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Fluxbox FAQ

1. What is the "Slit"?
2. How do I make my menus transparent?
3. I've set a transparency value, but nothing is transparent?!
4. How do I add fluxbox to my GDM sessions menu.
5. How do I add fluxbox to my KDM sessions menu.
6. How do I add fluxbox to my sessions menu in Fedora.
7. How do I set my background?
8. HEEEEEEEEELLLPPPPP! I don't understand Tabs!
9. Why does my application (e.g. xmms, mplayer) pause when I move a window?
10. I keep hearing about these Artwiz fonts! What gives?
11. How do I change the toolbar Time format?
12. Is there a way to have slit dockapps be in a certain order?
13. How do i launch apps automatically on Fluxbox startup?
14. All right, so how do I lay out my script?
15. Is there another way to do things?
16. Can I have an example of these startup files?
17. I make changes to my ~/.fluxbox/init, but they are gettingoverwritten.
18. Can I use my existing .blackboxrc for Fluxbox?
19. Can I use blackbox styles (themes) with Fluxbox?
20. How about Waimea and Openbox themes?
21. Is there KDE support?
22. Is there GNOME support?
23. BBtools won't copy my current style settings, even after restart!
24. Gtk2/Gnome2 applications look wired under Fluxbox, but they look ok when gnome is started
25. How to make cool terminal?
26. How to display logs on root window?
27. Where can see examples of dotfiles (configuration files)?
28. Fluxbox 0.9.6 is slow....
29. How can I put Fluxbox logo onto slit?
30. Where can I find Fluxbox logo (and graphics, icons, banners, etc?)



1. What is the "Slit"?

The first thing to know about the slit is that it is NOT the fluxbox toolbar. If you see anyone telling anyone else that is, whack them with something painful and point them here. :)

The Slit is a place where dockable applications can 'dock'. We have an entire document DEVOTED to the slit and, check it out Here before asking any questions at all about what the slit is.



2. How do I make my menus transparent?

You can make your menus transparent if you are running a recent version of fluxbox (0.9.2 or above) by changing the "Menu Alpha" value in the configure menu. 255 = Opaque, 0 = Invisible (completely transparent). A value around 160 seems to satisfy most people. You should probably also read the next question for other things you need...



3. I've set a transparency value, but nothing is transparent?!

Here are some things to check:

  1. You must be running a Fluxbox version 0.9.2 or newer. 0.1.x does not contain transparency support.
  2. Fluxbox must be restarted for changes in the alpha value to take effect (just choose restart in the menu).
  3. You need to have the XRender extension enabled in X, and compiled into fluxbox. Running fluxbox -i and xdpyinfo | grep RENDER should both say "RENDER".
  4. You must have set the background with an XRender-compatible tool. fbsetbg comes with fluxbox and tries to make this easy for you, try it (the web page also has list of transparency supporting background tools). Run fbsetbg -i to see if it can find a suitable tool.



4. How do I add fluxbox to my GDM sessions menu.

Create the file: /etc/gdm/Sessions/fluxbox with contents:

#!/bin/sh
#
# /etc/gdm/Sessions/fluxbox
#
# global fluxbox session file -- used by gdm

exec /etc/X11/Xsession /usr/bin/fluxbox
Of course, change /usr/bin/fluxbox to wherever your fluxbox binary is.

If the /etc/gdm directory doesn't exist, it may be /etc/X11/gdm/Sessions/fluxbox on your computer.



5. How do I add fluxbox to my KDM sessions menu.

There are a couple of ways. You can either choose the "default" session, which should load your .xsession file and thus you'd put "exec fluxbox" at the end of that.

Or, to get a fluxbox option, go into KDE Control Center and add a session type "fluxbox".

Or, edit your kdmrc file (probably /etc/kde2/kdm/kdmrc). Find the "SessionTypes=" line, and add fluxbox to the list.

If you are running Debian (thanks Dave Selby), then after adding the fluxbox session edit /etc/kde2/kdm/kdm.options and delete the line:

generate-sessiontypes
If you don't delete this Debian will loose the entry in the KDM menu when you reboot.

