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title: A Friendly Guide to LARBS
author: Luke Smith ([](
output: pdf_document
linkcolor: blue
Use vim keys (`h`/`j`/`k`/`l`) to navigate this document. Pressing `s` will fit
it to window width (`a` to revert). `K` and `J` zoom in and out. `Mod+f` to
toggle fullscreen. `q` to quit. (These are general zathura shortcuts.)
+ `Mod+F1` will show this document at any time.
+ By `Mod` I mean the Super Key, usually known as "the Windows Key."
Questions or suggestions? Email me at
# Welcome!
## Basic goals and principles of this system:
+ Naturalness -- Remove the border between mind and matter: everything
important should be as few keypresses as possible away from you, and you
shouldn't have to think about what you're doing. Immersion.
+ Economy -- Programs should be simple and light on system resources and highly
extensible. Because of this, many are terminal or small ncurses programs that
have all the magic inside of them.
+ Keyboard/vim-centrality -- All terminal programs (and other programs) use vim
keys when possible. Your hands never need leave the home row or thereabout.
+ Decentralization -- This system is a web of small, modifiable and
replaceable programs that users can easily customize.
## General keyboard changes
+ Capslock is a useless key in high quality space. It's now remapped. If you
press it alone, it will function as escape, making vimcraft much more
natural, but you can also hold it down and it will act as another
Windows/super/mod key.
+ The menu button (usually between the right Alt and Ctrl) is an alternative
Super/Mod button. This is to make one-handing on my laptops easier.
+ The system also uses the US International keyboard by default. This allows
you to type a lot of characters in many different European languages.
If you'd like to change any of these keyboard changes, you need only open and
change `~/.scripts/tools/remaps`. Actually, this should go without saying, but
*everything* here can easily be changed.
Additionally, while this isn't a part of i3, the default editing mode in the
shell is using vi bindings. If you want to learn more of this, run
`Mod+Super+E` and type and select the option for "vi mode in shell". This
setting can be changed if you don't like it by deleting or commenting out the
contents of `~/.inputrc`.
## The Status Bar
If you're new to i3, notice the status bar on the top of the screen. To the
left side, you'll see the numbers of your current workspace(s). On the right
side, you'll see various system status notifiers, the date, volume, even music
and local weather if possible etc. I'm sure you can figure it out. Several
modules will be click-sensitive, although if you're using my system as
indented, you probably won't be doing much clicking.
The i3blocks config is `~/.config/i3blocks/config`, which you can access by the
terminal shortcut `cfib`. Notice that the config file refers to several module
scripts in the `~/.scripts/` directory. You can read a summary of all of these
scripts in the file `~/.scripts/`.
## Deeper Tutorials
In addition to this guide and reading the dotfiles of programs manually, you
can also get program-specific information by running the `getkeys` command.
This will give you the bindings of what program you want. You can also press
`Mod+E` (that's a capital `E`) to get be able to watch tutorial videos on
specific programs or concepts directly from YouTube.
# Key Bindings
All of the bindings below are in the file `~/.config/i3/config` (easily
accessible by typing `cfi` in the terminal) and can all be easily changed.
## Window basics
Notice the case sensitivity of the shortcuts.^[To type capital letters, hold
down the `Shift` key---that might sound like an obvious and condescending thing
to tell you, but there have literally been multiple people (Boomers) who have
emailed me asking how to type a capital letter since caps lock isn't enabled.]
Be sure you play around with these. Be flexible with the basic commands and the
system will grow on you quick.
