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Building an open-desktop environment

Posted 07-08-2011 at 01:25 PM by Web31337

It's more a notes for myself, but can be useful for someone.
My target was to build a lightweight X11 desktop system that will perform very basic tasks, but my extra requirements were an ability to use clipboard manager with history.
Previously, I've been using Xfce for a long time, but, when it came to impossibility of taskbar manual sorting in it, I decided to go for something much more minimal.
Though, my first attempt was to build xfce-panel from 4.6 tree, which I successfully did, using --prefix and rpath modifications on it, in order to keep all xfce stuff in separate directory.
Initial setup was openbox, but as openbox itself only is a window manager, it doesn't have panel. Yes, xfce panel works fine inside openbox. But I still continued my search and recently stopped by tint2 panel which is highly configurable, though, I didn't find a way to place tray area in front of tasks area. Planning on not using tint2 systray, instead, try something else for tray, or ignore it and get used. Though, it's not as good, since I used to have xfce-clipman in the lower left side, but before this it was a panel plugin, now it should be used as a tray icon.
I'm happy with openbox itself, it's really a heaven after unknown xfce, it's easy to edit keybinds and menus, entire configuration is well-documented and straightforward.
To run apps with Alt-F2 I use gmrun.
There are also two very helpful GUI tools we can use: lxappearance - to configure GTK+, has no external deps, and obconf to do some minimal configuration of openbox itself.
You can use feh for a desktop wallpaper setting.
Also, here's my current with ugly hack over reconfiguration issue(when you reload openbox config, is re-executed, as a result you may have two panels, and all your autostarting apps duplicated):


function daemonize_uniq {
	pidof $1 >/dev/null 2>&1
	if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
		$@ >/dev/null 2>&1 &

# auto-regenerate menu on start?

# the panel to use in this env. Options: xfce/tint2/lx
if [ -z "$OPENDESKTOP_PANEL" ]; then

# Terminal emulator type (for mmaker)

if [ $MENU_REGEN -eq 1 ]; then
	mmaker -fv OpenBox3 -t $OPENDESKTOP_TERMINAL

# set desktop wallpaper =)
feh --bg-scale $HOME/.config/openbox/bgimage

# The panel
if [ $OPENDESKTOP_PANEL = "xfce" ]; then
	daemonize_uniq xfce4-panel
elif [ $OPENDESKTOP_PANEL = "tint2" ]; then
	daemonize_uniq tint2
elif [ $OPENDESKTOP_PANEL = "lx" ]; then
	daemonize_uniq lxpanel

# screensaver
daemonize_uniq xscreensaver

if [ $OPENDESKTOP_PANEL != "xfce" ]; then
	# Xfce Clipman runs well with tint2 :)
	daemonize_uniq xfce4-clipman

# Disable mouse acceleration
xset m 1 4

# add your custom stuff here
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