Regolith Linux

How To

This page contains instructions on how to make commonly requested changes.

Change the default meta keybinding

  1. Copy the default Regolith i3 config file into your user directory:
    $ mkdir -p ~/.config/regolith/i3
    $ cp /etc/regolith/i3/config ~/.config/regolith/i3/config
  2. Open ~/.config/regolith/i3/config in your editor of choice.
  3. The first non-comment line should read set $mod Mod4 .
  4. Replace Mod4 with one of these options.
  5. Reload i3 with ⊞ Win-shift-r.

If you would like this to be easier to change, please vote for this issue

Add or change i3 Keybindings

  1. Consult the i3 User’s Guide to find out which feature you’d like to add or change.
  2. Open ~/.config/regolith/i3/config in your editor of choice.
  3. The lines which start with bindsym map keys to actions. $mod means the modifier key, which by default is ⊞ Win. For example bindsym $mod+Return exec /usr/bin/st will cause i3 to run /usr/bin/st when ⊞ Win and Return are pressed at the same time.
  4. Update an existing line or add a new one based on your needs. For example, to cause i3 to use tabbed layout mode, when ⊞ Win and t are pressed, add this to the config file: bindsym $mod+t workspace_layout tabbed
  5. After making the change, save the file and reload i3 with ⊞ Win + Shift + r.

Change the default terminal from st to gnome-terminal

  1. Install gnome-terminal (or whatever terminal you prefer): sudo apt install gnome-terminal. (NOTE: this is not necessary if you already have your terminal installed.)
  2. Remap the i3-wm config to launch gnome-terminal instead of st by editing ~/.config/regolith/i3/config and changing the following line: From: bindsym $mod+Return exec st To: bindsym $mod+Return exec gnome-terminal
  3. Save file and reload i3 with ⊞ Win-shift-r
  4. (Optional) Update your system to default to your terminal of choice by running sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator (See this page for more details)

Restore the Regolith default i3-wm configuration file

  1. Delete or copy to another location the file ~/.config/regolith/i3/config
  2. Log out and log back in, the default in /etc/regolith/i3/config will be used.

Hide the bar until ⊞ Win is pressed

  1. Open ~/.config/regolith/i3/config in your editor of choice.
  2. After the line bar {, add the following entry: mode hide. (See here for details)
  3. Reload i3 with ⊞ Win-shift-r.

If you would like this to be easier to change, please vote for this issue

Add Stock Ubuntu Session to Login

If Regolith is installed from the LiveCD installer, the stock Ubuntu session is removed due to the finicky way that users must specify sessions in the login screen. Users may wish to add this session back in to access some UI features that Regolith removes. NOTE: This howto does not apply to users installing Regolith on an existing Ubuntu system.

  1. In a terminal, install the Ubuntu session: sudo apt install ubuntu-session
  2. Reboot and when when presented with the login screen, select “Ubuntu” from the “gear” drop-down menu.

Use i3 and Gnome without Regolith

If you’d like to get all the usability features of gnome integration, but prefer to keep your own i3 setup, perform the following steps from a terminal:

$ sudo apt install i3 gnome-flashback build-essential 
$ git clone
$ cd i3-gnome-flashback
$ sudo make install
$ /sbin/reboot

After rebooting you should have an i3-gnome session to select from the login window “gear” menu.

View and modify the Regolith i3 Config

The i3 config file that Regolith uses is not easy to find. This is because the final file is the result of the application of several patches against the default i3 config file. To generate this file we need to use the quilt tool with the regolith-i3 package.


$ sudo apt install quilt
$ export QUILT_PATCHES=debian/patches  # See for details
$ export QUILT_REFRESH_ARGS="-p ab --no-timestamps --no-index"


$ git clone  # Clone Regolith's version of i3
$ quilt push -a 
Applying patch debian/patches/remove_i3_xsession.patch
patching file
$ less etc/config  # Here is what ends up in Regolith for i3 config.


First we need to create a new patch to hold our changes:

$ quilt new my-regolith-change.patch # tell quilt to create a new patch
$ quilt add etc/config # tell quilt which file changes belong in your patch
$ your-editor-of-choice etc/config  #make your changes
$ quilt refresh  # this updates the patch with the delta of your change vs what was there before.
$ quilt pop -a  # roll the patches back up and leave the files as they were


You should be able to see your changes in your new patch file in debian/patches/your-patch-name.patch. Have a look at the changes to make sure they are what you intended. If good, you’re ready to submit a PR or push the changes to your own fork. But, if you intend to publish your own version, use dch to add a change log entry and bump the version number.

Enable an Icon Tray in the Bar

Enabling the task/icon tray in the bar requires a single change to your i3 config file, located at ~/.config/regolith/i3/config. Find the line with tray_output none and replace it with tray_output primary. After logging back in or reloading i3, the tray is active. To verify it’s working, run nm-applet from a terminal and notice the icon appears in the tray. With the tray enabled, you’ll then need to run applet programs of your choosing to show up in the tray. This can be done via the i3 exec command. See the i3-wm User Guide for more information.

Switch from Solarized to Nord colors

  1. Install the Nordic GTK theme: sudo apt install nordic
  2. Configure Regolith to use the Nordic system colors by editing ~/.Xresources-regolith and disabling color-solarized-dark and enabling color-nord. Read the documentation in the file to learn how.
  3. Configure Regolith to use the Nordic GTK theme by editing ~/.Xresources-regolith and disabling theme-regolith and enabling theme-nordic.