Is openbox the future?

I’m just thinking about the future of openbox. To avoid any misunderstanding. I’m totally fine with openbox. But, openbox is not under active development since several years. You might think it doesn’t matter. The window handling in openbox just work and there is no reason why it shouldn’t work in the future. Yes, that is true but it is also true that openbox does not got any innovation over the last years. Functionality and handling does not have any improvement from the core development.

Might it be a good idea to go to an alternative? But what could be the alternative? All the “real” alternatives I know like fluxbox etc. are in a similar status like openbox. At github there is a openbox alternative under development. But from my point of view it is far away from a productive status.

When we look at lightweight window managers I only see tiling window managers like i3 as possible alternatives. These window managers are under active development. But a tiling window manager is not for everyone useful. I tried i3 as a tiling window manager and found out, for my personal use such a window manager is useless. I prefer floating window managers. So, what could be the future? Is a change away from openbox necessary to get new innovative features and a living development community? I have no idea. What does the community think?

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From my view, Openbox as a window manager has been over tested by past users groups and they have provided ( such as Bunsen labs) an unstudied improvement for 21st century users ( from any average sources) Openbox seems quite difficult to new users for they missed the past users groups experiences, fortunately a few popular Linux distros still provide a minimal feedback from Openbox users such as ArcoLinux, BunsenLabs, PCLinux and ours. Even Manjaro had Openbox as a community edition and many ex Manjaro Openbox users decided to move to Mabox for it was best implemented for different age users along these 8-9 years. I don’t consider Linux Oses to be worried about any window manager development cause linux runs along past and today window managers any way.


To be honest, I had thought that about all Linux developments… It’s something that I’m quite concerned. The people who created and maintained Linux is retiring, for good.

In the Openbox case, yes, it could be possible that in the future might it may be broken. But fortunately, open source is kind of auto-regenerative, so I wish someone younger will accept the challenge.

Fluxbox is similar, as you said.

What I can do is to disseminate the idea of how cool is to use them, so more people get involved in these projects.


some people think that openbox is in the future of operating systems that use window managers
that’s why I decided to go for this distro besides having Arch under the hood


It still doesn’t support wayland … the future is uncertain without any support for wayland.

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And never will…
But you can try Openbox clone for wayland - labwc

I’ll wait for now… a decade or two, maybe then Wayland and its ecosystem will give me at least one real reason to change :wink:

I think Wayland will become more and more popular … and faster than we think. Currently the main desktop environments are implementing Wayland. The new window manager, which are developed are focused on Wayland. I just played a bit with Hyprland. A very nice implementation. I’m curious how this will be influence the community. For the next years there will be a coexistence between X11 and Wayland. But from my point of view we have to face that the time of X11 and all the related window manager will come to it’s end. Not now, but soon.

I don’t think X11 will be retired anytime soon, it has some flaws - personally I don’t mind them - but it’s mature, powerfull and it works very well since years.
I hope we will allways have a choice. Having a choice is good, isn’t it?

Until some influential groups bring the revolution by force for all users.
They always know better what people need.

Wayland has been developed for 15 years, I think that Wayland based environments will soon shine on mobile devices, touch screens, tablets, smart TV. (Plasma/GNOME developers’ wet dream come true?).
Will it be a good alternative to X11 also on a traditional Linux desktop on PC / Laptops? … maybe someday.

It is worth reading the thoughts of the mpv developer - dealing with wayland.
For balance and as an antidote to the clamorous and categorical opinions of Wayland enthusiasts.

Wayland Isn't Going to Save The Linux Desktop

… but given how far behind Wayland is anyway, Xorg could have no development for another 10 years and still be more functional.

From my point of view, what is important in the software are the features and possibilities that it gives users.
Just calling something new or modern doesn’t add any value or functionality to it.

Back to the thread… Openbox Window Manager. Does it have a future?

It’s just my opinion…
The future is unknown… but…
I don’t think Wayland will replace X11 in the foreseeable future, they can coexist - and probably will for many years to come.
Forcibly replacing X11 with Wayland would be a huge disaster. Throwing away the amazing, long-term achievements of hundreds of thousands of programmers. It’s hard for me to imagine.

