OPENBOX HOME

OPENBOX DOCK

wmdrawer    autostart
The last item on the Obconf menu (GUI for Openbox Window Manager) is Dock, which is a special container for prebuilt applets, which include panel trays, menus for launching applications and a multitude of applets for showing system behavior. It is similar to Docker, the docking application built for the minimalistic Window Maker window manager, whose history goes back to 1997. After many years of rest, new versions of Window Maker have recently arisen from the ashes. Accompanying this rebirth has been a renewed interest in Docker applets. Many of these applets, mini-application launchers, will go right into the Openbox Dock container, sufficiently so that their use can render the need for panels, Conkies and conventional menus unnecessary. They are also quite colorful and as such can be offered up to quiet the critics who say Openbox is so aesthetically dull. The purpose of this artical is to present some of the better wmdocker applets that work for a Debian-based Openbox.

Among these applets stalonetray, wmdrawer, wmmount and wm-logout deserve special attention. Stalonetray is a stand-alone tray that works well inside the openbox dock and in other window managers as well. It is very configurable and has its own configuration file. After installing stalonetray, you need to extract an example configuration file from /usr/share/doc/stalonetray/examples/stalonetrayrc.sample.gz, and copy it to your home directory:

           sudo cp /usr/share/doc/stalonetray/examples/stalonetrayrc.sample ~/.stalonetrayrc ,

or just copy mine, which is illustrated in the box below-left.

icon_size 26
kludges force_icons_size
decorations none
dockapp_mode simple
transparent true
# Icons stick to right side of tray
icon_gravity E
# 10 icons wide, one high, 0 pixels from right, 1 from top
geometry 10x1-0+1
max_geometry 10x1-0+1

.stalonetrayrc
Editing .stalonetrayrc is fairly self evident. The main item is to use dockapp_mode simple to get it to work in Openbox dock. See stalonetray --help, or the example file for other options.

Wmdrawer offers the possibilities of a complete menu (albeit, static) with just a little initial preparation. See the first image on the right. The little (64x64 - max side = 128 pixels) wmdrawer penguin icon can be positioned anywhere in the Dock. The tool tip will bring up the menu, positioned below the icon in this picture. Moving the tooltip to a menu icon will show the corresponding app's name, and clicking it will launch it. A 128 pixel wide button easily accomodates 4 columns, which could represent categories, instead of apps, to even get more launchers. What could be quicker? I generally reserve at least a couple of these launchers to program to open the directories containing the files associated with my current project. This usually requires changing no more than one word in the configuration file with each project change.

After installing wmdrawer, you need to put a personal configuration file in your home directory:

   cp /usr/share/doc/wmdrawer/wmdrawerrc.example ~/.wmdrawerrc

Configuration is very easy. Open .wmdrawerrc in a text editor and configure. The app list is at the bottom and requires 3 fields for each app: tool tip, icon and launch command. You will need to add wmdrawer to Autostart, as is the case for all these applets. See the second image on the right, which displays the autostart section for the dock pictured at the bottom of this page, where more is said about the autostart format. Wmmount and wm-logout are not docklets, but rather apps in their own right. They do not ride in the Dock, but launchers for them can be easily put directly on your panel. Wmmount (.wmmount) needs to be configured for the storage partitions you want displayed.

An image of a complete dock with minimal replications (2 clocks) follows:

dock

The dock is not limited to the edges of the desktop, but can be placed anywhere on the screen using the dock Floating position setter in Obconf.

Information about each docklet can be obtained from the table below. Docklets of similar type have been grouped into one image to better compare. Otherwise, the order is roughly alphabetical.

