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 Installing Fluxbox on SUSE Linux

Fluxbox is a window manager for X. You may be familiar with KDE or GNOME, Fluxbox serves a similar purpose. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, head back; you aren't ready for for this yet.

Fluxbox on SUSE ScreenshotWhat makes Fluxbox different is that it is very small and loads very quickly. It is based on another, smaller window manager for X called Blackbox. Fluxbox is stripped of the "bells and whistles" you find in KDE and GNOME. I would not recommend it for people brand-new to Linux, but if you have at least a little Linux knowledge and would like to skip the often slow performance of KDE, I suggest at least giving it a try. It is very easy to install and it will not "mess" with any of your KDE, GNOME, or other settings. If you find you don't like it, just uninstall and you'll never know the difference.

 Get Fluxbox
The first thing you'll need to do is download it. You can get the SUSE RPM here. If you are looking for a pre-compiled package of Fluxbox for a different distribution or version of SUSE, just search for it.

Update: I now strongly suggest using Pascal's (Guru) Fluxbox RPM over the other methods described on this page when installing on a SUSE box. His package installs additional directories and files (such as a startup file) in your ~/.fluxbox directory that can make using fluxbox much easier. You can get this, and his other fantastic RPMs here (just replace "10.0" with the version of SUSE you are using).

Update II: It looks like Michael Scherer is the new Fluxbox RPM maintainer for SUSE. You can get his goodies here.
...end of updates...

I wanted to compile my own, so I got the source and created my own RPM. This method is also very simple (explained below), even for fairly new Linux users. You can get the source on the Fluxbox site; just get the latest Devel (0.9.13 as of 5 May 05; despite the "Devel" name, these releases are rock-solid).

A third way to aquire and install Fluxbox (and other Linux packages) is with APT. Simply using the command apt install fluxbox. You can learn more about installing and using APT for SUSE here. Thanks to Richard Bos for pointing out the APT method!

Fluxbox Marble Logo Install
If you are going to use the RPM, just install with YaST.

If you are going to compile the source, make sure you have the usual compiling packages installed, including the following: fontconfig-devel, imlib2-devel, and xorg-x11-devel (or XFree86-devel on some SUSE/Linux machines).

Extract the contents of the tarball and ./configure. Type ./configure --help to see all the options you have. I suggest that when you configure you use ./configure --enable-kde --enable-gnome; this will give you enhanced integration of KDE and GNOME applications. Do some reading at the Fluxbox site to learn more about what configure options are available.

After the configure, do a make. Once the make is complete, you can do a make install to install it directly, or make a simple RPM using this method (here is the KDE and GNOME enabled 0.9.12-1 SuSE 9.1 i686 rpm I made using that method, and here is 0.9.13 for SUSE 9.3).

I first used the RPM I found and when I discovered it wasn't configured with KDE support, I removed it then installed from source. If you find yourself in a similar situation, delete the .fluxbox folder in your home directory (after the uninstall, before the reinstall) so that it won't conflict with the new installation.

 Try it Out
KDMAssuming you haven't deviated too far from a default SUSE installation, you should be able to log out, at KDM (or whatever you're using) go to "Menu -> Session Type -> Fluxbox", log in, and there you go.

Right-click on the desktop to get started customizing and playing with Fluxbox.

 Getting Help
I have installed Fluxbox on about five different machines, each having run a few different versions of Linux and Fluxbox, and had about 3 problems total, mostly from needing to install a devel package, or some other minor issue. Each was easily resolved by searching for the error I was receiving. Do yourself a favor and RTFM (available in several languages and formats) and read the FAQ. There are also forums available, but they seem to have more questions asked than answered. The Fluxbox Wiki and #fluxbox on freenode are also great places to look for guidance.

I had a hard time getting antialiased fonts to work. I installed imlib2-devel and recompiled, then it worked. The eminently helpful akira pointed out that these things are unrelated. An alternate possibility is that it was xft-devel (which is related to antialiasing) that I was missing.

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