failing like never before


Openbox Windows Manager

This is just a quick little summary of my recent experiences with Openbox.

Up until now, the only Windows Managers and Desktop Environments for Linux that I've used, were KDE, Gnome, Fluxbox, Enlightenment (16 and 17) and XFCE. Today, while wandering some forums, I came across a really nice screenshot of Openbox. I haven't heard much about Openbox, up until now, so I decided to download it and give it a shot. I was happy to find that Openbox is in the Debian repositories, so I didn't have to go out and fetch it myself and build it from source, as I had to do with Enlightenment 17.

Openbox can be used as a drop-in replacement for Metacity or KWin in Gnome or KDE (I think you can even use Openbox with XFCE), respectively, but it can also be used as a stand-alone Desktop Environment. I decided to use Openbox as its own Desktop Environment seeing as the only other Desktop Environment that I have is E17, and I'm pretty sure Openbox and Enlightenment don't mix together.

The first thing that I noticed when I started X, was that Openbox is amazingly minimalistic; all I got on startup, was a grey screen with my mouse icon in the center. I'd upload a screenshot but theres no point, since theres absolutely nothing exciting to see. I thought at first, that something had surely gone wrong, but no, Openbox really is meant to start with just a plain gray screen.

The benefits of Openbox are immediately obvious: extremely low system requirements, especially when compared to heavyweights like Gnome or KDE. However, you lose the cohesiveness you get with KDE or Gnome; common applications like a text editor, file manager, dock, or menu bar are not included and must be added manually. Openbox also does not support compositing, and lacks any kind of flashy graphical effects altogether. But, if you like having a streamlined Desktop Environment with everything configured just as you like, then perhaps Openbox is for you. Although I'm quite a fan of Enlightenment, Openbox is quite appealing to me, for some reason it just seems spiffy. Also, unlike E17, Openbox is stable (although E17 is already quite stable enough for my day-day-to-day uses).

If I'm feeling up to it, I may mess around a little more with Openbox and post some more details.