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How to setup Arch Linux w/ OpenBox

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How to setup Arch Linux w/ OpenBox

  1. Boot CD > Login as root > Type arch/setup
  2. Source > CD (only if you have the core iso, else NET) note: net install works with both versions of the ISO. You’ll end up with the latest packages installed and your network will already be configured
  3. Clock > UTC
  4. Auto Prepare HDD (if you plan to use entire disk)
  5. Select base & sudo (netcfg & wireless_tools if you use wireless :D). (type pacman -S base-devel if later you want the extras)
  6. Configure w/ Nano

    > check timezone
    > MODULES=(!net-pf-10 !snd_pcsp !pcspkr loop) #to disable ipv6 & beep
    > change myhost to your desired cpu name (ex: sasoria)

    -/etc/hosts > be sure to see your hostname
    -/etc/locale.gen > uncomment your locale
    -/etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist > uncomment for your country & some extra close mirrors (ex: Canada & US in case a mirror is down :D)
    -Set your root passwd & click Done

  7. Bootloader > Grub (check menu.lst & see if all cool) > select your main HD > Reboot
  8. Login as root & ping to check your network (for wifi network here’s what to do: # ifconfig wlan0 up,# iwlist wlan0 scan,# iwconfig wlan0 essid "MyEssid" key s:asciikey, # dhcpcd wlan0)
  9. pacman -Syu & reboot if there was a kernel upgrade
  10. useradd -m -G users,audio,video,wheel,storage,optical,power -s /bin/bash yourusername (add "lp" to the options if you use a printer)
  11. passwd yourusername
  12. pacman -S powerpill (powerpill -S from now on when you do big installs/upgrades)
  13. pacman -S alsa-utils alsa-oss

    >alsaconf (detect snd card)
    >run alsamixer as normal user (su – yourusername) to adjust vol(m to unmute)
    >save settings by going back root & run alsactl store

  14. type nano /etc/rc.conf to add alsa & hal: DAEMONS=(hal syslog-ng network crond alsa)
  15. in the following order:pacman -S libgl (you don’t need it if you have a nvidia card) > pacman -S xorg > pacman -S mesa > pacman -S your_video_card
  16. type nvidia-xconfig (if you have a nvidia card), else
    Xorg -configure > # cp /root/ /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  17. enable hotplugging # pacman -S hal dbus xf86-input-evdev xf86-input-synaptics (note:put xf86-input-synaptics only if you use a laptop for your touchpad)
  18. pacman -S openbox obconf obmenu lxappearance
  19. Once openbox is installed, move menu.xml & rc.xml to ~/.config/openbox/ in your home directory:
    # su – yourusername
    $ mkdir -p ~/.config/openbox/
    $ cp /etc/xdg/openbox/rc.xml ~/.config/openbox
    $ cp /etc/xdg/openbox/menu.xml ~/.config/openbox
  20. edit your ~/.xinitrc and add the following:
    exec ck-launch-session openbox-session
  21. YOU’RE DONE. Reboot, login with your user & type startx to access your empty desktop and customize your archbox to your tastes

Now some useful things to get:
-A network manager: wicd
(note: I personally had to ditch xfce4-notifyd for notification-daemon to make wicd work properly)
-If you want to autologin or a login manager
-Install common codecs: pacman -S gstreamer0.10-{{bad,good,ugly,base}{,-plugins},ffmpeg}
-Install flash: pacman -S flashplugin ttf-ms-fonts
-Install java: pacman -S jre
-Install a browser: pacman -S firefox
-Install an editor: pacman -S leafpad
-A file manager: pacman -S thunar thunar-volman thunar-thumbnailers ffmpegthumbnailer thunar-archive-plugin thunar-media-tags-plugin
NTFS write support: pacman -S ntfs-3g
-A disk partitioner: pacman -S gparted
Media swiss knife: pacman -S vlc mplayer smplayer exaile
-An archive program: pacman -S file-roller p7zip
Conky: pacman -S conky
-A taskbar: pacman -S tint2
-A wallpaper manager: pacman -S nitrogen
-An image viewer: pacman -S gpicview
-A screenshot utility: pacman -S scrot
-A volume manager: pacman -S aumix
-A cd burner: pacman -S k3b
-A pdf viewer: pacman -S evince
-A drop down terminal: pacman -S tilda
-A run dialog box: pacman -S gmrun

-Microsoft Office‘s equivalent: pacman -S openoffice-base
-Install e-mail manager: pacman -S alpine
-For your sticky notes needs: pacman -S xpad
-A calculator: pacman -S speedcrunch
-install html editor: pacman -S bluefish
-Install a p2p application: pacman -S frostwire
-Install a torrent manager: pacman -S deluge
-Install a network traffic listener: pacman -S wireshark tcpflow
-Install an HEX editor: pacman -S bless
-A dynamic menu launcher: pacman -S dmenu
-An msn client: pacman -S emesene
-A photoshop-like program: pacman -S gimp
-An ftp client: pacman -S gftp
-A network tool: pacman -S gnome-nettool
-A dvd ripper: pacman -S k9copy
-An audio cd extractor: pacman -S sound-juicer
-A sound converter: pacman -S soundconverter
-A scanner utility: pacman -S xsane
-A chm viewer: pacman -S xchm
-For video conference: pacman -S skype
VirtualBox PUEL
-maybe a windows program loader lol: pacman -S wine (only if your architecture is i686, click here for 64 bit version)

