Originally Published: Saturday, 6 May 2000 Author: Jessica Sheffield
Published to: enhance_articles_desktops/General Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Blackbox: Not Your Daddy's Window Manager

The Blackbox web site lists as features of Blackbox a small code base, minimal resource usage, a fast, simple interface, built-in graphics class, near complete ICCCM compliance, and support for multiple desktop environments.

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Blackbox was begun as a side project by Brad Hughes, a member of the Amarillo Linux Users' Group. Brad started coding on Blackbox while using WindowMaker as his window manager, deciding he wanted something that took up less memory. The current version of Blackbox available is 0.51.3.1.

Anthony Deaver, aka Bishop, project manager for bb.themes.org, told me, "Blackbox has a small code base, speed, internal rendering of graphics on the fly... instead of loading a pixmap or other image to create title bar colorings, Brad wrote code into bb to do it. It saves on memory and speed. BB usually has the smallest memory footprint of any window manager."

I asked several people their reasons for using Blackbox. Bishop said, "Mostly because my main machine is a laptop that only does 800x600... using any other window manager eats up too much screen real estate. BB is minimalistic when it comes to on-screen eye-candy." Several members of #blackbox on irc.openprojects.net cited stability as the main advantage. inferno77 said, "I have used all the common window managers. I have been able to get them all to crash... except Blackbox. Even the alpha versions. That is why I use Blackbox now. It reflects the stability and integrity originally intended in Linux." cthulhain added, "Blackbox works because it's minimalistic... it's not loaded with unneeded features, it just manages windows and makes things look nice."

There is a qt-based graphical configuration utility for Blackbox called Toolbox available online. Other tools for Blackbox can be found at http://bbtools.windsofstorm.net/.

The Blackbox web site lists as features of Blackbox a small code base, minimal resource usage, a fast, simple interface, built-in graphics class, near complete ICCCM compliance, and support for multiple desktop environments. Pax from #blackbox on openprojects sums it up: "Blackbox is elegant, very efficient, incredibly stylizable, and easy-to-use!"





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