Thursday, June 13, 2013

OpenBox: When You Want Minimalism, Speed.

by Dietrich Schmitz

I've settled for largely avoiding Unity and Gnome3.x entirely.  Most of you know that.  No need to go over why.

But lately, I've been wondering why Fedora doesn't offer a Spin of OpenBox.  So, my curiosity got the best of me and I installed it into Fedora 19 Xfce Spin.

The following files were installed:

openbox, obmenu, obconf, tint2, xfce4-mixer, xfce4-power-manager, clipit, and gmrun.

Then, create the following directory:

$mkdir ~/.config/openbox


$gedit ~/.config/openbox/autostart

and paste the following into it, save and close the file:

## Openbox autostart

## ====================

## Note*: some programs, such as 'nm-applet' are run via XDG auto-start.

## Run '/usr/lib/openbox/openbox-xdg-autostart --list' to list any

## XDG autostarted programs.

## GNOME PolicyKit and Keyring

#/usr/lib/polkit-1-gnome/polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1 &

#eval $(gnome-keyring-daemon -s --components=pkcs11,secrets,ssh,gpg) &

#Starts Nitogen and restore wallpaper from previous session

#nitrogen --restore &

# start up the tint2 task bar

tint2 &

# Start up power management

xfce4-power-manager &

# Start the Clipboard manager after 3 seconds wait

(sleep 3s && clipit) &

# start volume manager after 3 seconds

#(sleep 3s && volti) &

The parts in autostart for policykit, nitrogen, and volti have been commented out as they don't currently work, or weren't found in the Fedora repo.

Logging out of Xfce, I selected the openbox window manager and logged back into Fedora 19.

Immediately, I was presented with a familiar (from my CrunchBang experiences) spartan grey screen and a panel on the bottom (tint2).

Utterly minimal, but exceedingly fast, OpenBox on Fedora 19

Autostart was able to load the power-manager, chrome and the clipboard.  nm-applet loaded and connected to wireless automatically also without need for configuration.

Currently, there is no volume icon in the tray (not a crisis as I can launch pavucontrol or xfce4-mixer to adjust settings if need be).

Probably, I'll figure out what to do about volti and nitrogen tomorrow and add maybe a few other tweeks like conky, but this is quite doable for now.

OpenBox is a stacking window manager.  On a Netbook, you need to ring out all of the resources and mine has 2GB ram.  Reaching the Desktop, opening a terminal and checking free returns about 140MB ram used.  That really can't be beat, unless maybe you install Bodhi Linux or Puppy Linux or DSL.  The speed improvement is quite marked.

I am sure there will be comments from those getting less ram usage.  Still you get the point.

I'll use this for a while and see how it goes.

So Folks, when you want minimalism and speed, check out OpenBox.  It never disappoints.

-- Dietrich
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