Windows managers on a Linux machine or any other machines are pretty nice things to have. We have come long way from mouse based system and heavy graphic loaded machines which eats our systems resources in just starting themselves up. Thankfully, Linux and its Variants still maintain some simple window managers which can be used as our GUI frontend.
I personally am not a big fan of loaded desktops, but a lighter desktops just takes my heart away, mainly these are faster to start and much easier to manage and also very light on the resources it uses. Though such a lightweightedness comes with its own quirks and initial setup and learning phase could be super annoying.
While I have had my time with GNOME, KDE and XFCE, I eventually come to love minimalist desktops which do not have or bring any clutter on my screen. The only requirement it should fulfill to have a shortcut key to type cmd and begin working. I also have tried using desktops with autostart features to start apps when WM launches but these features do not solve anything and make the launch a slow process.
I recently had to quit using “Awesome Windows Manager” alas AwesomeWM, as its name says the WM is really is awesome because it is a lightweight window manager and you can do everything with keyboard, but it requires you learn Lua to tweak further. Somehow, I couldn’t manage it further and parted my ways to join the “OpenBox Window Manager” Club. I do not have comparision chart as to which is better, but I am sure both are better and the best WM’s I had even used. The choice of the WM mainly depends on for what you palnning on using it and how you want to use it(Customization).
I personally feel because of my curious nature and my unwillingness to document things which I am doing with my WM’s usually lead me in situations where I screw up something and instead of recollecting how I fixed it or rather putting effort in fixing, I move on to another one, which require another learning curve and this sets the trap once more for me as we come in full circle. Neverthless, this time I am documenting my WM.
Again, the “OpenBox Window Manager” is a very lightweight WM, and suffice my needs. The one important thing I did after switching to Openbox is to set the keybinding to run command, which I was very much became used to while using Awesome WM. Most of the configuration can be managed by humble XML which is easier to read and tweak.
Add the below in file $HOME/.config/openbox/rc.xml
<! — Keybindings for running applications →
Just after the above code. Please add the below to use “Windows + r”” key combination to popup the dialogue and make the comand run. Ofcourse you need to also get the gmrun installed. Use your favorite package manager.
This solved one of my problem, now when I run ~startx~ i am presented with an awesome blank screen with no graphics and I can just run “Win + r” and get with my stuff to work on.
The one other thing I tried is to autostart some applicaiton, initially it was for conky, later I kept on adding stuff which I want to get statrted when my Window Manager is up.
edit the file $HOME/.config/openbox/autostart and add your commands in the file.
Now you can also set your specific environment for your WM and can customize the menu when you right click.
add your environment variable in $HOME/.config/openbox/environment,
add your right click menu customization under $HOME/.config/openbox/menu.xml.
Hope this document will help other as well and me again when I might need it back. :P