Fan of Blackbox Window Manager?


Are you also a Fan of Blackbox?

In Unix computing, Blackbox is a stacking window manager for the X Window System.
Blackbox has specific design goals, and some functionality is provided only through other applications.
Blackbox is written in C++/C. It was created by Bradley T. Hughes and is available under the MIT License.

Features of the Blackbox window manager include:

  • A stacking window manager
  • Written in C++
  • Freely available under the MIT license
  • Compliance with the Extended Window Manager Hints Specification
  • Titlebars have minimize, maximize, and close buttons
  • Support for simple themes
  • Support for color changes
  • No support for desktop shortcuts

I really like Blackbox because it takes much much less memory than any other WMs.
My users love it ! They say it is all there, simple to use.
Once you install "menu", then it gives also a cool menu for applications.

There is all what you need to work, just install it...

Are you too a fan of Blackbox?
I've not used it, and I am intrigued, but the last release was 2005, the wiki was last updated in 2010...
Do you know if anyone has forked it or is maintaining it outside of the Sourceforge repository?
Do you know if anyone has forked it or is maintaining it outside of the Sourceforge repository?
Fluxbox is visibly Blackbox's progeny. It had Blackbox code early on and is visually similar.

If only the Gnome project did that with Gnome 2.20. We would all have a very robust portable DE by now ;)
Yeah, many big projects are affected by featuritis and reinventing the wheel syndrome. For some reason, they have a strong, almost irresistible, urge to add new (usually useless) stuff, support the latest popular "standard", and every few years they have to redesign the interface and/or rewrite the entire thing from scratch.
No support for desktop shortcuts
I've used Fluxbox a lot and you can change desktop with Ctrl-F1 etc. I don't know if you call that a shortcut, but I've got a Gnome installation that can't even manage something that useful and important. That box will probably get Blackbox or Fluxbox on the next major updating.
Fluxbox is bloated, slow and today takes a vast amout of memory for what it does in comparison.

Blackbox is efficiently programmed, clean and has a strict selection of features, selected/only targeted to WM efficiency.
Blackbox is stable and is designed to work, and work well.
Yeah, I'm a bit confused there too. Stacking and floating window managers are two terms for the same thing.
I used to love blackbox in conjunction with blackbox keys, then went to fluxbox and from there to openbox. I don't have any machines where any of these make great demands on resources. Heh, I see I have an old page on blackbox. Wow, I see that I'm complaining about Windows XP in there, back in the days when MS first began making it difficult to use a single serial number on more than one machine. It's too dated for me to put the link, I should either redo it completely or take it down. Ah, when I was young.... (sorry, it just seemed a perfect place to use the usually forbidden ellipses).

Anyway, my choice if resources are really low is dwm, but that's a tiling manager. Another low resource stacker is evilwm. The one that OpenBSD has by default is another choice, cwm.

What most of these have that blackbox lacks, without extensions,is the ability to manipulate windows by keystrokes. With blackbox, when I used it, you needed bbkeys to do it. I like have the ability to move windows around on screen without needing the mouse.

Openbox is a stacking window manager. Other low resource stackers are cwm and evilwm both of which give you the ability to move windows around with keystrokes.
As far as I know, for Blackbox, you need to add bbkeys to be able to do that.
Fluxbox is bloated, slow and today takes a vast amout of memory for what it does in comparison.

I suppose a guy has to make a living, but I haven't paid a penny to use it the last 12 years and is all I use on my machines. What, in your opinion, makes you think Fluxbox is slow or bloated?

This is its output from top:


55883 jitte         1  20    0    80064K  7976K  select  0   1:36    0.00% fluxbox

It has 34 dependencies, Blackbox does only have 15, but does plainly state it's based on BlackBox:

The styles I use are just some I found online and modified to suit my taste but the menu doesn't use any icons or graphics and snaps open immediately as I right-click on the desktop. I've posted a plethora of screenshots in that thread of my boxen using it and always with a shot of the menu open.


  • 8ball.txt
    5.8 KB · Views: 358
Fluxbox is bloated, slow and today takes a vast amout of memory for what it does in comparison.
As a fan of vintage computing, I know what you mean by vast amount of memory. I have quite a few machines with 640K of RAM - but I wouldn't consider running FreeBSD on those. :) Seriously, we all have vast amounts of memory these days and hardly anybody even considers a desktop system of under one or two GB such as you might find in a 10 year old system.