Sunday, August 14, 2016

bunsenlabs and the tao of openbox

BunsenLabs Linux ships with a nice Openbox set-up and a great collection of apps and tools (see: "two community projects"). Of course, one of the most fun things about Openbox (and, Linux in general) is personalizing your installation to suit your own tastes.

I did a fresh installation of BunsenLabs "Hydrogen" using an updated (as of July 10 2016) image I found at the BunsenLabs Installation page (see the "Downloads" section). Here's another shot of the default desktop:

I added a few of my favorites, including chromium, spacefm, geeqie, xfce4-terminal, inxi, and the menu package (for the Debian menu). I edited the tint2rc file, putting in a different set of application icons, darkening the panel a bit, and adding the date to the panel's clock area. I increased the number of workspaces from 2 to 3, removed the conky, changed the cursor theme, and added my own set of wallpapers to choose from.

With no apps running, my desktop now looks like this:

The BunsenLabs folks put so much obvious care into their default Openbox menu that users can get along just fine without changing it; but, who can resist starting up the GUI Menu Editor (aka "obmenu") and having some fun with it? To make things a little more convenient for me, I changed a few menu entries and added a few submenus.

Some shots of my revised Openbox menu in BunsenLabs "Hydrogen", with three new submenus added:

As a result, some apps have entries in multiple places in the menu; I'm okay with that.

I'm very impressed with this distro. The actual installation time for me, after partitioning the hard drive and before post-installation set-up and tweaking, was only about 15 minutes. A look at three of the default submenus -- the Preferences, System, and Help submenus -- gives an idea of the many tools and links you'll find:

Those Openbox-lovers who like something based on Debian Stable, along the lines of our wonderful (but now defunct) CrunchBang, will want to download the latest image and try the "Hydrogen" release in a live session to get a taste of what BunsenLabs has to offer. Don't be fooled by this (apparently) under-appreciated distro's (current) low "page hit ranking" at DistroWatch; BunsenLabs, overall, looks like one of the finest, most intelligently-designed projects out there right now, and has quickly become one my favorite distros to use.

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