Installing Qtile

Distro Guides

Below are the preferred installation methods for specific distros. If you are running something else, please see Installing From Source.

Installing From Source

First, you need to install all of Qtile’s dependencies (although some are optional/not needed depending on your Python version, as noted below).

Note that Python 3 versions 3.5 and newer are currently supported and tested, including corresponding PyPy3 versions.


Qtile uses xcffib as an XCB binding, which has its own instructions for building from source. However, if you’d like to skip building it, you can install its dependencies, you will need libxcb and libffi with the associated headers (libxcb-render0-dev and libffi-dev on Ubuntu), and install it via PyPI:

pip install xcffib


Qtile uses cairocffi with XCB support via xcffib. You’ll need libcairo2, the underlying library used by the binding. You should be sure before you install cairocffi that xcffib has been installed, otherwise the needed cairo-xcb bindings will not be built. Once you’ve got the dependencies installed, you can use the latest version on PyPI:

pip install --no-cache-dir cairocffi


You’ll also need libpangocairo, which on Ubuntu can be installed via sudo apt-get install libpangocairo-1.0-0. Qtile uses this to provide text rendering (and binds directly to it via cffi with a small in-tree binding).


Until someone comes along and writes an asyncio-based dbus library, qtile will depend on python-dbus to interact with dbus. This means that if you want to use things like notification daemon or mpris widgets, you’ll need to install python-gobject and python-dbus. Qtile will run fine without these, although it will emit a warning that some things won’t work.


With the dependencies in place, you can now install qtile:

git clone git://
cd qtile
pip install .

Stable versions of Qtile can be installed from PyPI:

pip install qtile

As long as the necessary libraries are in place, this can be done at any point, however, it is recommended that you first install xcffib to ensure the cairo-xcb bindings are built (see above).

The above steps are sufficient to run Qtile directly, but there are some extra works if you want to run it within a virtualenv. Here are the steps on a Fedora system for user foo, it should work on other Linux systems too.

  1. Clone the repo as ~/local/qtile/.

    mkdir -p ~/local/
    cd ~/local/
    git clone git://
  2. Create a virtualenv ~/local/qtile/venv/, and install the dependencies there (see above).

  3. Create a glue shell to take advantage of the virtualenv.

    cat > /home/foo/local/qtile/qtile-venv-entry <<EOF
    source ~/local/qtile/venv/bin/activate
    python3 ~/local/qtile/bin/qtile $*
  4. Create an xsession file. Note that it can only be used to log in as user foo due to file system permission restriction.

    cat > /usr/share/xsessions/qtile-venv.desktop <<EOF
    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=Qtile Session Within Venv
  5. Log out or reboot your system, then select “Qtile(venv)” as your window manager by clicking the gear icon (⚙) when logging in again.