Once you've gotten past the login screen, you will likely be confronted with this as your desktop:
This is Openbox. Now take a minute to let your eyes adjust. I know the visual pizzazz is a bit overwhelming at first. The first thing you may notice is that middle-click brings down a desktop switcher menu and right-click brings down your root menu. The root menu starts off with very few items by default, so the first thing you want to do is add to it. Choose "Terminal emulator" from the root menu, then enter "obmenu".
Now just play with the editor and save changes. Add new items, then fill in the fields for label and execution command (usually the application's name, all lower case). To add a Debian menu with all your applications, install
menu-xdgand then select "Reconfigure" from the root menu. Also, here's a nice video tutorial for adding a dynamic applications menu with icons (must have
build-essentialinstalled). For further creativity, you can add shortcuts for hibernate, logout, restart, and shutdown. Instructions for that are here under "1. Shutdown and reboot with administrative privileges," though it lacks the logout option, which in Openbox is "sudo openbox --exit". That whole guide is a great resource for Openbox in general, so don't miss it.
You can further spruce up your desktop by setting a wallpaper with feh and adding "sh ~/.fehbg &" to your autostart file (see Autostart on Login below). You can manage themes, fonts, and icons with LXAppearance, though you still may notice some things missing, like a taskbar, dock, and desktop icons. And that's the beauty of Openbox. You can add all those yourself, like your own favorite taskbar instead of the one handed to you by the Desktop Environment Gods. Or in low memory configurations, you can stick with the root menu, desktop switcher, and Openbox's Exposé-like keyboard shortcuts, because when push comes to shove that's really all you need.
Now the rest:
Swap Command and Control Keys
CPU Frequency Scaling
Launchers, Docks, and Panels
Other Desktop Tools
Shadows & Transparency
Autostart on Login
If sound isn't working out of the box, there are several steps you can take. First, you need a program that can unmute and change your master volume. For that:
sudo aptitude install alsa-base alsa-utils
alsamixerin a terminal window. If it fails to open the mixer, run the following:
sudo modprobe snd-aoa-i2sbus
and retry alsamixer. If you now succeed in opening alsamixer, add "snd-aoa-i2sbus" to /etc/modules so the module is loaded after reboot. If, however, alsamixer still fails, skip a couple of paragraphs down to the soundcard detection bug.
Now that you have alsamixer open, unmute the Master Volume by selecting it and pressing the "m" key so the label switches from "MM" to "00", then turn it up with the up-arrow-key. Unmute the Headphone and Speaker options if needed, though if you have external speakers plugged in, keep the Speaker option mute to disable your internal speakers. Also, if you see a PCM level, turn it up to 75%. I read in an Ubuntu forum that a PCM level above that gives you distortion.
If you're still not getting sound, try putting "snd-powermac" in your /etc/modules file if you're using an older Mac. Newer PPC Macs like aluminum Powerbooks and such use the "snd-aoa" modules. There's more on that at Ubuntu's PowerPCFAQ, including how to fix a bug that blacklists(!) your snd-aoa modules.
If, however, you still can't open alsamixer you're probably suffering from a soundcard detection bug in the new kernel that seems to afflict mostly iBooks. Your only choices are to compile new kernel modules (detailed somewhat opaquely in this Ubuntu thread) or boot from Wheezy's 3.2.0-4 kernel that doesn't have the bug. The latter is not an optimal choice, and will probably stop working in some future Debian release, but for right now it's the easiest choice. My iBook has Jessie booted with the Wheezy kernel, and everything's working fine. Hopefully the bug will be squashed in the next Debian.
So here's a quick digression on how to install the 3.2.0-4 kernel. If you're upgrading from an old Wheezy install, you should already have it in your /boot directory. From there, you can go to this Ubuntu post detailing how to tell Yaboot to boot into it.
