I’ve seen a few screenshots of ROX-desktop around the Internet, and for fun I decided to put it together myself. This time I tried to cover up my amateur efforts by picking some rather loud wallpaper, as you can see.
This was done in Arch by building the zeroinstall-injector from AUR, and using the ROX-all package that’s available from the ROX web site. This was a plain-Jane installation from the command line, with only the xorg group and gtk2 to hold everything up.
It has a look of its own, which I mean as a compliment. Many of the basic functions of a “desktop” are handled quite fluidly with ROX, and not just file management. Everything from mounting drives to creating desktop icons to arranging custom panels are all looped through ROX-filer, which means generally speaking there’s only one place you have to go to control the environment. The window manager is OroboROX in the photos, although you have the option to use others if you like.
ROX-session will even hotwire your startup files to jump straight to ROX-desktop. And there are definitely enough little doo-dads and whirligigs here to keep you entertained while you learn the ropes. Desktop clocks, weather applets, network monitors, wallpaper switchers and so forth, all aimed at ROX-and-company but probably exportable to other desktops.
This is usually the part where I say something a teeny bit negative, in order to keep the presentation balanced and encourage you to try it for yourself. But to be honest, just about everything I tried with ROX-desktop was snappy and quick, light and comfortable, clear and understandable. And since 99 percent of the setup is handled through some sort of GUI interface, fans of the rodent will dig it.
I do have some advice, if you decide to try it for yourself: See if Debian is any easier to use, as opposed to Arch. There are precompiled packages available on a separate Debian repository, and to be honest, most of what I tried to use in Arch didn’t work, or spewed error messages or needed a distinct and unavailable support. I guess that’s because I started it up without a lot of common underpinnings. You might even want to install it over Gnome, and see if it’s easier that way.
But I liked it. It has its own way of doing things and you can adjust that within comfortable boundaries, if you must. It’s straightforward, quick, light, customizable, intuitive and full-featured. And if you don’t rely on loud wallpaper, it might even appeal to a few other people.