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Thread: fluxbox how-to (compiling from source the latest version) plus tips & tricks

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    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    fluxbox how-to (compiling from source the latest version) plus tips & tricks

    I'm a big fan of fluxbox. It is highly and easily customizable. It's wicked fast and it's very pretty. FLuxbox is in the ubuntu repositories but they are two versions behind and are missing a lot of handy features like fluxbox-generate_menu. Also, the package in the repositories loads really slow wich should not be the case for a window manager that's supposed to be really fast.

    In this how-to I'm going to sum up all the info I have collected and add a few of my own customization tricks. Most of what's here I found on other threads, but this info should be in one well organized place so here goes.

    1: Download the source tar ball of the latest development version. The stable version is too old and not supported anymore and the development version is the one the devs recommend. They actually state
    "The latest stable release is v0.1.14. Development version of Fluxbox can be found here. Please note that 0.1.14 is actually fairly dated (and unmaintained) now, and the development series is quite stable. It is mainly waiting on translation and documentation work before it becomes stable. "

    Get the source tarball here

    2: Get the tools to compile from source
    sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall xlibs-dev
    3: Open your favorite terminal and untar the file you downloaded. example :
    tar xvzf fluxbox-0.9.14.tar.gz
    4: cd into the directory created.

    5: Type
    ./configure --enable-kde --enable-gnome --disable-xmb
    the disable xmb fixes the slow start up time in ubuntu.

    6: Type make .

    7: Type sudo checkinstall. This builds the package and puts it in /usr/local/bin

    8: There are two ways to be able start fluxbox

    a) A .xsession file in your home directory. you may have it or not. if you dont create the terminal type nano ~/.xsession and put this in there
    exec /usr/local/bin/fluxbox
    b) Use you're start up file. Type nano ~/.fluxbox/startup (if it does not exist, create it) and put this in there
    exec /usr/local/bin/fluxbox -log ~/.fluxbox/log
    I encourage to use option b, since this is the one I use and I know it works well.

    9: Now to enter kde,gnome or any other window manager I use GDM. It comes standard in Ubuntu. I know how to make an entry for fluxbox in GDM, I do not know how to do it in the others. To make an entry for fluxbox in GDM in a terminal type
    cd /usr/share/xsessions
    now type ls. There should be various files in there with names like gnome.desktop . Type nano fluxbox.desktop. put this in there :
    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=This is fluxbox
    That is if in step 8 you chose option b. if you chose option a, on the Exec line put Exec=/home/(username)/.xsession .

    10: Logout. Now when you go to GDM there will be a fluxbox entry in the session menu. Enter fluxbox. If it works, you are done with the installation. To access the menu just right click anywhere in the desktop. I know that what you have now is pretty bare. But the rest is just customization.

    Customization Tips and Tricks

    Fluxbox is all about minimalism. I like to use light apps to keep everything really fast so thats the type of tricks I know so here goes.

    1: To get backround image, open a terminal and type sudo apt-get install feh
    then locate the image you want to use as wallpaper. in my case my backrounds are in a directory called wallpapers in my home directory so to set a backround I type at the command line
    fbsetbg wallpapers/wallpaperofmychoice.png
    To not have to type all of that every time you want to set a new backround edit your start up file
    nano ~/.fluxbox/startup
    add the following line to that file :
    fbsetbg -l
    this command will always load the last image you set as backround so you only have to type fbsetbg image.png once.

    2: Apps you want to have upon start up are set at the ~/.fluxbox/startup file. Here's my startup file as an example:
    # fluxbox startup-script:
    # Lines starting with a '#' are ignored.
    fbsetbg -l
    gkrellm &
    gnome-volume-manager &
    xscreensaver -nosplash &
    first line sets my wallpaper, second starts grellm (a graphical system monitor), the fourth line you will want to have (gnome-volume-manager &) this will automount dvd's, USB hdd's and loads of other stuff. I actually have a lot more stuff in my startup file but I'm keeping it simple to get you started.

    I know many more tips and tricks and other users probably know more than I do. I would like this thread to have all the nice things you can do in fluxbox so plz if you know any customization tricks, post them.

    This was my first how-to so point out any mistakes. I will correct them. Fluxbox is a great window manager. I think the main reason its not so famous amongst the ubuntu community is because the package in the repositories is just worng.
    my Fully customized desktop

    edit- fixed the checkinstall typo.
    Last edited by otake-tux; February 28th, 2006 at 02:26 PM.


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