That should be enough. However, some older configurations require a little more effort - you may need to find your Xsession file (e.g. /etc/X11/Xsession, or /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/Xsession) and add an option in the case statement containing other WMs, i.e.

fluxbox)
exec fluxbox
;;



6. How do I add fluxbox to my sessions menu in Fedora.

The fedora distribution uses a different setup again. Instead of the dm-specific locations, it requires session files to be in /etc/X11/dm/Sessions.

So, to get Fluxbox into its session menu, create the file: /etc/X11/dm/Sessions/fluxbox.desktop with contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Fluxbox
Type=Application
Icon=
Exec=fluxbox
You may need to put the full path to fluxbox in the Exec line if it is in a non-standard location.

It is also reported that the file needs execution right:

chmod +x /etc/X11/dm/Sessions/fluxbox.desktop
One might check other files attributes.

This is a barebones entry. Hopefully one day we will be able to make a version with translations available in the main source distribution.



7. How do I set my background?

Try reading the Fluxbox Backgrounds Document.



8. HEEEEEEEEELLLPPPPP! I don't understand Tabs!

Try reading the Ultimate Guide to Fluxbox Tabbing.



9. Why does my application (e.g. xmms, mplayer) pause when I move a window?

This behaviour is not a bug. It occurs because of the nature of outline window moving.

Long version:
Outline moving works by drawing a rectangle of inverted pixels around a window. When you move the mouse, the old rectange is erased (by inverting the pixels again) and a new one drawn. Fluxbox grabs the display to freeze all the applications display windows. If it doesn't to this, then window changes can occur which change bits of the rectangles, ultimately leaving sections of rectangle randomly around the screen.

All window managers that offer outline moving need to enforce the same rule so that the display doesn't become messy with rectange fragments during or after the move operation. If you find one that doesn't let us know :)

The author believes that applications such as xmms whose primary function is not graphical ought to be able to continue to operate without the display updating (mplayer has a good excuse to pause). However, this behaviour is not under the control of the Fluxbox developers - you should talk to XMMS people to see if they can make it continue playing even without display updates (though I imagine this may also be a difficult problem).



10. I keep hearing about these Artwiz fonts! What gives?

Try reading the Artwiz/Fluxbox Guide.
If you like the Artwiz fonts, but don't like the way they look in terminals, Consider checking out the 'LFP' Fontpack, located at This Address.. There are two sets of fonts there, The LFP-Fixed width (good for terminals), and LFP Variable-width (good for other things).



11. How do I change the toolbar Time format?

Change this line in your init:
session.screen0.strftimeFormat: %a %d %H:%M
For information on the format, run 'man 3 strftime' on your machine.



12. Is there a way to have slit dockapps be in a certain order?

As of 0.1.10, YES! There's an explanation Here.



13. How do i launch apps automatically on Fluxbox startup?

How to set up your .xinitrc/.xsession (Contributed by Verin)

1) The place of .xinit in things

You have to understand that a windowmanager is just one more application for X, like netscape or gimp or xterm. Many people new to X come to believe that X runs the window manager and the window manager runs programs. But thats not true. If configured right, you can run all your applications under X, kill the window manager, and start another window manager up.
The *real* program that X runs, that runs other programs, is your .xinitrc or .xsession script. When X is started, your .xinitrc or .xsession script is run, and when the script is done, X comes down. Let me repeat that, its important: WHEN .xinitrc IS FINISHED, *THAT* IS WHEN X ENDS. It isn't when your windowmanager exits.



14. All right, so how do I lay out my script?

Well, first you should realize something you already know. When you type a command in a shell, you can't do anything else until that command is done, when it exits. Your .xinitrc or .xsession script is just the same. When it starts going through it, if it hits any program that takes a long time to run (like most X programs), it stops right there until that program is finished.
Ideally, you should only have one place where the script 'hangs'. And usually you want this to be at the end. So, if you have any programs you want to run under X before you get to this 'hang' spot, you should background them. You put an & at the end of the line. So, say you want xclock to run in addition to other things, put this line before your 'hang' spot:

xclock &
Now, the next thing is the 'exec' thing you see, where lots of sources recommend how to add your windowmanager to your script. But honestly, its not really necessary, if you put your window manager on the last line of your script, it will hang there just fine without the exec.
So why the 'exec'? Well, lets say you want to put lots of windowmanager start lines in your script, and you want only one to work. Well, with exec you can put your chosen start-line at the top. Because this is what 'exec' means:
When this program is finished, finish myself right here.
So if you put an 'exec wmaker' line atop of a 'exec enlightenment' line, when wmaker is done, so is the script, it never gets to the next line.
See what I mean by being unnessary? You could just put a bunch of commented-out windowmanager lines, and it would work just the same.



