PDA

View Full Version : let's talk about Fluxbox...


LDC
19th August 2008, 04:44 PM
hi :)

Fluxbox...what can I say? I can say that it is fast as light, extremely customizable (it uses configurations files in human readable form, you just need to edit them with a text editor...), solid (so far, no crashes), only one bug noticed so far (once installed I've starting to experience keyboard issues, such as keys stop working at all in certain -not yet identified- situations), almost zero CPU load when idle, very few (less than 10%) in common tasks, very low CPU load when doing something a bit more complex (using GIMP, playing movies and so on), almost no RAM consumption at all (I have 2Gb RAM total, I've _never_ reached 300Mb in use.....).
All menu and directories (using Thunar as file manager) are browsed at lightspeed, whilst with Gnome/KDE they have -on my relic- some seconds of delay (ok, my PC is very old and slow, it is an AMD64 3000+, first generation, maybe five years old, in fact I suggest fluxbox the most to who is in a similar condition), and all CPU power is used really on the applications that are running.
For example, I used as test an MKV movie encoded in 1280x1024x32bit:

1) with Gnome, it was skipping lots of frames, not enjoyable at all
2) with Fluxbox it magically went smooth, so that even my ancient relic can play well the latest in video encoding technologies....

after this preamble, of course, I am gonna make some question about issues that I am unable to fix :P

'till now the most useful thing I need is an application that allow me to "switch users" without logging out the current user. What should I do?

forkbomb
19th August 2008, 07:31 PM
Hmm. I don't know about user switching with Fluxbox, but I'm glad you're liking Flux. I've noticed lately that when I first boot my F8 machine and load up Fluxbox, the resting memory usage starts out at roughly 30MB. Unless conky is lying to me. With Firefox running, I rarely go above 150MB. (Processor load is a different story but I blame flash and Firefox).

My Linux boxes are for my sole use, so I don't have much use for user switching (other than TTYs), but I just hit the Google bushes with a stick and this came running out:
http://www.penguin-soft.com/penguin/man/8/gdmflexiserver.html

I've not used it, but maybe worth a look?

EDIT: hmm. check that. Conky and top are giving conflicting information. I'm more inclined to believe top which is saying 205MB resting at the moment.

LDC
20th August 2008, 01:20 AM
I like fluxbox more and more every day :P
it brought back to life my relic, making it fast as the light...... Fluxbox incarnate my own philosophy of "essentiality"... I really think will be hard to find something that will match my tastes more than this... :)

about "gdmflexiserver"...well thanks, I didn't thought at all about this solution!!!
Now I think I should add just a "lock" system (don't know if fluxbox actually has one...).

About "top"...well, sometimes I find its reports a bit weird: one time it told me that I was using an huge amount of RAM... but that wasn't possible since I wasn't running ANY application except top itself... I think gkrellm is more trustable, but I maybe wrong :P

forkbomb
20th August 2008, 01:39 AM
I like fluxbox more and more every day :P
it brought back to life my relic, making it fast as the light...... Fluxbox incarnate my own philosophy of "essentiality"... I really think will be hard to find something that will match my tastes more than this... :)

about "gdmflexiserver"...well thanks, I didn't thought at all about this solution!!!
Now I think I should add just a "lock" system (don't know if fluxbox actually has one...).

About "top"...well, sometimes I find its reports a bit weird: one time it told me that I was using an huge amount of RAM... but that wasn't possible since I wasn't running ANY application except top itself... I think gkrellm is more trustable, but I maybe wrong :P
Actually in this case I'm thinking top is right and conky is wrong. Conky is wont to report usage of anywhere from 30MB up to 100MB. I've stripped my install down some, but come on, this isn't Damn Small Linux!

As for gdmflexiserver, I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for but hopefully it is a step in the right direction.

As for locking fluxbox, there isn't any native functionality for that as far as I know. But, that's not a huge problem - just use something else. I prefer using xscreensaver.

yum install xscreensaver

Then add "xscreensaver &" to ~/.fluxbox/startup to make the xscreensaver daemon run on starting Flux. (minus the quotes)

Configure xscreensaver by invoking "xscreensaver-demo" (this includes picking a screensaver - or simple blank screen - and time before starting it). I also have a lock item on my menu that will manually lock the session on demand (in case I leave the room - I often take my laptop to work and use the lock quite often). The command (off the top of my head) to lock with Xscreensaver (note that it must be running first) is "xscreensaver-command --activate".

There is also xlock, but I just prefer to stick with xscreensaver.

marcrblevins
20th August 2008, 05:36 AM
xscreensaver-command --lock

I reported it yesterday or a day before... Nice feature.

