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Thread: Guide to using Openbox session in Lubuntu

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  1. #1
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    Guide to using Openbox session in Lubuntu

    One of the sessions available with Lubuntu 13.04 is "Openbox". Anyone know of a current guide/faq/tutorial for the one in bold?

    Code:
    Openbox is minimalistic, highly configurable,  next  generation  window
           manager with extensive standards support.
    
           You can start Openbox in three ways:
    
           If  you  run  a display manager such as GDM, you will find 3 entries in
           the login session type menu  for  Openbox:  GNOME/Openbox,  KDE/Openbox
           and  Openbox.  If  you want to use Openbox within GNOME or KDE, you can
           choose the appropriate entry, and it will  launch  GNOME  or  KDE  with
           Openbox as the window manager.
    
           The  third  option  at log in, which is Openbox       without a session
           manager, uses the openbox-session       command to  start  Openbox.  On
           log  in,  openbox will run the ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh script if
           it    exists,    and    will     run     the     system-wide     script
           /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart.sh  otherwise.  You  may  place anything you
           want to run automatically in those files, for example:
    
                  xsetroot -solid grey &
                  gnome-settings-daemon &
    
           Make sure that each line is followed by a "&" or else the  script  will
           stop  there  and further commands will not be executed. You can use the
           /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart.sh file as an example for creating your own.
    
           The  default /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart.sh runs a number of things with
           Openbox.
    ...
    From http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/...openbox.1.html
    Last edited by vasa1; February 24th, 2014 at 07:23 AM. Reason: modified title

  2. #2
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    I'm not quite sure what you're asking here but Arch Linux has detailed wikis for everything you could ever need to know https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Openbox
    Catch me on Freenode - imark

  3. #3
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    Did you see this wiki page?

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Openbox

    Otherwise, to use it (without tweaking) is easy.

    1. When you select Openbox at the log in screen of for example Lubuntu, you arrive at a grey screen in almost no time.

    2. Right-click and you will get a small menu. Select terminal emulator, and from that you can start any other program.

    3. Right-click on the grey background again and select exit to return to the log in screen (or poweroff from the terminal window).

  4. #4
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    Thank you for responding, CaptainMark and Sudodus. Yes, I have looked at the links you mentioned but what I'd really like is a how-to for users of vanilla Lubuntu who wish to try out the Openbox session. The Lubuntu wiki pages don't seem to have anything on the subject. I've managed to make a small start and hope to work out any wrinkles with a little help from the community

    My first challenge is to get my icon theme (in ~/.icons) to be used. Right now, some other icon theme is being used.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  5. #5
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    You don't have to find a Lubuntu specific guide, when using pure Openbox then everything else becomes irrelevant because your only running Openbox with bash as a shell. That's probably why there is no specific Lubuntu guide to Openbox
    Catch me on Freenode - imark

  6. #6
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    @Sudodus, I'm making some progress and will update this thread a little later.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  7. #7
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    Quote Originally Posted by vasa1 View Post
    @Sudodus, I'm making some progress and will update this thread a little later.
    Hm. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've put together.

    I haven't used Lubuntu (yet), but I do use Openbox (not in Ubuntu right now, but in a few other distros), and on a few occasions (some time ago) I've installed LXDE in Ubuntu only to find myself using Openbox more than LXDE.

    I've made use of Openbox info at the Arch Wiki (excellent!) and other places. I may have seen the guide that sudodus mentioned above, but I don't remember it (and didn't have it bookmarked). Any additional Openbox info that anyone puts out there, especially for folks who come at it via Lubuntu or by installing LXDE in Ubuntu, could be a good thing, from my point of view. As I recall from running LXDE, there can be a few things to look out for when you choose the Openbox session that you won't see if you've simply added Openbox to Ubuntu.

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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    Sharing results is valuable for the community

  9. #9
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    Quote Originally Posted by sudodus View Post
    Sharing results is valuable for the community
    Well, here goes but I'm not really systematic and may have missed something or not written things in a logical order. As I said, this is purely limited to trying out the Openbox session available at the time of logging in on a system running Lubuntu 13.04.

    At the outset one can exit an Openbox session by typing openbox --exit at a terminal prompt and that gets you back to the login screen. Many changes suggested here may require changing themes back and forth or logging out and back in or possibly a reboot.

