Welcome to my Openbox guide. First, I must thank Fuscia, Stormy Eyes, benplaut the Gentoo and Ubuntu wiki pages. I plan to cover the installation and customization of Openbox as far as use and looks go. I am assuming that you have installed Ubuntu 6.06 with the full Gnome set up. If you are using Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or a server install, some things may change. I may or may not cover those areas. This guide will not cover how to integrate OpenBox into Gnome, KDE, or any other DE. Sorry if you find this a little (or a lot) verbose, but I hate reading guides that leave gaps. So, if I leave some gaps, let me know and I will try to fill them in.
If you want a pure OpenBox installation without the requirement of Gnome, see here.
For themes please see
All of my instructions are based on using the command line.
To install Openbox, all that is necessary is
I recommend installing the themes, obconf, and pypanel as well.
sudo apt-get install openbox
Now you are ready to use Openbox. Log out, and at the login screen select Openbox under sessions.
sudo apt-get install openbox obconf openbox-themes pypanel
Upon entry into Openbox you are provided with nothing more than a mouse cursor. Right-clicking will bring up the root menu, and as you will see it is pretty minimal, but provides all that you need to go on (the terminal).
Setting Up the Menu:
The menu is the most important part of Openbox usability (in my opinion). The most basic way to edit the menu is to edit the menu.xml file. I will list three methods to edit the menu, which method you choose is up to you but I suggest checking out each method before actually editing the menu. In my opinion it is much easier to trim down a bloated menu than build up an empty menu. Thus, my reccomended method for seting up the Openbox menu is to run menumaker first and then use the XML or obmenu to trim it down.
First, copy the default menu into your $HOME/.config/openbox directory.
*Important!* Every time you edit the menu, you must reconfigure by right-clicking to bring up the root menu and selecting reconfigure.
cp /etc/xdg/openbox/menu.xml ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml
A.) Edit the raw XML
This method deals with editing the raw XML. Open the file by using
Here you can see how to format the XML to add entries. This is about as far as I'll go here, because there are much easier ways to edit the menu, but this method can be very fast.
B.) Use obmenu
The second method uses obmenu to edit the menu entries in a graphical interface. It is very easy to use and can create sub-menus and seperators. Obmenu must be installed from source, and has three dependencies that can be filled through apt/synaptic.
The obmenu homepage is here: http://obmenu.sourceforge.net/index.html and the download page is here: http://obmenu.sourceforge.net/download.html
1. To install the dependencies
The glade and gtk2 parts might be wrong, but I am fairly certain they are correct.
sudo apt-get install python2.4 python2.4-glade2 python2.4-gtk2
2. Now to install obmenu simply
3. Run obmenu
tar xzvf ~/obmenu-1.0.tar.gz
sudo python setup.py install
4. Add entries, save, and reconfigure.
I suggest adding obmenu first, so you have easy access to it. Also add obconf as well if you installed it.
C.) Use menumaker
Menumaker is a tool that will generate a full menu of (almost) everything you have installed. Menumaker can be installed or run from the source tarball. I will show you how to use it without installing it.
1. Download the latest version here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/menumaker and unpack it
2. Go into the menumaker dir and run mmaker
tar xzvf ~/menumaker-0.99.7.tar.gz
Like magic, you have a new menu. Menu maker moves the reconfigure option into the OpenBox sub-menu. Now you have a pretty much fully working set up, but if you're like me, you want a clock, a panel, and a desktop bg, as well as some better looking themes.
Setting the Background Image:
This one is simple, install feh if you don't have it.
Then simply run
sudo apt-get install feh
ex: feh --bg-scale ~/backgrounds/desktop.jpg
feh --bg-scale path/to/the/image.ext
Be warned that the image will reset when you log out and back in. I will cover this soon.
Installing and Using Themes and Window Decorations:
I will instruct you on how to install the exact theme and window decoration I use.
Window decorations can be extracted to your .themes directory and changed in obconf.
1. Download the clearlooks-olive theme from here http://hewphoria.com/get.php?t=theme&id=129 and save it to your home folder.
