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    Apr 2005
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    Post Fluxbox Alternative GUI Desktop Environment for PS3 Guide

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    So you have heard the word Fluxbox mentioned from time to time and you ask yourself, "Just what is this Fluxbox thing". Well simply put, Fluxbox is an alternative GUI desktop environment like Enlightenment, Gnome and XFCE.

    Usually when you hear reference to Fluxbox, people will refer to Fluxbox as a Window Manager, which essentially it is. Fluxbox gives you the bare essentials needed to run and manage your application windows. This no frills approach allows Fluxbox to run at amazing speed by minimizing system resources used. That being CPU cycles and RAM.

    And then you ask yourself, "Well, what does Fluxbox look like". See for yourself by clicking on the links below. The screeshots I have posted are actualy screen captures I took of Fluxbox running on my YDL 6 installation on my PS3.

    Screen capture of the Fluxbox Menu:

    Screen capture of the file manager Thunar and music player Audacious.

    As you can see from my screen captures that Fluxbox takes a very minimal approach. No desktop icons and a very minimal toolbar. So lets talk a little on the basic usage of Fluxbox...

    To bring up the menu, you simply right click on the desktop. You can navigate the menu with either your mouse or keyboard. At the bottom of the screen you can see the toolbar which indicates that I am using the first workspace and have my media player Audacious minimized to the toolbar. I also have my toolbar configured to display the date and time in an easy to read format. Managing windows is very similar to that in Gnome and other environments. Right clicking on the window decorator will bring up a menu with additional options such as sending the selected window to another workspace.

    Before we get to the installation and configuration of Fluxbox, I'll list some links to documentation and themes for Fluxbox. Documentation on the configuration of Fluxbox can be found at the two links below.

    Fluxbox Documentation at Sourceforge: [Register or Login to view links]

    Fluxbox Wiki: [Register or Login to view links]

    Themes/Styles for Fluxbox: [Register or Login to view links]

    Now we will get Fluxbox installed and get you going with some basics on the configuration of Fluxbox. I'm not going to get to deep into the configuration of Fluxbox here since everything you will need to now is already documented in the links I posted above. Here we will concentrate on installing Fluxbox along with a few other addition applications and work through some example configuration files taken from my own YDL 6 installation. So lets install it already.

    Just use whatever method you are comfortable installing applications with. Here I will be using yum from the command line. In your terminal as your root user, lets install Fluxbox along with the file manager used in XFCE called Thunar, eterm for setting our desktop wallpaper and the music player Audacious.
    yum install fluxbox thunar eterm audacious
    Before we get carried away editing our configuration files, lets first back them up. All of the configuration files for Fluxbox are stored in a hidden directory located in your users Home directory called .fluxbox. In your terminal as your normal user run....
    cp -r ~/.fluxbox ~/.fluxbox.backup
    Now that we have our original Fluxbox configuration files backed up, we can start playing around with setting up our Fluxbox menu and shortcut keys file. We are going to start off by using some configuration files taken from my system. Before we log out of our current desktop environment and log into Fluxbox, lets set up a few things first so we will have a good base to start with. Lets start off with grabbing a few Fluxbox Styles and get them installed to the proper location so that we have them available to use after we log into Fluxbox. After downloaded a few Styles just extract the files you downloaded using your file manager and place the new Styles in your .fluxbox/styles directory.

    Next lets get on with setting up our Fluxbox menu. The configuration file for the Fluxbox menu is located in .fluxbox/menu. The configuration file for the menu is very easy to read and you will probably be able to figure out how to edit the menu just by reading the code in the file. You can find information on editing the menu ([Register or Login to view links]).