DockletFunctionImage
wmacpi shows if battery is plugged in, charging, minutes of battery life remaining, and battery status (high - green, low - yellow, or critical - red)
wmbatteryshows battery status
fdpowermonspecial tray battery indicator using colored (red, yellow, green) cups
dockersystem tray that alines entries in a row
stalonetrayvery configurable system tray that alines entries in a row
wmsystemtraysystem tray that alines entries in groups of 4 in 64x64 pixel squareswmsystemtray
wmbuttondisplays nine buttons, each of which can be configured to run three applications (left, middle, right click) - tool tip on button shows app names for that button - unable to make middle click work, so only provides launchers for a total of 18 apps instead of 27wmbutton
wmbubblemore profuse the bubbles, the higher the CPU usage; the higher the water, the more memory being usedwmbubble
wmcalcperforms all the functions of a simple four function calculator - includes a 10 digit alpha-numeric display, and twenty buttons for user input - clicking on the display clears the calculatorwmcalc
pclockanalog clock that allows different XPMs as backgrounds as well as different configurations of hands and such to matchpclock
wmcalclockantialiased text displaywmtime
wmdate64x64 pixel calendar
wmclockdigital time and 64x64 pixel calendar
wmclockmonalarm timer and different styles
wmitimeshows standard time, date and Internet time
wmmoonclocka small pixmap of the current phase of the moon plus ststistics
wmtimetime and date in either analog or digital mode
wmcubeshows CPU usage inluding a rotating figure that speeds up with useagewmcube
wmforcastdisplays the current temperature and an icon representing the current conditions - balloon tooltip displays forecast information - right click to configurewmweather
wmfrogdisplays current weather
wmweatherdisplays current weather - start with wmweather -s KMSO, with KMSO replaced with the ICAO location indicator of your nearest weather station
wmforkplopmonitors the forking activity of the kernel and displays the current 2 most CPU consuming processeswmforkplop
wmifinfoshows IP address, netmask, gateway and MAC addresswifiinfo
wmndgraph of incoming/outgoing traffic, activity indicators
wmcpudisplays a 64x64 box with CPU, Mem, Swap, Uptimewmsystem5
wmcpuloaddisplays the current CPU usage as percentage value and chart
wmmemloaddisplays the current memory and swap usage as a percentage value
wmmonCPU load, memory and swap usage meters and a display for system uptime
wmtempcontinuously displays CPU and case temperatures
wmsmpmonhas two graphs for each CPU and has three different looks which can be alternated by clicking the graphwmsmpmon
wmresseldisplays the current X11 resolution and lets you change it through a popup menuwmressel
wmxresdisplays the current resolution and supposedly let's you scroll to otherswmxres
wmmountdisplay free space on file systems and by clicking on it you can mount and unmount file systems - very handy tool but is independent of the dockwmmount
wmwifimonitors wifi network interfaceswmwifi
wmworkwork timerwmwork
wm-logoutpanel applet, does not go on dock - does logout, suspend, hibernate, hybrid_suspend, reboot, power_off, force_power_offwmlogot
Following are Untested Applets (by me) Arranged Alphabetically
aclock.appanalog clock with display of smooth secondsaclock
ascdsmall CD player and mixer, stays outside of dockascd
asclockdisplays the time of the day (digital, either 12 or 24 hour format), and the date; and provides three alternatives: one suitable for low color systems, one with "real" NeXTStep colors, and the third one is somewhat in betweenasclock
asmonCPU load average, mem, swap and X mem usage and a graph for current CPU useageasmon
wmbiffdisplays the number of read and unread messages in multiple mailboxes
wmcdplayextremely customizable, provides great control
wmibammonitors the apm status using the intellegent battery monitor (ibam)wmibam
wmixallows toggling record source, muting individual channels, adjusting volume and balancewmix
wmmixerstereo volume control and a recording source toggle buttonwmmixer
wmrackcombines a CD player and a mixer in one 48x48 windowwmrack
wmsundisplays the current day's sun rise and set timeswmsun
wmtictactoeallows you to play TicTacToe against another human or the computer
wmtvsupports channel presets, PAL/SECAM/NTSC, fine tuning, scanning of TV stations, use of external TV applications, and morewmtv
wmwavedisplay statistical information about a current wireless or ethernet connection

openbox-dock

Each docklet launcher needs to be put in the Openbox Autostart (~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh) with its own time delay which will define its relative position along the Dock. The autostart image on the upper right launches the dock immediately pictured above. I included my minimized Conky in this picture (right side in green) just to show how nicely everything can be fitted.