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Old 18th October 2018
shep shep is offline
Real Name: Scott
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Default SimpleDesktop for OpenBSD 6.4

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, 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. 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 6.4

1) For those running SimpleDesktop on 6.3, the OpenBSD upgrade procedure 6.3 -> 6.4 will work.

2) Instructions to use graphics/ImageMagick have been provided in the wallpaper section. These are much faster then using graphics/gimp to generate a wallpaper.

3) A "Torrent Drop" menu entry has been added. To use, just drag your torrent to the x11/yad window and click start. The torrent should start and download to the same directory as the *.torrent file.

4) MPD uses audio/gimmix and is setup automatically to a unix socket in ~/.config/mpd/socket. Just generate a ~/Music directory and put your mp3/ogg/flac files into ~/Music. The README has an entry to edit the ~/.gimmixrc configuration file.

5) At this time, syspatch and M:tier updates are not available for 6.4

New for 6.3

1) Landry Brueil now provides bug and security updates for www/firefox. Now using www/firefox as the main browser.

2) audio/mpd is more difficult to set as an individual user. audio/deadbeef is provided as a replacement music player.

3) The cloud icon in the tint2 panel now provides:
L_click=Current conditions (METAR)
M_click=Weather forecasts from wttr.in. Configurable for non-US
R_click=looping gif animation of Nearby weather radar

New for 6.2

1) Iridium is the main browser. It is essentially the same 58 version as chromium but disables much of data that Google likes to collect. I did have an issue where Iridium would always prompt to be the default browser. I'm not sure what solved this but the prompt eventually went away (took several tries) with the following:
$ mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications
$ ln -s ~/.config/mimeapps.list ~/.local/share/applications/
$ cp /usr/local/share/applications/iridium-browser.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

2) For laptop users who have ever tried to find an airport access point quickly, a wifi applet is now availble in the openbox autostart file. Just uncomment it and set your doas.conf file per Wiconn

3) Added a vertical gradient to the tint2 theme that matches the Onyx theme.

4) Changed ~/scripts/weather_map.sh to use imagemagick to play an animated gif of a specified US National Weather radar station.

New for 6.1

1) Firefox-esr was replaced by Chromium. On my low end Atom 330 with 2GB memory Chromium was noticebly more responsive.

2) Replaced osmo with a yad - calendar script and calcurse.

3) Removed uxterm entries in ~/.Xdefaults

4) Changed mpd to use a unix socket in the users home directory

5) Migrated xdm settings to xenodm

6) Added Adwaita theme and set the users gtk-3.0 defaults to prefer "dark".
Provided an openbox environment entry for the same theme in gtk-2.0 applications

7) Added dvd+rw-tools

8) Changed the OpenBox theme to Onyx.

9) Added xclipboard hotkey ctl-alt-x

10) Fixed many typos

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 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:


Then change into the OpenBSD64_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:  64screenshot.png
Views: 2222
Size:  98.6 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; 16th January 2019 at 05:50 PM. Reason: correct 1) weather_radar.sh entry, 2) Firefox update path
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Old 18th October 2018
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ripe ripe is offline
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Posts: 159

Thank you I will use it soon!
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Old 23rd October 2018
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hrsetrdr hrsetrdr is offline
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Thank you! Subscribed.
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Old 10th December 2018
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Sensucht94 Sensucht94 is offline
Real Name: Paolo Vincenzo Olivo
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Rome
Posts: 148

This is a very nice project, gonna follow further updates. Reminds me of default XStreamOS UI, which substantially uses same components (lxpanel instead of tint2)
“Mi casa tendrá dos piernas y mis sueños no tendrán fronteras„
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Old 15th January 2019
erpete erpete is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 8

I tried to install SimpleDE on my spare disk and it works great. Thinking about replacing my i3 setup with this one. Thank you.

I found a few typos in your dock.txt. See attached dock_cor.txt. Also there is an item for runing a ncmpc script in Openbox menu. The script is where it is supposed to be but ncmpc itself is not on pkglist. No big deal, maybe helpful to know.
Attached Files
File Type: txt dock_cor.txt (806 Bytes, 76 views)
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Old 16th January 2019
shep shep is offline
Real Name: Scott
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Dry and Dusty
Posts: 1,405

The following corrections uploaded:

ncmpc references removed - audio/gimmix used as mpd frontend

Instructions to change the color of the wbar dock edited.

@erpete - Thanks
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