Here’s some tips to setup OpenBox
1) obmenu is a your best friend if you want a GUI to edit the menu. Open in a terminal obmenu and create a shortcut to obmenu itself :D. Now that you have a GUI to edit the menu, the rest is pretty straightforward. Create sub-menus and items to the categories you desire and to your applications. For a complete guide on openbox, check urukrama’s guide. One of the most complete ones for OpenBox. You could also check the wiki about it 😀
2) create an empty file called in ~/.config/openbox in which you’ll autostart the applications you need to have a nice desktop. Here’s my for example:

#to restore the last wallpaper used in nitrogen
nitrogen –restore &
#your nifty network manager
wicd-client &
#your taskbar
tint2 &
#Thunar’s file manager
thunar –daemon &
#conky system monitor
conky -q &

3) OpenBox is pretty light and needs extra applications to do the rest of the job. Like you saw in step 2, there’s some applications you’ll have to autostart to have a comfortable working environment but you could use other alternatives.

  • Besides nitrogen to handle wallpaper, feh is pretty good!
  • I personally prefer Thunar over PCManFM
  • tint2 is nice but another good alternative would be pypanel
  • Conky system monitor is so versatile and so lightweight since it’s text-based but it’s optional to use it

4) It’s a good idea to create a menu item to obconf to change your OpenBox theme and settings. note: put your saved themes in ~/.themes/

5) Another good menu item would be one to open lxappearance to change your window theme & icons. note: put your saved themes in ~/.themes/ and your saved icons packs in ~/.icons/6) Here’s my conky configuration in case you use it:

background yes
use_xft yes
xftfont Sans:size=8
xftalpha 1
update_interval 1.0
total_run_times 0
own_window yes
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_type desktop
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
double_buffer yes
minimum_size 200 200
maximum_width 200
draw_shades no
draw_outline no
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders yes
default_color white
default_shade_color blue
default_outline_color white
alignment top_right
gap_x 12
gap_y 12
no_buffers yes
uppercase no
cpu_avg_samples 2
override_utf8_locale no

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}SYSTEM ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}$sysname $kernel $alignr $machine
File System: $alignr${fs_type}
Mail: $alignr ${execi 300 python ~/.scripts/}

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}AMD Turion(tm) 64 X2 TL-60${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}${cpugraph cpu1}
Core 1: ${cpu cpu1}% ${cpubar cpu1}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}${cpugraph cpu2}
Core 2: ${cpu cpu2}% ${cpubar cpu2}

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}MEMORY ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}RAM $alignc $mem / $memmax $alignr $memperc%

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}HDD ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}/ $alignc ${fs_used /} / ${fs_size /} $alignr ${fs_used_perc /}%
${fs_bar /}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}/home $alignc ${fs_used /home} / ${fs_size /home} $alignr ${fs_used_perc /home}%
${fs_bar /home}

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}TOP PROCESSES ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}${top_mem name 1}${alignr}${top mem 1} %
${top_mem name 2}${alignr}${top mem 2} %
$font${top_mem name 3}${alignr}${top mem 3} %
$font${top_mem name 4}${alignr}${top mem 4} %

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}NETWORK ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}IP address: $alignr ${addr wlan0}
ESSID: $alignr ${wireless_essid wlan0}
Connection quality: $alignr ${wireless_link_qual_perc wlan0}%
${downspeedgraph wlan0}
DLS:${downspeed wlan0} kb/s $alignr total: ${totaldown wlan0}
${upspeedgraph wlan0}
ULS:${upspeed wlan0} kb/s $alignr total: ${totalup wlan0}

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}SHORTCUT KEYS ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}Super+t$alignr Terminal
Super+f$alignr File Manager
Super+e$alignr Editor
Super+w$alignr Web Browser
Super+q$alignr Force Quit
Super+v$alignr Adjust Volume
Super+u$alignr System Upgrade

7) If you use nitrogen as your wallpaper manager, it’s a good idea to create with obmenu an item to change your wallpaper. The command would be: nitrogen /the_dir_of_your_wallpapers/
8) What would be OpenBox without keybindings! You can add/edit keybindings in rc.xml file placed in ~/.config/openbox/. You can get obkey from the AUR if you want a GUI for that. Here’s a keybind example (my favorite one lol):

note:replace terminator with your favorite terminal (ex: roxterm, xterm, yakuake)

Posted by willxtreme at 1:56 PM 2 comments
Labels: #, arch linux, archbang, archbox, archlinux, cruncharch, crunchbang, open box, openbox

Written by qpieus

January 31, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Posted in arch, linux

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Thanks for this how to. I been looking for something similar to Debian’s Perfect Desktop Setup.


    November 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

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