Switched to Openbox

One thing I’ve always liked about Linux is the ability to run a simple, lightweight desktop.  You can’t get much more lightweight than the Openbox window manager.  By default it doesn’t even have a taskbar / pager, you just get a plain grey screen.  To get the most out of Openbox here are a few extra programs to install to get it a little more useable.

 

Menumaker:  Menumaker is a python script that will create the menu file for several window managers like Fluxbox, Blackbox, and xfce.  Just run mmaker, tell it which window manager you’re using and it will search your hard drive for installed programs and put them in the correct category.  It’s not perfect, it missed most of the LibreOffice suite for me, and it created duplicate entries for some programs.  It did make an entry for QGIS and catagorized it as a Science application, but GRASS was identified as Educational.  Since Openbox’s menu is driven by an XML file it was easy to correct those mistakes and do a little manual re-arranging. It’s just nice to have the script around to do the heavy lifting.  However, if you don’t feel like editing the XML file in a text editor you can use…

Obmenu:  Obmenu gives you a GUI to edit the menu.xml file.

Feh:  Feh is a simple image viewer.  For Openbox you can use it to display your wallpaper, see the linked wiki article on how to use it to do so.

Tint2:  Tint2 is a simple panel for window managers.  It gives you a list of the windows that are open on a given desktop, and with newer versions it can be set to launch programs or give you an applications menu.

Thunar:  Thunar is a really easy to use file manager.  As part of the XFCE project it’s quick to load and lightweight.  It does not need XFCE installed to be run.

 

All five of these programs can be found in the Arch repositories, as well as Openbox itself.

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