wishlist from a blackbox and rox user...

Matthew Weier OPhinney matthew-lists at weierophinney.net
Tue Apr 29 21:02:07 CEST 2003

I've been using blackbox for about a year and a half now, but decided
recently that I needed to do some UI changes to my desktop. The big
change in the upcoming blackbox release is net_wm hints support -- which
would allow blackbox to be used with GNOME and KDE apps/applets as well
as other net_wm aware programs. I decided I wanted to find out more
about net_wm and what all the buzz was...

So, on the ROX list, Olivier reminded me about xfwm (which I used for a
little over a year starting shortly after the original version 3
release). I've got xfwm4 up and running on my machine with a couple of
gnome2 panels, and I have to say, "well done!" It works fantastic, and
it's nice to have access to some iconfication again (instead of just
shading; iconification isn't part of blackbox), as well as a variety of
pagers, taskbars, and menus to choose from.

What I've got running:

epist (from openbox -- provides keybindings for navigating windows,
    workspaces, etc., using net_wm hints)
ROX-Filer (for desktop icons)
ROX-Session (for a session manager; only allows for running programs on
    startup and for logging out/in)
GNOME2 panels (menu panel with tasklist and another panel with workspace
xlock/xautolock (for screensaver/desktop locking)

all on a 366MHz machine! ;-)

However, being a blackbox refugee, there are a few items I liked from
that WM that I wouldn't mind seeing in xfwm4:
    1. In the window menus, a "Send to workspace..." option. In
       blackbox, you can send the window to any of the workspaces;
       middle-clicking the workspace name/number switches to that
       workspace, as well.
    2. A method for setting application default net_wm hints. In
       particular, a way to tell xfwm4 to start an application sticky or
       iconified. Blackbox has two tools, bbappconf and bblaunch, which
       will do some of these things; unfortunately, they're not net_wm
       aware (yet).

       As an example, I like to have gkrellm sticky; right now, I have
       to tell it to be sticky after it has started. It would be nice if
       I could simply start in in a sticky state.

       This may be a task for a session manager; I'm not sure, though.

That's it -- otherwise, well, I think I'm here to stay with xfwm4. It
combines low resource usage with a very nice degree of eye candy. I'm
only noticing a slightly larger memory usage with it than blackbox.
(though running the gnome-panel uses quite a bit! but that's a *choice*

Matthew Weier O'Phinney
matthew at weierophinney.net

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