“If you want an adaptable window manager that doesn’t drain your resources, try Openbox. Its latest version, 3.4.2, released this month, has several visual improvements and dozens of new usable features. Since it’s easy to customize, many people replace their stock window managers with Openbox. It can run inside both GNOME and KDE (but not Xfce), replacing their native window managers. It can also be used as a lightweight desktop environment on its own.”
Openbox Window Manager Grows up
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2007-07-11 11:29 pmirbis
Flexibility is one of Openbox strengths. You can customize it in almost any way you like. The new features increase Openbox usability a lot in my opinion. There’s nothing wrong with better usability and more features as far as I can tell?
If you like minimal, just configure your Openbox, don’t use or remove any extras that you don’t need. Or if you like even more minimal, there is still Blackbox, the original *box window manager, or plenty of other window manager alternatives:
2007-07-12 10:56 amtheine
I liked the older versions, but not the new one.
in Openbox. Really minimalist, no panel, no dock, no pager. Just the menu configured with Menumaker and Gkrellm running on all desktops… Oh and I have my favorite wallpaper up. With Firefox running Htop reports a memory usage of 174 MB compared to at least 250 for GNOME.
Edited 2007-07-12 00:39
I’m curious, why not in XFCE?
I tried to replace xfwm with Openbox a few years ago when I was having problems with memory leaks (it turns out that composite + twinview is flaky in general and not recommended).
There were some difficulties insofar as getting the configuration to work similarly to xfwm wrt keybindings, but I got those all taken care of. The only thing that didn’t work right was mousewheel switching the workspace; Openbox kept on doubling up, switching two at a time, and in the end I switched back to xfwm because I openbox wasn’t handling utf-8 as well.
So, what exactly keeps you from running Openbox in XFCE? Is it just the relative difficulty (you have to edit the openbox config file, which is xml, by hand), are there deeper issues that I didn’t stumble upon, or is it just a relative lack of integration compared to Gnome and KDE?
2007-07-12 3:48 amSoulbender
“I’m curious, why not in XFCE? ”
The article author is just wrong. Openbox works just fine in XFCE.
Jonas : « I’m curious, why not in XFCE? »
You can use Openbox with Xfce. Open a X terminal in Xfce, execute killall xfwm4 ; openbox & exit, then quit Xfce and save your session. The next time you start Xfce, Openbox is used instead of Xfwm4.
The author probably wrote that Openbox can only be used with KDE and GNOME because two scripts named openbox-kde-session and openbox-gnome-session and no script named openbox-xfce-session. That’s because it is easy to change the window manager of KDE/GNOME by setting a environment variable (WINDOW_MANAGER for GNOME and KDEWM for KDE), whereas Xfce does not provide this feature.
Jonas : « The only thing that didn’t work right was mousewheel switching the workspace; Openbox kept on doubling up, switching two at a time »
It also happens with Openbox 3.4.x when Xfdesktop is used to manage the desktop window. killall xfdesktop and save your session when you quit Xfce. Or you can keep Xfdesktop and either 1) use the pager in the Xfce panel to switch desktop with the mouse wheel or 2) use keyboard shortcuts. Or you can keep Xfwm4 and Xfdesktop and ignore Openbox
Edited 2007-07-12 03:52
2007-07-12 2:24 pmjonas
LiNuCe « It also happens with Openbox 3.4.x when Xfdesktop is used to manage the desktop window. killall xfdesktop and save your session when you quit Xfce. Or you can keep Xfdesktop and either 1) use the pager in the Xfce panel to switch desktop with the mouse wheel or 2) use keyboard shortcuts. Or you can keep Xfwm4 and Xfdesktop and ignore Openbox
I knew that it was an issue with mouse-grabbing and xfdesktop. Unfortunately, xfdesktop also manages my menus which are not only quite comfortable after all this time but feature icons, something openbox lacked at the time. I’m not sure if Openbox now supports this, but I think that colors are a faster visual cue than words.
Unfortunately your workarounds do not make Openbox a drop in replacement for xfwm, as I wanted to continue using both xfdesktop and mousewheel workspace warping. As you hinted, it was less painful to go back to using xfwm than it would have been to start running rox or nautilus to manage the desktop.
While playing around on Openbox last night I decided to try out the Java chemistry program Msketch. There was a strange problem with the file dialog. When you try to open a selected file by pressing the open button nothing happens but if you hit enter it loads.
This problem appears to be universal for buttons on all the pop up dialogs which is a show stopper, preventing the use of most of the tools for this program. I haven’t tried out other Java software yet to see if this is universal but this program works perectly under Metacity with GNOME.
I recently tried quite a few different window managers and desktop environments. I’ve found myself using Openbox most of the time. It’s small, fast, and configures the way that I want it. I use fbpanel to keep track of open windows and have a more complete menu for the less frequently used programs.
you can also try out OpenBox using a small fast LiveCD linux distro with OpenBox as default WM: Grafpup.
I liked the older versions, but not the new one.