LDC
20th August 2008, 02:09 PM
hey thanks both! those advices are veeeeery usefeul to me :)

it seems that launching gdmflexi* there is no need for a screen lock, because it istantly switch to the new login shell, and if you move backward to the already running one, you just get again the login shell that clearly states a user is already logged :)

btw, for small pauses at work the "lock" feat can be more suitable....

btw: I am unable to have a working slit... despite my efforts it just doesn't work, from where I can start to look for some error? :(

LDC
21st August 2008, 01:13 AM
you know what? I did install "xlock", and it work just perfectly!!! highly suggested :)

stevea
21st August 2008, 06:16 AM
Huh - I'm a little surprised to see gdmflexiserver working again. Sadly you need to install gdm package to use it. Try the "-n" option for fun.

If you like fluxbox, perhaps you'd also like enlightenment
http://www.enlightenment.org/ (easy to install)
or lxde
http://lxde.org/

Hlingler
21st August 2008, 06:25 AM
Just to add to what stevea posted, a full suite of Enlightenment/E17 RPMs are available from Prof. Kriehn's repo: http://optics.csufresno.edu/~kriehn/fedora/repository.html

V

LDC
21st August 2008, 10:15 AM
Huh - I'm a little surprised to see gdmflexiserver working again. Sadly you need to install gdm package to use it.
is gdm a bad thing? :confused:

Try the "-n" option for fun.
I will :)

If you like fluxbox, perhaps you'd also like enlightenment
http://www.enlightenment.org/ (easy to install)
or lxde
http://lxde.org/
oh, I've seen enlightenment before, but don't know if it can really be useful to me...
I didn't knew anything about lxde, thanks for the link!

marcrblevins
21st August 2008, 10:27 AM
is gdm a bad thing?

Don't worry about it being bad, Fedora is bleeding edge, gotta have glitches sometimes. :P
gdm was redesign from scratch, no more auto features, you could search for further info just incase if fib what I said.

FYI, I didn't know I was using gdm with KDE for years til I read gdm was throwing fits, so I moved to kdm for the first time in Fedora 9. So kdm and KDE looks ok for me, I like the Widget gizmo, see my comics daily, write myself post note on screen, etc.

LDC
21st August 2008, 01:17 PM
should I tinker more with xdm?

RobertoVanto
21st August 2008, 01:40 PM
You should try slim: http://slim.berlios.de/

stevea
21st August 2008, 01:44 PM
gdm isn't inherently a bad thing, but if you are trying to put together a lightweight yet desktop system anything Gnomic is the wrong direction. The Gnome team seems to think they are building an OS within the desktop - some very strange design decisions IMO.

yum info gdm still says ..."Gdm (the GNOME Display Manager) is a highly configurable
reimplementation of xdm, ...", but gdm has become almost NON-configurable in recent revs.

xdm, wdm, kdm are alternatives. xdm is pretty plain, basic uninspiring.

forkbomb
21st August 2008, 02:40 PM
If you want a lightweight boot, what you could also do is actually just boot to runlevel 3 (no graphical login) and then use startx to run Fluxbox. I've been thinking about doing this but I don't know of a way to select which WM or DE will be loaded with startx.

scottro
21st August 2008, 03:09 PM
Tom, I have a VERY lame Window Manager select script.

Basically, it goes through .xinitrc and looks at what's commented and uncomments your choice.
To give you an idea (though I'm somewhat embarrassed to post it.

WINMAN=$(for i in fluxbox enlightenment gnome kde openbox pekwm;do
grep -v "#" ~/.xinitrc|grep -o $i;done)

echo "Your current Window Manager is $WINMAN. Is this OK? (y/n)"

echo ""

read YESNO

case $YESNO in

[yY][eE][sS]|[yY]) echo "Exiting now. Type startx to begin"
exit;;

[nN][oO]|[nN]) echo ""
sed
echo "Please choose (1-5)"
echo ""
echo "1.) Enlightenment"
echo ""
echo "2.) Fluxbox"
echo ""
echo "3.) Gnome"
echo ""
echo "4.) Kde"
echo ""
echo "5.) Openbox"
echo ""
read WINCHOICE
case $WINCHOICE in
1) echo "using enlightenment"

#Comment out previous WM in .xinitrc. Remember to use double quotes in
#sed or the variable won't work.
sed -i "/$WINMAN/s/^/#/" ~/.xinitrc
sed -i '/enlightenment/s/#//' ~/.xinitrc
echo "To begin your session, type startx";;
2) echo "using fluxbox"

sed -i "/$WINMAN/s/^/#/" ~/.xinitrc
sed -i '/fluxbox/s/#//' ~/.xinitrc
echo "To begin your session, type startx";;


For it to work, you have to have the respective WM's already in .xinitrc, for example

#exec startfluxbox
exec gnome-session

There are various checks and such that I could add to it, but I just wanted something quickly.

