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Compiling Openbox should be a relatively painless experience. You will need the following packages:

  • C compiler (such as GCC)
  • Libc library and headers (development package)
  • Xlib library and headers (development package)
  • Glib-2 library and headers (development package)
  • LibXML-2 library and headers (development package)
  • Pango library and headers (development package)
  • Startup-notification library and headers (development package) - optional but recommended
  • XCursor library and headers (development package) - optional but recommended
  • Pkg-config

These should all be available through your distribution.

Dependencies in Ubuntu and Debian

In Ubuntu and Debian, install the following packages:

  • build-essential
  • pkg-config
  • libpango1.0-dev
  • libglib2.0-dev
  • libxml2-dev
  • libxcursor-dev
  • libstartup-notification0-dev
  • xlibs-dev

If you want to hook in the Debian menu, you'll also want:

  • menu
  • menu-xdg

Dependencies in Fedora

In Fedora Core 6 or Fedora 7, install the following packages:

  • gcc
  • autoconf
  • automake
  • glib2-devel
  • pango-devel
  • startup-notification-devel
  • libXcursor-devel
  • libXfixes-devel
  • libSM-devel
  • libxml2-devel

Building and installing the program

Once you have the above dependancies installed, you are ready to build Openbox. Untar the Openbox archive and from inside the source tree, run:

  % ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc
    ...configure detects the build evironment...
  % make
    ...openbox builds...
  % sudo make install
    ...openbox installs...

If you do not want to install to /usr, then you should use ./configure --prefix=<whatever you want> --sysconfdir=/etc --datarootdir=/usr/share. If you don't do this, the Openbox log in options will not be available, because they need to be installed to /usr/share/xsessions.

If the configure command fails and the reason is not obvious, you should look in the generated config.log file to discover the cause of the problem.

For 64-bit distributions

When building Openbox on the 64-bit versions of Debian, Ubuntu or Fedora, use:

  % ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc --libdir=/usr/lib64
  % make
  % sudo make install
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