Dark, light and Openbox

I have suffered an inordinate number of real-world issues over the last week or so, which is why I am doing such a poor job of keeping this page updated.

I apologize for that. But in the little free time I have, I have not been idle. Here are two distros that both focus on lightweight desktop arrangements with Openbox.


On the left is CTKArch, and on the right is MadBox. I believe I heard about these when someone left notes about them here; I apologize if I failed to keep note of who said what.

CTKArch (as you might have guessed) is Arch-based, and is both stylish and well arranged. Many of the tools you would need to manage its look — like panel controls and configuration — are wired into Openbox’s menu, for convenience. I like that.

Similarly, Madbox has a very smooth feeling about it, incorporating everything from conky to network managers and similar tools.

Madbox is Ubuntu-based though, and I don’t see a version beyond 10.10. So that might be on its way, if you are patient.

It’s nice to see Openbox desktops as full-featured distros, mostly because for a long time lightweight window managers had the reputation of being some-assembly-required.

The popularity of things like Crunchbang and company did a lot to change that. No doubt there will be more of these in the future. πŸ˜‰


11 thoughts on “Dark, light and Openbox

  1. John M

    Couldn’t agree more with you more about delighting in seeing Openbox based distros growing in prevalence. I was a pretty staunch GNOME user for about 7 years with a short foray into Fluxbox (which always seemed to be missing something). Then I stumbled across Crunchbang a couple of years ago. Even though other distros share a partition on my hard drive from time to time for curiosity’s sake, I essentially haven’t looked back since. And it’s only gotten better since transitioning to Debian stable, IMO. Think I’m gonna have to give these two a spin as well.

  2. imgx64

    Apparently, even lightweight window managers are unnecessary for some people. no-wm is a bunch of tools that let you “Use X11 without a window manager”. Now that’s lightweight!

    Personally, I would never use such low level interface, but you never know who might might like it..

    1. quigybo

      Haha nice, looks pretty interesting, cheers for the link.

      Matchbox is worth a mention here too, I find it most useful for single purpose machines where you want to run apps fullsceen (some apps don’t play nice with fullscreen when run directly from ~/.xinitrc).

      1. K.Mandla Post author

        I worked with matchbox a long time ago when I didn’t have an appreciation for ultralight systems; maybe I’ll try this again now that it appears a little more appealing.

  3. John M

    So, CTKArch is looking very interesting. Gonna clear off my Bodhi partition and explore it further (kind of moving away from just about everything Ubuntu based these days anyway). Thanks for mentioning it. I might very well have otherwise just glossed right over it had I simply seen it mentioned on Distrowatch.

  4. Pingback: Links 8/5/2011: SimplyMEPIS in the Headlines | Techrights

  5. darkduck

    You posted this just in time. I am writing my own review of CTK Arch at the moment. Will publish in a day or two.
    Nice timing, eeeek!


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