+ `Mod+Enter` -- Spawn terminal
+ `Mod+q/Q` -- Close window
+ `Mod+d` -- rofi (For running commands or programs without shortcuts)
+ `Mod+t` -- Toggle between spawning vertically and horizontally
+ `Mod+f` -- Fullscreen
+ `Mod+h/j/k/l` -- Move to different windows
+ `Mod+H/J/K/L` -- Move a window around
+ `Mod+Y/U/I/O` -- Resize windows
+ `Mod+/` -- Spawn vertical terminal
+ `Mod+'` -- Spawn horizontal terminal
+ `Mod+s/S` -- Increase/decrease inner gaps
+ `Mod+z/Z` -- Increase/decrease outer gaps
+ `Mod+D` -- Reduce gaps to 0 pixels
+ `Mod+T` -- Restore gaps to default (15 pixels)
+ `Mod+Shift+Space` -- Make a window float (it will still be resizeable)
+ `Mod+Space` -- Switch focus from a floating window to a non-floating one (or
vice versa)
+ `Mod+o` -- Make floating window sticky (will stay on active workspace)
+ `Mod+b` -- Toggle status bar
+ `Mod+B` -- Make window float in bottom left corner (good for video watched
## Basic Programs
*Note:* LARBS will install nearly all of these programs by default, but some
only come if you chose an extra option. Naturally, you can use `yay` to look
for and install any you want to add.
+ `Mod+r` -- ranger (file browser/manager)
+ `Mod+e` -- mutt (email)
+ `Mod+m` -- ncmpcpp (music player)
+ `Mod+w` -- nmtui (for connecting to wireless internet)
+ `Mod+a` -- R/Python calculator (hide with `mod+a`)
+ `Mod+i` -- htop (system info)
+ `Mod+n` -- newsboat (RSS feed reader)
+ `Mod+y` -- calcurse (calendar and schedule)
+ `Mod+u` -- "Dropdown" terminal (hide with `mod+u`)
+ `Mod+A` -- pulsemixer (audio system control)
+ `Mod+W` -- Web Browser
+ `Mod+G` -- GIMP (for general image manipulation)
## System
+ `Mod+R` -- ranger as root user
+ `Mod+x` -- i3lock (Enter password to return)
+ `Mod+X` -- shutdown (will ask to confirm)
+ `Mod+Shift+Backspace` -- reboot (will ask to confirm)
+ `Mod+Shift+Escape` -- exit i3 (will ask to confirm)
+ `Mod+F1` -- Shows this document
+ `Mod+F2` -- Refresh i3
+ `Mod+F3` -- Select screen/display to use
+ `Mod+F4` -- Hibernate (will ask to confirm)
+ `Mod+F5` -- Reset Network Manager, search for new networks
+ `Mod+F6` -- transmission torrent client (cli)
+ `Mod+F7` -- Toggle on/off transmission client via dmenu
+ `Mod+F8` -- Check mail, if
[mutt-wizard]( is installed
+ `Mod+F9` -- Mount a USB drive/hard drive or Android
+ `Mod+F10` -- Unmount a non-essential drive or Android
+ `Mod+F11` -- Search term on DuckDuckGo
+ `Mod+F12` -- Wifi-menu for selecting the wireless internet source.
## Audio
I use ncmpcpp as a music player, which is a front end for mpd.
+ `Mod+m` -- ncmpcpp music player
+ `Mod+.` -- Next track
+ `Mod+,` -- Previous track
+ `Mod+<` -- Restart track
+ `Mod+p` -- Pause
+ `Mod+M` -- Mute all audio
+ `Mod+v` -- visualizer
+ `Mod+-` -- Decrease volume (holding shift increases amount)
+ `Mod++` -- Increase volume (holding shift increases amount)
+ `Mod+[` -- Back 10 seconds (holding shift increases amount)
+ `Mod+]` -- Forward 10 seconds (holding shift increases amount)
+ `Mod+A` -- ncpamixer (general volume sink/source control)
## Workspaces
There are ten workspaces. They work just like those in vanilla i3 with some
+ `Mod+(Number)` -- Go to that number workspace
+ `Mod+Shift+(Number)` -- Send window to that workspace
+ `Mod+Tab` -- Go to previous workspace
+ `Mod+g` -- Go to left workspace
+ `Mod+;` -- Go to right workspace
+ `Mod+Shift+Delete` -- "Porno-mode" Press this key sequence if you want to hide
what you have on your screen. Moves to a totally new workspace, mutes sound,
pauses music and brings up distraction windows.
## Recording
I use scrot and ffmpeg to make different recordings of the desktop and audio.