If you don't have it or are running from a clean Jessie install, you need to add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://security.debian.org/debian-security wheezy/updates main
followed by a "sudo aptitude update". Then install "linux-image-3.2.0-4-powerpc" for single processors, "linux-image-3.2.0-4-powerpc-smp" for multiprocessors, or "linux-image-3.2.0-4-powerpc64" for 64 bit processors. Installing this will set it as your default boot kernel, and your previously installed kernel will be labeled "old" (i.e. on the second Yaboot screen, pressing tab will give you boot options "Linux" and "old", Linux being your default kernel and old being your previously installed kernel). The problem here is if a software upgrade automatically installs a newer kernel, that new kernel will become the default and your 3.2.0-4 kernel will become "old". So to fix that issue, go to the previously mentioned Ubuntu post on how to symlink specific kernels and label them in Yaboot, and then to make one of them your permanent default kernel, simply change the order in which they appear in yaboot.conf. Moving your Wheezy kernel section to the top will make it the default. As always, after making changes to yaboot.conf, don't forget to run "sudo ybin -v".
Once you've done all that, comment out or delete the added line in your /etc/apt/sources.list and run another "sudo aptitude update". After a reboot you should be able to open alsamixer.
I should also mention PulseAudio. Friends don't let friends do PulseAudio. But if you must and you experience stuttering or crackling playback, this looks like a solution. Also, if alsamixer shows PulseAudio is muted after every reboot, you can fix it by installing
pavucontrol(a gtk volume control app) and unclicking the mute button under Output Devices.
This section is mostly about Macs with ATI graphics cards since I don't have any experience with Nvidia cards. Go to the Ubuntu PowerPCFAQ for more on Nvidia. Pretty much that entire FAQ applies to Debian, too. The MintPPC forum is also a good resource.
The first thing to do is install
firmware-linux-nonfreeif you haven't already done so. This contains firmware for many ATI cards.
Beginning with Jessie, KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) for Radeon cards is enabled by default. What's more, the latest radeon driver has dropped support for non KMS mode setting, so if you disable KMS because of stability issues, you won't be able to use the radeon driver for a 2D accelerated desktop. Instead, you'll have to settle for the unaccelerated fbdev driver.
So let's focus on getting KMS to work for us first. Some caveats: KMS breaks sleep on PowerPC, and it was never adequately tested on PowerPC so it has stability issues. It is, however, the only way to get 3D acceleration, you can use hibernate instead of sleep, and there are ways to make it more stable.
To first see if KMS is giving you 3D acceleration:
sudo aptitude install mesa-utils
to get the utilities glxgears and glxinfo. Then run:
LIBGL_DEBUG=verbose glxinfo | grep render
If you see "OpenGL renderer string: Software Rasterizer" or "libGL error: failed to load driver: ...", you're not getting 3D. You should see something like, "OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on ATI RV350". Seeing "Software Rasterizer" or other errors means you're suffering from a Mesa default depth bug. As a workaround, you have to either patch the Mesa source yourself or install these already-patched Ubuntu MATE .debs. I've tested the MATE .debs and they seem to work fine. So to install them, unzip the .debs, use the
cdcommand to change your current directory to the one your .deb files are in, and then run:
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
The "*.deb" means the command applies to all files ending in .deb in your current directory. This will downgrade those mesa packages, so afterward you'll want to pin or hold them to prevent aptitude from automatically installing newer unpatched versions when doing an "aptitude upgrade". Instructions for "holding" a package are at this Ubuntu help page (scroll down to "Introduction to Holding Packages").
Now when you reboot, you should have 3D (big sigh of relief). If you experience system freezes or other stability issues (and you'll know within minutes), you need to force PCI mode by entering the following boot parameter at your second Yaboot screen:
Note that's a negative one, and if you've customized your kernel boot options, replace "Linux" with whichever label you set. I've also seen people recommend adding "video=offb:off" to turn off the open firmware framebuffer, but it wasn't necessary on my Powerbook. After testing, you can make these boot parameters permanent by opening /etc/yaboot.conf and adding the line append="boot parameters inside quotes". For example, like this:
image=/boot/vmlinux label=Linux read-only initrd=/boot/initrd.img append="video=offb:off radeon.agpmode=-1"
After you save the file, run "sudo ybin -v" to activate the changes in Yaboot.
