hackedbox man page



Hackedbox -help | -version
Hackedbox [ -rc rcfile ] [ -display display ]


Hackedbox is a stripped down version of Blackbox - The X11 Window Manager  (http://blackboxwm.sourceforge.net/ ). The toolbar and Slit have been  removed. The goal of Hackedbox is to be a small 'feature-set' window  manager, with no bloat. There are no plans to add any functionality, only  bugfixes and speed enhancements whenever possible.

Hackedbox provides configurable window decorations,and a root menu to launch applications.  There is also a workspace menu to add or remove workspaces.

Hackedbox features a special kind of icon handling: When you minimize a window, no icon appears; instead, you can view all minimized applications in the `Icons' submenu of the workspace menu. Your desktop will never get cluttered with icons. As an alternative to icons, shaded windows are provided: A double click on the titlebar of a window will shade it (i.e. the window will disappear; only the titlebar stays visible). By using style files, you can determine at a great level how your desktop looks.


Hackedbox supports the following command line options:


Display command line options and compiled-in features, then exit.


Display version info and exit.

-rc rcfile

Use another rcfile than the default ~/.hackedboxrc .

-display display

Start Hackedbox on the specified display. Programs started by Hackedbox will have the DISPLAY environment variable set to this value, too.

Running Hackedbox

This program is usually started by the user's startup script, most times called ~/.xinitrc . To run hackedbox, modify the script by adding

exec hackedbox

as the last executed command of the script. When Hackedbox terminates, the X session will terminate too.

When started, Hackedbox will try to find a default menu file in ~/.hackedbox/menu . You can provide a system-wide menu for your users here.

On exit or restart, Hackedbox will save user defaults in the file ~/.hackedbox/rc in the user's home directory. Some resources in this file can be edited by hand.

Using Hackedbox

Hackedbox does no keyboard handling by itself; instead, it relies on an external program epist(1) for this. So, in this section, we will discuss all mouse commands.

Root window (background)

A right click (button 3) will pop up the root menu. With this, you can launch your applications. You can also customize this menu for your needs.  See above for its location. A middle click (button 2) will pop up the workspace menu. You can add or remove a workspace, view applications running on all workspace, inspect your iconified applications, and jump directly to any workspace or application.

Left clicking (button 1) on an application in the Workspaces menu will bring you to that workspace and raise/focus that application; middle clicking (button 2) will warp the application to the current workspace.

Window Titlebar and Borders

A left click on any part of the window's border will raise it. Dragging then moves the window. Dragging the resize grips at the bottom left and bottom right corners resizes the window. Middle clicking will immediately lower the window. Right clicking on the border or titlebar pops up the window menu, containing these commands:

Send To...

Send window to another workspace. When you select the workspace with the middle button, Hackedbox will send you, along with the application, to the selected workspace.


Shade window (display titlebar only).


Iconify window. The `icon' can be found in the `Icons' submenu of the workspace menu.  It will *NOT* appear on screen otherwise.


(Un)Maximize window. When you click the middle button on this item, the window will maximize only vertically.


Raise window.


Lower window.


(Un)Stick window. A stuck window will always be displayed in the current workspace.

Kill Client

Kill (-SIGKILL) owner of window.  Only use this if the client refuses to close.


Close the application cleanly.

When you double click on the titlebar of a window, it will `shade', so that only the titlebar stays visible. Another double click will redisplay the window contents.

Window Buttons

The button at the left upper corner of a window is the Minimize button. Clicking with any button causes the window to be iconified. The rightmost button (with the X) closes the application. The other button on the right (if present) maximizes the window in three ways: Button 1 causes full screen maximization, button 2 maximizes the window only vertically, and button 3 only horizontally.

Any menu

Clicking button 3 in a menu will popdown the menu. Clicking button 1 on the titlebar of any (sub)menu and then dragging it somewhere else will cause the menu to stay visible, and not disappear when you click on a menu item.


When you want to drag a window, but cannot see either the bottom handle or its titlebar, you can press Alt + button 1 anywhere in the window and then drag it around. You can also use Alt + button 1 to raise a partially visible window. Finally, Alt + button 2 lowers a window, and Alt + button 3 resizes the window.


Hackedbox enables you to use specialized files that contain X(1) resources to specify colors, textures, and fonts and therefore the overall look of your window  and the borders, menus.

