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Fluxbox vs. Openbox: Know the Difference

Hifza Nasir
By Hifza Nasir & Dua Fatima || Published on March 21, 2024
Fluxbox and Openbox are lightweight window managers for X Window System, with Fluxbox focusing on a minimalist design and Openbox on flexibility and standards compliance.
Fluxbox vs. Openbox

Key Differences

Fluxbox and Openbox are both lightweight window managers designed for the X Window System, offering users an alternative to more resource-intensive desktop environments. Fluxbox, derived from Blackbox, emphasizes simplicity and efficiency, featuring a minimalist design that appeals to users looking for a straightforward, customizable workspace. Openbox, on the other hand, started as a fork of Blackbox but has since diverged significantly to focus on compliance with standards, such as those set by the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual (ICCCM) and the Extended Window Manager Hints (EWMH).
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 21, 2024
Fluxbox includes a right-click root menu, slit for dockapp support, and tabbed window management, making it user-friendly while keeping resource usage low. Openbox focus on standards compliance ensures better integration with a wide range of applications and desktop environments. Openbox is known for its high degree of configurability, allowing users to customize almost every aspect of the user interface without requiring significant system resources.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024
Both window managers are praised for their lightweight nature and low resource consumption, Openbox is often chosen for systems where integration with diverse applications and desktop environments is a priority. Fluxbox, with its built-in panel and menu system, may appeal more to users who prefer an all-in-one solution with minimal additional configuration required.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024
The choice between Fluxbox and Openbox ultimately comes down to personal preference regarding design simplicity versus configurability and standards compliance. Both provide an efficient and customizable user experience, making them excellent choices for older hardware or for users seeking to maximize performance.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 21, 2024

Comparison Chart

Design Philosophy

Minimalist and efficient
Highly configurable, standards-compliant
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 21, 2024
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Derived From

Blackbox
Initially Blackbox, then entirely rewritten
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

User Interface

Built-in panel and menu system
Highly customizable via XML configuration
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

Standards Compliance

Basic ICCCM support
Full ICCCM and EWMH support
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

Configuration

Menu-driven and files
Extensive through XML files
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 21, 2024

Unique Features

Tabbed window management, slit for dockapps
Dynamic menus, extensive actions, and theming capabilities
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 21, 2024
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Fluxbox and Openbox Definitions

Fluxbox

A minimalist window manager for X.
Fluxbox offers a clean, efficient workspace with tabbed windows for easy management.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 29, 2024

Openbox

Enables extensive window actions.
Openbox users can define specific actions for window events, offering unparalleled control.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 29, 2024

Fluxbox

Supports dockapps in the slit area.
Fluxbox's slit feature neatly organizes dock applications without cluttering the desktop.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 29, 2024

Openbox

Prioritizes flexibility and integration.
Openbox is favored for its ability to integrate seamlessly into diverse desktop setups.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 29, 2024

Fluxbox

Focuses on simplicity and resource efficiency.
Fluxbox runs smoothly on older hardware, making it ideal for revitalizing legacy systems.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 29, 2024
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Openbox

Features dynamic menus and extensive theming.
With Openbox, users can create or download themes to completely change the look of their desktop.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 29, 2024

Fluxbox

Includes a configurable root menu.
Customizing the Fluxbox menu allows quick access to frequently used applications.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 29, 2024

Openbox

A highly configurable window manager.
Openbox allows detailed customization of the desktop environment through XML configuration.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 29, 2024

Fluxbox

Offers tabbed window management.
Grouping related windows into tabs with Fluxbox enhances desktop organization.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 29, 2024

Openbox

Complies with ICCCM and EWMH standards.
Openbox's standards compliance ensures compatibility with a wide range of applications.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 29, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can I use desktop icons with Fluxbox or Openbox?

By default, neither Fluxbox nor Openbox supports desktop icons, but they can be added with additional software like PCManFM or idesk.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 21, 2024

How customizable are Fluxbox and Openbox?

Both offer significant customization options, though Openbox provides a more extensive range of configuration possibilities through its XML files.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

Can Fluxbox and Openbox run on any Linux distribution?

Yes, both can be installed on any Linux distribution that supports the X Window System.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 21, 2024

Which is more user-friendly for beginners?

Fluxbox may be slightly more accessible due to its simpler configuration and built-in panel, but Openbox's extensive documentation and community support can also accommodate beginners.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

Can I use composite managers with these window managers?

Yes, composite managers like xcompmgr or compton can be used with both Fluxbox and Openbox to add effects like transparency and shadow.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

Are there any graphical tools for configuring Fluxbox or Openbox?

While most configuration is done through text files or XML, there are graphical tools available for both, like Obconf for Openbox, to simplify certain tasks.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 21, 2024

How do Fluxbox and Openbox affect system performance?

Both are designed to be lightweight and have minimal impact on system resources, making them excellent choices for enhancing performance.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

Do Fluxbox and Openbox support multiple monitors?

Yes, both window managers can work with multiple monitors, though setup and management might require additional tools or configurations.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

How do I switch between window managers?

Switching can typically be done from the display manager (login screen) by selecting the desired session, or by altering the start-up scripts if logging in from a console.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 21, 2024

Where can I find themes for Fluxbox and Openbox?

Themes for both window managers are available on various websites, including Box-Look.org, and can also be created or modified by users.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 21, 2024

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Hifza Nasir
Written by
Hifza Nasir
Dua Fatima
Co-written by
Dua Fatima

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