Chapter 7. The Slit

One of the most frequently asked questions is "What is the slit?" In fact, when this document was written, I also copied it to the top of the FAQ to point to this section in order to stop it from being asked in #fluxbox ten times a day, and to end the myth that the Slit is another name for the Toolbar.

The slit is one of the many parts of Fluxbox that has been inherited from Blackbox. It is designed to hold WindowMaker Dockapps, (and anything that runs in that mode which is called 'withdrawn' or (less often) 'swallowed'). Such applications often have a -w option, but some are automatically in withdrawn mode.

Well, the first thing is to make sure that it's compiled into your copy of Fluxbox. It's generally safe to assume it is. As far as I know, all packages for different distributions ship with it. If you think you're better off without it, you can disable it at compile time. Note however, that an unused slit occupies no screen space and only very little memory, so it's usually only necessary to disable it if it interferes with some other software you use.

Other than that, You can run any 'dockable' application. (This is also known as running in 'withdrawn' mode). As an example, xmms ships with the wmxmms application. Simply run wmxmms &, and it will appear in the slit. As mentioned above, some applications (for example gkrellm) need the -w command line switch to appear in the Slit.

Where can I get dockapps?

The best place to start is the Dockapp warehouse. There is a very large repository of different dockapps available there. Apart from that, you could search Freshmeat, or check with your distribution.

The bbtools page holds a bunch of Blackbox/Fluxbox utils, most of which can run in the slit.

Also, if you have KDE support enabled, KDE dock applets will appear in the slit.

Dockapps.Org is a new website exclusively dedicated to dockapps.

Can I change Slit behavior?

Of course. Simply right-click on the visible portion of the slit, and select options from there. Most of these options are the exact same as on the Taskbar. The only thing that isn't is Direction. Your slit can run either Horizontal or Vertical.

There's also a Maximize Over Slit option in the configure menu; this allows maximized windows to cover the slit.

I want my slit apps to remember order!

In Fluxbox 0.1.10 and later, this is possible, using a slitlist file. Here are some instructions on using it.

The current order of dockapps is stored in a file, by default ~/.fluxbox/slitlist. When loading dockapps into the slit, it attempts to maintain the previous ordering, matching previously-run dockapps by name.

A simple procedure for getting the slit sequences the way you like is:

Ordering dockapps

  1. Run Fluxbox with no pre-loaded dockapps.

  2. Run dockapps individually in the order you want them.

  3. Re-add dockapps to your auto-run script, for example .xinitrc or .xsession. Order doesn't matter here.

This sequence is saved to ~/.fluxbox/slitlist by default and will be maintained in future Fluxbox sessions.

You are free to manually edit the slitlist file. It is a simple list of window names, one line per dockapp. This file should be edited while not running Fluxbox. Otherwise changes may get overwritten.

You also have the option of choosing a different path for the slit list file. The following example init file entry changes the path:

Example 7-1. Slitlist specification

    session.slitlistFile: /home/me/etc/slitsort

Note that there is no option to disable the sorting entirely. The patch author could not think of any benefit to arbitrary ordering.