Crazy Ubuntu and getting Openbox running


OK, I mentioned before that Dann convinced me to try Openbox. Well I have been digging it so far, but I have found a couple other issues with using it under Ubuntu.

I had been switching to it all along after having my laptops already running, so I didn’t notice until this weekend that when you switch to Openbox as your default windowmanager you lose your network connection. You see, normally Ubuntu has Gnome or KDE start network manager, which starts your network up. Well, being too smart for my own good, I decided that I would just slap the info I needed into the /etc/network/interfaces, where I know Debian and Ubuntu hides that stuff. I told it to start my wireless interface and get an address via dhcp, and I was off and working on the rest of my problems (but this is not the last time I would visit this one).

The next issue I ran into was without gnome or KDE beforehand, how do those Openbox guys get their background going. Well, after trying several programs like feh, etc., I decided I could just get gnome’s settings daemon to do it and then at least be able to keep my background between windowmanager switches more easily.

Then, I found that mysteriously my network connection would just drop. It was a random thing, but quite irritating. After mucking about with it for almost a day I decided that I didn’t remember having my connection go down under Gnome, but it was now under Openbox. I decided to reverse my prior network change and just have Gnome handle it for me.

I dig a bunch of digging into this to see what other people were doing, and they were doing the same as I. How do they get all this going? Well, they put it into the ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh file. This is, by the way, he file you would use to get anything to autostart in Openbox. So let’s take a look in mine:


gnome-settings-daemon &
gnome-power-manager &
nm-applet --sm-disable &
gnome-volume-manager --sm-disable &
$(sleep 20 ; conky 2>/dev/null 1>/dev/null) &

I put the Gnome settings daemon in there to control my background and screensaver, etc. The gnome power manager in there on recommendation of several websites. It manages suspending, hibernation and screen blanking, etc. The nm applet is the one that controls my networking. Putting this in here started my network right up and keeps it working too. The volume manager should control auto mounting, etc., but I have yet to get it to do anything when I insert a cd. Further research required there. And last but certainly not least, I start up Conky, which displays my date/time (and now battery status). You’ll notice the 20 second sleep command before starting Conky, and that is to allow the gnome-settings-daemon enough time to set the background before Conky starts. If it happens any other way, Conky and gnome have a battle royal over desktop background control and the background/Conky will blink on and off several times before one becomes the victor.

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