Tag: openbox

GNOME logoBy Marcos Aguilar

With the arrival of Gnome3 and Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity, it is necessary to clarify two concepts that are different and that tend to generate confusion: Desktop Environment and Window Manager.

DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT

(GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE)

What a desktop environment does is bring together different X clients and use them to create a common graphical user environment and a development platform. These advanced desktop environments allow X clients and the applications to run and communicate with each other, allowing those applications to perform advanced tasks, such as drag and drop, eg.

WINDOW MANAGERS

(Metacity, Compiz, Mutter, Kwin)

They are X client programs that can also be independent (eg. Mwm). Its main purpose is to control the way graphical windows are displayed (position, resize, move, appearance.) and features (links to the mouse buttons, title bars, shortcuts, focus behavior).

Kwin-> Window manager for KDE. Supports interchangeable styles, which control not only its appearance but also some aspects of their behavior.

Distribution: Kubuntu

Metacity-> This is for GNOME2. It has few configuration options. But in return Gnome2 is highly configurable and allows other operators to install more advanced customizable applications like Compiz.

Distribution: Ubuntu 10.10 and above

Mutter-> This is for GNOME3 (new) not allowed to use any window manager without rewriting code, so that no window manager different than Mutter can be installed in Gnome3.

Distribution: Fedora 15

Compiz-> This is for GNOME-Unity in Ubuntu 11.04. It is the most advanced and configurable manager and can usually be installed anywhere, provided you have 3D acceleration (OpenGL).

Distribution: Ubuntu 11.04

Xfwm-> This is for Xfce. Provides its own compositing manager, the first of its kind when it was released. Supports keyboard shortcuts and its graphics are completely modifiable.

Distribution: Xubuntu

Openbox-> This is for LXDE. Was derived from Blackbox 0.65 in the beginning, but has been completely rewritten and is no longer based on Blackbox. It is designed to be fast and consume a minimum amount of resources while sacrificing some features.

Distribution: Lubuntu

Fluxbox-> It is a minimalist, light and customizable. Its visual appearance is changed from text files. It is based on Blackbox code.

IceWM-> is a lightweight and minimalist. Its main goal is to be good looking and still light. It is configured from text files. The themes IceWM can also be used with KWin (KDE), provided the kdeartwork package installed.

Motif(mwm) -> is a very basic and independent manager. Not to be used with GNOME or KDE.

Read more about KDE and GNOME.

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In this piece I will show how the system usage differs among Live CD distributions running different Linux Windows Managers mainly on distros considered to be lightweight. The first distro we will look at is a bit dated, but it is the most recent Fluxbox edition of Linux Mint, Linux Mint 9 Fluxbox edition, and is a damn fine distro that I must say looks great and it’s fun to use. The next lowest contender in regards to initial system usage is PCLinuxOS 2011.08 Openbox edition. Thirdly, we are looking at Crunchbang 10 (Statler) running Openbox. Finally, for comparison’s sake we also looked at the modern, full-featured Gnome distro, Linux Mint 12. We booted each distro using default boot options, then opened a terminal window and ran the ‘ top ‘ command.

mint-9-fluxbox-screenshotLinux Mint 9 Fluxbox edition

As you can see, this distro comes in at a svelte 536 MB of RAM usage upon intial boot

 

 

 

pclinuxos-openbox-screenshotPCLinuxOS 2011.08 Openbox edition

Next, we see a still slim offering from the PCLinuxOS team which comes in at 580 MB (this distro also curiously only saw 388MB of my 1GB swap space on my HD??)

 

 

Crunchbang-10-statlerCrunchbang 10 (Statler)

The last offering we are looking at today is the latest Crunchbang distro, based on Debian that comes in at a very surprising 815 MB of RAM – I’m really puzzled by that number and I’d love to know why it comes in so high on this test. (this distro also did not even see my 1GB swap space on my HD??)

mint-12-ScreenshotLinux Mint 12 Gnome

To show you what a current, standard distro uses we have included the latest Mint distro. As you can see it is running just past Crunchbang at 869 MB of RAM.

 

 

As you can see, the alternate Window Manager distros really do start with a lower system memory footprint, however that isn’t always the case we discovered by looking at Crunchbang.

©2012 Linux.Bihlman.com

This post proudly written using Firefox on Linux Mint 9 Fluxbox edition!

