Difference between revisions of "Openbox"

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Revision as of 11:31, 20 November 2010

Screenshot with Mozilla Firefox, Exaile and Obconf open and Thunar rolled up.
Screenshot with Mozilla Firefox, Exaile and Obconf open and Thunar rolled up.
Developer Dana Jansens[1]
Latest version (from April 23, 2008)
First released 2002
Genre Window Manager
License GNU General Public License
Website openbox.org

Openbox is a free window manager for the X Window System, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Openbox was originally derived from Blackbox 0.65.0, but has been totally rewritten in the C programming language and since version 3.0 is not based upon any code from Blackbox.[2]

Openbox is designed to be small, fast, and fully compliant with the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual (ICCCM) and Extended Window Manager Hints (EWMH). It supports many features such as menus by which the user can control applications or which display various dynamic information.

The primary author of Openbox is Dana Jansens of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[1]

Using Openbox

Openbox allows a right-click (or any other bind) "root menu" on the desktop, and allows users to configure the way windows are managed. When a window is minimized it becomes invisible. To bring windows up again most use Alt+Tab or the Desktop menu, accessible from the right-click (or, again, any other bind the user wants) menu. Extending Openbox with other small programs that add icons, taskbars, launchers, eyecandy and others is common.


Obconf, a GUI configuration editor for Openbox.

There are only two configuration files located in ~/.config/openbox. They are named menu.xml and rc.xml. If users do not want to edit them by hand, they can do most of the configuration with an easy-to-use tool called ObConf.[3] All mouse and keyboard bindings can be configured. For example, if a user wants a window to go to desktop 3 when the close button is clicked with the middle mouse button, the user can do this trivially. Scrolling on the icon to move to the next/previous desktop and raising or not raising when clicking/moving a window is fully configurable.

Unique features

Openbox's menu system has a method for using dynamic menus. This is done by accepting the output of a script and using that output as the source for a menu. Each time the user points his or her mouse at the sub-menu, the script is re-run and the menu is regenerated. This capability allows users and software developers more flexibility than the standard static menus found in most other window managers.

For instance, two developers wrote a script in Python that lists a user's new Gmail messages in a sub-menu.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 User page of Dana Jansens in Openbox wiki
  2. Howto for Openbox in Gentoo wiki
  3. ObConf:About