Now your Radeon freezing problems should be solved.
There's one issue, though, that no boot parameter will fix. This is the black screen of death. My G3 iBook has this, and I've seen a handful of other reports saying similar things, that on certain Mac models the screen remains backlit but displays as black beginning about halfway through the boot process. Once booting is finished, you can SSH into the machine, but the screen remains black. The only workaround is to disable KMS and boot using the slow fbdev driver. To do that, go into /etc/modprobe.d/fbdev-blacklist.conf and delete or comment out the line "blacklist radeonfb". Then reboot with these boot parameters:
Linux radeon.modeset=0 video=offb:off
These parameters disable KMS and the open firmware framebuffer so that the radeon framebuffer can load. You'll notice, though, that this only gives you 8-bit graphics. In earlier Jessie testing kernels, we could get a 32-bit fbdev desktop by passing the boot parameter "video=radeonfb:1024x768-32@60", but that doesn't work with Jessie's final kernel. My solution was to boot into the old Wheezy kernel with the radeonfb parameter, so go to the Sound section above for the intructions on how to install the old kernel, and then pass this boot parameter on reboot:
Linux video=radeonfb:1024x768-32@60(replacing 1024x768 with your own screen resolution)
With the old Wheezy kernel, this gives me an unaccelerated desktop, but I have 32-bit colors. Running Compton will improve window dragging speed, but expect video playback to be poor. In MPlayer or VLC you'll be limited to X11 video output only.
Finally, I'll leave some things that only apply to Wheezy and Ubuntu's still supported 12.04 LTS:
ATI users first need to install
firmware-linux-nonfreefor required firmware. At this point, Radeon users will have excellent 2d acceleration with the radeon driver, but if you want 3D working there are two ways to do it. First, you can activate KMS by entering the following boot parameters at your second Yaboot screen:
Linux video=radeonfb:off radeon.modeset=1
If this gives you instability issues, you can also force PCI mode by adding "radeon.agpmode=-1" (negative 1). If KMS just doesn't work for you, though, you can try a second method. First, downgrade these four Mesa packages (they're labeled ubuntu but they work the same on Debian):
Download the .deb files, use the
cdcommand to change your current directory to the directory of the .deb files, and then run the following:
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
This assumes there are no other .deb files in that directory (the "*.deb" means the command will apply to all .deb files in that folder). Then reboot, and at the second Yaboot screen enter the following to ensure KMS is disabled:
Now you should have 3D, and you can confirm by installing
mesa-utils, then running:
glxinfo | grep render
As long as the output doesn't say Software Rasterizer, you're good. Now lock the mesa packages to prevent them from updating by following the instructions here (scroll down to "Introduction to Holding Packages"), and make the yaboot parameter permanent by opening /etc/yaboot.conf and adding the line:
append="radeon.modeset=0"(don't forget the quotes)
at the end of the subsections "image=/boot/vmlinux" and "image=/boot/vmlinux.old", etc., and tabbed in like the other lines. Finally, run "sudo ybin -v" to activate the Yaboot changes.
I've never used hardware calibration, but others report that a Pantone Huey works with Gnome Color Manager. In any event, monitor calibration should look good out of the box, but my G3 iBook screen looked a little washed out, so I installed Redshift to warm the color temperature a little bit. The command I used was this:
redshift -O 6200
That's a capital O, not zero. Once I was happy with what I saw, I added the command to my autostart file so it runs on login (see Autostart on Login below).
To get your wireless cards working, you need additional firmware. First generation Airport card users need to install
firmware-linux-nonfree, while Airport Extreme users need
firmware-b43-installer. There's also
firmware-b43legacy-installer, but I'm not clear which cards, if any, require that.
wpasupplicantaren't already installed, do that, too. Then install
wicd, a simple graphical client to set things up. You will also need your wireless interface, which can be found with "sudo iwconfig". It'll usually be wlan0 or eth1.
