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How do I put my desktops into a grid layout instead of a single row?

Your pager is responsible for doing this, and communicates with Openbox to make sure they agree on it. Any pager which complies with the EWMH specification should be able to do this. Examples are the gnome-panel pager and rox-pager.

If your pager does not comply with the spec, or you don't use a pager, you can use this small program to set the layout at startup, for example setlayout 0 2 2 0 for a 2x2 grid.

What is this dock I hear so much about?

The dock is where your dockapps go, if you don't have any, you don't need it. There is a large collection of dockapps available at that you can use.

Does anyone know of a taskbar that works well with openbox?

There are many taskbar/panels around. Some examples are: fbpanel, pypanel, perlpanel, xfce4-panel (from XFCE), gnome-panel (from GNOME) and kicker (from KDE).

How do I make things start when I start Openbox?

If you are using a desktop environment - and therefore a session manager - you just need to save your sessin with the programs running.

If you run Openbox without a desktop environment and session manager, see the autostart guide.

I'm using rxvt-unicode or aterm, and transparency is leaving artifacts!

By default these terminals use a transparency mode that only works by chance. They support a more proper one too. If you use aterm you have to give -sh 99 or -sh 101, with urxvt you have to give -tint white (ie in urxvt you can use -sh 100 and the proper mode). If this doesn't use the correct background image you have to use a background setting program that sets the correct hint, for example Hsetroot and Esetroot.

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