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Openbox Window Manager
2010-04-24-133031 1280x800 scrot.png
Basic Openbox X-Session
Developer(s) Dana Jansens,[1][2] Mikael Magnusson[3]
Initial release 18 September 2002; 14 years ago (2002-09-18)
Stable release
3.6.1 / 1 July 2015; 15 months ago (2015-07-01)
Written in C
Operating system Unix-like
Type Stacking window manager
License GPLv2+[4]
A highly customized Openbox desktop based on the Elementary theme

Openbox is a free, stacking window manager for the X Window System, licensed under the GNU General Public License.[4] Originally derived from Blackbox[4] 0.65.0 (a C++ project), Openbox has now been totally re-written in the C programming language and since version 3.0 is no longer based upon any code from Blackbox.[5]

Openbox is designed to be small, fast, and fully compliant with the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual (ICCCM) and Extended Window Manager Hints (EWMH).[6] It supports many features such as menus by which the user can control applications or which display various dynamic information.[4]

Openbox is the standard window manager in LXDE, and is used in Linux distributions such as CrunchBang Linux, ArchBang, Lubuntu, TinyMe and Trisquel Mini.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

The primary author of Openbox is Dana Jansens of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[1]

Using Openbox[edit]

Openbox allows a right-click (or any other key-binding) "root menu" on the desktop,[4] and allows users to configure the way windows are managed. When a window is minimized, it becomes invisible. To bring windows up again, most use Alt+Tab ↹ or the Desktop menu, accessible from the right-click (or, again, any other key-binding the user wants) menu. Extending Openbox with other small programs that add icons, taskbars,[4] launchers, eyecandy and others is common.


ObConf, a GUI configuration editor for Openbox

There are only two configuration files, both located in ~/.config/openbox. They are named menu.xml and rc.xml. These can either be edited manually or with ObConf and obmenu, both graphical configuration tools.[4][13][14]

All mouse and key-bindings can be configured. For example, a user can set a window to go to desktop 3 when the close button is clicked with the middle mouse button or when scrolling on an icon to move to the next/previous desktop and raise or not raise when clicking/moving a window, is also fully configurable.

Pipe menus[edit]

Openbox has a dynamic menu system called "pipe menus".[4][15] It accepts the output of a script and use it as the source for a menu. Each time the user points their mouse at the sub-menu, the script is rerun and the menu is regenerated. This allows users and software developers more flexibility than the static menus found in other window managers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jansens, Dana (November 2007). "User:DanaJansens". Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Jansens, Dana. "Openbox Developer Dana Jansens". Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  3. ^ " Git - dana/openbox.git/summary". Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h * Saunders, Mike (March 2008). "Lightweight window managers". Linux Format. UK: Future Publishing (103). * Сондерс, Майк (March 2008). Легковесные ОМ (PDF). Linux Format (in Russian). Russia: (103): 21. 
  5. ^ GentooWiki (March 2008). "HOWTO Openbox". Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  6. ^ "EWMH Compliance Document". Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  7. ^ LXDEWiki (September 2008). "LXDE Wiki". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  8. ^ CrunchBang Linux (December 2008). "CrunchBang Linux". Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  9. ^ "Rolling-release (Linux Wiki)". Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  10. ^ Lavergne, Julian (October 2010). "Lubuntu Applications". Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  11. ^ DistroWatch (August 2010). "Tiny Me". Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Trisquel Mini GNU/Linux". The Trisquel Project. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Openbox project (June 2007). "ObConf:About". Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  14. ^ obmenu:Index, retrieved 2012-03-28 
  15. ^ "Openbox Wiki:Pipe menus". 

External links[edit]