Next, launch wicd from your Debian menu or with "wicd-client" from a terminal. In preferences, add your wireless interface (as well as your OpenDNS servers I know you're all using 'cause it's good for you). After closing preferences, find your network on the list (you may have to click Refresh), check the "Automatically connect to this network" box, click the Properties button, and add in any preferred IP and DNS settings. Then check the "Use Encryption" box, choose WPA 1/2 (Passphrase), and enter your password. Click OK and you can connect. At some point a network icon should also appear in your panel's system tray.
If you can't get a stable connection with wicd, there are a couple of options. You can reboot and hope the problem magically fixes itself (this sometimes works). You can also disable or uninstall wicd and set up a connection from the command line. Instructions are detailed at Debian's wifi wiki. Basically, the steps are:
sudo chmod 0600 /etc/network/interfaces
wpa_passphrase your-ssid your-passphrase
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
and then add the wireless section detailed in the wiki to the interfaces file. Then execute "sudo ifup wlan0" and your connection should be up, and automatically up after reboot. This may be more stable but not very flexible. There are instructions at this Debuntu page to configure wifi roaming, but first generation Airport cards don't seem to work with it.
Also on the subject of first generation Airport cards' shortcomings, they only support WPA + TKIP router security. They don't support WPA + AES, or WPA2 in any configuration.
PBButtonsd takes care of this. To edit the PBButtonsd config file:
sudo nano /etc/pbbuttonsd.conf
Reading it, it should mostly make sense. The LCD_Brightness line is commented out by default, so uncomment it if you want the setting to carry over on restart. Also, if sleep on your machine is broken, don't forget to change the suspend options here to prevent it.
A few more notes. First, aluminum Powerbook users need to add "i2c-dev" to /etc/modules to get your keyboard backlight keys working. Second, you can install
laptop-mode-toolsto enable pbbuttonsd to spin down your hard drive when on battery, but sometimes the spin down rate is too aggressive and can shorten the lifetime of the drive, so be wary. And third, your screen brightness on reboot will be determined by the LCD_Brightness setting in pbbuttonsd.conf. Your brightness levels changed by the hotkeys won't be "remembered."
And if your hotkeys still won't work and you're about to go insane, try them in conjunction with the fn key.
Swap Command and Control Keys
You can have your command and control keys behave like a Mac's by swapping them. Open a text editor and enter the following text:
remove Mod4 = Super_L Super_R
remove Control = Control_L Control_R
keysym Control_L = Super_L
keysym Control_R = Super_R
keysym Super_L = Control_L
keysym Super_R = Control_R
add Mod4 = Super_L Super_R
add Control = Control_L Control_R
Save the file as .Xmodmap (don't forget the leading dot) in your home directory, then run the command:
The above configuration works on my Powerbook. If the xmodmap command gives you errors, it's probably because you have an iBook which maps its command and control keys slightly differently. This is the text that works on my iBook:
remove Mod4 = Super_L
remove Control = Control_L
keysym Control_L = Super_L
keysym Super_L = Control_L
add Mod4 = Super_L
add Control = Control_L
Once everything works, add the above xmodmap command to your autostart file (see Autostart on Login below). A couple of notes: This will only work in an X session. If you switch to a console, your keys will revert. Also, restarting the mouseemu daemon (like if you change mouseemu's settings) may break this until you rerun "xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap".
To change the tap-to-click setting on your trackpad, you can use, ironically enough, the
trackpadcommand. To turn it off:
sudo trackpad notap
Replace the "notap" with "tap" to turn it on. "man trackpad" gives you all the options. To have your settings carry over after reboot, you can create a startup script with:
sudo nano /etc/init.d/trackpad
and enter these two lines in the new file:
After saving it, you make it executable like this:
sudo chmod 0755 /etc/init.d/trackpad
and then add it to your boot scripts with:
sudo update-rc.d trackpad defaults
You may see a warning about missing LSB information and overrides, but you can ignore it. See this Debian article about removing the script if you no longer want it.
