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What is Openbox?

Openbox is a window manager for the X11 windowing system. It currently runs on a large list of platforms. It was originally based on Blackbox and currently remains very similar, even using Blackbox styles (with available extensions) for its themeing. The Openbox project is developed, maintained, and contributed to by these individuals. You can see what Openbox looks like on the screenshots page.

Openbox is written entirely in C++ and maintains no dependencies on any libraries other than X11.

Why does Openbox exist?

Openbox is the spawn of a number of previous Blackbox users/hackers. Being overall pleased with the window manager, but feeling left unable to contribute, this project was born. It aims to be open for all to contribute to. If you want to help, sign yourself up to the mailing lists, and start talking with the rest of the developers, or drop by #openbox on the IRC network. If you have code to contribute, please send us a patch.

What are you trying to do with Openbox?

Openbox is written to be fast. It is designed to be both fast in functionality and in performance. Meaning that you, as a user, can do what you want quickly, and the window manager will respond quickly to your every request.

Another goal of Openbox is to be usable. What good is a piece of software if it is hard to use and, then ends up going unused. Openbox aims to take its original codebase to the next level. To make everything - from shading a window to configuring the window manager - easier. But to do this while maintaining the bloat-free approach that has been present in Blackbox from the beginning. To present a slim, speedy, attractive window-manager-alternative for everybody.

Openbox is open-source and licensed under a BSD style license.

Status of Openbox:

The latest STABLE release of Openbox is 2.2.3 (clear).
The latest TESTING release of Openbox is 2.3.1 (royal city).
All of these can be retrieved from the download page.
Anonymous cvs access is also provided for access to the current code base in development. Instructions on how to get at the cvs repository can be found here.

New in Openbox 2:

Xft Font support:

That's right, Anti-Aliased text. In order for you to take advantage of the new Xft support, you need to make sure that your XftConfig is set up correctly, and that you have the required fonts. An example XftConfig can be found here. And a fontpack containing all the fonts used in Openbox's default themes can be found here.

Openbox in Desktop Environments:

Openbox 2 can be used in the KDE 3 environment

To use it, you need to edit your "startkde" script. Near the bottom of the script is a call to "kwrapper ksmserver". Simply add "--windowmanager openbox" to the command, and KDE 3 will run Openbox instead of KWin.
You may also just want to run Openbox on its own, and run the "kicker" and/or "kdesktop" applications with it. This provides a sort of lightweight version of KDE 3.

Openbox 2 can be used in GNOME 2

You may also just want to run Openbox on its own, and run the "gnome-panel" and/or "nautilus" applications with it. This provides a sort of lightweight verion of GNOME 2.

Openbox 2 can be used with ROX-Filer

ROX-Filer is a lightwight program which can provide you with desktop icons and a panel, similar to those provided by the larger and better known KDE and GNOME.

Openbox 2 can have desktop icons with Idesk

Idesk does simply that, puts clickable icons on your desktop. And it does a real nice looking job of it too! You might want to try this if you want icons but don't want a file manager too.

Using Openbox:

As of Openbox 2, the recommended key handler is the new epistrophy. The new epistrophy is bundled with Openbox 2 (it can be found in the openbox/util/epist directory of the source code tarball). bbkeys (the key handler from Blackbox) does work too, however, if you prefer to use it.

Docker can be used as a system tray for KDE3 and GNOME2 applications.

Other Blackbox tools can also still be used in Openbox. A good resource for Blackbox tools is here. A note on using Blackbox tools with Openbox can be found in the FAQ.