posted by Ciprian Popovici on Mon 7th Mar 2005 16:35 UTC
IconPeople have said many times that Blackbox development, the minimalist window manager for X, was dead. With sometimes as much as two and a half years passing between stable releases, I can see why they'd get such ideas.

True, sometimes things go so slow that rumours start about developers going MIA or the most recent Blackbox version making it into Debian stable (just kidding, it's in testing). Some people even start their own forks. And for years on end, whenever desperate Blackbox followers would turn to the official website they'd be greeted by the same old stale handful of content.

But behold, you nonbelievers, the return of Blackbox. It's time to remember your one first true love of the X desktop, as the new 0.70 stable version is now here. And it has so much to offer, in the good old Blackbox way. Let's start with the obligatory screenshots: [1], [2], [3], [4], and continue with:

  • Complete support for all the new desktop environments. This means KDE, Gnome and every EWMH compatible tool (panels, taskbars, pagers) you care to throw at it.
  • Anti-aliased fonts and dual (FontConfig vs legacy X aka XLFD) font addressing.
  • All the window tricks you wished for, including sticky, always on top/bottom, fullscreen.
  • Overhauled style syntax which brings about exciting new styling possibilities while retaining near perfect backwards compatibility. (But sorry, guys, the new Blackbox styles won't work on Fluxbox anymore).
  • 4-direction, window quarter sensitive, opaque resizing.
  • A common API in a shared library, that developers of bbtools can now happily use.
  • Overall improved look and feel, with new icons, menu separators and other widgets.
  • The ability to completely erase the toolbar and slit from memory when they're not used, saving you even more resources.
  • Keyboard navigation in the menus.
  • A rewritten bbkeys (keyboard handler), featuring all new syntax and capabilities, including keychaining.

All these while keeping some of it's biggest advantages untouched: a native means of using dockapps (the slit), and naturally, it's speed and low memory print, making it still the choice for low resource machines everywhere.

Still looking for more? Go browse the official website, reborn in the form of a wiki (using the 'Tavi engine), which has managed in just a few months to gather a healthy amount of useful content, with more being added on a daily basis.

Not much remains to be said. Try Blackbox again and you will learn to appreciate it once more. Think warm thoughts of the developers and of all the people who helped them. Finally, to quote Bradley Hughes: "Enjoy!"

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