Now using Fluxbox on Ubuntu 9.04

Even though the jury’s still out on my opinion of Ubuntu 9.04 on my laptop, I finally had enough of GNOME today and configured Fluxbox on it and set it as my default window manager.

I’m running into some weirdness with that even, however, which may color my opinion of Ubuntu as a result… things that I’m not accustomed to fighting with when using Fluxbox.

Here are a few examples, just off the top of my head.


  • Can’t permanently disable the touchpad
    This is a problem for me, because any time I am typing on my laptop, I frequently accidentally bump the touchpad at random, which causes the cursor to jump to wherever the mouse arrow happens to be at the time. Needless to say, if I don’t notice it right away, that leads to my typing in the middle of wherever that might be, which can be confusing and frustrating to say the least.

    However, I haven’t been able to figure out how to disable the touchpad. Normally, in Slackware, I just do this in /etc/X11/xorg.conf, but Ubuntu apparently has other ways of doing this. My /etc/X11/xorg.conf is practically empty, which has me scratching my head.

    The only way (so far) that I have discovered how to disable the touchpad is to manually open up the GNOME control panel (which is an item on the default Fluxbox menu, in Applications=>System=>Administration), go to the “mouse” section (where the touchpad “enabled” checkbox is already unchecked) check the “enabled” checkbox under the Touchpad tab, and then un-check it.

    I have to do this every single time I log in, which is tedious and irritating.

  • Mouse-wheeling over the Fluxbox toolbar does not switch workspaces
    Maybe there is something missing from my /~/.fluxbox/init file, but I’m used to being able to switch desktops by scrolling my mouse wheel over the toolbar. Scrolling the mouse wheel over the desktop itself still works for workspace switching.
  • Double clicking on the titlebar of windows does nothing
    Normally, in Fluxbox, if you double click on the titlebar of a window — any window — it “shades” the window by default. That is, it reduces the window to just the titlebar itself, so you can get to what’s under it. However, in Fluxbox on Ubuntu 9.04, (which I installed on this laptop simply by typing sudo apt-get install fluxbox), double clicking on the titlebar of any window simply does nothing.
  • Right clicking on the titlebar of windows does nothing
    Again, normally, in Fluxbox, if you right click on the titlebar of a window, it will give you a menu that has a number of options on it for what you can do with that window: Shade, Stick, Maximize, Iconify, Send to, close, et al.

    However, here right clicking on the titlebar of a window, like the double clicking behavior, does absolutely nothing.

  • No wireless!!!!
    I discovered when I logged into Fluxbox instead of GNOME, I had no wireless connection, and no idea how to start up the wifi process(es).

Next page: Solutions

11 thoughts on “Now using Fluxbox on Ubuntu 9.04

  1. Pingback: How to disable the touchpad in Ubuntu « The Linux Critic
  2. Pingback: Fluxbox on Ubuntu: two more problems, two more solutions « The Linux Critic
  3. These solutions have been a great help! I don’t know what they are thinking not having these things working by default.

    • Well, to be fair, these are mostly things that are running as a part of GNOME. Fluxbox, as a general rule, ONLY does what you tell it to do, and it has no knowledge of things like “nm-applet” (the wifi stack) or “gnome-power-manager”.

      But yeah, you’d think that some base functions would run at startup on any Ubuntu box, regardless of what window manager or desktop environment one is running at the time.

      It’s been frustrating slogging through all of this minutiae in setting up Fluxbox on an Ubuntu box, but now (I think) I have all these little things worked out.

      Glad it helped someone out besides just myself. I made these posts as notes for myself as much as anything else, but I know that SOMEBODY besides me has to be trying out Fluxbox on an Ubuntu setup. 🙂

    • Also, I think that a lot of this is stuff that is normally in the Fluxbox keys file that whomever packaged this for Debian/Ubuntu didn’t bother setting up correctly.

      I suspect that if I’d downloaded Fluxbox from source and compiled it myself, some of this may not have been a problem.

  4. Also, I was sort of annoyed by the fact that you couldn’t move/resize by holding alt and pressing either of the mouse keys, so here’s what you need to add to the keys file to do that:
    For Moving:
    OnWindow Mod1 Mouse1 :StartMoving

    For resizing:
    OnWindow Mod1 Mouse3 :StartResizing NearestCorner (or BottomRight, etc etc)

    • I actually make a point not to do that. I have Diablo 2 Expansion set up in WINE, and holding down the ALT key is used in-game for viewing all dropped items, so I don’t like my window manager subverting that key binding. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Now using Fluxbox on Ubuntu 9.04 | Ubuntu-News - Your one stop for news about Ubuntu
  6. Pingback: Destillat KW35-2009 | - GNU/Linux, Open Source, Softwareentwicklung, Selbstmanagement, Vim ...
  7. Thanks for this post. My problem has been no video or audio with Web videos. You helped me get MP3 audio problems licked. Rhythmbox called for a couple of gstreamer plugins to be added.

    All the audio and video is now working, except YouTube videos hosted on a site other than YouTube, which is strange. But since I can see them by clicking the YouTube link, it’s not a problem.

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