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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[4] / 1 July 2015; 19 months ago (2015-07-01)
Written in C
Operating system Unix-like
Type Stacking window manager
License GPLv2+[5]
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.[5] Originally derived from Blackbox[5] 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.[6]

Openbox is designed to be small, fast, and fully compliant with the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual (ICCCM) and Extended Window Manager Hints (EWMH).[7] It supports many features such as menus by which the user can control applications or which display various dynamic information.[5]

Openbox is the standard window manager in LXDE, and is used in Linux distributions such as CrunchBang Linux, ArchBang, Lubuntu, TinyMe and Trisquel Mini.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

The primary author of Openbox is Dana Jansens of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[1][15]

Using Openbox[edit]

Openbox allows a right-click (or any other key-binding) "root menu" on the desktop,[5] 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 by right-clicking. Extending Openbox with other small programs that add icons, taskbars,[5] 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.[5][16][17]

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
  • when scrolling on an icon to move to the next/previous desktop
  • raise or not raise when clicking/moving a window

Pipe menus[edit]

Openbox has a dynamic menu system called "pipe menus".[5][18] 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. ^
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ GentooWiki (March 2008). "HOWTO Openbox". Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  7. ^ "EWMH Compliance Document". Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  8. ^ LXDEWiki (September 2008). "LXDE Wiki". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  9. ^ CrunchBang Linux (December 2008). "CrunchBang Linux". Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  10. ^ "Rolling-release (Linux Wiki)". Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  11. ^ Lavergne, Julian (October 2010). "Lubuntu Applications". Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  12. ^ DistroWatch (August 2010). "Tiny Me". Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "Trisquel Mini GNU/Linux". The Trisquel Project. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "Openbox window manager grows up". Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Dana Jansens – Medium". Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  16. ^ Openbox project (June 2007). "ObConf:About". Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  17. ^ obmenu:Index, retrieved 2012-03-28 
  18. ^ "Openbox Wiki:Pipe menus". 

External links[edit]