Tricking out your desktop with Blackbox

After Ximian locking up my console hard, and general disgust with complicated window managers, I decided to trick out a minimalistic window manager. For those of you that are interested, check out Blackbox. The source is 235k. I kid you not. Funny thing is that I wanted to use a more configurable xterm, so I also started using Eterm, which is about 600k. My terminal program is twice the size of my window manager. 🙂 Both compiled and installed beautifully. Kmail, gimp, gnucash, xfig and xmms all work swimingly under Blackbox (make sure you compile KDE support into Blackbox). I was turned on to Blackbox when I discovered that at one point VA Linux used it as the default window manager for their servers. Certainly, if you need a window manager, a minimal window manager is a good choice for a server. For some Blackbox themes, check out bb themes.

One thing that I like to do is run tcpdump all the time. There is a cool app out there called wmswallow that will swallow a program and put it in the root X window “slit”. If I run this command:

wmswallow -focus -noshape -geom 1024x96 Eterm Eterm --scrollbar=0 --menubar=0 -g
+0+0 --shade=00 --borderless -f green

I get a see-through window at the top of my screen that I can run tcpdump in, or whatever else I wish (My default with Eterm is already set to transparent). It is visible on all screens. For more dockapps, see Dock App Warehouse.

Since I have a fairly small monitor and stare at it all day, I like to have large type. The xfontsel utility is an easy way to determine what type of font to use. I added this line to my Blackbox menu so that an Eterm session pops up to my liking:

[exec] (Eterm) {Eterm --viewport-mode 
--font=-adobe-courier-medium-r-normal--18-180-75-75-m-110-iso8859-1 --menubar=0}

A couple of other apps I found useful were xscreensaver, and bbpager off of bbtools.