    After logging in to an Openbox session, a plain grey (#303030) screen is all one gets. To change that to another color, create ~/.config/openbox/autostart and add this line:
    Code:
    xsetroot -solid "#000005"
    or other color of choice. One can also point to a wallpaper but I didn't go there.

    Right-clicking on the screen brings up a menu from which one can choose applications to run. The choice of applications doesn't reflect what you have installed on your system if you've removed some software and added some other software. If you're going to rely on this right-click menu a lot, you'll need to fix that by copying over /etc/xdg/openbox/menu.xml to ~/.config/openbox and modifying it to reflect the software you want to access. I understand there's OBmenu to provide a GUI but again, I didn't go there.

    Since I'm already a Lubuntu user, I have lxpanel installed and configured the way I like it. To get lxpanel running at startup, add one more line to ~/.config/openbox/autostart so that it looks like:
    Code:
    xsetroot -solid "#000005"
    lxpanel --profile Lubuntu &
    Again, since I'm already a Lubuntu user, I have modified ~/.config/openbox/lubuntu-rc.xml quite a bit to have the keyboard shortcuts I want. But an Openbox session needs to see just rc.xml. I don't know if a logical link would do; for now I copied lubuntu-rc.xml to rc.xml in the same folder.
    Note that in 14.04, just making a copy of lubuntu-rc.xml and calling it rc.xml won't do. This is because many of the keyboard shortcuts have command lines with "lxsession-default" in them; they also don't refer to executables directly but to their generic names. So, you'll see "lxsession-default file_manager" in lubuntu-rc.xml but you'll need just "pcmanfm" (or the actual executable for your file manager) in rc.xml. As another example, you'll need "lxterminal" instead of "lxsession-default terminal". In other words, if you're using lubuntu-rc.xml as a starting point for your rc.xml, you'll need to fix lines containing "lxsession-default" if you want the respective keyboard shortcuts to work.

    Now to the appearance of the panel and applications. I found that my icon theme and gtk theme wasn't effective and that fonts in gtk applications looked bad. The "Openbox" aspect of things was unaffected: in other words, window decorations were unaffected.

    Lxappearance (Customize Look and Feel) was unhelpful for changing the "widget" theme and icon theme. I had to make the following edits to various files:
    Edit ~/.gtkrc-2.0 to include the following two lines:
    Code:
    include "/home/your_username/.themes/gtk_theme_name/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"
    gtk-icon-theme-name = "icon_theme_name"
    Edit ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini to include
    Code:
    gtk-theme-name = gtk_theme_name
    gtk-icon-theme-name = icon_theme_name
    After doing all this, fonts in the panel and in gtk apps were still a problem: they were much thinner in the Openbox session. (Font appearance in the window decoration were unaffected) To fix that, I added one more line to ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini:
    Code:
    gtk-theme-name = gtk_theme_name
    gtk-icon-theme-name = icon_theme_name
    gtk-font-name = Comic Sans MS
    and created ~/.Xresources with the following content (from the bottom of http://awesome.naquadah.org/wiki/Better_Font_Rendering):
    Code:
    ! Render setting for cairo -> pango -> gtk
     Xft.dpi:        96
     Xft.antialias:  true
     Xft.hinting:    true
     Xft.rgba:       rgb
     Xft.hintstyle:  hintslight
    Now my Openbox session looks fine.

    Overall, I feel there may not be "great" performance gains to users of Lubuntu 13.04 as the Lubuntu session is pretty light to start with but there may be gains for those with older kits. I don't know!
    Last edited by vasa1; April 18th, 2014 at 04:11 AM.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  10. #10
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    Re: Guide to using Openbox session?

    Quote Originally Posted by vasa1 View Post
    Since I'm already a Lubuntu user, I have lxpanel installed and configured the way I like it.
    This morning, I stumbled upon this article (from PCLinuxOS Magazine), titled "Openbox - Tint2 vs Lxpanel", which it might be appropriate to mention here: http://pclosmag.com/html/Issues/201108/page01.html

    tint2 is a nice option to use for a panel in Openbox; worth checking out, for sure.

    Another one of my favorite panels to use in Openbox: xfce4-panel.

    However, Lubuntu users may prefer to stick with LXPanel if, like vasa1, you've already got it configured to your tastes.
    Last edited by malspa; September 14th, 2013 at 10:15 AM.

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