Thursday, June 26, 2008

Openbox, Pypanel and Netwmpager

So I've been using openbox for the past month and it's definitely my favorite desktop environment so far. While I love gnome I find that it's too bloated, I love the ability to customize openbox with relative ease. Not only is it a lot faster, but it's also a lot cleaner and compact. Recently I installed pypanel after messing with fbpanel, I find both are similar in resources. However fbpanel lacks a little on customization, while at the same time offers a pager. However I added netwmpager as my pager and it's awesome, gives a lot of functionality and customization.

Here is my current openbox desktop:
Openbox, Pypanel and Netwmpager Desktop Screenshot
You might be asking yourself, how I have a skinned the taskbar with pypanel. The answer is that I cheated, I edited my wallpaper to include the panel and the background behind conky. Then I made both pypanel and conky transparent.

Here are 2 of the panels (and conky style backgrounds) I have created, they are transparent PNGs so you will need to edit them and add your background behind them. Both are sized to 1280x1024, you will need to resize/move or cut up the files to make them fit on your wallpaper. Both are made from scratch, you are free to do what you want with them. I cannot release the wallpaper versions because the wallpaper are not made by me, but it's easy enough to edit.
Blue Version:
Pypanel Panel Blue
Transparent Green Version
Pypanel Panel Transparent Green
You can download the BlueSmoke openbox theme I created from here. Give me a good rating if you like it :p

The wallpaper that I am using is called Dyrou, it's offered in a number of colors you can download it here.

Here are all my settings, make sure to edit them before using.
~/Files/System/Scripts/dzen_calendar (Taken from urukrama)
~/Files/System/Scripts/ (Taken from dbbolton)

~/.fbpanel/default (unrelated to this theme but I also have a edited fbpanel)

I'm using a GTK theme called Clorgon and the Elementary icon theme.

That should be all, I highly recommend reading urukrama's openbox guide and all of his openbox related postings, very well written and very informative. Also K.Mandla offers a lot of interesting openbox related information. If you want to see some great openbox related screenshots, check out urukrama's screenshots section.

Enjoy :)


moore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
moore said...

great info... turned me on to netwmpager, which i love. bbpager is just too ugly. ;-)

having an issue with netwmpager, though. when i start it--either from .xinitrc, gmrun, or cli--it registers as a window.


i can't find any addt'l info on how to now make this happen. any help would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Is that a system-tray volume control you've got? What is it?

moore said...


Anonymous said...

oooh, interesting...

moore said...

no worries... also, i was able to solve the netwmpager issue in pypanel by telling the pypanelrc to not show any dialog entitled netwmpager; don't know if that was an issue for you.

dev said...

so... openbox is a desktop environment in an unknown parallel universe? it's only a window manager in ours, nice hack though :)

darkcraft said...

Really great article, my desktop looks much better now. Thank you very much :)

Steve said...

I wanted to comment about the issue where netwmpager registers as a window in pypanel.

For me, if I start netwmpager before pypanelrc in, then netwmpager registers as a window in pypanel. However, if I start netwmpager after pypanelrc in, then netwmpager is not registered as a window in pypanel.

Summary: List pypanel before netwmpager in

roelof said...


How do you get the menu at left under by the blue icon ?


Zenogias said...

That looks great! I have a question though. I just installed Arch Linux with openbox. My understanding is that openbox which is just a window manager has to be used with another DE environment. Previously, I always thought that openbox was a DE on it's own. Is it possible to use just openbox without another DE like KDE or gnome? Please email me the answer to

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