Good shell scripters, don't snicker.

forkbomb
21st August 2008, 03:16 PM
Tom, I have a VERY lame Window Manager select script.
Does it work? :p If so, it's not lame.

Then again I'm one of those people who doesn't mind a hack or even a bit of voodoo!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voodoo_programming

Thanks for the mention.

LDC
21st August 2008, 03:19 PM
You should try slim: http://slim.berlios.de/
mmmh...seems pretty interesting, how do I have it as default one?

@stevea: this may sound dumb, but...how do I change display manager? #^^#

@tj: that's an option I will keep into consideration. Currently, my primary goal is to tinker and learn, after that I will probably really boot in RL3... just a matter of time :P

@scotty ([] :P []): how do I use that script? (never used once before...and don't laugh that loud, I can hear you!)

forkbomb
21st August 2008, 03:36 PM
Hmm... so I just changed to boot into Runlevel 3 and then start Fluxbox with startx (edited ~/.xinitrc first).

Fluxbox loaded up fine, but not surprisingly I've got no audio. Pulse must be loaded up with GDM because when I was booting into RL5 I was getting sound even in Flux.

Now to figure out how to get sound back (using OSS or Alsa).

EDIT:
Check that. I have audio - system-config-soundcard plays the sample fine, but kmix (I need a volume tray icon) doesn't work properly. Audacious won't play music - complains about a missing liblame. It's behaving as if I don't have codecs.

Either way, I'm going to have to look at this later. Anybody know how I can get rid of this pulse stuff completely and still have sound working with Alsa?

RobertoVanto
21st August 2008, 04:36 PM
mmmh...seems pretty interesting, how do I have it as default one?
At this time I'm trying Archlinux(http://archlinux.org/), so I can't help. Here(http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Adding_a_login_manager_(KDM,_GDM,_or_XDM)_to_autom atically_boot_on_startup#Open_.2Fetc.2Finittab_usi ng_an_editor_of_your_choice._2) there is a wiki that explains how to setup slim as default desktop manager, but I'm not sure if it works on Fedora.

stevea
21st August 2008, 04:38 PM
tjvanwyk - you can do that, but it would prolly make more sense to use xdm for login and configure it /etc/X11/xdm/xconfig to start fluxbox as desktop.

To use xdm just:
echo "DISPLAYMANAGER=XDM" > /etc/sysconfig/desktop

No clue about pulse problem. Does it rely on dbus ?

LDC
21st August 2008, 05:22 PM
confirmed, I just rebooted (wow, weeks passed since last one :P) and... no sound.
I think pulseaudio isn't useful to me, if I get rid of it will I have audio?

forkbomb
21st August 2008, 05:27 PM
It's possible to get rid of pulseaudio but I don't know the procedure. Unfortunately, large quantities of apps in Fedora 8 and especially 9 depend heavily on pulse, such as (I've found) VLC and audacious. So if you want to use VLC (for example) without pulse you may need to run a custom compile to have it use ALSA?

Any way to launch pulse with X? Is there a command one could put into .xinitrc that would bring up pulseaudio? Perhaps just "pulseaudio"? :p

RobertoVanto
21st August 2008, 06:14 PM
Perhaps just "pulseaudio"?
pulseaudio -D

techmatt
21st August 2008, 07:58 PM
use the command switchdesk to set the GUI you want ;) no scripts needed.

RupertPupkin
21st August 2008, 10:19 PM
I use wdm (http://voins.program.ru/wdm/index.html.en) as my display manager. It's much more lightweight than gdm and kdm, but with a few more features than plain xdm. All I did was edit the last line in /etc/inittab to be:
x:5:respawn:/usr/local/bin/wdm -nodaemon -error /var/tmp/wdmerror.log
and then create a file /etc/pam.d/wdm whose contents are:
#%PAM-1.0
auth required pam_env.so
auth include system-auth
account required pam_nologin.so
account include system-auth
password include system-auth
session include system-auth
session required pam_loginuid.so
session optional pam_console.so
(Since PAM handles your X session authentication, it has to know about alternate display managers like wdm, or else you wouldn't be able to login. :) )

Here's a pic of what my wdm login screen looks like (the background and login panel logo can be anything you want):

scottro
21st August 2008, 11:04 PM
Ok re the sound thing. I just use my various solutions outlined on http://home.nyc.rr.com/computertaijutsu/rhsound.html and usually one of them works.

