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Thread: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

  1. #1
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    Post HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    A Blackbox Guide.


    After searching the internet, I found there was really no easy, all-in-one guide for the new Blackbox user. Although some of this information has been listed elsewhere, here's an attempt at putting together all the information I found most useful. This guide assumes you are using Gnome, and are familiar with the GDM. Much of this uses the terminal, but can also be done with Nautilus. I have included some of my configuration files and a screenshot. Blackbox isn't terribly hard to install and configure. It can be very fast, as long as you don't mind typing some commands. Here we go!


    I. INSTALLATION
    II. CONFIGURATION
    III. OTHER USEFUL PROGRAMS
    IV. STARTUP
    V. EYE CANDY
    VI. FURTHER READING and SOURCES


    I. INSTALLATION:

    1. You will have to enable the Universe repositories... https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install blackbox blackbox-themes
    Or use Synaptic and give it a search, they should be all there.


    That's it!!! A few of the following will help with customizing.

    ================================================== ====

    Now, the following will move some folders to your home folder to make editing easier.

    2. See if there is a .blackbox folder in your home directory. "ls -a" If yes, skip skep 3. If not...

    3.
    Code:
    cd
    mkdir .blackbox
    4.
    We need a .blackboxrc file.

    Code:
    gedit .blackboxrc
    paste this in... replacing bluevoodoo1 with your username.
    session.styleFile: /usr/share/blackbox/styles/Gray
    session.menuFile: /home/bluevoodoo1/.blackbox/menu
    session.screen0.slit.placement: CenterRight
    session.screen0.slit.direction: Vertical
    session.screen0.slit.onTop: False
    session.screen0.slit.autoHide: False
    session.screen0.toolbar.onTop: False
    session.screen0.toolbar.autoHide: False
    session.screen0.toolbar.placement: BottomCenter
    session.screen0.toolbar.widthPercent: 66
    session.screen0.enableToolbar: True
    session.screen0.workspaces: 4
    session.screen0.workspaceNames: Workspace 1,Workspace 2,Workspace 3,Workspace 4
    session.screen0.strftimeFormat: %I:%M %p
    session.windowSnapThreshold: 0
    session.autoRaiseDelay: 400
    session.placementIgnoresShaded: True
    session.focusLastWindow: True
    session.opaqueMove: True
    session.changeWorkspaceWithMouseWheel: True
    session.imageDither: OrderedDither
    session.windowPlacement: RowSmartPlacement
    session.shadeWindowWithMouseWheel: True
    session.opaqueResize: True
    session.toolbarActionsWithMouseWheel: True
    session.rowPlacementDirection: LeftToRight
    session.maximumColors: 0
    session.disableBindingsWithScrollLock: False
    session.fullMaximization: False
    session.colPlacementDirection: TopToBottom
    session.doubleClickInterval: 250
    session.edgeSnapThreshold: 0
    session.focusNewWindows: True
    session.focusModel: ClickToFocus
    (of course the path can be to any location you prefer)

    II. CONFIGURATION

    -Menu/Styles:

    1.Menu:
    Since we changed the path of the menu file, we have to add our own menu. If you don't paste in some sort of menu then nothing will appear with a right click on the desktop.

    Code:
    gedit .blackbox/menu
    Here is an example of my menu. [nop] () = a space

    Code:
    [begin] (b l a c k b o x )
    	[exec] (Eterm) {Eterm -x -0 --trans --scrollbar=off --buttonbar 0 --geometry 79x35+13+495 --font-fx none -f lightgrey}
    	[nop] ()
    	[submenu] (terminals) {terminals}
    		[exec] (aterm) {aterm -tr -bg black -fg lightgrey -fn 7x14 -fb 7x14 +vb +sb -geometry 79x32+13+495}
    		[exec] (gterm) {gnome-terminal}
    		[exec] (kterm) {konsole}
    		[exec] (xterm) {xterm -ls}
    	[end]
    	[submenu] (gnome) {gnome}
    		[exec] (nautilus) {nautilus --no-desktop}
    		[exec] (gnome-theme-manager) {gnome-theme-manager}
    		[exec] (gnome-settings-daemon) {gnome-settings-daemon}
    		
