Fluxbox vs Openbox, chaotically compared

Patients: FB + lxpanel + (nitrogen, compton)  vs OB + tint2 + (nitrogen, compton)

I installed Vsido 3. And there is really nothing new to nag or praise over (see review-like of ver 2). ... Only change worth to mention is that Fluxbox is now sole installed WM. See release announcement.
Means - not a big excitement - but, for squeezing some profit out of my install, I spent some (many) hours poking in Fluxbox and comparing it to my beloved Openbox. Here are results:

## lxpanel vs tint2

0 Takes less recourses. But who cares about 10-20 megas of RAM. I don't ... if we talk of two different environments.
Appearance is markedly less configurable than tint2.
+ At the same time, you can get those fewer options in nicy right-click-on-panel menu.
+/- has panel plugins, tint2 doesn't. How useful they are ... depends on use, and if they function (in Vsido, at least, pagers refused to work. One of them demanded Openbox, other simply crashed the panel). There are bunch of system and hardware monitors - but those would look better in Conky. There is show/hide desktop plugin ... which can be considered useful or not. There is volume control and clock - which are useful alright. I have clock in Conky, though...
+ can create more panels from menu. In tint2 you have to start separate tints for that.
Conclusion: Lxpanel wins in ease of usability. Tint2 wins in looks and flexibility.
I quite like lxpanel - but no swap, I stay with tint2.

## FluxBox vs OpenBox
FB one , two; OB one, two.

- dragging windows's around is strange ... sluggish - cursor moves, but window lags way behind. When releasing mouse button, window jumps. Never observed suchlike in OB. Googling also gives not-a-few mystery lag-problems. No solutions, though.
- window resize is only possible from bottom grips.
- certain theme changes need FB restart. And that's quite annoying - one starts to look for (unexisting) over-rides and ...$$%^$ ... so on.
+ apps' window positions, dimensions, workspaces etc etc: Compared to OB, FB has upper hand here - more options, and those are easy to use by right-clicking window title... plus editing files. There isn't such right-clicky-thing in OB. It is bloody convenient thing to have.
- themes: fewer configurable options. There is 'window.roundCorners' parameter (no such thing in OB) - but this 'roundness' is so pixelated that it looks like major crap.
+ themes: Has ~/.fluxbox/overlay file where it's possible to define your default fonts. Over-rides themes' parameters and gives consistent text-look when using different themes.
+ Menu creation: Manual way is definitely syntactically shorter than in OB. And maybe FBs' menu editor is a bit better than Obmenu.
+ Tabs  - there isn't such thing in OB. However, how needed the feature is, depends again on way-of-use.
0 Wallpaper and changing it. Not an important theme at all - but I decided to investigate/install. Here, both WMs have to use helpers - as they are not DEs.
    Fluxbox first: One way is here.   Then Wally, it's GUI and can get pictures from different sources. Wally needs qt4 installed.
Fluxter: different wallpapers in workspaces plus pager - but it's dead code. That was precisely only way I managed to get it compiled and working. Different wallpapers for workspaces can be set also - and more easely - with FB changeworkspace entry and fsetbg or feh.
    OpenBox wallpapering: with those links here, you can find a bunch of different scripts for random change and/or for different desktops. ...Wally is not OB compatible, though.
AND - I also committed myself with this - see here, a story, with code!
0 Slit, dock-like thing, needs specific dockable apps (above-mentioned fluxter is one). Googling leaves the impression that it's essentially dead. So no pluses or minuses here.

As I have noticed, there are people who salivate very much over FBs Tabs - so that might be the only real winning feature of FB - if you happen to like/use it. Right-click-title-menu is nice...
At the same time, at least for me, window-drag-lag and bottom-grip-resize are quite unpleasant. I don't use Tabs (honest, I thought about it - and no, I don't know why I should).
Add fancy refresh problems with themes... leads to: No, I am not going to swap to Fluxbox. But it certainly is the second best WM after Openbox.
Merry Christmas.


Anonymous said...

I realize no one may care at this point, but I have some reasons for still using fluxbox. More than other WM's I have found, it seems geared toward making the most out of small desktops. The tabbing does that (I regularly use several terminal windows for embedded development setups and simply overlapping them with tabs is a big plus). Also, the feature to shrink unused windows to just the title bar is very useful too. In some ways I prefer this to docking or shrinking to the title bar.
My laptop has a 14 in screen (I don't like to lug huge laptops around) and FB makes very efficient use of the screen real estate. I tried Openbox but didn't find it quite as convenient on small screens. I also didn't like the menu setup - I found adding or restructuring the menus in FB to be dead easy.

Player with Linux said...

Right - WM according to needs. I am 23" desktop user, so not very much space worries. Though - I also tend to open several terminals. And when it gets up to five then I occasionally seek help from Tint...
You are correct about menu - it is easier in FB. Only thing that makes OB menu less stressing is that I have my default file of it, and when I distro-hop (or something), then there would be only minor fixes.
Anyway - Fluxbox IS good. :)

Anonymous said...

Been using Fluxbox happily for over 10 years, on a huge variety of machines/distros, and have never encountered "window-drag-lag". Something odd about your setup?

Player with Linux said...

Probably Nvidia binary driver + Compton. Had some rare lags (fixable) in Openbox too, with apps (urxvt...). As I do not wan't part with either culprit - I suffer. :)