Monday, November 26, 2007

Desktop Nirvana

I was a little disappointed to hear the lack of love for the Openbox window manager during the most recent LinuxLinkTechShow. I've been happily using Openbox on top of Ubuntu for a few months now. I like it so much that I'm using it in on the Gutsy VM I have running on my XP-pro box at work too. I like it's tweakability, it's speed and the simplicity of it.

There is simply no quicker way to get to an application on some other desktop than middle clicking the desktop which brings up a list of applications across all desktops. Like I said, simple and fast.

But even with this success, I'm far from what you might call an 'experienced' Openbox user. That's why I was so thankful for this amazingly useful post by Urukrama. It covers Openbox on Ubuntu from installation right down to customizing options. So if you're interested in trying out Openbox, make sure you check it out.

I found this post by way of K.Mandla's excellent Linux blog. There's tons of good Ubuntu and Linux related stuff to be found there.

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Jake T said...

how are you using it? as a wm in Gnome or just as a standalone? I keep trying new desktop environments--I don't really like Gnome (I don't feel like it adds any usability (or bling) that I couldn't get out of Windows' GUI and feels a bit bloated), but nothing I've tried is as integrated or polished.

Replacing Compiz as the wm, though, is interesting to me (my laptop supports jack as far as Compiz' effects, so I doubt I'd lose much).

Any thoughts on doing it that way? From his description it looks like openbox in the gutsy repo adds a gnome/openbox option in gdm?

RichardQuerin said...

Hey jake,

I'm using it as my standalone wm. But I can still run all my Gnome/KDE apps no problem. The article by urukrama I cited in my post is actually aimed at someone running Ubuntu and installing openbox as your wm. It's really pretty easy. And when you install it, you'll then have 2 or 3 session options, like booting straight into Gnome (like you do now), booting into Openbox or booting into Openbox on top of Gnome. It doesn't take away any of your current choices when you login, just gives you a couple of more.
And while the configuration might take a little more effort, there are gui tools to help you configure it. I'm not guru by any means, and I find it completely doable.
Check out the instructions in that post and give it a shot. If you do, send a comment back as to how you made out.
As far as Compiz effects, yeah, I prefer to sacrifice a bit of glitz for speed. My ob setup has window shadows and fading menus but if I have a hankering for wobbly windows an all the other stuff, I can always log into my Gnome session and use Compiz for a while anyway.
Here's a shot of my current setup:
(make sure you click on it to get the full resolution version)