In the past (probably 16.04), simply running gnome-settings-daemon allows gnome settings to work in i3 including hidpi settings, media keys, and touchpad preferences.

In Ubuntu 18.04, there is no gnome-settings-daemon. This daemon is splitted into several daemons in /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/ directory. Include gsd-xsettings, gsd-mouse, etc. However, running these seem to have no effects. I have the lines...

exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-xsettings
exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-keyboard
exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-mouse
exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-media-keys
exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-sound
exec --no-startup-id /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-backlight-helper

...at the end of my .config/i3/config. However, none of my gnome setting take effect in my i3 session. Do I have to run them in a different way?

2 Answers 2


Try setting environmental variable XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Gnome and then running the daemon, e.g.

 XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Gnome; gsd-xsettings
  • Where do I set this environment variable? In my xinitrc? What if I use gdm to launch i3?
    – Max Coplan
    Jan 15, 2020 at 20:07
  • @MaxCoplan the above line is to be pasted in a terminal, if you want this variable to be set on boot you could set it in .xinitrc, yes. Also, it could be set in a .zshrc/.bashrc or a personal env file. Jan 15, 2020 at 23:08
  • 1
    Also, I can't find this on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
    – Max Coplan
    Jan 16, 2020 at 0:24
  • 3
    (can't find gsd-xsettings)
    – Max Coplan
    Jan 16, 2020 at 0:24

Install gnome-flashback with:

apt install -y gnome-flashback

Then clone this repository

git clone https://github.com/glsorre/i3-gnome

Install with

make install

Then reboot and choose i3 + Gnome as session.

You should be done.

  • Thx. I followed this guide with Ubuntu 19.10 but this does not seem to work anymore. Logging into the GNOME+i3 session responds with an immediate logout and return to GDM. My syslog suggests that something is wrong in /usr/bin/i3-gnome
    – Mario
    Dec 27, 2019 at 9:00
  • 1
    I found this i3-gnome fork github.com/deuill/i3-gnome-flashback that works for me on Ubuntu 19.10.
    – Mario
    Dec 27, 2019 at 11:04

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