This project is an attempt to create a GTK-based shell for sway Wayland compositor. It’s aimed at those, who do not believe
that the rationale of the modern computer is to use less than 200 MiB RAM and 0.5% CPU. Those who don’t want to stare solely at the terminal’s black window.
The programs included in the project are to give you the freedom of choice what your desktop looks like.


This project is primarily aimed at sway. Some parts may work on other wlroots-based compositors. Some may even work on X11, but it’s not the primary objective.
Feel free to submit addons / improvements, but keep in mind that all the stuff must work on sway, and may or may not work elsewhere.

Components, as for now:

nwg-panel (Python)

Packaging status

The panel is the central point of the project. At the moment it contains 9 modules: Clock, Controls, CustomButton, Executor, MenuStart, Playerctl,
Scratchpad, SwayTaskbar and SwayWorkspaces. The Executor module supports tint2-like executors, that allow to add user-defined features.
The MenuStart module adds support for the nwg-menu plugin (see below).

nwg-dock (Go)

Packaging status

Fully configurable dock written in Go. It features pinned buttons, task buttons, the workspace switcher and the launcher button. The latter by default starts
nwggrid (application grid) from nwg-launchers.

nwg-menu (Go)

Packaging status

It’s the MenuStart plugin to nwg-panel, written in Go. It displays the system menu with simplified freedesktop main categories. It also provides the search entry,
to look for installed application on the basis of .desktop files, and for files in XDG user directories.

You may pin-up applications above the categories list. In the bottom-right corner of the window you’ll also see a set of buttons: lock screen, logout,
restart and shutdown.

nwg-drawer (Go)

Packaging status

A golang replacement to the nwggrid command (a part of nwg-launchers). The nwg-drawer command displays the application grid. The search entry allows to look
for installed applications, and for files in XDG user directories. The grid view may also be filtered by categories. You may pin applications by right-clicking
them. Pinned items will appear above the grid. Right-click a pinned item to unpin it.

nwg-bar (Go, beta)

Packaging status

nwg-bar is a golang replacement to the nwgbar command (a part of nwg-launchers), with some improvements.
Aimed at sway, works with wlroots-based compositors only. The nwg-bar command creates a button bar on the basis of a JSON template placed in the
~/.config/nwg-bar folder. By default the command displays a horizontal bar in the center of the screen. Use command line arguments to change the placement.

nwg-wrapper (python, beta)

Packaging status

This program is a GTK3-based wrapper to display a script output, or a text file content on the desktop in sway or
other wlroots-based compositors. It uses the gtk-layer-shell library
to place the window on the bottom layer.As well the script output, at the text file may be formatted with
Pango Markup. The window appearance is defined
with css styling.

Azote (Python)

Packaging status

Azote is a picture browser and background setter, as the frontend to the swaybg (sway/Wayland) and feh (X windows) commands. The user interface is being
developed with multi-headed setups in mind. Azote also includes several colour management tools.

gopsuinfo (Go)

Packaging status

This command, based on the gopsutil Go module, produces text output to display system usage info in nwg-panel executors.

autotiling (Python)

Packaging status

This script uses the i3ipc-python library to switch the layout splith/splitv depending on the currently focused
window dimensions. It works on both sway and i3 window managers. You may love it or hate it, but it’s my must have.


As you see, the nwg-shell project is a DIY kit with elements to chose from. However, together with the
ArchLabs Linux team, we decided to develop a GUI to configure all the components in one
place. To give users more complete control over the system, we also integrated several third-party programs.
This required some interference with the basic sway config, using included files, that are modified on the fly from the
GUI level.


Read more on the nwg-shell-config repository.


If you like the idea of the GTK shell for sway, feel free to submit your improvements, new modules, plugins or standalone programs. Preferred languages are python and Go.

Important: before you open a PR containing major changes to already existing programs, please (PLEASE!) open an issue to discuss what you’re going to do.


Bug reports and ideas are more than welcome. Please remember, however, that at this stage, most part of the shell is being developed by a single hobbyist, who uses
Arch Linux (BTW). Some issues specific to other environment, e.g. Debian, FreeBSD, are out of my range and need some Community commitment.


The initial version of the shell logo was created by SGSE, and it looked well. Having
received some users’ feedback, I decided to use another one, due to unwanted religious associations. The current
version has been created by edskeye. You’ll find the basic svg file in the
resources folder.

Images used on this page come from:


View Github