Linux Desktop Environments

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Linux Desktop Environments

Openbox configuration

Keywords: Openbox :: openbox config :: $ openbox --reconfigure

Openbox is a lightweight window manager for Unix and Linux like systems. Great documentation for openbox is available on the Arch Linux documentation page

A normal user's programs on a Linux host, installed with [Openbox], can be started automatically at login by creating and or amending the file ${HOME}/.config/openbox/autostart. Here is a sample autostart file:

## Openbox autostart file, as found 2019-11-02

# export SESSION_MANAGER=lightdm
export SESSION_MANAGER=/var/run/lxdm/lxdm.sock

xset -b
(sleep 1s && xscreensaver) &
(sleep 1s && /home/veris/ &
(sleep 1s && nm-applet) &
# (sleep 3s && conky) &
# (sleep 1s && xclock 200x200+1300+50) &
(sleep 1s && xclock -geometry 150x150+1200+80) &
(sleep 1s && idesk ) &
(sleep 1s && xfce4-panel)

## --- EOF ---

Openbox desktop context menu configuration, in file ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<openbox_menu xmlns=""

<menu id="root-menu" label="Openbox 3">
  <item label="Terminal emulator">
    <action name="Execute"><execute>x-terminal-emulator -geometry 162x43</execute></action>
  <item label="Web browser">
    <action name="Execute"><execute>x-www-browser</execute></action>
  <!-- This requires the presence of the 'obamenu' package to work -->
  <menu id="/Debian" />
  <separator />
  <menu id="applications-menu" label="Applications" execute="/usr/bin/obamenu"/>
  <separator />
  <item label="ObConf">
    <action name="Execute"><execute>obconf</execute></action>
  <item label="Reconfigure">
    <action name="Reconfigure" />
  <item label="Restart">
    <action name="Restart" />
  <separator />
  <item label="Exit">
    <action name="Exit" />


^ Jamie Zawinski XScreensaver start up

Note: most server versions of Ubuntu Linux don't install [xscreensaver], a long standing, open source screen saver which also provides session locking. When installed manually, Debian and Ubuntu's common package managing utility `apt` does not configure the host or a user account on the host to automatically run the server part of xscreensaver. Hence the line,

   (sleep 1s && xscreensaver) &

In this example Openbox autostart file. On some cerca 2018 Long Term Support (LTS) releases of Ubuntu, the xscreensaver package is available but doesn't appear to have any of its constituent programs named simply 'xscreensaver'. On these releases of Ubuntu, it may be necessary to start the xscreensaver server with a slightly different invocation. One manual way to get this server running is,

   $ xscreensaver-demo

. . . a demo and configuration program for xscreensaver. This program detects when there's no xscreensaver server instance running, and prompts the user with the question "Do you want to start the xscreensaver daemon?" The server, or daemon, is needed for xscreensaver to operate meaningfully.

2021-09-20 Monday

Openbox run-time config file amendment, place app on all virtual desktops:

791     <maximized>true</maximized>
792     # 'Horizontal', 'Vertical' or boolean (yes/no)
794   # end of the example
795 -->
797   <!-- 2021-09-20 added by Ted: -->
798     <application name="xclock">
799       <desktop>all</desktop>
800     </application>
802   </applications>
803 </openbox_config>

^ References

Good info here include `openbox --reconfigure` to make active latest changes to configuration files rc.xml, menu.xml, autostart and environment: