Tile windows in Openbox

This is something I had almost completely forgotten, until I saw this thread this morning in the Gutsy Idea Pool.

Tiling windows is something I loved about Windows systems, and missed sorely when I started using Ubuntu. Forgive me, but I like things lined up neatly and precisely on my desktop, no matter what operating system I’m using. I’m definitely not one of those splattered-desktop Mac-type people.

So for me, to be able to tile windows from the command line would be a wonderful thing. Here’s a teeny little package that will do just that.


Install with sudo dpkg -i; trigger from the command line with tile. Use the --help flag to get information on the tiling options, then throw it into your Openbox menu. Instant tiled windows, as easy as pie. šŸ™‚

A note: Arch users will have to compile from source, but to be honest, that will only take you about 15 seconds. It’s that small. šŸ˜‰

Edit, 08-07-26: The original source link is 404’ing, but an enterprising Arch user uploaded it to an AUR page. Enjoy.


10 thoughts on “Tile windows in Openbox

  1. K.Mandla Post author

    Okay, that’s good. I’m downloading a package and stuffing it away in a corner. When you said it was timing out, I panicked and realized I hadn’t kept a copy. I try to hold on to stuff I like, so I don’t have to keep downloading it.

  2. finferflu

    Yes, you’re right! especially with those small apps. I’m keeping a copy of tile and visibility as well, since it seems it’s disappeared from the net…
    Anyway, one minute after I downloaded the file, the server timed out again, so if you had or have problems downloading, just tell me and I’ll send you the package šŸ˜‰

    By the way, with tile I have a couple of issues:

    1. On OpenBox I have some margin at the top and at the bottom; I have specified those variables in my custom profile, but only the bottom one seems to be recognised. Any similar issue?

    2. It would be nice to un-tile the windows as well, do you know of anything able to do that?

    Thanks! šŸ™‚

  3. K.Mandla Post author

    1. If it’s the new Openbox (3.4.4), there are margin settings in Obconf (I’m sure you know that, though). Aside from that, you might tweak the dock settings, and see if that’s interfering with the margins at all. Those are the only things I can think of.

    I also noticed that the margins only seem to apply if you spawn a new maximized window from scratch. And sometimes it seems like the margin settings are ignored if there are already windows open on the desktop. But that might just be my imagination. šŸ˜‰

    2. Not that I’m aware of. I’ll have to check the help cues for tile; perhaps it will cascade windows too. I’m not sure though.

  4. finferflu

    1. Yes, I do use those margins, but tile seems to ignore them, so I have to set them in the config file, and still they get ignored. I run conky on the top of the screen, visibility and docker at the bottom…

    2. thanks for the effort šŸ™‚

  5. tony

    I have tried tile with openbox, and it always acts as if there is one more window (so, tile with 2 windows, and it leaves an empty space for a 3rd).
    Tile works fine on fluxbox, to a degree.
    It doesn’t offer the 1window/2windows kind of tiling that dwm or other tiling wms does, and the ability, of course, to move the tiled windows around (ie. alt-enter to move a small right side window to the left full height side). If you tile three windows, it tiles all three equally, etc.
    I would just use dwm if java swing guis worked with it, but they don’t (java bug, not dwm bug).
    I may just use Ion3, which is tiled, but also tabbed, which, IMHO, despite having some advantages, renders navigation/window control more complicated.
    Simplicity is really what I’m after.

  6. pytyle

    Check out PyTyle for embedded tiling in any EWMH compliant window manager, especially Openbox. It’s behavior is similar to that of XMonad.

  7. tonybaldwin

    Just to clear things up since my last comment (about a year ago).
    I am using openbox and tile again (for a while I used ion3, and then wmii, which are both tiling window managers, and pretty cool).
    Openbox acted as if there were a third window WHEN, and ONLY when, I was using some form of panel (lxpanel, pypanel, etc.).
    Now, I use openbox without any panels.
    They’re not really necessary.
    I use conky to display relevant system parameters (cpu/mem usage, network stats, and a clock), and that’s it.
    I have enough keybindings configured in my rc.xml that I can bring up my most used programs with a swift alt-key combo, or something, and, of course, openbox has the desktop menu, anyway.
    Here’s a screenshot:
    From screenshots

    Note, tile does seem to ignore the margins set in the obconf (or rc.xml), but middle clicking on the maximize button brings windows back within the margins.

  8. Pingback: Azulejo: Quick window tiles « Motho ke motho ka botho

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s