This page describes Fluxbox, what it is, how to use and how to install.


Here is a quick introduction into "What is Fluxbox" and "Why use Fluxbox"

What is Fluxbox?

Fluxbox is a fast, lightweight and responsive window manager for GNU/Linux. It is not nearly as elaborate as GNOME or KDE, but it uses considerably fewer system resources. This makes it uniquely suited for situations where system resources, especially RAM, are very limited. Its menu and configuration is done by simple files located in the user directory under the name ~/.fluxbox.

Fluxbox is for the X Window System based on Blackbox and compatible with it. Fluxbox looks like blackbox and handles styles, colors, window placement and similar things exactly like blackbox. It has support for KDE (see Kubuntu), Xfce and Gnome applications. However, it does not depend on any other window manager.

In accordance with Fluxbox's goal of simplicity, the main menu, the keyboard shortcuts and the basic configuration are all changed by editing text files. Fluxbox's themes are 100% compatible with those of blackbox. Colors, gradients, borders, and several other basic appearance attributes can be specified; recent versions of Fluxbox support rounded corners and graphical elements. Fluxbox also has several features which blackbox lack, including tabbed windows, a feature familiar from PWM, and configurable titlebar.

Why use Fluxbox?

Fluxbox runs very well on few system resources. As such, it is ideal for use on older hardware. (For this reason, it is the default window-manager of DamnSmallLinux distribution.)

Fluxbox's minimalist aesthetic makes for a very efficient working environment; moreover, its window-tabbing feature is an excellent way to minimize clutter and maximize screen real estate. It is easily configurable by editing simple, uncluttered text files. Fluxbox allows users to set their own desktop guidelines, degrees of functionality, and styles. For these reasons, a lot of people use Fluxbox regardless of their system's resources.

Fluxbox can be installed to run in an alternative session to other desktop managers (like Gnome/metacity or KDE). You can have many alternative window managers available from the log-on screen.

Installing Fluxbox

Installation instructions for installing Fluxbox on a default Ubuntu installation. Users wishing to install the absolute minimum should first consult the Low Memory Systems wikipage for instructions.

Install Fluxbox by searching in your favorite package manager


In the Terminal type:

sudo apt-get install fluxbox

Restart the Xsession by logging out, or typing sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart would bring up GDM, and Fluxbox would then appear on the sessions menu.


Fluxbox has been made to be very light on the resources with a basic interface having only a taskbar and a menu (Root Meun) accessible by right-clicking on the desktop. Customization is important to with Fluxbox, but you will not see over bloated dialog boxes, but simple text files, allowing you to change Fluxbox to suit your preferences.

Root Menu

Unlike GNOME, KDE, and XFCE, Fluxbox has no "start" button. To get to the menu, simply right-click anywhere on the desktop. Submenus will expand if you simply mouse over them. To run a program, highlight its entry in the menu and click on it.


Fluxbox has virtual desktops called Workspaces. These allow you to keep projects separate, not cluttering up the desktop with extraneousness windows. For example you can set your music player to another workspace, getting its window out of your way. Turning the mousehweel over any unoccupied space on the desktop will page through the available workspaces. This can be a quick way of flipping from one workspace to the next.

Tabbed Windows

The tabbing mechanism for windows is an unique feature of Fluxbox. You can combine multiple windows into one window with tabs across the top. A control-click on the tab of one windows starts the tab feature, allowing you to then drag it onto the tab of another window. The two windows will appear to merge into a single window, with two title tabs. You can now view each tab within the newly-joined window by clicking on its respective title bar.

Window tabbing is a good way of conserving screen real-estate and reducing clutter. This is particularly useful if you are running an application from a terminal. By tabbing the application with its corresponding terminal window, it is easy to flip back and forth from the debug output in the terminal to the application.

Dock Apps

Another nice feature is Fluxbox's support for docking applications (dockapps). Basically a dockapp runs as sort of an icon with minature display or controls. But not like an icon, more like small controls on a walkman (for example) as opposed to a big dial face of a home stereo. It aims to be lightweight and highly customizable, with only minimal support for graphical icons, and only basic interface style capabilities.

Configuration & Customization

The base Fluxbox install is quite bare. You only have a little taskbar/systray/clock combo at the bottom and the very cool right click menu. Most aspects of Fluxbox can be customized by text files in ~/.fluxbox. ("~" is a shortcut for the current user's home directory). For example, to get the usual networking icon in the taskbar, you can put nm-applet & at the bottom of ~/.fluxbox/startup.

Please see the Configuration & Customization guide for more information.

See Also

External Links

( To do: xcompmgr and transparency howto )


Fluxbox (last edited 2014-09-18 10:49:06 by 175)