    To make things a little easier to begin with, lets copy the contents of my .fluxbox/menu file onto your system. You can always edit this file later or create your own menu file. Open up your .fluxbox/menu file with Gedit and delete all of the original text. Now copy and past the contents of my menu file listed below into Gedit.
    # This is an automatically generated file.
    # Please see <file:/usr/share/doc/menu/README> for information.
    # to use your own menu, copy this to ~/.fluxbox/menu, then edit
    # ~/.fluxbox/init and change the session.menuFile path to ~/.fluxbox/menu
    [begin] (Fluxbox)
    # Automatically generated file. Do not edit (see /usr/share/doc/menu/html/index.html)
       [exec] (Firefox) {firefox}
       [exec] (Terminal) {gnome-terminal}
       [exec] (Filemanager) {thunar}
    #   [exec] (Windows XP) {/usr/bin/vmware}
       [exec] (Audacious) {/usr/bin/audacious}
    #  [exec] (Beep Media Player) {/usr/bin/beep-media-player}
       [exec] (Streamtuner) {streamtuner}
       [nop] (----------) 
       [submenu] (Apps) {}
          [submenu] (Editors) {}
             [exec] (AbiWord Word Processor) {/usr/bin/abiword} 
             [exec] (Gedit) {/usr/bin/gedit} 
             [exec] (OpenOffice Writer) {/usr/bin/oowriter} 
          [submenu] (Graphics) {}
             [exec] (F-Spot) {/usr/bin/f-spot}
             [exec] (The GIMP) {/usr/bin/gimp}
             [exec] (Image Viewer) {gthumb}
             [exec] (xsane) {/usr/bin/xsane}
          [submenu] (Math) {}
             [exec] (Calculator) {/usr/bin/gcalctool}
             [exec] (OpenOffice.org Calc) {/usr/bin/oocalc}
             [exec] (OpenOffice.org Math) {/usr/bin/oomath}
          [submenu] (Net) {}
             [exec] (Firefox Web Browser) {firefox}
             [exec] (XChat) {/usr/bin/xchat-gnome}
             [exec] (Democracy Player) {/usr/bin/democracyplayer}
             [exec] (Bittornado Client) {/usr/bin/btdownloadgui.bittornado}
             [exec] (Gaim) {/usr/bin/gaim}
             [exec] (GFTP) {/usr/bin/gftp-gtk}
          [submenu] (Programming) {}
             [exec] (Nvu) {/usr/bin/nvu} </usr/share/pixmaps/nvu.xpm>
          [submenu] (Shells) {}
             [exec] (Aterm) {/usr/bin/aterm} <>
             [exec] (Gnome Terminal) {/usr/bin/gnome-terminal}
             [exec] (XTerm) {xterm} <>
             [exec] (Bash) { x-terminal-emulator -T "Bash" -e /bin/bash --login} <>
             [exec] (Dash) { x-terminal-emulator -T "Dash" -e /bin/dash -i} <>
             [exec] (Sh) { x-terminal-emulator -T "Sh" -e /bin/sh --login} <>
          [submenu] (Sound & Video) {}
             [exec] (Banshee) {/usr/bin/banshee}
             [exec] (Beep Media Player) {/usr/bin/beep-media-player}
             [exec] (Easytag) {/usr/bin/easytag}
             [exec] (Gtkpod) {/usr/bin/gtkpod}
             [exec] (K3B) {/usr/bin/k3b}
             [exec] (Listen) {/usr/bin/listen}
             [exec] (Rhythmbox) {/usr/bin/rhythmbox}
             [exec] (Video::DVDRip) {/usr/bin/dvdrip}
             [exec] (VLC) {/usr/bin/vlc}
             [exec] (XMMS) {/usr/bin/xmms}
      [exec] (Xine) {/usr/bin/gxine}
          [submenu] (System) {}
             [exec] (alsaconf) { x-terminal-emulator -T "alsaconf" -e su-to-root -p root -c /usr/sbin/alsaconf} <>
             [exec] (pppconfig) { x-terminal-emulator -T "pppconfig" -e /usr/sbin/su-to-root -p root -c /usr/sbin/pppconfig} <>
             [exec] (aptitude) { x-terminal-emulator -T "aptitude" -e /usr/bin/aptitude} <>
             [exec] (Boot Admin) {/usr/bin/boot-admin}
             [exec] (Boot-Up Manager) {/usr/bin/gksu /usr/bin/bum}
             [exec] (Disks Admin) {/usr/bin/disks-admin}
             [exec] (GNOME CUPS Manager) {/usr/bin/gnome-cups-manager} <>
             [exec] (GNOME Network Tool) {/usr/bin/gnome-nettool}
      [exec] (GTK Theme Switcher) {/usr/bin/gtk-chtheme} 
             [exec] (Network Admin) {/usr/bin/network-admin}
             [exec] (Synaptic Package Manager) {/usr/bin/gksu /usr/sbin/synaptic}
             [exec] (Task selector) { x-terminal-emulator -T "Task selector" -e su-to-root -c tasksel} <>
             [exec] (Time Admin) {/usr/bin/time-admin}
             [exec] (Top) { x-terminal-emulator -T "Top" -e /usr/bin/top} <>
             [exec] (User accounts Admin) {/usr/bin/users-admin}
             [exec] (X-Terminal as root (GKsu\)) {/usr/bin/gksu -u root /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator}
          [submenu] (Text) {}
             [exec] (Dictionary) {/usr/bin/gnome-dictionary}
             [exec] (Character map) {/usr/bin/gucharmap}
             [exec] (Fortune) {sh -c 'while /usr/games/fortune | col -x | xmessage -center -buttons OK:1,Another:0 -default OK -file - ; do :; done'}
          [submenu] (Tools) {}
             [exec] (fluxconf) {/usr/bin/fluxconf} <>
             [exec] (fluxkeys) {/usr/bin/fluxkeys} <>
             [exec] (fluxmenu) {/usr/bin/fluxmenu} <>
             [exec] (GnomeBaker) {/usr/bin/gnomebaker}
             [exec] (GNOME Screenshot Tool) {/usr/bin/gnome-panel-screenshot} <>
             [exec] (K3B) {/usr/bin/k3b}
             [exec] (Tomboy) {/usr/bin/tomboy} <>
             [exec] (Video::DVDRip) {/usr/bin/dvdrip} <>
          [submenu] (Viewers) {}
             [exec] (Adobe Reader) {/usr/bin/acroread}
             [exec] (Evince) {/usr/bin/evince}
             [exec] (F-Spot) {/usr/bin/f-spot} <>
             [exec] (GThumb Image Viewer) {/usr/bin/gthumb}
             [exec] (ImageMagick) {/usr/bin/display} <>
             [exec] (Totem) {/usr/bin/totem} 
             [exec] (VLC) {/usr/bin/vlc}
             [exec] (XVidCap) {/usr/bin/xvidcap} 
       [submenu] (Games) {}
         [exec] (Atari 2600) {stella}
         [exec] (Neo Geo) {/usr/bin/xgngeo}
         [exec] (NES) {/usr/bin/gfceu}
         [exec] (SNES) {/usr/bin/snes9express}
         [exec] (Sega Genesis) {xe}
         [exec] (TurboGrafx-16) {xe}
        # [exec] (GameBoy Advance) {/usr/bin/gvba}
       [submenu] (Fluxbox)
       [config] (Configuration)
       [submenu] (Styles) {}
          [stylesdir] (/usr/share/fluxbox/styles)
          [stylesdir] (~/.fluxbox/styles)
       [submenu] (Backgrounds)
          [submenu] (Walls) 
          [wallpapers] (/home/kris/Wallpaper)
       [workspaces] (Workspaces)
    #   [reconfig] (Reconfigure)
       [restart] (Restart)
       [exit] (Exit)
    If you page down near the bottom of the menu file you will see some code defining the path to or desktop wallpapers. It looks like this:
    [submenu] (Backgrounds)
          [submenu] (Walls) 
          [wallpapers] (/home/kris/Wallpaper)
    We can see that the path on my system is /home/kris/Wallpaper. Just edit this line to point to the location of your desktop wallpapers. Now save and close the file.