Also, trackpads on later iBooks and Powerbooks can add multi-touch gestures by setting up the "Synaptics" driver. I wrote a post on this for my Aluminum Powerbook.
CPU Frequency Scaling
For x86 users, CPU frequency scaling is handled by the kernel, but PowerPC users need to install
powernowdfor this power-saving feature (extending your laptop's battery and possibly quieting your fans). It adjusts to CPU load, so you won't notice any performance slowdowns, and though the defaults work fine, you can edit /etc/default/powernowd to customize (UPDATE: Debian maintainers removed this from their repositories because..., but reader Eric H pointed me to a powernowd.deb file kept here. You can install by downloading it, then
cdto its current directory, and run "sudo dpkg -i powernowd_1.00-1.1+b1_powerpc.deb").
You can see it working by running:
to display your current CPU frequency, and:
to list available frequencies.
There are a few speed tweaks you can use to improve application responsiveness. First, as mentioned in Part II - Installing the Base System, you should use the mount option "noatime". It should be in your /etc/fstab file as one of the options on your Linux partition. If it's not there, add it. Not doing so will make your hard drive perform slower than it should. Also, there are a couple of things you can add to your /etc/sysctl.conf file. Open it with a sudo nano and add the following two lines at the bottom:
The default values are 60 and 100, respectively. Changing them will make your system less likely to swap to disk until it really needs to. I've seen some people recommend a swappiness value of 10 for desktop users, others say 20. If you're running a server, you should probably stick with the defaults, but desktop users will definitely want to lower them.
Now let's edit our fstab file to auto-mount our Mac partitions on startup. First you need to create mount points like this:
sudo mkdir /mnt/MacOS
sudo mkdir /mnt/Media
These commands create new directories in the /mnt directory called MacOS and Media. You can name yours whatever you want, but these are mine. Then open your fstab file with:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
and add new lines at the end, for each partition you want to mount. In my case, this:
/dev/sda10 /mnt/MacOS hfsplus defaults 0 0
/dev/sda11 /mnt/Media hfsplus defaults 0 0
Put tabs between all the entries, not spaces. You can look up your own partition numbers by running "sudo mac-fdisk -l" (that's -l for list). They're either going to be /dev/hdaN or /dev/sdaN. And if you want read/write access to hfsplus volumes, you need to do a few extra things. First, make sure journaling is turned off on your OS X partition (OS 9 partitions don't have journaling). Then install
hfsutilsand change "defaults" to "rw,user,defaults" in /etc/fstab for your partition. Finally, reboot.
If you still don't have write access, you may need to run fsck.hfsplus (a disk repair utility), so unmount the volume:
sudo umount /mnt/yourmountpoint
while noting there's no "n" in umount. Then run:
sudo fsck.hfsplus -f /dev/sdaN
Finally you can reboot, or remount with the "rw" and "user" options like this:
sudo mount -t hfsplus -o rw,user /dev/sdaN /mnt/yourmountpoint
One last note, you can write to a journaled OS X volume with the mount option "force", not that it's a good idea.
To configure boot options and set which system is the default, you need to edit /etc/yaboot.conf. It's good practice to back it up before editing since making a mistake here can have disastrous consequences, so:
sudo cp /etc/yaboot.conf ~/yaboot-bak.conf
Then open /etc/yaboot.conf in a text editor:
sudo nano /etc/yaboot.conf
Find the main section with options like "timeout" and "enablecdboot". If you're dual booting OS 9 and you don't see macos= (or macosx= for OS X), then add it yourself with the line:
with yourmacpartition found with "sudo mac-fdisk -l". Subsequently, your MacOS will appear as a boot option alongside Linux. To set which OS boots by default after the timeout, add the line "defaultos=macosx" or "defaultos=macos". If you add no line, yaboot will automatically boot into Linux. And about the timeout, if it's too long you can change the value where increments of 10 equal one second. Finally save the file, and this is important, anytime you make changes to yaboot.conf you must run:
sudo ybin -v
for the changes to register. Run that and you're done.