Openbox currently has everything I expect from a Window Manager:

  • lightning speed
  • 100% stability
  • great configuration options

Could something be improved?
Perhaps some much less important things, such as window decoration possibilities, like PNG/SVG support for buttons (icons).

The fact that Openbox is not actively developed is, in my opinion, its great advantage. The developers have achieved everything they planned. No regressions and no new bugs in subsequent releases every few months is a great thing.

Openbox is a solid as a rock foundation for building your own, comfortable and fast work environment.


You said something very important. openbox is ready. Everything that should be done is done except for the little things. The software is therefore stable and mature. It reminds me a bit of Microsoft Office. If you were to give most users an Office from the year 2000 today, 95% would be very happy with it. The new functions in recent years were only important for a very small part of the users. It’s the same with openbox. The software is mature and sufficient for 95% of users in its current status. Thank you for this clarification.


This conversation seems to me to be similar to the one about whether or not to use systemd.
As I am not a developer I can not give my opinion technically, however, as a user, I can say that I am very happy with Openbox, I have tried Fluxbox, icewm, Openbox and Xfce as a desktop, I still find Openbox better, it is true that it takes some more resources than the rest of the wm but it is worth it, I usually see the problems of those who use desktops, especially KDE and I do not want to go into that, it is also true that it is open source and anyone who finds bugs or can make improvements can do so.
Let’s hope it works for a long time to come.


I’m also very content with Openbox and the shier freedom it gives you. What I am curious about is you stating it uses more resources then other WM’s were I think it’s not. Did you do any comparison between clean boots on the WM’s?
Just to be honest I never compared!


I am another that prefers to use openbox on any distro that I can if possible. It does everything I need to do without adding a bunch of what I consider to be useless bloat (to me) that other wms and DEs come with. Out of all the 10 distros I have multibooted on my testing laptop, all but 1 are openbox. The 1 is Enlightenment. On my main use laptop, 4 are openbox with 1 being Enlightenment. Did I mention that I prefer openbox? :rofl:


Hi, sorry for the delay in replying.
I have two machines, one with a dual core processor 2 ghz and 4 gigs of ram with two hard drives in which I have installed Mabox and is my work computer and the one I use regularly.
The other one, has a 1.6 ghz processor with 2 gigs of ram, in that one I have Antix that by default brings icewm fluxbox and some other that I don’t remember now but similar to i3.
I don’t have with me screenshots of both machines to share, but I can tell you that the older machine with less resources, consumes less boot resources than this one with Mabox, of course when it comes to work, the machine with Mabox outperforms the other one for obvious reasons.
I’m going to do the following, the next time I turn on the machines I’m going to capture the screenshots to post them both, so you can check what I’m telling you.

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I get it. I’m talking about the clean setup I use (Arch+Openbox). Sure Mabox will use a little more due to customization’s (menus, conky etc) and things like Tint2. I do not think you can compare a standard fluxbox install with Mabox unless you realize the same customization like in Mabox on it.

I can tell you that my clean arch feels a bit more snappy than Mabox but that could be something in the underlying distro it’s based upon. Still I prefer Mabox due to some things Napcok has introduced (and I cannot replicate at the moment :slight_smile: ).


Hi, clearly I answered you as a user, I could not do the test you say, and ultimately I think it’s about which distro makes better use of the resources we have, we install Linux to use it, unless you are a person dedicated to perform benchmarks and solve technical issues.
As a user, between any distro and Mabox, I still choose Mabox as long as my hardware can solve it, if at some point it doesn’t and I’m in a position to change the pc, I change it and if not, I’ll change distro.
I think that’s the biggest advantage Linux gives us over windows besides better controls over software and privacy. If one wishes and can deepen their knowledge is free to do so for the benefit of themselves and the community.

As you say, if your hardware can run different distros, it’s a matter of taste.

A machine with 4GB of RAM will have more usage than a machine with 2GB. Even with the same distribution.
If you put it on a machine with 16GB, it will be occupied again.
Otherwise, the advantage of wayland is in speed and safety.

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Hello @Pinhead I was unaware of what you say. thank you very much for the information.
As I understand it, Linux, is releasing memory according to what it needs, that is to say, that consumes a lot does not imply that this memory is not available.