ROX-desktop and some very loud wallpaper

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. 😀


13 thoughts on “ROX-desktop and some very loud wallpaper

  1. gullars

    I have to say that I really love it when I get to read abot another window
    manager or some cool console tools in your blog kmandla, it is one of the things
    that I love doing when I get up in the morning, so keep up doing a good work 😉
    I have to check out rox, I’ve been on a wm-run lately just went from awesome to
    wmii, shortly in ratpoison and now I am using musca, it is really nice, I have
    meen looking for a good stacking manager lately just for fun, evilwm looks cool,
    and I would love to find something kind of oldschool and special, twm is nice,
    cde looks special, but I haven’t managed to get it to start yet, wah, but I’m
    rambling on, just wanted to say thanks, and that I really enjoy the reading 😉
    keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Bryan

      If you like musca / wmii / awesome, you’ll probably be okay with evilwm. My problem with evilwm was that I missed the tiling. Sure it was nice to control a floating WM with keyboard shortcuts (without having to bind them yourself, like in openbox), but it felt silly to have some of the pros of tiling and most of the negatives of stacking. It wasn’t half bad though.

      Back on topic, I tried rox-filer a while back (like…years ago) and I didn’t like the navigation paradigm. I’ll have to try it again, if I can get it working on FreeBSD. Thanks for the once-over. 😀

      1. gullars

        Yeah, I don’t think that I will leave musca I’m more just testing things out for fun, I have a compiz standalone + gnome-do, bloatpack going on crunchbang for using when doing skype with my girlfriend, somehow I don’t get archlinux to recognize my laptop’s webcam, and I installed more or less all the windowmanagers that I could find in arch just to play around with them, but no, I can’t really find any that can fight against musca in speed, ease and productivity.

        so what I have going now is the wm that I am usually running musca, then I have pekwm, twm, fluxbox, openbox, blackbox, evilwm, cwm, afterstep, windowmaker, wmii, i3, ratpoison, stumpwm and sawfish that I managed to get to run.
        I tried sithwm, windowlab, samurai-x and various others too, but didn’t get them to run or compile on my archbox as of now.

        1. Igor

          Try scrotwm and may be you’ll like it.
          “Scrotwm is a small dynamic tiling window manager for X11. It tries to stay out of the way so that valuable screen real estate can be used for much more important stuff. It has sane defaults and does not require one to learn a language to do any configuration. It was written by hackers for hackers and it strives to be small, compact and fast…”

          1. gullars

            If you would have read my comment you would have seen that I have tried out i3 I
            didn’t really like it, to me it was just like wmii, but it had more confusing
            keybindings, and I didn’t feel like rebinding all the keys.

            I just tried out musca’s stacking mode, and it is just like evilwm… …without
            the nice keyboard shortcuts, but I guess that stacking is for using the rodent,
            so that shouldn’t be too bad.

            I haven’t been trying out scrotwm, it seems to be quite a bit like musca, and I
            am very content with musca as it is, it is really small and simple, and does
            what I want with sane defaults 😉 another thing that I like with musca is the
            manual tiling, some programs like skype opens windows that I don’t care for at
            all, and those I can just hide away, it makes me able to tile up windows just as
            I want, and it doesn’t really help when I have to fight against the
            windowmanager, it seems like musca just does what it should, lets me do what I
            want, and then keeps out of the way 😉

            yesterday I was trying out cvm, afterstep and windowlab again, but well, the
            lack of tiling makes them less appealing to me.

  2. Adrian

    Is it possible to beautify it to some extent? As in, different icon theme, not so ugly borders, ..

    Openbox and Gnome have spoiled me when it comes to theming..

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Yup. I didn’t try too hard in those departments, but I did notice that the old Salsa icon theme, which was leftover from my attempt to resurrect Fluxbuntu, was one of the options shown in the preferences menu.

      And if you use a window manager other than OroboROX, you can customize it as you are used to. Openbox is an option through the rox-all package, but it’s a little out of date. 😉

  3. Mark

    You can “borrow” themes from XFWM4 to expand the options for OroboROX (older themes work better). The Weather applet doesn’t work as the author has never gotten round to changing the SOAP (the provider he was using has changed its terms of service). I use the XFCE4 plug in, which has been adapted by this chap

    Other than that it’s nice to see my favourite DE get some attention from someone people actually pay heed to 😀

  4. Duncan Snowden

    It’s been a while since I used the full ROX desktop (although you’ll have to pry ROX-Filer from my cold, dead hands), but I seem to recall that OroboROX is themable with pixmaps. Icons, you can use whatever’s installed for GTK, although the Filer toolbar is a little tricky since it uses some non-standard ones. (It’s slightly annoying that the Filer display itself doesn’t inherit GTK icon settings; you have to choose them with the program’s own Options window. But you can still use any installed GTK icon theme.)

  5. Pingback: FOX Desktop and some graphical apps « Motho ke motho ka botho

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