Minimal openbox desktop guide
This guide will show you how to install and configure openbox complete with composite manager, desktop icons, background support, taskbar and a graphical file manager.
Installing the packages
We will start by installing the minimum packages necessary to use and configure openbox.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install openbox obconf obmenu
It is also helpful to install the menu package as it provides menu items for software that supports it.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install menu
We should now install the compton composite manager.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install compton
The idesk program can be used to manage desktop icons and background images.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install idesk
For a task bar we will use the lightweight tint2.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install tint2
We will use the Xfe file manager because it is able to mount volumes without using an auto-mounter backend - provided that user mode is set on a per mount-point basis in /etc/fstab.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install xfe
By default openbox uses scrot to take screenshots when the screenshot key on your keyboard is pressed. If desired install this now, screenshots will be saved in your home directory in PNG format.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install scrot
In the section on configuring idesk we will be using the default Devuan background - purpy. Install the desktop-base package that provides the purpy background.
user@devuan:~$ sudo apt-get install desktop-base
When we start openbox we want to make sure that our composite manager, desktop manager, and taskbar is available. We will need to make sure the openbox directory exists in ~/.config and create an autostart file for openbox to read.
user@devuan:~$ mkdir -p ~/.config/openbox
user@devuan:~$ sensible-editor ~/.config/openbox/autostart
In the autostart file add the following and save the file. Note that each line ends with & except the last line.
In order to use idesk we need to create the directory it uses to store desktop icons or it will not start.
user@devuan:~$ mkdir ~/.idesktop
Start idesk so that it generates the default configuration. You should kill the process using ctrl + c afterwards.
We will now modify the config file so that we can set the purpy background.
user@devuan:~$ nano ~/.ideskrc
Find the line that reads “Background.File: None” so that you can set the default background. We will change it to the purpy background.
Now that we’ve got a background we can setup some icons. Using the default desktop link as a template we will create a desktop icon for Xfe.
user@devuan:~$ cp ~/.idesktop/default.lnk ~/.idesktop/xfe.lnk
Open the new Xfe desktop link with an editor.
user@devuan:~$ sensible-editor ~/.idesktop/xfe.lnk
Make your new desktop link look like the following. Note that we have changed the vertical position (Y:) for this icon so it does not overlap the default desktop icon.
Login using the openbox session manager
If you use a display manager you may now login to your openbox desktop by choosing openbox-session as the session manager. If not you can use your user xinitrc configuration file and invoke the startx script after you login at the console.
user@devuan:~$ echo "exec openbox-session > ~/.xinitrc"
If you prefer you can change the default session manager to openbox-session using alternatives so that it is globally honoured.
user@devuan:~$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager
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