Go Back   DaemonForums > Miscellaneous > Guides

Guides All Guides and HOWTO's.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Prev Previous Post   Next Post Next
  #1   (View Single Post)  
Old 15th November 2016
shep shep is offline
Rc.conf Instructor
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Dry and Dusty
Posts: 966
Default Simple Desktop for OpenBSD 6.0

This is a relatively simple project that I have been tweaking for several years. The resultant desktop was based on a post in the freebsd forums which I would encourage you to peruse. This differs from the FreeBSD howto by using the OpenBSD base and binary packages. At the present time, I plan on maintaining this guide after trialing xll/lumina in OpenBSD. Lumina utilizes 2x the ram, is not nearly as responsive and routinely left a fluxbox.core file at login.

The project has several Goals:

The first was to have a desktop that would function in a basic BSD environment; no wrappers or other cludges for pulseaudio, udev, hal, systemd, polkit, compositing etc. System configuration files are manually edited. System configuration is read once at start up rather than constantly polling to see if any changes have been made. Consequently, the system is fast and responsive and a good fit for older hardware.

Secondly, it was to try out a new paradigm for a desktop. In contrast to projects that build from Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD, Arch... and then are packaged up as installation images, this project stays within the OpenBSD sphere. The desktop is built using OpenBSD tools and packages. When you are done installing, you still have an OpenBSD desktop.

Next, an efficient user interface that is similar to Apple's OS/X . The most frequent tasks that are effected by a desktop are web browsing and email. In Unix, a terminal is also frequently implemented and each of these tasks can be started by a single click on a large, animated icon.

Fourth, this desktop includes some resource intensive applications such as editors/libreoffice and www/firefox-esr. The mix of a lightweight desktop with heavy applications attempts to apportion your available resources to the application. On my system, the base desktop consumes the following
Memory: Real: 123M/454M act/tot Free: 3507M Cache: 195M Swap: 0K/4336M
Finally, I hoped that it would also serve as a newbie introduction to OpenBSD and walk the user through the installation.

What this is not. It is not a substitute for the OpenBSD FAQ and the man pages. Although I tried to structure the README file to describe the commands that were used; time and space contraints prevented going into detail. The flash plugin is not available although *.flv/*.swf content is accessible.
New for 6.0
1) OpenBox menu entries for shutdown/reboot by user now call doas(1)

2) The U.S. weather service moved the file location of both current conditions and the forecast. The shell script entries were updated.

3) Clicking the tint2 clock will position the Osmo Calendar under the clock. Enabled using obxprop.

4) rxvt-unicode was removed. The base xterm was configured via .Xdefaults to have a scrollbar consistent with most Desktop Environment Terminals. xterm uses the Bitstream Vera Sans Mono fonts.

New for 5,8

1) security/sudo is no longer part of the base install. The openbox menu entries were modified to enable shutdown/reboot by users who are part of the operator group.

2) Desktop fonts were changed from Liberation Sans to Cantarell.

3) The openup menu entry was removed. Instructions to run openup from a terminal are provided.

4) graphics/feh was updated and now produces an executable ~/.fehbg. The openbox/autostart entry to load a wallpaper was modified.

5) The default xdm was changed in 6.0 to be more "gnome-like". I found the pale text foreground to be hard to read. A modified /etc/X11/xdm/Xresources is provided with black text foreground.

6) Terminus fonts were added and .Xdefaults now provides terminus fonts for both rxvt-unicode and xterm.

7) The US Weather service altered availability of radar images. The script to display a radar image in feh was modified.

Once OpenBSD 6.0 is installed, I recommended that the packages be installed prior to reviewing and copying the configuration files. The configuration files take about 20 to 40 minutes and are accompanied by copy/paste commands in the README. Although it would be possible to extract user and root tar.gz files for all configurations, I elected keep the various sections separate so that the users would have some knowledge of location of the configuration files in the event they wish to further customize their installation.

To start, download the following attachment:


The download will be named as a "php" file. Rename the file OpenBSD60_SimpleDE.tar.gz with
$ mv attachment.php OpenBSD60_SimpleDE.tar.gz

Extract with
$ tar xvzf OpenBSD60_SimpleDE.tar.gz

Then change into the OpenBSD60_SimpleDE directory and open the README with your preferred pager. The README should take you the rest of the way. If you use the default fvwm window manager, one xterm can be used for the README and a second xterm for the commands.

When you're done you should have something that looks like this:

Name:  screenshot.png
Views: 632
Size:  63.2 KB

Please reply to this thread for any errors.

If you find this to be of use and a time saver, please consider supporting the OpenBSD project.

Last edited by shep; 24th November 2016 at 10:50 PM.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Simple Desktop for OpenBSD 5.8 shep Guides 2 12th November 2015 03:07 PM
Simple Desktop for OpenBSD 5.7 shep Guides 16 30th July 2015 04:15 PM
Simple Desktop Environment for OpenBSD 5.6 shep Guides 2 15th November 2014 06:04 PM
Simple Desktop for OpenBSD 5.5 shep Guides 8 28th July 2014 06:32 PM
Simple Desktop Environment for OpenBSD 5.4 shep Guides 4 27th January 2014 06:47 PM

All times are GMT. The time now is 01:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content copyright © 2007-2010, the authors
Daemon image copyright ©1988, Marshall Kirk McKusick