[crux-devel] A case against blackbox

Johannes Winkelmann jw at smts.ch
Tue Oct 28 07:47:58 UTC 2008

Hey there,

Currently, we're shipping Blackbox in the ISO, which is definitely a
good example for a KISS window manager; personally, I've used it
exclusively for the past 6+ years. However two issues made me recently
reconsider this (I haven't switched yet), and I think the same applies
also for shipping it as default WM on the ISO:

* Unmaintained upstream:
We already patch it to compile with gcc 4.3; patches for this, along
with other bugfixes, have been submitted to the sourceforge bugtracker
quite some time ago, and it appears there's no one integrating these.

* No support for numerous X features
Blackbox lacks support for both Xinerama (patch in the sourceforge
bugtracker since end of 2005 :-)) and xrandr, thus making dual screen
setups more painful than it should be. Due to the lack of upstream
maintenance, this is unlikely to change for any new features to come.

Given that we want to avoid playing upstream in our ports, and that
our secondary focus is supporting recent technologies, I think it's
time to discuss whether blackbox is the best choice today. I wouldn't
necessarily build a new ISO just for this, but if we are then we might
as well do it for 2.5 already.

As for alternatives, openbox is high on my list, but has some more
dependencies (which are all already on the ISO though), but maybe
others can comment on that and suggest their preference; I guess any
reasonably lightweight WM in opt that is used by more than just one
maintainer (= would stay in opt even if the current maintainer leaves)
would qualify.

Cheers, Johannes
Johannes Winkelmann
jw at smts.ch

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