The Kernal Guy With A Computer

How To Go Mouse Free On Linux

Mice? You mean the little critters that spread plague and leave their droppings everywhere? I don’t want that anywhere near my computer. While modern applications and operating systems make mice a necessity, it really is not the best way to use your computer. Long term mice usage, especially for people who have arthritis, can lead to wrist strain and injuries.But, contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need a mouse. If you’re using the right software you can completely avoid one alltogether. I am going to explain what software I use, and how i get around all of the tricky situations where a mouse would be required, so that you can give it a try.

Window manager/Desktop Environment

Almost every desktop environment available can be configured to where you can use it without a mouse. But, personally, I would opt to go with a tiling window manager. Any tiling window manager should work, but if you are a beginner, I would start with i3. They all have pre-configured keyboard shortcuts that allow you to move, change focus, and resize windows without the usage of a mouse.

Browser

When it comes to mouse-free browsers, one stands out from the rest. Qutebrowser is a Qt, Chromium based browser that is pre-configured with vim keybindings. In my opinion, its best feature is that when you press ‘f’, it allows you to type certain keys to hit any boxes, fill any forms, or click any buttons on a website. But, if you want a more fully featured and easy to use browser, Firefox with the ‘Vim Vixen’ extension has a very similar browsing experience to Qutebrowser, even with the feature that allows you to click without the mouse.

Music Player

For the best experience without a mouse, I would try out mpc. MPD + NCMPCC is a very user friendly way to listen to music without ever leaving the terminal. Although, if you’re fine with getting your hands a little dirty, MPD + MPC is a little faster and doesn’t have any user interface.

File manager

There are two terminal file managers that everybody knows and loves, Ranger and NNN. Ranger uses Vim keybindings, and is quite easy to use. But, there’s also NNN, which doesn’t have Vim keybindings, but is very fast. NNN calls itself, “The fastest terminal file manager ever written”, which is not that far off. But, they are both great options. It just depends on whether you want Vim keybindings or slightly faster loading times.

Video and Image Viewer

As far as Video players go, MPV is the uncontested king. It is very snappy, easy to use, and features a wide variety of keybindings. But, when it comes to image viewers things get a little more complicated. I personally use SVIX, but there is also Feh, PQIV, qview, and much more. Personally, there isn’t really much difference, so just pick one and stick with it.

LAST RESORT!

You can’t always get away without using a mouse. There is going to be an occasion where a Web Dev is stupid and you can’t use your keybindings, or you are forced to use a graphical, mouse centric application. In these cases it is best to use a virtual mouse. A virtual mouse is a mouse cursor, that functions like a regular mouse cursor, but it is controlled only from the keyboard. While there are many available, I would highly recommend Warpd, as it has multiple modes that allow for fast navigation, dragging, middle clicking, and many other features that other virtual mice don’t have.

Conclusion

While there are cases where having a mouse would be useful, (Gaming, 3D Modeling, etc.) but for most people, with some change to their workflow, they can become completely obsolete. It not only makes life a lot easier on your wrist, it makes using your computer a lot easier and faster in general. The only issue is that if you lend someone your computer, they will have absolutely no clue how to use it. But, that’s a fair trade off.