    Now we will move onto a file that defines how certain aspects such as the width and size of the toolbar are set. Open .fluxbox/init and delete all of the original text and place the contents of my init file into your init file:
    session.screen0.tabs.intitlebar: true
    session.screen0.tabs.maxOver: false
    session.screen0.iconbar.wheelMode: Screen
    session.screen0.iconbar.iconTextPadding: 10l
    session.screen0.iconbar.mode: Workspace
    session.screen0.iconbar.usePixmap: true
    session.screen0.iconbar.alignment: Relative
    session.screen0.iconbar.deiconifyMode: Follow
    session.screen0.iconbar.iconWidth: 70
    session.screen0.menu.alpha: 255
    session.screen0.toolbar.onhead: 0
    session.screen0.toolbar.alpha: 255
    session.screen0.toolbar.visible: true
    session.screen0.toolbar.height: 0
    session.screen0.toolbar.maxOver: false
    session.screen0.toolbar.autoHide: false
    session.screen0.toolbar.layer: Top
    session.screen0.toolbar.widthPercent: 80
    session.screen0.toolbar.tools: workspacename, iconbar, systemtray, clock
    session.screen0.toolbar.onTop: False
    session.screen0.toolbar.placement: BottomCenter
    session.screen0.window.focus.alpha: 255
    session.screen0.window.unfocus.alpha: 255
    session.screen0.titlebar.left: Stick 
    session.screen0.titlebar.right: Minimize Maximize Close 
    session.screen0.overlay.lineWidth: 1
    session.screen0.overlay.lineStyle: LineSolid
    session.screen0.overlay.joinStyle: JoinMiter
    session.screen0.overlay.capStyle: CapNotLast
    session.screen0.tab.width: 64
    session.screen0.tab.rotatevertical: True
    session.screen0.tab.placement: TopLeft
    session.screen0.tab.alignment: Left
    session.screen0.tab.height: 16
    session.screen0.slit.alpha: 255
    session.screen0.slit.layer: Dock
    session.screen0.slit.onhead: 0
    session.screen0.slit.autoHide: false
    session.screen0.slit.onTop: False
    session.screen0.slit.maxOver: false
    session.screen0.slit.direction: Vertical
    session.screen0.slit.placement: BottomRight
    session.screen0.focusModel: ClickFocus
    session.screen0.menuMode: Delay
    session.screen0.edgeSnapThreshold: 0
    session.screen0.resizeMode: Bottom
    session.screen0.fullMaximization: false
    session.screen0.clickRaises: true
    session.screen0.rootCommand: fbsetbg -l 
    session.screen0.menuDelay: 0
    session.screen0.reversewheeling: false
    session.screen0.demandsAttentionTimeout: 500
    session.screen0.userFollowModel: Follow
    session.screen0.workspaces: 4
    session.screen0.workspacewarping: true
    session.screen0.autoRaise: false
    session.screen0.tabFocusModel: ClickToTabFocus
    session.screen0.opaqueMove: true
    session.screen0.antialias: true
    session.screen0.workspaceNames: one,two,three,four,
    session.screen0.strftimeFormat: %b %d %l:%M
    session.screen0.decorateTransient: false
    session.screen0.rowPlacementDirection: LeftToRight
    session.screen0.colPlacementDirection: TopToBottom
    session.screen0.windowScrollReverse: false
    session.screen0.allowRemoteActions: false
    session.screen0.focusLastWindow: true
    session.screen0.followModel: Ignore
    session.screen0.imageDither: false
    session.screen0.showwindowposition: true
    session.screen0.menuDelayClose: 0
    session.screen0.windowPlacement: RowSmartPlacement
    session.screen0.defaultDeco: NORMAL
    session.screen0.focusNewWindows: true
    session.screen0.desktopwheeling: true
    session.doubleClickInterval: 250
    session.ignoreBorder: false
    session.focusTabMinWidth: 0
    session.tabPadding: 0
    session.slitlistFile: ~/.fluxbox/slitlist
    session.forcePseudoTransparency: false
    session.autoRaiseDelay: 250
    session.styleOverlay: ~/.fluxbox/overlay
    session.modKey: Mod1
    session.configVersion: 1
    session.menuFile: ~/.fluxbox/menu
    session.tabsAttachArea: Window
    session.imageDither: True
    session.colorsPerChannel: 4
    session.tabs: true
    session.cacheMax: 200l
    session.cacheLife: 5l
    session.keyFile: ~/.fluxbox/keys
    session.numLayers: 13
    session.groupFile: ~/.fluxbox/groups
    session.styleFile: /home/kris/.fluxbox/styles/darkmystic
    session.appsFile: ~/.fluxbox/apps
    session.opaqueMove: False
    The init file can be edited by hand or from the Fluxbox menu by right clicking on the desktop to bring up the menu and selecting Fluxbox > Configuration. Now save and close the init file.