15. Is there another way to do things?

As an alternative, you could start up your windowmanager FIRST, and store the process id in a environment variable:

wmaker & wmpid=$!
that puts it in the background (&) and puts the process id ($!) in a variable (wmpid). Then, to make your hang point, you can wait:
wait $wmpid
or you could hang on a program you always want to use, like maybe gkrellm, by just not backgrounding it.
Now, I use the wait thingie, because I like picking my window manager before I launch my dockapps and stuff. Also, before everything, I like to change the settings on my x server, like the dpms, the screen saver, and even add some directories to my font path (fonts I don't want to install universally). And then after everything is done, I like to clean up my fontpath, mainly because if I ran a display manager, its not good at resetting the font path all the time.



16. Can I have an example of these startup files?

Here is my .xinitrc:

# LICQ is very badly designed.  clean up before it.
rm .licq/licq.pid

# turn off screen blanking and turn on energy star features
xset s off
xset dpms 600 60 60

# add my optional fonts to the font path
xset +fp "$X_FONTPATH"
xset fp rehash

# export the current environment, in case it needs to be debugged
env > ~/.xenv

# window manager
fluxbox & wmpid=$!

bbrun &
wmCalClock &
wmnet -x 70000 -d 300000 -L cablemodem -w &
wmxmms &

# HANG POINT - wait for windowmanager to exit
wait $wmpid

# restore the x fontpath
xset fp default



17. I make changes to my ~/.fluxbox/init, but they are getting overwritten.

This is a bug in versions of fluxbox prior to 0.1.8-bugfix2. Please upgrade to the latest version / bugfix before reporting this as a bug.



18. Can I use my existing .blackboxrc for Fluxbox?

You may certainly, be sure to add some lines for titlebar and keygrabbing, though. It may also be wise to symlink your blackboxrc and ~/.fluxbox/init together somehow.



19. Can I use blackbox styles (themes) with Fluxbox?

Yes. The tarballs for both packages should be 100% interchangeable. (This should also stay true for the Waimea and Openbox projects, although I can't guarantee it. I've not seen such a promise from either of the two projects, but one of the goals of fluxbox is to stay compatible with blackbox styles.)



20. How about Waimea and Openbox themes?

These are two more blackbox Code Forks (To be perfectly precise, the only BB code waimea uses is the Styles and Rendering engines, but that means that stylefiles should be compatible, at least):
Look here for info on OpenBox, And Waimea lives here.



21. Is there KDE support?

Yeah, do ./configure --enable-kde. This makes it so that the KDE tray icons will appear in the slit.



22. Is there GNOME support?

Yeah, do ./configure --enable-gnome. This enables GNOME hints.



23. BBtools won't copy my current style settings, even after restart!

Just link your ~/.blackboxrc -> ~/.fluxbox/init



24. Gtk2/Gnome2 applications look wired under Fluxbox, but they look ok when gnome is started

Run gnome-settings-daemon when Fluxbox starts, eg. put this into your ~/.xinitrc

#load this to have gtk2 apps look ok
GSDPID=`pidof gnome-settings-daemon`
if [  "x$GSDPID" == "x" ]; then
gnome-settings-daemon &
fi
If you don't have gnome installed you can use gtk+/gtk2 theme switcher.



25. How to make cool terminal?

Check man page for given terminal you use. Read quick hints on aterm and xterm.



26. How to display logs on root window?

Use, eg.root-tail.
Example of usage: root-tail -f -fn 'glisp' -g 220x10+20+50 /var/log/messages,gray,MESSAGES



27. Where can see examples of dotfiles (configuration files)?

Look here.



28. Fluxbox 0.9.6 is slow....

Add the following line to your .xinitrc before you exec fluxbox:

export LC_ALL=C
this should help on newer Redhats.



29. How can I put Fluxbox logo onto slit?

You can find Fluxbox logo here. Program which does it is wmdrawer - it does far more than just displaying logo onto Fluxbox slit.



30. Where can I find Fluxbox logo (and graphics, icons, banners, etc?)

Check here.




      



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