All of these recording shortcuts will output into `~`, and will not overwrite
previous recordings as their names are based on their exact times.
+ `PrintScreen` -- Take a scrot screenshot
+ `Shift+PrintScreen` -- Take a scrot screenshot of only selected window
+ `Mod+PrintScreen` -- Opens dmenu menu to select kind of audio/video recording
+ `Mod+Delete` -- Kills any recording started in the above way.
+ `Mod+ScrollLock` -- Turn on and off screenkey (if installed) for visual typing display
+ `Mod+Shift+c` -- Toggles a webcam in the bottom right for screencasting.
## Other buttons
I've mapped those extra buttons that some keyboards have (play and pause
buttons, screen brightness, email, web browsing buttons, etc.) to what you
would expect.
# Special traits of this system
## Easy config access
Open a terminal and type `bf`. This will open a file where you will see
customizable pairs of key shortcuts and config files and other important text
files. Enter any of these shortcuts in bash or ranger to immediately open the
file in vim.
You may add new entries here and they will be refreshed when you save the file
in vim. This will take effect immediately once you start a new instance of bash
or ranger or reload your previous sessions.
## Folder and config shortcuts
Open a terminal and type `bd`. This opens a file when you can keep and create
directory/folder shortcuts. There are only a few here now, because I don't know
what your folder structure is going to look like, but on my machine, I have 109
and growing.
Each line has a shortcut key/keys and its target. These can be used in several
applications. In bash, simply press `d`, the shortcut for `~/Documents` and you
will cd there (and automatically `ls -a`).
ranger works similarly. When in ranger, just press `g` then the shortcut of the
folder you want to go to. You may also press `t` plus the shortcut to open a
new tab there. `m` plus the shortcut moves the selected files to the folder and
`Y` copies them there. **Get good at this. It will make management of even the
most complex file system easy.**
Lastly qutebrowser implements these shortcuts as well. When you see a file or
image you want to download, press `;` followed by the folder shortcut and
qutebrowser will let you select the file with its hint system. The file will
then download to the directory you chose.
## Dynamically constructed configs
Each time you save changes to either the config shortcut file or the folder
shortcut file in vim, vim will automatically run a bash script that updates
your bash/ranger config, allowing you to use your new shortcuts in your next
instance of bash/ranger or after resourcing your rc files.
# Other Housekeeping
## How do I change the background/wallpaper?
The easiest way is to use ranger, navigate to the file you want as your
background, and press `bg`. To be specific, i3 will always be looking to the
file in `~/.config/wall.png` for the wallpaper, this ranger command copies the
given file there and reruns feh to update it.
## How do I set up my email?
1. Create a GPG private/public key pair if you haven't already.
2. Download the mutt-wizard repository to the mutt config directory:
git clone ~/.config/mutt
3. There run `` and follow the directions, specifically:
a. Add an account.
b. Run `offlineimap -o` in the terminal.
c. Select the "Autodetect mailboxes" option.
You should then be able to open your mail in mutt with Mod+e. And this is
somewhat of a miracle considering all of the moving pieces that have come
together to make this happen. Honestly, people give me all this credit for
making LARBS, but the mutt-wizard is probably my favorite work.
You can, through the mutt-wizard, schedule automatic mail checks every several
minutes. You can also press `Mod-F8` at any time to check for new mail in your
accounts. You might also want to run `notmuch setup` to set `notmuch` up as a
mail indexer. This will allow quick searches of your mail in mutt with `ctrl+f`.
The mailsync script will update the notmuch database once you do this.
## How do I set up my music?
By default, mpd, the music daemon assumes that `~/Music` is your music
directory. This can be changed in `~/.config/mpd/mpd.conf`. When you add music
to your music folder, you may have to run `mpc up` in the terminal to update
the database. mpd is controlled by ncmpcpp, which is accessible by Mod+m.
# Contact
+ []( -- For questions!
+ []( -- For stalking!
+ [PayPal]( -- For gratitude!
+ [Patreon]( -- For support!
+ [My Github Page]( -- For the code behind it!
+ [RSS]( -- For even better updates!