    	[end]
    	[submenu] (audio) {}
    		[exec] (xmms) {xmms}
    		[exec] (gnome-volume) {gnome-volume-manager}
    	[end]
    	[submenu] (internet) {}
    		[exec] (firefox) {firefox}
    		[exec] (gaim) {gaim}
    		[exec] (gftp) {gftp}
    		[exec] (bluefish) {bluefish}
    		[exec] (firestarter) {gksudo /usr/sbin/firestarter}
    		[exec] (virus scanner) {aegis-virus-scanner}
    	[end]
    	[submenu] (graphics) {}
    		[exec] (the gimp) {gimp}
    	[end]
    	[submenu] (office apps) {}
    		[exec] (oo.o writer) {ooffice2}
    	[end]
    	[submenu] (video) {}
    		[exec] (gmplayer) {gmplayer}
    		[exec] (vlc) {vlc}
    		[exec] (xine) {xine}
    	[end]
    	[submenu] (system monitor) {}
    		[exec] (monitor start) {conky}
    		[exec] (monitor stop) {killall conky}
    	[end]
    	[nop] ()
    	[workspaces] (workspace list)
    	[config] (configuration)
    	[nop] ()
    	[submenu] (startup) {}
    		[exec] (gnome-settings-daemon ) {gnome-settings-daemon &}
    		[exec] (conky) {conky &}
    		[exec] (Esetroot) {Esetroot .blackbox/backgrounds/Complex_2.jpg}
    		[exec] (wmbutton) {wmbutton &}
    		[exec] (wmweather) {wmweather -w -s KROC &}
    		[exec] (wmcpuload ) {wmcpuload &}
    		[exec] (wmclock) {wmclock -12 -led white &}
    	[end]
    	[nop] ()
    	[reconfig] (reconfigure)
    	[restart] (restart) {}
    	[exit] (exit)
    [end]
    2. Styles:
    You can edit the styles by hand. Open your /usr/share/blackbox/styles/ files with your favorite text editor and edit away (colors/borders/fonts... etc.). To have a wallpaper install "eterm" to use its "esetroot" utility. Add/Replace this command to your current style file for a wallpaper/background

    Code:
    rootCommand: Esetroot /usr/share/blackbox/backgrounds/wallpaper.jpg
    Log out. And it should be in the gdm! Some other neat styles can be found here. http://snkmchnb.no-ip.com/bbstyles.php



    III. OTHER USEFUL PROGRAMS:

    -conky: Used to monitor your system. Neat because it sits on the desktop as if it were part of it, displaying useful system information... CPU temps, RAM, swap, CPU+MEM usage, networking info...

    1.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install conky
    or

    You can download the newest version from http://conky.sourceforge.net/ and do the following: (you can add all or none of the following options during ./configure. I highly recommend --enable-double-buffer [more on that in a bit])

    Code:
    ./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-xft --enable-mpd --enable-seti --enable-double-buffer --enable-own-window --enable-proc-uptime
    make
    sudo checkinstall
    If you don't have checkinstall... I recommend getting it, especially for removing a package that is manually installed.

    2.
    You can edit what appears by changing the .conkyrc file. (Make a backup first)

    Code:
    cp .conkyrc ~/.conkyrc_backup
    gedit .conkyrc
    for conky variables... http://conky.sourceforge.net/variables.html

    -Potential problems with conky: Flickering.
    To get rid of the flicker from conky you will to manually install it and make sure, make sure the following are true:

    In .conkyrc

    double_buffer yes

    and in /etc/X11/xorg.conf (make a backup first!!)

    Code:
    sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    add the following...

    Section "Module" Load "dbe"

    Restart the computer, start conky, and it should not flicker!

    CONKY EXTRA: weather

    From what I've read METAR support was stopped after version 1.3... but here's somewhat of a workaround (not the greatest, hopefully something better will work)

    get python-pymetar...

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install python-pymetar
    Then add the following line to your .conkyrc file (replacing KROC with your 4-digit code) (a HOW-TO for finding your code is listed under 'wmweather'). The number 60 refers to the time in seconds before updating. You can change it to anything you wish.

    Code:
    ${texeci 60 pymetar KROC}
    or

    Code:
    ${execi 60 pymetar KROC}

    The texeci works for me, others say that execi works for them, but I suggest you experiment and see which works for you.

