Openbox Challenge – Day #6 – Now with XFCE / goodbye

Now I’m writing my posts in Markdown @ Emacs. I hope this makes me save some time (it saved today). WordPress is kinda distracting.

Today we had big changes. Maybe extra big ones. First, let’s begin with the minor ones:

  1. I’ve added some custom hotkeys to my rc.xml. These are openbox commands in essence. I intend to use another tool to launch programs.
  2. I’ve runned qtconfig-qt4 to make my QT applications look like GTK ones.
  3. I’ve switched pnmixer for volumeicon. Now my laptop audio hotkeys work!
  4. I’ve reinstalled batterymon.
  5. I replaced my tint2 panel for xfce4-panel.

Now I’ll use XFCE. (So sad for the openbox fanboys out there =/ )

  • Install XFCE(4):
 sudo pacman -S xfce4 
  • Change ~/.xinitrc to start XFCE:
# ~/.xinitrc
# Executed by startx (run your window manager from here)

if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ]; then
for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/*; do
[ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
unset f

# set the X cursor
xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr
# set Brazilian keyboard layout
setxkbmap -layout br

# xinit window_manager
case $1 in
gnome) exec gnome-session;;
kde) exec startkde;;
awesome) exec awesome;;
fluxbox) exec startfluxbox;;
openbox) exec openbox-session;;
xfce|*) exec startxfce4;;

  • To use XFCE with Openbox, run openbox --replace while in a xfce session. You can continue from here, but I won’t. I’ll stick to XFCE for a while. This means I’ll try the Xfwm4 WM.

YSK notice I haven’t said how much time this challenge would last. I preferred to pick none (aka “30 days”, for instance). So I’m stopping this here. I hope you liked this mini journey.

Final notes: openbox was my first ‘challenge’. Probably I’ll continue this challenges series with another thing. Maybe a programming language, maybe another WM, or even a new IDE or distro. I’m not sure. But I think this is useful: for me, I can fix more these concepts and have the opportunity to train my english and to share some knowledge; for you, you can have a broad vision of a specific subject (in this case, openbox) and maybe learn or become interested about something.

Now, my final review: I liked openbox more than fluxbox. I would say fluxbox is easier to configure, but openbox kind of integrates better with any DE (or even by itself) and…bah, it is nice!!

I would say there is at least four categories of DE/WM (I prefer the bold ones):

  • The heavily ones: gnome, kde, cinnamon, unity;
  • The balanced ones: xfce;
  • The lightweight ones: fluxbox, openbox, blackbox;
  • The power user ones: awesome, i3, xmonad, dwm; (actually, ‘never tried any of these)

If I ever need to run X(org) under a server (some people like it), I would choose openbox as my primary WM. I would feel very comfortable using it.

I won’t delete my openbox repo (although it’s pretty small), but I won’t update it (anymore) either. Here is a list of links you can acess to further explore openbox (you could google simply openbox, but anyway…):

Thank you for reading.

Openbox Challenge – Day #6 – Now with XFCE / goodbye

Openbox Challenge – Day #5

Today I removed obmenu-generator and installed archlinux-xdg-menu instead. This one is so much better! Less bloated and more relevant. Its ArchWiki page says better than me.

Quick command:

xdg_menu --format openbox3 --root-menu /etc/xdg/menus/ >xdg-menu.xml

You can either choose to add it to the entire openbox menu (= replace the current openbox menu) or add it as a menu entry to openbox. I chose the last one, so I added

<menu id="xdg-menu" label="XDG Menu" execute="cat /var/cache/xdg-menu/openbox/menu.xml"/>

to my custom_menu.xml and put it in my menu.xml too. It supports icons, out-of-the-box, and looks like the xfce menu (for example).

Now, if I ever need to update this menu again, I’ll have to run my mmaker template and then add custom_menu.xml to menu.xml

Now I’m done with menus. I’ll only have to add my favorite applications to custom_menu.xml. But this is not much essential because I usually launch them with synapse. I think the purpose of the menu is to give a quick overview of which applications are installed under the system; but not to launch them. It takes time; and time costs.

(Actually, maybe I’ll find some interesting pipe menus later. But I’ll not cover them here, probably.)

I’ve also enabled the Windows 7 Snap feature. Read the ArchWiki. It is *much* cool. You’ll have to edit rc.xml to do this. I’ve also tried opensnap, but I couldn’t get it working (I’m trying these programs in a hurry, I can’t try to debug or bug report them right now. Probably I’ll try them again later. When I can’t make things work at the first try, usually I manage to do it a few days later.).

Comment: I usually write larger posts. Explained as much as possible. But I think I won’t apply this principle to the challenges section anymore, because it should act more like a diary than a tutorial (and because I can’t spend much time here). Yeah, as you can see, my first 3 posts (days) are kind of a tutorial. But I won’t do this tutorial thing anymore. This is good news for more advanced users (I suppose), but maybe won’t be much good for learners/newbies. But hey, I’m a newbie (too) in this openbox thing now, so we’ll learn together. Just try to google my terms, I always try to be precise and name the applications as much detailed as possible.

Thank you for reading.

Openbox Challenge – Day #5

Openbox Challenge – Day #4

I’ve been loving doing this. It’s really a nice way to maintain an intensive practice. But today was a very limited day for me. I had only half a hour to make any further progress.

But even a little progress is better than nothing, right? So…let’s compact the progress a little bit.

I’ve installed xcompmgr from the official repos to enable a few compositing effects on my desktop. I don’t care much for that, though, but it’s a simple way to enable some transparency and fading. Guake and Plank are the most noticing applications from xcompmgr effects.

I’ve added this line to my autostart file:

xcompmgr -cfCF -t-5 -l-5 -r4.2 -o.55 &

I’ve also checked out a program called oblogout. This does what you think it does…it’s a logout menu, with several options nicely displayed in a GUI: shutdown, lock, hibernate etc.

The default “lock” behavior was to call xtrlock. But I don’t have this program. I already use slock. So, I went to /etc/oblogout.conf and replaced the appropriate line. This would be a good program to assign to a custom hotkey (later).

I’ve also tried to add icons to the openbox menu. It seems that menumaker doesn’t support this feature. So I should’ve searched for a menu generation tool with icons, but I didn’t, not today.

I’ve found another menu generation utility called obmenu-generator (in the AUR). With the command obmenu-generator -p -i, I’ve added the pipe menu entry to my original menu.xml.

One good program is lxappearance-obconf. I’ve talked about lxappearance before. But this -obconf suffix adds more funcionality to it, exposing some of the openbox configs. It is simple but nice.

That’s it for today. I feel I need hotkeys now.

OBS.: Git repo updated again.

Thank you for reading.

Openbox Challenge – Day #4

Openbox Challenge – Day #1

Note: I am sorry but the openbox repository I created for this challenge doesn’t exist anymore. But you can still read the challenge, there is some relevant information out there.

I chose to start this new ‘challenges’ series with the openbox window manager. I’m not sure if I will continue this project, but I’ll try to. Also, you’ll notice I’m writing all of my posts in English, from now on.

So, this will be a both a big review and a opportunity to describe how pleasant — or painful — a life with this WM can be.

Continue reading “Openbox Challenge – Day #1”

Openbox Challenge – Day #1