Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OpenBox on Fedora 10

I am running a FC5 box which I use as a presentation player sort of using tv out. I thought that gnome was too 'heavy' for the machine with all the other tasks it had to do at the same time. Also for the presentation, firefox + javascript produced a memory monster with crushing attitude.

So I am thinking of going for a minimal installation of FC10 and install the xorg server and openbox as the window manager (standalone) and adobe AIR runtime.

I have set up this system on a virtual pc* and it does great. OpenBox is really lightweight and minimal. It is also very simple to install it.

Install the xorg-X11 stuff you need, that is server, fonts, xinit...
Make sure all dependencies for compiling OpenBox are installed...

Install some more fonts. Well I skipped all fonts which resulted in OpenBox not able to render any text. No harm though, I have installed some fonts using yum and downloaded all the ttf fonts (located in %WINDOWS%/fonts) from an XP machine to /usr/share/fonts. The ttf fonts are much better. After copying fonts don't forget to run fc-cache -fv to rebuild the font cache.

Compile and install openbox.

To run openbox standalone simply edit your /etc/X11/xinit/Xclients (this I feel is fedora specific, different flavours will have different files you need to edit) to make startx use openbox-session as suggested:

below line with STARTKDE=.... :

OPENBOX="$(which openbox-session 2>/dev/null)"

below line with exec "$STARTKDE" :

elif [ -n "$OPENBOX" ]; then
exec "$OPENBOX"

you may add commands in ~/.config/openbox/austart.sh you wish to run when openbox starts.

run Xorg -configure to get an initial conf file, copy it and adjust it as required.

Now try startx. You should be presented with the absolute minimalistic default background and nothing more! Try right clicking the mouse to access the context menu.

I have installed the AIR runtime which I will use to do the presentation from now on. You just need to install gnome-keyring first however AIR will install nicely with no problems. I have also installed the flash plugin and tried out ebay desktop with success.

To autologin read this and to autostart x use start x in .bash_profile for bash.

I believe openbox is ideal for cases like mine but I can see how a fully customized installation can be very impressive for any use.


* Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 + fedora core 10: You need to push the option vga=791 in order to get a proper display. Add this to /boot/grub/menu.lst next to the kernel row to make it permanent. Remove the quiet parameter. Also for X you need to edit the xorg.conf in /etc/X11 and set the display depth to 16.
Also if you get the "Could not detect stabilization, waiting 10 seconds" boot message update mkinitrd and follow the instructions to rebuild the image.
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