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By David Childers

The use of the text based command line for running applications or configuring computer systems can be a daunting task. Special commands must be used which may require additional modifiers to invoke the desired computer function. Both Desktop Environments and Windows Mangers provide a graphical method for users to control and configure a Unix operating system, without the need for using text based command line control. Graphical user interfaces eliminate the tedious memorization of text based commands.

Desktop environments are graphic interfaces that provide user control and configuration of a computer operating system in addition to installed applications. The graphic interface generally consist of menus, icons and background desktop images. It also allows users to manipulate items with the drag and drop function or use the point and click function to execute applications on the desktop itself.

The following are Open Source / Free Desktop Environment packages for the Unix operating systems. (Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Solaris)

These desktop environments provide users with the ability to utilize software developed with various computer languages, and the ability to utilize the software on different computer hardware configurations.

kde logoKDE is based on the Qt 4 programming language and allows applications to be integrated within the desktop. KDE uses the KWin window manager.

 

gnome logoGNOME is based on the GTK+ programming language and allows applications to be integrated within the desktop. Gnome uses the Metacity window manager.

 

xfce logoXFCE is based on the the GTK+ programming language. Xfce uses the Xfwm window manager.

 
lxde logoLXDE does not have applications integrated into the desktop. LXDE uses the Openbox window manager.

 

The X window manager is an application that controls the function of the X Window System. It can be configured to manage the visual appearance of display windows and control panels. The X window manager also controls how users interact with these graphical interfaces.

The X Window System provides the system resources and software components necessary for the creation of graphical user interfaces (Windows Managers and Desktop Environments).

The following are the most common Open Source / Free Window Manager packages for the Unix operating systems : Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Solaris.

These window managers provide users with the ability to utilize the software on different computer hardware configurations and provide various visual appearance.

- Blackbox is written in C++. It offers support for multiple workspaces.

- Fluxbox is based on Blackbox 0.61.1. It offers minimal support for graphical icons.

- Openbox was originally based on Blackbox 0.65.0. It allows users to utilize applications without a full desktop environment installed.

- Enlightenment can be used as a substitute for a complete desktop environment.

- IceWM was written in C++. It can be configured to recreate the visual appearance of various desktop environments.

- Window Maker provides drag and drop user control in addition to supporting multiple workspaces.

- Sawfish is written with a scripting language that is similar to Lisp. It provides very basic features.

- Metacity is written in GTK+. It was created for use with the Gnome Desktop Environment.

- MWM is based on the Motif toolkit. It does not support desktop icons or multiple workspaces.

- FVWM is based on TWM. It provides the ability to display a 3D visualization ( similar to MWM ) and supports basic multiple workspace.

- AfterStep was originally based on FVWM and was designed to provide a NextStep themed appearance.

- CTWM is based on TWM. It provides rudimentary GNOME desktop support and multiple workspaces.

Text based command line configuration and control can provide a comprehensive method for daily computer management and operation. Unfortunately, users are required to know the necessary unique commands and their unique structure that must be used. Graphical user interfaces alleviate that requirement and make the use of a computer both simple and effective.

You can find more information about these software applications here: http://www.scenicradio.com/unix.htm

Dave Childers is a freelance Internet broadcast consultant, writer and webmaster of http://www.scvi.net – The Winamp TV, NullSoft Video information website.

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Well, I tried to get Puppy Linux installed on my old Presario notebook PC as I wrote about recently, but I just couldn’t get the install to take.

Old Compaq Presario

Old Compaq Presario

For some reason we could not get the Grub boot loader to boot it up properly. No big deal, that gave me a good excuse to try another distro, and I’m glad I did!

CrunchBang Linux 8.10 is the distro that I was interested in trying on this old machine because it was advertised as being lightweight, and made for lesser machines. I tried the “Lite” version, that ran very well, so I the opted for the “Standard” version, and it’s been great ever since. It installed without a hitch.

CrunchBang is tightly based on Ubuntu with Openbox as the window manager, a much lighter-weight one than Ubuntu’s standard, Gnome.

CrunchBang Linux 8.10

CrunchBang Linux 8.10

It is also interesting looking because it makes use of Conky, which is a free software system monitor for the X Window System. and since it is prominently sitting on the desktop, it makes it seem easy to check it out and start to configure it, with all the examples out there it really isn’t that tough. CrunchBang ran great on that 192MB of RAM dinosaur with Firefox running (with the included Adobe Flash, by the way!), only bogging down when the Package Manager was also running.

All in all, whether or not your PC is old and worn out, CrunchBang Linux is a great player in Linux arena!

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