How To Run Bleeding-edge Qtile Within a Virtualenv


For having been using GNOME for quite a long time, I was considering trying some tiling window managers to see what it's like a few weeks ago. Along the way, I found a nice window manager written in Python: Qtile, what interests me most is that it's a hackable window manager, which makes it flexible to extend or change its behaviors.

Well, switching to use a tiling window manager is far simpler than I thought. There are two ways to have it:

  1. Installing it via the system's package manager, e.g. dnf for Fedora

  2. Installing it from the source code repo.

If you just want to give it a try, you can just install it via a package manager, logout the current X session, and re-login with Qtile as your window manager (there are options when you log in), and you're done. It's that simple.

As Qtile is still under development, I would like to run the bleeding-edge source code to catch up with Qtile.

As in the docs , it's quite straight-forward to install it.

git clone git://github.com/qtile/qtile.git
cd qtile
pip3 install .

But it will pollute the environment, so I'd rather contain it within a virtualenv, here are the steps how to run it within a dedicated virtualenv for user foo on Fedora.

  1. Clone the repo

    mkdir -p ~/local/
    git clone https://github.com/qtile/qtile.git
  2. Create a new virtualenv, and install dependencies there

    python3 -m venv ~/local/qtile/qtile-env/
    source ~/local/qtile/qtile-env/bin/activate
    
    # Install dependencies
    pip install xcffib
    pip install --no-cache-dir cairocffi
  3. Make a glue shell script to use the virtualenv

    cat > /home/foo/local/qtile/qtile-venv-entry <<EOF
    #!/bin/bash
    
    # This glue shell is only needed when you want to
    # run Qtile within a virtualenv
    
    source ~/local/qtile/qtile-env/bin/activate
    python ~/local/qtile/bin/qtile $*
    EOF

    Also, make sure to make it executable, that is, chmod +x /home/foo/local/qtile/qtile-venv-entry

  4. Make a entry desktop file for the display manager

    cat > /usr/share/xsessions/qtile-venv.desktop <<EOF
    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=Qtile(venv)
    Comment=Qtile Session Within Venv
    Exec=/home/foo/local/qtile/qtile-venv-entry
    Type=Application
    Keywords=wm;tiling
    EOF

    Pay attention to the Exec directive, it points to the glue script.

  5. Log out or reboot your system, then select “Qtile(venv)” as your window manager by clicking the setting icon when logging in.


See also

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