The default installation of Hackedbox provides some of these style files. Usually they are put in @pkgdatadir@/styles . You can study or edit these files to grasp how the Hackedbox style mechanism works. You can use the [style], [stylesdir] and [stylesmenu] menu commands in your menu file to be able to select and change between styles on the fly.

You can also create a directory in your home directory (usually named ~/.hackedbox/styles) and put your own style files there. Of course, you may choose any name for this directory, but many downloadable themes will rely on the name styles (following the bb.themes.org naming scheme).

To understand how the style mechanism works, you should have a little knowledge of how X resources work.

X resources consist of a key and a value. The key is constructed of several smaller keys (sometimes referred to as children), delimited by a period (`.'). Keys may also contain a star (`*') to serve as a wildcard, which means that one line of typed text will match several keys. This is useful for styles that are based on one or two colors.

Hackedbox allows you to configure its four main components: the menus, and the  window decorations.

The little window that shows the x-y position while dragging windows borrows its style from the window's titlebar.

Here are some quick examples:

toolbar.clock.color:	green

This sets the color resource of the toolbar clock to `green'. Another example:

menu*color:	rgb:3/4/5

This sets the color resource of the menu and all of its `children' to `rgb:3/4/5'. (For a description of color names, see X(1).) So this one also applies to menu.title.color  and  menu.frame.color . And with

*font:	-b&h-lucida-medium-r-normal-*-*-140-*

you set the font resource for all keys to this font name all at once. (For information about the fonts installed on your system, you can use a program like xfontsel (1),  gtkfontsel , or  xlsfonts (1).)

Now what makes Hackedbox just so spectacular is its ability to render textures on the fly. Texture descriptions are specified in a similar way to the colors shown above e.g.:

toolbar.clock: Raised Gradient Diagonal Bevel1
toolbar.clock.color: rgb:8/6/4
toolbar.clock.colorTo: rgb:4/3/2

Don't worry; we will explain right now! A texture description consists of up to five fields, which are as follows:

Flat / Raised / Sunken

gives the component either a flat, raised, or sunken appearance.

Gradient / Solid

tells Hackedbox to draw either a solid color or a texture with gradient.

Horizontal / Vertical / Diagonal / Crossdiagonal / Pipecross / Elliptic / Rectangle / Pyramid

Select one of these texture types. They only work when Gradient is also specified!


tells Hackedbox to interlace the texture (darken every other line). This option is most commonly used with gradiented textures, but, from Hackedbox version 0.60.3 on, it also works in solid textures.

Bevel1 / Bevel2

tells Hackedbox which type of bevel to use. Bevel1 is the default bevel. The shading is placed on the edge of the image. Bevel2 is an alternative. The shading is placed one pixel in from the edge of the image.

Instead of a texture description, the option ParentRelative is also available, which makes the component appear as a part of its parent, i.e. totally transparent.

All gradient textures are composed of two color values: the color  and  colorTo  resources. color represents the initial color, colorTo represents the final color of the gradient. When Interlaced is used in Solid mode, the colorTo resource is used to specify the interlacing color.

Well, here is the complete component list; also, all components together with which kind of value they can contain. Comments are preceded with an exclamation sign (!), which is also used for comments in Hackedbox style c.q. X resource files.

! The menu titlebar.
menu.title:	Texture
menu.title.color:	Color
menu.title.colorTo:	Color
menu.title.textColor:	Color
menu.title.font:	Font
menu.title.justify:	center, left, or right

! The menu frame.
menu.frame:	Texture
menu.frame.color:	Color
menu.frame.colorTo:	Color
menu.frame.textColor:	Color
menu.frame.disableColor:	Color
menu.frame.font:	Font
menu.frame.justify:	center, left, or right

! Bullets for submenu items.
menu.bullet:	empty, triangle, square, or diamond
menu.bullet.position:	right or left

! The highlighted menu item.
menu.hilite:	Texture (e.g. Raised)
menu.hilite.color:	Color
menu.hilite.colorTo:	Color
menu.hilite.textColor:	Color

! A focused window.
window.title.focus:	Texture
window.title.focus.color:	Color
window.title.focus.colorTo:	Color

! An unfocused window.
window.title.unfocus:	Texture
window.title.unfocus.color:	Color
window.title.unfocus.colorTo:	Color

