Window manager for the X window system developed by Brad Hughes, et. al.

Blackbox is small and fast (that being its primary goal). As a result it's generally regarded as not being as aesthetically pleasing as Window Maker, Enlightenment, etc., but in fact it does look quite good. Blackbox is theme-able as well (, like all other cool window managers.

Made in C++. Possibly one of the simplest window managers to configure in unices. It is compact, fast, easy to manage and you never have to worry about crashes. It features a toolbar (from left to right): the name of your workspace, left and right arrows to change workspaces, the name of the current window being focused/risen, arrows to switch focus/raise window, and the time (though this may be altered through configuration).

There are 2 menus to access from. One is the middle click which displays control over workspaces (i.e., removing and adding workspaces) and windows that are on the workspace or iconified.

The second menu is accessed from the right click which allows you to modify it to your needs. Typically, blackbox (bb) users will arrange all their apps in this menu, as well as a menu (or submenu I should say) to access styles. Styles are like themes in other WM and can be downloaded from (don't quote me on that, as of now is down due to getting cracked). Some bb users also like to put controls to certain apps onto this menu, such as 'play', 'pause' or 'stop' on an mp3 player that allows commands. By the way, a good alternative to is artwiz's site:

This menu's location is specified in ~/.blackboxrc, which you may edit to change its path. The menu file can either be accessed through a shared file (so that all users have the same menu) or in a users' home directory. Though usually, you can only edit the menu file from your home directory. So I suggest you copy the shared one to ~/.blackbox/menu and edit it from there.

There are a few "commands" (these are known as "tags" in the manpage) you can use in the menu file to achieve what you need, all of which is explained in `man blackbox`, but I'll give you a start:

    [exec] (Label) {command}
    This is used to execute applications (duh). Here's a very simple example:
    [exec] (GVim) (/usr/bin/gvim)
    On your menu, you will see 'GVim', which when clicked executes GVim.

    Simple enough? Now let's get more interesting:
    [exec] (BitchX) (rxvt -title "melodrame @" -fn snap -e /usr/bin/BitchX)
    This will bring up a session of BitchX under rxvt titled "melodrame @" with the font 'snap'.

I'm sure you can figure out the rest. Asides from that you can configure the rc file (.blackboxrc) to display the date/time differently on your toolbar (it's under session.screen0.strftimeFormat) and other stuff that can be configured through the menu file.

As listed on, there are a few sidedishes that go nicely with Blackbox. BBmail (mail checking pseudo-dockapp), BBPager (a pager for Blackbox) and many more, but BBKeys is probably the most popular one as it offers key shortcuts for bb users. This fits nicely into the Slit (a place to put your withdrawn dockapps), such as GkrellM.

One feature that *some* bb users find lacking is the presence of icons on the desktop. So, some use the KDE desktop to get icons, or Nautilus, or Gnome...but most just use the menu.

For support, you can visit the official website, or come to #blackbox on ;)

From the website, it says that Brad Hughes has slowed down his work on Blackbox and has passed the torch to Jeff Raven.

Update (12/09/01): Blackbox is poorly maintained (mostly because it doesn't need to) and so a new Window Manager has semi-chosen to take its place. It's called Fluxbox and posesses all attributes of Blackbox with added features such as integrated bbkeys (you can still use your .bbkeysrc), tabs and different windows options. The best feature is probably that it's fully backwards compatible with all Blackbox configuration files. You can get it here:

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.