That's one caveat I should have mentioned. When using Fedora, and not using Gnome, many things may not work as expected.

LDC, I'm not laughing. We all have to learn this stuff one way or another. I'm in the midst of a few things right now, but I'll give more detailed instructions later. Quick answer, that script isn't complete as is, it was to give Tom an idea. I'll add an edit to that post and give you a smaller one here.


create a $HOME/.xinitrc file that reads
exec gnome-session
exec startfluxbox

Comment one of them out. (Also, back up .xinitrc in case I made a typo or you make one.)
Call the script winman.sh or whatever you want. Make it executable
chmod 755 winman.sh

Put it in /usr/bin or in your own $HOME bin. (You might have to create that. While in your home directory
mkdir bin
mv winman.sh bin/

Now, you should be able to execute it, but check

which winman.sh
You should get back /home/LDC/bin/winman.sh or something similar.

Now (this is all assuming you booted into runlevel 3 and are at console just type

winman.sh


Ok, here it is, just for gnome and fluxbox.


#!/bin/sh
#Figure out which WM I'm using now


WINMAN=$(for i in fluxbox gnome; do
grep -v "#" ~/.xinitrc|grep -o $i;done)

echo "Your current Window Manager is $WINMAN. Is this OK? (y/n)"

echo ""

read YESNO

case $YESNO in


[yY][eE][sS]|[yY]) echo "Exiting now. Type startx to begin"
exit;;

[nN][oO]|[nN]) echo ""
sed
echo "Please choose (1-2)"
echo ""
echo "1.) Fluxbox"
echo ""
echo "2.) Gnome"
echo ""
read WINCHOICE
case $WINCHOICE in

1) echo "using fluxbox"

sed -i "/$WINMAN/s/^/#/" ~/.xinitrc
sed -i '/fluxbox/s/#//' ~/.xinitrc
echo "To begin your session, type startx";;

2) echo "Using Gnome"

sed -i "/$WINMAN/s/^/#/" ~/.xinitrc
sed -i '/gnome/s/#//' ~/.xinitrc
echo "To begin your session, type startx";;

esac
esac
exit 0

LDC
22nd August 2008, 01:26 AM
ouch...I've a big confusion in mind right now @,@
I will try to read again later, maybe I am missing something.
Also, I will read carefully your page about sounds issues under fedora, all things I've tried so far don't work if booting in runlevel3 .... :((((((

scottro
22nd August 2008, 03:08 AM
It's aggravating. Last I looked the developer doesn't consider it a bug.
My page has some links, including one to strikeforce's page, and the mjmwired page might have something on it too. (I see him on the forums occasionally, maybe you should start a new thread like no sound in Gnome--or maybe you'll fix it quickly.)

LDC
22nd August 2008, 10:40 AM
It's aggravating. Last I looked the developer doesn't consider it a bug.
he is right, the sound should work with even "X" only. It is not "fluxbox related only", but is a wrong assumption of fedora that think people will use only KDE or Gnome, or will always boot on rl5.

maybe you'll fix it quickly.)
I am very disappointed by this, having little time to tinker I can't do much, but I will try anyway :)

edit: I would like to know how I can tell fedora to use ALSA instead of pulseaudio, maybe that way will work...

LDC
22nd August 2008, 04:24 PM
no way to have it working, I am clueless... :S

arshad3m
22nd August 2008, 05:09 PM
can i have some screenshots of fluxbox. ??

LDC
22nd August 2008, 05:27 PM
can i have some screenshots of fluxbox. ??
http://fluxbox.sourceforge.net/screenshots-dev.php

arshad3m
22nd August 2008, 05:34 PM
but i think. this is not a standard one in fedora9. since during the installtion process we cant do that.

LDC
22nd August 2008, 05:47 PM
correct, it is "not standard" hence -->high customization

arshad3m
22nd August 2008, 05:51 PM
but the screen shots u provided there, in my opinion not better than what i have now with my gnome version. :confused:

LDC
22nd August 2008, 06:04 PM
but the screen shots u provided there, in my opinion not better than what i have now with my gnome version. :confused:
you should explicit the meaning for "better".
To me, "better" include lots of things: fluxbox is million times faster than gnome, is way more configurable (you can define an huge amount of its behaviour), and with opportune tweaking (that I don't like, because it will nullify its speed) it can look the same as gnome or kde or whatever.
So here we are: if you're searching for extreme speed and tweakablity, then fluxbox is da way.
Otherwise, there are many alternatives out there: choose basing the choice on your needs.

arshad3m
22nd August 2008, 06:09 PM
ok. can i install fluxbox without affecting my gnome?