    (You might want to comment out some of the description or other features. Simply open the file (make a backup first if you would like) then type

    Code:
    sudo gedit /usr/bin/pymetar
    and place a # on the line you don't want to display. I commented out the following because the output was too long...

    Code:
    #print "Weather report for %s (%s) as of %s" %\
    
    #    (pr.getStationName(), station, pr.getISOTime())
    
    #print "Values of \"None\" indicate that the value is missing from the report."
    You can search for your METAR here...

    http://adds.aviationweather.noaa.gov...s/stations.txt

    Find your code then replace my 'KROC' with your four digit code, or you will simply get the weather for Rochester, NY USA.


    IV. STARTUP

    1. We make a startup script.
    2. We change the path of exec blackbox in /usr/share/xsessions/blackbox.desktop

    1. We create a script.
    Code:
    gedit ~/.bbstartup.sh
    and paste this in
    Code:
    #!/bin/sh
    
    gnome-settings-daemon &
    conky &
    exec /usr/local/bin/blackbox
    then make it executable
    Code:
    chmod +x ~/.bbstartup.sh
    2. We change the path of exec blackbox in /usr/share/xsessions/blackbox.desktop

    first a backup.
    Code:
    sudo cp /usr/share/xsessions/blackbox.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/blackbox.desktop_backup
    then
    Code:
    sudo gedit /usr/share/xsessions/blackbox.desktop
    Before we change anything, It will look something like this...
    Code:
    [Desktop Entry]
    Encoding=UTF-8
    Name=BlackBox
    Comment=Highly configurable and low resource X11 Window manager
    Exec=/usr/local/bin/blackbox
    Terminal=False
    TryExec=/usr/local/bin/blackbox
    Type=Application
    then we change the Exec and TryExec to the path of the newly created script. Replacing bluevoodoo1 with your username.
    Code:
    [Desktop Entry]
    Encoding=UTF-8
    Name=BlackBox
    Comment=Highly configurable and low resource X11 Window manager
    Exec=/home/bluevoodoo1/.bbstartup.sh
    Terminal=False
    TryExec=/home/bluevoodoo1/.bbstartup.sh
    Type=Application
    Logout, and hopefully you'll be all set.

    V. EYE CANDY: (more info on these topics can be found throughout the forums)

    -Eterm: Terminal with many customizable features.

    1.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install eterm
    2. Here's a sample. Please adjust geometry and -f color to your liking.
    Code:
    Eterm -x -0 --trans --scrollbar=off --buttonbar 0 --geometry 79x35+13+495 -f lightgrey
    *yes it is "Eterm" not "eterm"

    This is my command for Eterm. It will produce a transparent, borderless terminal with lightgray text in the exact position I want. Type "man Eterm" or "Eterm --help" to get a full listing of what each command does. For Eterm to be transparent and not simply shuffle a random background on startup, you must use Esetroot to set the wallpaper before launching Eterm... everytime you start Blackbox*. Use Esetroot and the path to the wallpaper you want, for example...

    Code:
    Esetroot /usr/share/blackbox/backgrounds/yourpicture.jpg
    *Either use it as a code upon startup (listed above in IV. STARTUP), type that command into a terminal before the use of Eterm, make a custom application command and run it from the menu before Eterm, or add that line to your current style file. I use the last.

    VI. FURTHER READING and SOURCES

    http://blackboxwm.sourceforge.net/

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...light=blackbox
    http://snkmchnb.no-ip.com/bbstyles.php
    http://conky.sourceforge.net/variables.html
    http://www.dotfiles.com/software/wmmp3/
    http://home.nyc.rr.com/computertaijutsu/blackbox.html
    http://www.dockapps.org/file.php/id/17
    http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...d.php?t=218928
    http://adds.aviationweather.noaa.gov...s/stations.txt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by bluevoodoo1; June 21st, 2006 at 10:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Nice how to!

    I've been getting blackbox set up on my computer for a week now, but there are a few useful things in your how to for me. Coming from bblean in my windows days I am used to bb conf - slowly getting better with Linux.

    I spent a week playing around with a way to run a start-up script, so far, your solution seems to be the only way without really screwing things up for Gnome.


    VivaLaRoach
    _______________________

    Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Yes, a very nice howto. Too bad you didn't post this a week earlier when I installed Blackbox.