    Lets move onto the configuration file that defines the keyboard shortcuts in Fluxbox called .fluxbox/keys. This is were Fluxbox really shines. You can edit this file to define a specific key binding to bring up the Fluxbox menu or launch an application. You can find information on editing this file ([Register or Login to view links]). Lets take a look at my .fluxbox/keys file:
    !mouse actions added by fluxbox-update_configs
    OnDesktop Mouse1 :hideMenus
    OnDesktop Mouse2 :workspaceMenu
    OnDesktop Mouse3 :rootMenu
    OnDesktop Mouse4 :nextWorkspace
    OnDesktop Mouse5 :prevWorkspace
    Mod1 Tab :NextWindow
    Mod1 Shift Tab :PrevWindow
    Mod1 F1 :ExecCommand firefox
    Mod1 F2 :ExecCommand gnome-terminal
    Mod1 F3 :ExecCommand thunar
    Mod1 F4 :ExecCommand vmware
    Mod1 F5 :ExecCommand xmms
    Mod1 F6 :ExecCommand streamtuner
    Mod1 F7 :ExecCommand xchat-gnome
    Mod1 F8 :Workspace 8
    Mod1 F9 :Workspace 9
    Mod1 F10 :Workspace 10
    Mod1 F11 :Workspace 11
    Mod1 F12 :Workspace 12
    Mod1 Right :NextWorkspace
    Mod1 Left :PrevWorkspace
    Mod1 Up :RootMenu
    #Mod1 Down :ShowDesktop
    Mod1 Control Down :Minimize
    Mod1 refers to the Alt key on the keyboard. As you can see, we can switch desktops by pressing Alt + Right arrow key or Alt + Left arrow key. You can bring up the Fluxbox menu by pressing Alt + Up arrow on the keyboard. We can also quickly launch Firefox by pressing Alt + F1. You can edit this file to suite your own taste.

