Openbox Difficult?

How much linux proficiency is required or recommended to install and use this window manager? I’m intrigued by it.

I AM NOT proficient in linux. I have used Manjaro for about 3 years and before that Mint for a couple of years. I know how to do some basic things from the command line like build packages, install packages, etc. I have used a text editor to edit script like CSS files, etc. With some guidance from forum members I have used the terminal to diagnose problems.

So, I’m not daunted by the command line and I’m not afraid of digging in and learning in order get a result BUT I am not proficient. To be honest, I’m tired of f*ck ups in Budgie and I decided "why not see if I can build what I want with just what I want in it. At least then any crap will be of my own making.

I see Openbox as probably one of the easiest WindowManagers …

It feels a lot like a stripped down XFCE
(or maybe this is because a lot of openbox pre-mades use xfce utilities … whatever)

This is partially because its more or less mouse-centric.
Not a tiling or keyboard-based wm like some of the others.

Like most WM’s … you will probably want to edit a config file or two thats specific to that WM, and wont be able to find some sort of ‘settings’ app for some configs.

But beyond that, and especially considering manjaro gives polished versions of OB (among many others), its probably one of the least daunting 'not-a-DE’s to choose.

And of course … you can always just try it. And you probably should, as thats the only good opinion.


Hello, Cscs

What is a DE’s ? Please.

Desktop Environment or DE - like XFCE, KDE, Gnome.
-as opposed to-
Window Manager or WM - like Openbox, Awesome, i3.

Desktop Environments are just that - a full desktop suite with tools and a cohesive structure, etc.
A window manager is really just something that handles the things that are populated on your screen - some have certain ways of doing that, like specific design files or how windows are managed and so on.
(though most jazz up their WM’s to be a bit like a desktop with maybe a panel and a conky and such)

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Ah, OK, I see. I didt not know this resume :+1:

In my experience the vast majority of Users, especially these new to Linux both benefit and need a full blown DE instead of a WM.

If you want to configure Openbox from bare-bones minimal ISO will be good idea or you can grab regular one and modify it which will be not bad if you don’t have experience with Openbox (kinda like reverse engineering). Ob is very flexible and it can be used with mouse or keyboard (window tiling via keybindings). There is possibility to set apps to be open in specific place on desktop or workspace and size you want. If you have bigger screen than laptops you can also set windows to be focused or raised when cursor is on the window. And this is only beginning, if you add to this simple shell scripts, and modify jgmenu or rofi or both to do weird things you’ll be impressed how your desktop can behave.

There is also Mabox or Recbox if you’re looking for ideas. So you have three differently configured Openboxes for different needs with own visions about desktop :smiley:

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That’s exactly what I’m after: a panel, a conky and a minimalist menu for just the apps I use.

@Llewellen, I’ve been using Openbox with various distros & on a couple of different BSD’s for a good 13 years. I obviously love Ob. :slight_smile:

Like anything else, when you start using it you know nothing much about it. Then as you use it your knowledge/experience base grows. You continually accumulate bookmarks to useful resources that help you to understand Ob & associated tools. You begin to modify the menu.xml via a text editor (there is a GUI for this too - OBMenu) & then the rc.xml, plenty of guides on the web & xml isn’t hard to pick up, you just look at what is already written to see what they are doing.

After sometime (if you like Ob) you will have customised it to suit your tastes & you will have learned how to modify it when the desire/need takes you.

You’ll have the ~/.config/openbox directory where you’ll have modified configuration files that you can carry to any other distro or BSD, in combination with your panel config (I use Tint2) & others (I always keep a backup of my ~/.config directory (& others, as well as cloned images of my drives), so that if I want to set up another system, I can save my self a loong days work.

I really like the Openbox skinny simplicity that allows me to fairly easily build a custom system around it. :slight_smile:
I hope you like Openbox Llewellen,

[edit:] Oops! Its 13 years, not 11. :slight_smile:


I downloaded the minimal version and will begin digging into it on live usb. Will let you all know how I made out with it (or didn’t). I looked at a couple or reviews and overviews of recent versions on youtube. It reminded me somewhat of the Enlightenment experience.

Thanks for all the advice.

Define difficult :slight_smile:

Openbox has been my preference for years - and with the use of hotkeys it can mimic tiling window manager.

I am a bit behind with the maintenance of the Openbox based Community editions - I am catching up though. LXdE, LXQt and Openbox …

@Llewellen this may interest you.


Indeed. Very interesting and helpful. Thank you.


You are doing a great job :+1:

I have just uploaded a build.


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