Blackbox has been obsoleted six ways from Sunday.
2005-09-13 - Blackbox versus Fluxbox ∞
(Created for some notes and public-facing internal dialogue.)
Blackbox is one of the great slim Window managers. Fluxbox is a fork which has different goals in mind, namely greater integration of all the commonly desired features. Blackbox has left things as optional utilities where Fluxbox tends to bake them in.
They are both in active development.
- The two have different style formats (Fluxbox uses 0.6 Blackbox styles, not 0.7+)
- The two have different hotkey formats
The two share the same menu format
- Wait, I don't think this is true..
|Fluxbox is a fork which has different goals.||Blackbox is the original.|
|Fluxbox has additional interesting features baked-in.||Blackbox focuses on standards and simplicity.|
|Fluxbox is compatible with blackbox styles.||Not anymore, blackbox continued to improve and has changed the way it works. Fluxbox is only 0.6 compatible, but not with the newer 0.7+ stuff. Forks like Fluxbox would have to continually play catchup to stay compatible. Blackbox continues to improve regardless of what was forked from it.
Update: Maybe Fluxbox updated itself, because in mid 2008 it was reported that one can use a fluxbox style in blackbox.
|PCLinuxOS supports fluxbox out of the box and it comes on the liveCD.||Blackbox was trivial to install with PCLinuxOS 0.98 or so, and a new liveCD is trivial to make. HOWEVER, I cannot compile it on 2007-test3 for unknown reasons, and I'm not willing to debug it.|
|Fluxbox can group applications together under tabs.||But I never used it when I had access to it. Multiple desktops and window switching covers this functionality fine for me.|
|fluxbox-generate_menu is great.||Since the two share the same menu format, it's not hard to leverage this functionality for blackbox.|
|Fluxbox has hotkey functionality baked-in.||Blackbox has bbkeys. bbkeys' hotkeys allow moving windows to other desktops and the window switching (alt-tab) works sensibly where Flux's just rudely swaps between windows. bbkeys works fine with flux (and presumably other window managers), but not totally seamlessly.|
|Fluxbox has a slit/toolbar thingy baked-in. I think it frees up memory when it's disabled though.||Blackbox's slit is optional, and it can be compiled without it. It frees up 100% of those resources when it's turned off.|
|Fluxbox allows the resizing of only the bottom-right corner.||Blackbox can resize from any corner of a window.|
|Fluxbox allows the copy and paste from even info windows. This can be very handy.||Blackbox doesn't, I don't think. I need to test this again.|
|Fluxbox has some autostart handiness. Edit a file here and there and voila.||Which is useless if you know what you're doing. Unfortunately, I do not. =/|
|has no opaque resize? EDIT: Can be set to resize opaquely via a simple menu option.|
|doesn't work with my scroll wheel, or fourth/fifth mouse buttons.||not sure if it does.. EDIT: In some distros, the scrollweel has to be enabled in
etc/X11/xorg.conf by adding the "XAxisMapping" "4 5" option and changing 'Option "Protocol"
"PS/2"' to 'Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"'. This applies to both Blackbox and Fluxbox.
|Fluxbox cannot show KDE tray icons using fbpanel (or anything else I've used). Tested with PCLinuxOS 2007-TR3 and 2007-TR4.||Blackbox shows and uses them. Tested with PCLinuxOS 0.93, 2007-TR3, 2007-TR4, 2007-final (last tested March 2008).|
2008-08-16 - Blackbox versus Openbox ∞
Blackbox is one of the great slim Window managers. Openbox is a fork which has different goals in mind. Blackbox has left things as optional utilities where Openbox tends to bake them in (keyboard shortcuts / key bindings). They have diverged quite a bit I think.
This is my review of openbox, as compared to my long experiences with blackbox.
Surprizingly good things ∞
- Very surprizingly correct implementation of hotkeys. bbkeys has been obsoleted.
- Has a decent theme included (Bear2). It's similar enough to my preferred minimal blackbox style that I could even keep it as-is, but I'll end up tweaking it to make a minimal openbox style.
gui configuration tool. Sortof. I've no clue how to edit the style though. I hear there's a separate GUI style helper but at the time it was not maintained and was going stale. Nomatter, my simple style was easy enough to hand-edit.
Confusing new things ∞
- one gigantic config file
- xml config file
- the configuration is scattered across who knows where.. it's definitely not like blackbox.
I'm not sure how to edit the style and have it re-applied..
Things solved by Openbox ∞
Openbox is better than blackbox because..
- A maximized window doesn't overlap fbpanel.
- MediaWiki Wiki documentation. =)
- My 4/5 buttons seem to work as-expected.
- I've had annoying issues when quitting xine and some other windows, it won't return control to any window and I cannot even switch desktops until I click or alt-tab to something.
Windows which are minimized are now no longer sticky to all desktops.