    After you have finished with any changes you would like to make to your keys file, save the file and we will move onto the configuration file that sets fonts and font sized used by Fluxbox. This file is called .fluxbox/overlay.
    menu.title.font: Bitstream Vera Sans-12
    toolbar.clock.font: Bitstream Vera Sans-12
    toolbar.workspace.font: Bitstream Vera Sans-12
    toolbar.iconbar.focused.font: Bitstream Vera Sans-12
    toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.font: Bitstream Vera Sans-12
    window.font: Bitstream Vera Sans-12
    Here we can set the font used for the menu, window title and toolbar. The font size listed here (12) is what I use on my 720p television, so if you are using a higher screen resolution, you may want to increase the font size.

    We only have one more file left to configure and then we are done. This last file is called .gtkrc-2.0 and is found in your /home/username directory. This file sets the GTK theme used for GTK applications such as Firefox and Thunar, the icon theme used and the font type and size:
    gtk-font-name = "Bitstream Vera Sans 12"
    gtk-theme-name = "SlicknesS" 
    gtk-icon-theme-name = "black-white_2-Style"
    We can see that my GTK applications will be set with a Bitstream Vera Sans font with a font size of 12. The GTK theme used will be "SlicknesS" and the icon theme used will be "black-white_2-Style". For practice lets set up or system with these themes.

    You can download the GTK theme SlicknesS ([Register or Login to view links]). Extract the file you download using your file manager. You will need to extract it two times on this one. Now copy the directory SlicknesS to your .themes directory.
    cp -r ~/SlicknesS ~/.themes
    You can download and copy any GTK+2 theme that you would like to use to your .themes directory. Now lets download and install the icon theme black-white_2-Style. You can grab it ([Register or Login to view links]).

    Again, you will need to extract this one 2 times since the actual directory we need that contains the font theme is located in a sub directory. Now copy the directory black-white_2-Style to your .icons directory.
    cp -r ~/black-white_2-Style ~/.icons
    Thats it. What we have done so far should give us a good starting point for using Fluxbox. We can finally log out of our current working environment and select Fluxbox from the Sessions menu located in the login manager (GDM). Now login and enjoy some lightning fast speed.

    Did you notice how much faster Fluxbox started after you logged in compared to that of Gnome or XFCE? Now right click on the desktop to bring up the menu and open the file manager. The file manager started up pretty fast didn't it?

    I hope that this guide helped explain as easily as possible, how to get Fluxbox installed and get a basic configuration going. Again, I strongly recommend that new users to Fluxbox read through the documentation that I linked to at the begining of this guide. Have fun, and I hope that you come to love Fluxbox as much as I do!
    Attached Thumbnails<br><br> Attached Thumbnails

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