The Fluxbox Window Manager

Fluxbox is the default Window Manager at CSE.

What is Fluxbox?

In UNIX, Fluxbox is a Window Manager based on the code from BlackBox. It is fast and light on resources, yet full of features. Fluxbox tries to leave you with as much screen space to yourself as possible and provides the user with multiple desktops, "tabs" (useful feature if you get to know it).

How do I switch between workspaces?

Use Alt-F[num]. For example, for the first workspace, use Alt-F1. For the second, Alt-F2 etc.

How do I move windows between workspaces?

To move a window between workspaces, either:
  1. right click on the window's top bar, select send to, and a workspace,
  2. or click the little square button on the top left of the window. This causes the window to become omnipresent (appear on all workspaces), so just change workspaces and unclick it again (so it stays at the new place).

What other useful shortcuts are there?

Here is a brief list of some useful shortcuts you can use in Fluxbox:
Alt-F[num] switch to workspace number [num]
Alt-Tab cycle through windows in current workspace
Alt-Shift-Tab cycle backwards
Alt-leftmouse-drag move the window around by dragging any part of the window
Alt-rightmouse-drag resize the window by dragging any part of the window.
Middlemouse-drag drag a tab onto another window to put it into the other window's tabs. To pull it out again, just drag the tab (using middle button) away from the window.
(*) Control-Tab cycle through tabs
(*Control-Shift-Tab cycle backwards through tabs
(*) These are CSE specific keybindings, see: See Changing Keybindings for information on how to modify these yourself.

How can I change my Fluxbox options?

There are 3 ways you can change options:
  • Open the main menu, go to Settings, and then Configure. In there you can change many of the available options.
  • Run fluxconf. This is a utility program to change many options. It includes several that aren't available through the settings menu. You can also change keybindings by running fluxkeys.
  • Edit your ~/.fluxbox/init file by hand. Most of the options are very readable. Here you get the most flexibility, but also have more chance of breaking something. Be careful.

Help, the colours all look ugly!

The answer is to change your style. There are several styles available on the system. You can change your style by opening the Fluxbox menu (right-click on the desktop), and go to Settings -> Styles and selecting one of the available ones. The CSE default style is "Operation12". There is another called "Operation8bit": Some lab machines by default had only 8-bit colour, which means things like gradients (which include many similar colours) didn't work well. The default style uses few colours, so works on these displays and on remote desktops. If you are having trouble with colouring, try that one.

How do I set the background?

To set a background picture, use fbsetbg, Esetroot, bsetroot, or xsetbg In your ~/.fluxbox/init file, at the bottom add a "rootCommand"" (this is a command used to set the root window background). For example, I have at the moment: session.screen0.rootCommand: Esetroot -center /path/to/picture.jpg Take a look at the man pages for those commands for extra help.

How do I change the key bindings?

Key bindings are the key strokes used to accomplish certain tasks - eg switching workspaces. If you wish to modify the defaults, or add your own, take a look in ~/.fluxbox/keys. There is also a utility program to help you change bindings - try running fluxkeys. The Fluxbox documentation has some useful information on available events and key definitions. The author recommends the following as useful bindings to add to your ~/.fluxbox/keys file: # control-alt-x = xterm Mod1 Control X :ExecCommand xterm # control-alt-a = aterm Mod1 Control A :ExecCommand aterm # control-alt-r = fbrun (a small box to run programs from) Mod1 Control R :ExecCommand fbrun Obviously you can easily make up your own... say your favourite editor is nedit, you might want Mod1 Control N for nedit...

How do I change the menu items?

The default menu is a very good example of how to write a menu specification. See ~/.fluxbox/menu for your own menu. Once again, take look at the Fluxbox documentation for useful pointers.

How do I customise the look of my Fluxbox?

Firstly, there are several default styles available. Go to the fluxbox menu -> Settings -> Styles and choose your own scheme. The default is Operation12 (Operation with larger fonts). If you really want to customise your look, you should investigate Fluxbox themes. There are many available on the Fluxbox website, as well as information on how to create your own.

See Also...

There are several other places you should look at for further information: These sites also provide further pointers if they don't have what you want.
Last edited by Philip Maurice Rodwell 23/04/2013

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