    One thing though, I think it is much easier to install the package "menu" which generates a program menu for practically all installed applications, and then delete the ones you don't want in it. "Menu" will also create a "Debian" entry in the Gnome menu, but if you don't want it you can easilly remove it with "Applications menu editor".

  4. #4
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Thank you for the kind words. I will have a look at the menu package. That "Debian" menu somewhat annoys me, but you're right that it can be turned off. I'll have to give that a try.


    EDITS: Added how to manually install conky, get rid of flickering in conky and how to add weather reading to conky.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Very nice HOWTO, thank you! I just installed blackbox in my ubuntu on an old Cyrix 200MHz with 96MB that I use as a headless fileserver/bittorrent downloader and it flies! The same PC was struggling with XFCE.

    One thing that gave me some trouble is that there was no ~/.blackbox/menu file and when I created one blackbox refused to read from it. What I had to do was create a .blackboxrc file in my home folder and then add the following line in it:
    Code:
    session.menuFile:       /home/george/.blackbox/menu
    That was it... I had my menu after that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by george_apan
    One thing that gave me some trouble is that there was no ~/.blackbox/menu file and when I created one blackbox refused to read from it. What I had to do was create a .blackboxrc file in my home folder and then add the following line in it:
    Code:
    session.menuFile:       /home/george/.blackbox/menu
    That was it... I had my menu after that.
    Exactly! Hmm, I wonder why there wasn't a menu file? But your solution is perfect.

    EDIT: george_apan, I added your suggestion.
    Last edited by bluevoodoo1; February 12th, 2006 at 05:22 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    One quick question: why Blackbox? Why not Fluxbox, or Openbox, or any of the other *boxen floating around? Is there anything special in BB that the others don't have yet?

  8. #8
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by skymt
    One quick question: why Blackbox? Why not Fluxbox, or Openbox, or any of the other *boxen floating around? Is there anything special in BB that the others don't have yet?
    Both are based on older version of Blackbox code. Fluxbox is based on the Blackbox 0.61.1 code and Openbox is based on Blackbox 0.65.0 code. I'm currently running Blackbox 0.70.0.

    I've had the most success with Blackbox compared to Open* or Flux*. Why not experiment with them? I had some trouble having Black* and Flux* on my system at the same time, but perhaps experimenting one at a time is an idea? They all have features unique to them. Read up on them, there is some information around the forums and also in these links....

    http://blackboxwm.sourceforge.net/Ab...tAboutBlackbox
    and
    http://fluxbox.sourceforge.net/
    and
    http://icculus.org/openbox/about.php

  9. #9
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by bluevoodoo1
    Code:
    sudo mv usr/share/blackbox/backgrounds ~/.blackbox/backgrounds
    sudo mv usr/share/blackbox/styles ~/.blackbox/styles
    sudo mv usr/share/blackbox/menu ~/.blackbox

    when I try to mv the /menu file, I get this:
    Code:
    mv: cannot stat `/usr/share/blackbox/menu': No such file or directory
    TOAST

  10. #10
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    Re: HOWTO: A Blackbox Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelgwyn
    when I try to mv the /menu file, I get this:
    Code:
    mv: cannot stat `/usr/share/blackbox/menu': No such file or directory
    Check to see if there actually is a menu file in the /usr/share/blackbox folder. Can't move something that doesn't exist! If it doesn't exist you can, with Nautilus (or Konqueror) create a new document in your /home/your-user-name/.blackbox folder named "menu" Then make sure the .blackboxrc file points to that menu path. Then you can either use bbconf to add to your menu (to open it, sudo bbconf) or edit the menu file by hand. (I have an example listed). Hope that helps...

    EDIT: I also noticed that I had a typo, it should be...

    sudo mv /usr/share/blackbox/backgrounds ~/.blackbox/backgrounds
    sudo mv /usr/share/blackbox/styles ~/.blackbox/styles
    sudo mv /usr/share/blackbox/menu ~/.blackbox

    and NOT be...

    sudo mv usr/share/blackbox/backgrounds ~/.blackbox/backgrounds
    sudo mv usr/share/blackbox/styles ~/.blackbox/styles
    sudo mv usr/share/blackbox/menu ~/.blackbox
    Last edited by bluevoodoo1; February 13th, 2006 at 03:59 AM.

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