What do we do with a problem like XScreensaver? Its ugly lock screen is stuck in the '90s, and it's kind of entertaining reading its longtime maintainer stubbornly refuse to change it in bug report threads. But it's still ugly and people actually avoid whole distributions that include it by default. My solution is to not install it (See the beauty of building from the ground up?). Instead, I let DPMS take care of powering off the screen; your screen automatically shuts off after 10 minutes of inactivity unless overridden by another screensaver. For a lock screen, I use
slock, part of the suckless-tools package. I also install
xautolockand put the following in my autostart file to activate the lock screen after 30 minutes of inactivity:
xautolock -time 30 -locker "slock" &
Another screen locker with a bit more customization is i3lock. Here's an i3 thread that talks about taking a screenshot, blurring it, and using it as the screen lock image. Cool idea, but read the comments on how to mitigate certain security concerns.
Launchers, Docks, and Panels
If right-clicking the desktop to bring down a root menu isn't your thing, you can add a Quicksilver-like capability with Kupfer. Just like Quicksilver, Kupfer is an application launcher that does much more, like locate and open files, search the web, etc. You can set its preferences to start automatically on login, and it's reasonably lightweight. An even lighter-weight option is
dmenufrom the suckless-tools package.
As far as docks and panels go, LXPanel can be a good approximation for a Tiger dock. By default it looks like a Windows taskbar, but you can transform it in the panel's preferences. There's also Cairo-dock, a more Leopard-like 3D dock, though it's a bit buggy and overweight in features. For a lightweight but slick-looking panel and system tray, Tint2 is the answer to your call.
If you want to go further in achieving a more Mac-like interface, you can add icons to your desktop. There's the PCManFM or xfdesktop way detailed at this Crunchbang wiki, though they may not be satisfactory. PCManFM's desktop is prone to crashing, and xfdesktop copies your files dragged to the desktop rather than moving them (Why? Just why?).
For an alternative, you can try Rox-filer's pinboard. This will give you icons on your desktop, though they're iconified links; the actual files stay in their original folders. You can also add application launchers by dragging their /usr/share/applications/*.desktop files to the desktop. I wrote all about integrating Rox-filer on your desktop if you're interested.
Other Desktop Tools
So you probably want a few more desktop tools, starting with a system monitor. The best choice is Conky. It's very configurable and you can download other people's conkyrc files to tinker with (link to mine at the bottom of this post). Just be aware, other people's battery monitor syntax is usually Intel only, but I posted this solution for PowerPC users.
You don't have Spotlight on your new desktop, but you can get something similar with Tracker. (UPDATE: this uses a ton of CPU, so it's probably not worth it) It's a search indexer that comes with a gui frontend, so install
tracker-guiand aptitude will take care of all the dependencies. The command "tracker-needle" launches the search GUI, and "tracker-preferences" launches the preferences (you may need to enter "tracker-control -s" to start indexing).
Another search program, that has the advantage of not constantly indexing your drive, is Searchmonkey. It's a frontend for
grepand can be quite powerful.
One cool feature OS X users are familiar with is the ability to right-click on a word to bring up a built-in dictionary. Linux users can have this with Artha. An offline dictionary, it runs in the background when you set it as a startup item, and you bring it up by highlighting a word and hitting a hotkey combination. Just make sure to dismiss the window with close and not the quit button, because the quit button will quit the program.
If you want to play copy-protected commercial DVDs, you need to install
libdvdcss2from the Deb-Multimedia repository. If you haven't already, add the repository to your sources list with:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
and add the single line:
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org jessie main
Then run the commands:
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install deb-multimedia-keyring
sudo aptitude install libdvdcss2
Ignore the scary language about untrusted packages and complete the install.
You can make your fonts look nicer, especially in a web browser, by creating a ".fonts.conf" file. Open your text editor and paste in the following:
Then save it in your home folder as ".fonts.conf" (don't forget the leading dot), and when you login again your fonts should look much better.
