped to without the alt. This allowed for the very annoying lack of ability to just jump between browser and terminal, or especially two separate terminals. Quit Window with meta+shift+Q, Tile Window command to use the Shift key rather, especially as meta+<dir> was overwritten by the focus switching.


So I went with KDE Manjaro. Manjaro aims for the gaming desktop experience. Arch is new for me, so I feel that would be something to adjust to and learn.


It has only been a day with it as I am writing. But I was able to get a fair amount of the fighting games I wanted to play work.

Proton + Steam

So far my main focus has been running the fighting games I noodle around on in Steam. To do this I launched Steam and installed the proton and setup to run all games, regardless of compatibility. None of the games I hoped to run had worked this way. I then opt'd into the beta for Proton running the experimental builds, which should generally have the more up-to-date tunings for games. With this setup I was able to get Soulcalibur VI to work. Battle for the Grid and Dragon Ball FighterZ both had launching issues. So I looked around and found Proton Ge Custom which is a custom fork of Proton that contains custom settings and tweeks for various games. One of which is Battle For the Grid which is how I found it. Using this I was able to play every game except Dragon Ball FighterZ! A callout for Dead or Alive 6 which is performing questionably. It can run and isn't actually too bad, but in windowed or borderless it stutters and drops frames.

Other issues

Even on Windows there are issues with some games and your standard configurations. Disabling Steam Overlay and adjusting the Steam Input Setting on some games helped get some games working.


Gaming on Linux is still not great. Its MILES ahead of where it was even a few years ago when I setup this PC. And I think it will take some adjustment getting a feel for an i3less workflow.


NTFS mounting

Update! I got DOA and a few other games to run a bit smoother by remounting my NTFS drives properly. I ended up using the following for my /etc/fstab configuraiton for my NTFS drives: UUID=<drive-id> /mount/path ntfs uid=1000,gid=1000,rw,user,exec,async,locale=en_US.utf8,umask=000 0 0 I had noticed that both steam and mount.ntfs was running at 20-40% CPU while not really doing anything. And then upwards of 80% during gameplay.

i3 Compatibility

As I spend more time using the OS I made a few more adjustments:

The biggest difference was removing the Application Launcher from the main panel. Having it there really felt like a crutch for running programs. It is equal I would say to running apps as dmenu via meta+d vs just meta to launch the Application Launcher. However, the bulky UI of it, even using just Window List, took away from the look/feel I was going for.