2. Move the theme to .themes and extract it
3. Open obconf (either from the menu or command line) and select Clearlooks-Olive from the list under Appearance.
mv ~/clearlooks-olive-0.2.tar.gz ~/.themes/clearlooks-olive-0.2.tar.gz
tar xzvf ~/.themes/clearlooks-olive-0.2.tar.gz
Now, to get rid of those nast GTK controls. This part is pretty easy too, but for some reason the themes installed with Gnome don't work for me, so you have to extract your own to .themes like above.
1. Download the Olive Suite theme from gnome-look.org here http://www.gnome-look.org/content/do...ent=35572&id=1
2. Move the theme to .themes and extract it, just like above but replace the file name.
3. Install switch2
4. Run switch2 and select Olive, apply.
sudo apt-get install gtk-theme-switch
Now you should have a much nicer looking windows and control scheme for GTK apps.
Installing and Using a Panel:
If you haven't already, install pypanel. There are several other panels you can use, but pypanel is in the repos and easy to use.
To use pypanel, just run pypanel from the command line or add it to the menu. Pypanel can be configured through editing .pypanelrc found in your home directory.
sudo apt-get install pypanel
Getting Backgrounds and Panels to Show Up at Start:
I originally used the .xsession method, but benplaut provided a much more generic way to go about it. This is pretty much verbatim what he outlined in here http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php...8&postcount=22
First, make the file ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh. In it modify the following to fit your needs.
Panels usually cooperate better if you let them load after the WM, so this is a bit different from others.
*Rauble's note* I commented out gnome-volume-manager and gnome-settings-daemon. These are not necessary but can be very useful. If you cannot use CDs, uncomment the gnome-volume-manager line. For me, my extra harddrive and CD-ROM drives work without it. **
# Auto-mounting drives
# gnome-volume-manager &
# GTK themes... this is just one method
# gnome-settings-daemon &
# feh stores the last background in .fehbg
eval `cat $HOME/.fehbg` &
# This prevents the panel from failing if it loads too fast
if pgrep pypanel
then exec openbox
else pypanel && exec openbox
Panels are finicky... the little thing at the end should help.
OK, here's for gdm:
Now, edit the session file:
chmod +x ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh
and insert the following into the file:
sudo gedit /usr/share/xsessions/openbox-autostart.desktop
Note: Edit the Exec line to match your user account
Comment=Openbox with autostart goodness
(i'm not sure if that's required, but it can't hurt)
sudo chmod +x /usr/share/xsessions/openbox-autostart.desktop
Now you must restart and log into the OpenBox Autostart session
Using OpenBox Like a Pro:
Stormy Eyes has a great how-to here: http://doc.gwos.org/index.php/Openbox_Gnome . It describes many things I have gone over, as well as how to add keybindings. I will leave his explaination be and just go over some extra stuff.
Adding the following provides an easy way to capture screenshots.
OpenBox has some great keybindings by default. Some of my favorites are the following:
alt-F10 (A-F10): Maximize window
alt-F5 (A-F5): Unmaximize window
alt-F12 (A-F12): Roll up window
ctrl-alt-left/right: switch to next/previous desktop
shift-alt-left/right (S-A-Left/Right): switches and sends program to next/previous desktop
ctrl-alt-d (C-A-d): show desktop (minimize all windows)
You may also want menu entries for reboot and shutdown. Logging out of openbox has been finnicky for me, sometimes it just goes to a light blue, hard to see login screen. So, here are some menu entries to try:
add a command for "sudo reboot" to restart the computer
or "sudo shutdown -t now" to shutdown
More info can be found here: http://enterprise.linux.com/article....1219226&tid=89
(I basically compiled a lot of good information into one source that makes it easy for me to follow, hopefully it will be easy for new OpenBox users as well)
Random Openbox Chatter
Linux.xom | CLI Magic: shutdown - Using the command line for shutdown commands.
OpenBox Gnome - Stormy Eyes' HOW-TO on configuring OpenBox on its own and with Gnome.
Openbox - Ubuntu Wiki - Ubuntu's wiki entry, good info but some of the suggestions are not preferred by me (like using Rox-filer)
Gentoo Openbox Entry - Some great technical info.
*To be added*
- Using and configuring idesk
- Better use of docks and panels