<?xml version="1.0"?> <!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd"> <fontconfig> <match target="font" > <edit mode="assign" name="autohint" > <bool>true</bool> </edit> </match> <match target="font" > <edit mode="assign" name="hinting" > <bool>true</bool> </edit> </match> <match target="font" > <edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle" > <const>hintslight</const> </edit> </match> <match target="font" > <edit mode="assign" name="rgba" > <const>rgb</const> </edit> </match> <match target="font" > <edit mode="assign" name="antialias" > <bool>true</bool> </edit> </match> <match target="font"> <edit mode="assign" name="lcdfilter"> <const>lcddefault</const> </edit> </match> </fontconfig>
If you've noticed GTK3 applications like Transmission and Abiword aren't following the theming you set in LXAppearance, it's because GTK3 applications aren't compatible with GTK2-only themes. To make everything consistent, you have to choose a theme that is available for both GTK2 and GTK3. Zukitwo is one such theme. Make sure you have its required engines installed, then download it and unpack it to your ~/.themes folder and fire up LXAppearance to choose it. This should automatically insert a gtk-3.0 folder inside ~/.config, but if it doesn't you can add it manually like this (single line):
sudo cp -r ~/.themes/Zukitwo/gtk-3.0 ~/.config/gtk-3.0
Now your theme will be consistent across all GTK2 and GTK3 applications. And a Zukitwo Openbox theme is here, too.
There's also the problem of qt apps like VLC defaulting to the ugly Windows '95 theme, and to fix that you can install
qt4-qtconfig. Its launch command is "qtconfig", and you can have it set all your qt apps to follow your GTK theme or several other choices.
Shadows & Transparency
Want fancy decorations like shadows and transparency? You need
sudo aptitude install compton
Then start it up with:
The -b option runs it as a background daemon. To enable all the effects you want, edit ~/.config/compton.conf, and run "killall compton && compton -b" to test your edits. I've linked to my compton.conf file at the bottom of this post. It creates shadows, background window transparency, and slight menu transparency.
Once you're happy with everything, add it to your autostart file.
Autostart on Login
In order to have "compton -b" (and any other command) autostart on login, you must add it to an autostart file. Openbox's system-wide autostart file is /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart, but your user autostart is ~/.config/openbox/autostart. If it's not already there, create it with:
with a dot before config, and add your text. Mine looks like this:
# swap command and control keys
xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap &
# have Rox draw wallpaper and desktop icons
rox --pinboard=MyPinboard &
# draw the same wallpaper with feh to fix a
# Conky bug.
sh ~/.fehbg &
# warm the color temperature on my washed-out,
# ancient iBook display
redshift -O 6200 &
# shadows and transparency
compton -b &
# automount external devices to /media
# system monitor
# offline desktop dictionary
# system tray volume icon
# run slock after 30 minutes inactivity
xautolock -time 30 -locker "slock" &
# 2s delay ensures tint2 transparency
(sleep 2s && tint2) &
Always add an "&" to the end of every command in this file. Otherwise, programs after it may not run.
One last thing to do, if you have limited disk space, is to clear your aptitude cache. All .deb packages you download are stored there enabling you to reinstall something without re-downloading it, but they're not essential so you can clear them out with:
sudo aptitude clean
And with that, my to-do list is pretty much exhausted. Here are a few screenshots, the first of Openbox's root menu with an applications menu added, and also Conky at the bottom of the screen:
Here's a Synapse launcher in the foreground with Iceweasel and Audacious in the background:
And here's a more Mac-like interface with PCManFM drawing icons on the desktop and Cairo-dock on the bottom:
My GTK theme is FlatStudioLight and my Openbox theme is EasyGray, slightly modded. If you're interested, here's my conkyrc file (for 1024x768 screens), my compton.conf (shadows, background windows transparent, slight menu transparency), my tint2rc (autohide, left side of screen), and two themerc files for EasyGray, one to match the FlatStudioLight GTK theme, and one to match FlatStudioGray.
Next is the final part of this series, "Bugs & Quirks".
Part I - Pre-Installation
Part II - Installing the Base System
Part III - Installing the GUI
Part V - Bugs & Quirks