LDC
22nd August 2008, 06:25 PM
yes, they're two totally different things :)

arshad3m
22nd August 2008, 06:35 PM
is it ok to install from yum extender???? :)

marcrblevins
22nd August 2008, 07:06 PM
Talking Yumex?
Thought you can get it from:

yum groupinstall "Windows Manager"


If not, then:
"yum search flux" gave me:

[root@kiriyamablevins ~]# yum search flux
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
* livna: mirrors.tummy.com
* fedora: mirror.umoss.org
* updates: ftp.uci.edu
================================================== =============================== Matched: flux ================================================== ================================
alltray.i386 : Dock any application in the tray
fbdesk.i386 : Icon Manager for Fluxbox
fluxbox.i386 : Window Manager based on Blackbox
fluxbox-pulseaudio.i386 : Enable pulseaudio support
fluxconf.i386 : Configuration utility for fluxbox
fluxstyle.noarch : A graphical style manager for Fluxbox
tenr-de-styles-pkg.noarch : A collection of styles for fluxbox
[root@kiriyamablevins ~]#

forkbomb
22nd August 2008, 07:12 PM
is it ok to install from yum extender???? :)
Yes, you can use yumex. Search for fluxbox and check it then apply changes. Same way you'd install anything else through yumex. :)

Or:

su -
yum install fluxbox


And I don't mean to be a jerk but regarding screenshots... they're all over.
http://images.google.com/images?q=fluxbox%20screenshots&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=N&tab=wi

Also, comparing GNOME to Fluxbox is not a fair comparison because they are developed with totally different reasons in mind.

LDC
23rd August 2008, 07:05 PM
any clue about the sound issue when booting on rl3?

scottro
23rd August 2008, 07:56 PM
Yeah, it works for me. :)

Sorry, that was cold. I'm not making this a separate thread, because, unfortunately, it's the sort f thing that bites everyone who doesn't have Gnome as their default. (Maybe KDE too, dunno.)

Have you looked at my page yet? The two things that I think are most likely to help you are to remove alsa-plugins-pulseaudio and to make the edits I mention to /etc/security/console.perms.d.

Just a reminder of the link
http://home.nyc.rr.com/computertaijutsu/rhsound.html

(Shakes his head) Why they tied it into console kit escapes me.

LDC
24th August 2008, 12:58 AM
Yeah, it works for me. :)
/me throw himself out the Window(s)

Sorry, that was cold.
it ended draw, now :)

Have you looked at my page yet? The two things that I think are most likely to help you are to remove alsa-plugins-pulseaudio and to make the edits I mention to /etc/security/console.perms.d.
mmmh, later in the day I will look better and then report back :)

(Shakes his head) Why they tied it into console kit escapes me.
I suppose they didn't take into consideration that a few of us don't want Gnome as first environment... :\

scottro
24th August 2008, 01:23 AM
What's even odder is that most of these people, judging from the testing list, use mutt as their mail client. (Don't worry, when you're ready to graduate to mutt, I have a page on that too.)

Sorry you threw yourself out the window, but apparently, you survived, at least long enough to read the rest of the post. Defenestration can be drastic. (If you don't know the meaning of the word, look it up, it's a word everyone should know to throw around once in awhile.)

LDC
24th August 2008, 03:50 PM
I don't use email clients, they're a waste of resources. I'd rather use w3m to read my webmail ;)
I do know the meaning :P
Removing pulseaudio will allow my non-standard soundcard to work well?

btw you shouldn't use non-standards stuff, read this: http://tinyurl.com/5kzs34 (I know it's old, but in case you don't know...)

scottro
24th August 2008, 04:29 PM
Ok, you got me with that first one. :) It's my favorite text web browser too.

I'm not making guarantees about what will happen if you remove alsa-pulse-audio plugin, all I know is that it fixed sound problems for me.

PatMcLJr
25th August 2008, 03:42 AM
That's what I like about Windows, any DE you want and long as it's Windows.

I was perfectly happy with kde, perfectly happy, now this!

Why did I ever read this thread!!!!!

Everything is so snappy, quick. I must be dong something wrong.

drifting back into Linuxland.
Pat Jr.

Barnsley - Xiaogan Photos - Beaumont