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Python3 will cause errors. Use Python2 as default or at the very least, pass PYTHON=python2.7 to py2cairo and xpyb before configuring them.

"Qtile is a full-featured, hackable tiling window manager written in Python.

Qtile is simple, small, and extensible. It's easy to write your own layouts, widgets, and built-in commands.

Qtile is written and configured entirely in Python, which means you can leverage the full power and flexibility of the language to make it fit your needs.

The Qtile community is active and growing, so there's always someone to lend a hand when you need help.

Qtile is free and open-source software, distributed under the permissive MIT license"[1][2]

The Qtile Community



Mailing List

qtile-dev on Google Groups


@qtile on Twitter



After on people begin used this forum, we move it to




Qtile Documentation



# emerge qtile

Manual (Github)

This section is taken from the documents from Qtile.[3]


USE flags and keyword changes may have to be made for the packages taken from portage.


libxcb can be emerged from portage.

# emerge libxcb


xpyb can be emerge from portage. Make sure that you are emerging xpyb-1.3.1

# emerge xpyb


cairo can be emerged from portage.

Have USE flags set to
X glib opengl svg xcb

and then:

# emerge cairo


pygtk can be emerge from portage.

# emerge pygtk


# git clone git://
# cd py2cairo
# ./ --enable-xcb
# ./configure --prefix=/path/to/virtualenv
# make
# sudo make install

As an alternative to virtualenv, you can

# ./configure --prefix=/usr

But the virtualenv is the recommended option in installation.


# git clone git://
# cd qtile
# sudo python install --record files_uninstall.txt


Copy either a config from the examples directory in the cloned qtile (including a default config), a config you have found elsewhere, or create your own config.

# cp /path/to/cloned-qtile/examples/config/ ~/.config/qtile/
# cp /path/to/cloned-qtile/examples/config/ ~/.config/qtile/
# cp /path/to/cloned-qtile/examples/config/ ~/.config/qtile/
# cp /path/to/cloned-qtile/examples/config/ ~/.config/qtile/

My config is

The config I have based mine off of is dmpayton's

Testing Qtile Installation

You can test your installation of Qtile while within another WM instance using Xephyr.


# Xephyr :1 -screen 800x600 -a -v -noreset
# /path/to/qtile/qtile

or using built in code:[4]

# echo "exec qtile" > .start_qtile ; xinit .start_qtile -- :1

For further information, see the Documentation section.


Qtile uses dmenu as the application launcher.

# emerge dmenu

You can run dmenu from a keybind in the


An example of preparing Qtile to start with a startup-session script for autostarting apps. My ~/.xinitrc

xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources
xcompmgr &

if [[ $1 == "i3" ]]; then
    exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch --sh-syntax --exit-with-session i3 -V -d all > ~/.i3/i3log-$(date +'%F-%k-%M-%S') 2>&1
elif [[ $1 == "razor" ]]; then
    exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch startrazor
elif [[ $1 == "awesome" ]]; then
    exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch awesome
elif [[ $1 == "qtile" ]]; then
    exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch ~/.qtile-session
    echo "Choose a window manager"

My ~/.qtile-session

conky -c ~/.conky/conkyrc_grey &
sh ~/.fehbg &
dropbox &

X and RandR

NOTE: RandR and Xinerama do not play together. Use one or the other.

I use an AMD HD 6870 with 3 monitors (2 DVI and 1 with an AMD validated Mini DisplayPort™ to DVI dongle).

Install xrandr:

# emerge x11-apps/xrandr

and if you want a GUI with xrandr:

# emerge x11-misc/arandr

If you do not have X configured yet, follow the link on the Gentoo Wiki

My xorg.conf.d folder for example: 30-screen.conf

Since the names of the monitors are already known in xrandr, I just use those names in my 30-screen.conf configuration. It doesn't matter what you use in your X configuration however.

Once you have X configured however you like, start qtile with either:

# startx

or, in a case similar to mine,

# xinit qtile

Starting with CDM

Another good tool for starting qtile is CDM (short for Console Display Manager). To make it work, just merge cdm

# emerge -avt cdm

and add it to autostart with

# cp /usr/share/cdm/ /etc/profile.d/

Now add to /etc/X11/cdm/cdmrc the following lines:

    "/usr/bin/xinit ${HOME}/.start_qtile --:0"
    "/bin/bash --login"
namelist=(qtile "Console bash" "Console zsh")
flaglist=(C C C)

and check that ${HOME}/.start_qtile contains just the following

exec qtile



Qtile on Github

Sample Configurations

Hacking Qtile