mint fluxbox 11 – kind of

So as there seems to be no official upcoming mint fluxbox 11 I decided to see if I could somehow reproduce the experience.

So why if mint fluxbox 9 is so cool (and it is) would I want to change to mint 11? Well, the main two motivations were:
1. I wanted to install the kernel 2.6.38-8 as this includes finally the driver for my built-in SD card on my acer netbook and I did not want to mess around doing this myself.
2. I was getting sick of not finding the latest version of so many packages in the standard mint/ubuntu repositories which meant adding loads of launchpad ppas – so many that I had lost track of which ones I still needed.

To begin with I thought that I would simply take the newly released mint 11 and stick with gnome but with only an atom processor in my netbook and having been used to fluxbox’s speed from mint fluxbox 9 I just could not stand how long everything took. Don’t get me wrong it is a LOVELY release. Smoothly done but it is almost as slow as windows on my netbook.

So I looked in the repository and there I found the latest and greatest fluxbox 1.3. Installed it and made a few tweaks (see below) and it just seems to work.

Note: this will probably not work quite so smoothly for newcomers to fluxbox but if you were already on mf9 and kept your home directory and don’t mind manually updating your menus then this should work.

After fluxbox is installed logout and then login again – at the login screen at the bottom choose fluxbox instead of gnome and bam you are running fluxbox.

So the new tweaks I had to make to get fluxbox working were:
1. install tint2, leafpad, xfce bits and pieces, volumeicon, gsimplecal, galculator, conky and whatever else you like and was not installed in the gnome installation
2. optional cos I like things fast AND pretty: I changed the font in the menu:
edited: /usr/share/fluxbox/styles/zimek_green/theme.cfg
menu.frame.font: DejaVu Sans-11:Book
menu.title.font: DejaVu Sans-12:ExtraLight
3. I had a small problem as all of my windows when maximised would cover up my tint2 menu – so looked in the tint2 FAQ and had to use a setting to stop maximising over the menu – I added the following to .tint2rc:
panel_layer = top
strut_policy = follow_size
I have no idea how this worked before in mf9 as I was using the same .tint2rc but I guess something Kendal did somewhere else made this work automatically. 😉
4. cleaned up my fluxbox startup and as some mint specific scripts are missing added the following early in the script:
xrandr –screen 0 -s 1024×600
fbsetbg -f /usr/share/backgrounds/linuxmint-katya/curve.jpg
note: you need to swap in your resolution and fave background

The only thing I have yet to get working is to get the menu quit to work. So my workaround right now is to click on run and type in “sudo shutdown -r now”.

So, now I have fluxbox running in mint11 with the option to jump into gnome if I feel like it – yes I just left gnome setup as per default – on this netbook I don’t have disk space issue and sometimes there are some tools in gnome which I want to go back to so might login. Also, if I manage to screw up my fluxbox settings in the future I can always use gnome as a failsafe login.
I know there is a lot of duplicate stuff now installed but like I said an extra GB of hard disk usage does not overly concern me. If this concerns you then go ahead and deinstall all of the stuff from gnome you don’t need.

Happy hacking.


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