! Window label.
window.label.focus:	Texture or ParentRelative
window.label.focus.color:	Color
window.label.focus.colorTo:	Color
window.label.focus.textColor:	Color

window.label.unfocus:	Texture or ParentRelative
window.label.unfocus.color:	Color
window.label.unfocus.colorTo:	Color
window.label.unfocus.textColor:	Color

! Handlebar.
window.handle.focus:	Texture
window.handle.focus.color:	Color
window.handle.focus.colorTo:	Color

window.handle.unfocus:	Texture
window.handle.unfocus.color:	Color
window.handle.unfocus.colorTo:	Color

! Resize grips.
window.grip.focus:	Texture
window.grip.focus.color:	Color
window.grip.focus.colorTo:	Color

window.grip.unfocus:	Texture
window.grip.unfocus.color:	Color
window.grip.unfocus.colorTo:	Color

! Window buttons.
window.button.focus:	Texture or ParentRelative
window.button.focus.color:	Color
window.button.focus.colorTo:	Color
window.button.focus.picColor:	Color

window.button.unfocus:	Texture or ParentRelative
window.button.unfocus.color:	Color
window.button.unfocus.colorTo:	Color
window.button.unfocus.picColor:	Color

window.button.pressed:	Texture (e.g. Sunken)
window.button.pressed.color:	Color
window.button.pressed.colorTo:	Color

! Frame around window.
window.frame.focusColor:	Color
window.frame.unfocusColor:	Color

! Font and justification for window labels.
window.font:	Font
window.justify:	center, left, or right

! Miscellaneous resources.

! A border can be drawn around all components.
borderWidth:	a number of pixels, e.g. 1
borderColor:	Color

bevelWidth:	a number of pixels > 0
handleWidth:	a number of pixels > 0

! Width of the window frame (from version 0.61 on).
! When not specified, frameWidth defaults to the value of bevelWidth.
frameWidth:	a number of pixels >= 0

! This command is executed whenever this style is selected.
! Typically it sets the root window to a nice picture.
rootCommand:	Shell command, e.g. hsetroot -mod 4 4 -fg rgb:	5/6/6 -bg grey20

! Some of the bbtools read these old 0.51 resources.
menuFont:	Font
titleFont:	Font

Now, this seems a long list, but, remember, when you create your own style, you can easily set lots of keys with a single command, e.g.

*color: slategrey
*colorTo: darkslategrey
*unfocus.color: darkslategrey
*unfocus.colorTo: black
*textColor: white
*unfocus.textColor: lightgrey
*font: lucidasans-10

This sets already nice defaults for many components.

Resource File

Usually the ~/.hackedbox/rc resource file is created and maintained by hackedbox itself. All options from the [config] menu (from 0.60.x on), the last selected style file, your workspace names and so on are saved automatically in this file. However, there are some resources in it you might want to edit yourself:


This tells Hackedbox where to look for its menu file.


This adjusts the delay (in ms) before focused windows will raise when using the Auto Raise option. Default value is: R 250 .


This adjusts the delay (in ms) between mouse clicks for Hackedbox to consider a double click. Default value is: R 250 .


When moving a window across your screen, Hackedbox is able to have it `snap' to the edges of the screen for easy placement. This variable tells Hackedbox the distance (in pixels) at which the window will jump to the edge. Default value is: R 0 .


This tells Hackedbox how much memory (in Kb) it may use to store cached pixmaps on the X server. If your machine runs short of memory, you may lower this value. Default value is: R 200 .


This tells Hackedbox how long (in minutes) unused pixmaps may stay in the X server's memory. Default value is: R 5 .


This tells Hackedbox how many colors to take from the X server on pseudocolor displays.  A channel would be red, green, or blue. Hackedbox will allocate this variable ^ 3 colors and make them always available. This value must be between 2 and 6. When you run Hackedbox on an 8-bit display, you must set this resource to 4. Default value is: R 4.

When running Hackedbox in a multiple desktop environment, the screen0 key can also be screen1, 2 etc. for any appropriate desktop.



Hackedbox uses $HOME to find its .hackedbox/rc file, and to resolve style file and directory names.


When no other display was given on the command line, Hackedbox will start on the display specified by this variable.


All of the code is now maintained by Larry Owen (larry@scrudgeware.org)

The official Hackedbox website: http://scrudgeware.org/projects/Hackedbox

See Also



0.8.5 Larry Owen