Using Openbox as your window-manager in Xfce

I’ve always preferred to use the best tool for the job such as Xfce and Openbox.
I find Xfce to be the best all round desktop environment and can’t fault it at all, but wanted to merge the awesome experience that Openbox gives in regards to a lightweight window manager.

So, how exactly do you use Openbox on Xfce and still use the application finder, whisker menu and other xfce items…here’s how.

First, amusing you have both Openbox and Xfce installed, log into your Xfce session. Open “Settings Manager” and go to “Sessions & Startup”.

On the “Session” tab there should be an entry named “xfwm4”, go ahead and select it and on the bottom right click “Quit Program”.

Then you will see everything go a little haywire because we just killed the window manager, that’s normal. Now we are going to start the Openbox window manager that is in my opinion, much better because it can be customized via a text editor; ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml in case your wondering.

Open a terminal and enter “openbox –replace & exit”, which will load the Openbox window manager. If you restart now, the default Xfce session will load. So, we need to make sure to save the session inside the “Session” tab we should still be in. On the bottom left, click “Save session” and close the settings manager.

Xfce running with Openbox window manager

We can now restart or log out, whichever you prefer.

And as you see, Openbox is now the window manager.

Some key bindings will be doubled up between Xfce and Openbox, so make sure you check your config file and keyboard settings.


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