Lifehack 1: Locking the Screen
This is kinda a nobrainer, but me myself sometimes look for a place, where to copy some of the syntax (I’m lazy and don’t always keep that in my head), so let’s start with this one. i3wm ships with beautiful and robust screen locker i3lock, which can be launched like that:
i3lock -c 000000
It will lock the screen with black overlay. The problem is, that you wouldn’t be typing this command every time you want to lock the screen. We need to add a shortcut to i3 config file:
bindsym $mod+Shift+Tab exec "i3lock -c 000000"
Now when we press the combination of mod-button (Win in my case) and Shift+Tab – our screen gets locked.
Lifehack 2: Activating/Disactivating the Second Screen
If you use i3wm on daily basis, you probably know, that the second screen is not turned on automatically. You should manage displays manually with xrandr command. If we run this command without attributes, we’re gonna get something like this:
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 3200 x 1080, maximum 8192 x 8192 LVDS1 connected 1280x800+1920+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 261mm x 163mm 1280x800 60.02*+ 50.05 1024x768 60.00 800x600 60.32 56.25 640x480 59.94 VGA1 connected 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 521mm x 293mm 1920x1080 60.00*+ 1680x1050 59.95 1280x1024 75.02 60.02 1440x900 59.89 1280x960 60.00 1280x720 59.97 1024x768 75.08 70.07 60.00 832x624 74.55 800x600 72.19 75.00 60.32 56.25 640x480 75.00 72.81 66.67 60.00 720x400 70.08 HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
On some rare occasion writing something like this would not be a problem:
xrandr --output VGA1 --right-of LVDS1 --auto
Well, I know you’re probably well aware of how xrandr works. Just in case.
It may get pretty redundant if you use second screen on daily basis and regularly unplug it from your laptop. The best way to go would be to add script shortcut to your /usr/bin/ or /bin/ directory. Run the following lines:
printf '#!/bin/bash\n\nxrandr --output VGA1 --right-of LVDS1 --auto' > /usr/bin/screenswitch chmod 755 /usr/bin/screenswitch
We can use screenswitch command which doesn’t make it much easier. What would certainly help us is a key shortcut, so let’s add a line similar to one in the previous hack to our i3 configuration:
bindsym XF86Display exec "screenswitch"
Now when you press on your special key combo (Fn+F7 on my ThinkPad), you enable/disable the second screen. Try some other key combination if you have no special display button. Of course the script itself is pretty basic and it would work only if your screen works well in auto and you use the same second screen daily. However, there are more complex scripts available all over the web (example).
Lifehack 3: Locking the Screen on Wake
If you use pm-utils with your i3wm setup, you’ve probably noticed that the screen is not locked, when the laptop is awakened after suspend or hibernate. It’s very insecure. Let’s try to fix it. Create file cat /etc/pm/sleep.d/91blocker and add the following lines to it:
#!/bin/sh case "$1" in thaw|resume) su youruser -c '/usr/bin/i3lock -c 000000' ;; *) exit $NA ;; esac
Don’t forget to change youruser to your username. Now let’s make sure we have all the right permissions:
chmod 755 /etc/pm/sleep.d/91blocker
Now, if we run pm-suspend or pm-hibernate our screen is going to be locked on wake. This script has one shortcoming though: it doesn’t lock the screen instantly, so you may see stuff for a couple of seconds before it gets locked. If it is not a critical issue to you, feel free to use it, othrewise you may need to work on it or find a different solution altogether. If you have any ideas how to improve it, let me know.