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#1 2020-02-10 07:54:37

Registered: 2015-08-20
Posts: 6,720

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

The Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop


      Default Lithium background, Conky and Tint2 panel with Menu launcher and system tray

Window Manager Sessions

Bunsenlabs provides several options when logging in: A Bunsenlabs session, an Openbox session and a Default session (bunsenlabs-session).
These are set from the Settings icon at the top right of the login screen, and will persist for the next login.

Bunsenlabs Session
This is the default:

BUNSENLABS(1)               General Commands Manual              BUNSENLABS(1)

       bunsenlabs-session — Starts a BunsenLabs session.

       bunsenlabs-session  runs  a  BunsenLabs  session,  calling  openbox and
       starting the necessary auxiliary applications.  There is no  full  ses‐
       sion  manager,  so you will not be able to save your state from one log
       in to the next.  Although openbox is the default BunsenLabs window man‐
       ager,  users  can  select others while continuing to use the BunsenLabs
       menu, keyboard shortcuts and autostarted applications (see below).

       bunsenlabs-session does not take any command line arguments.

       On log in, bunsenlabs-session will run  the  ~/.config/bunsen/autostart
       script   if  it  exists,  and  will  copy  in  the  default  file  from
       /usr/share/bunsen/skel/.config/bunsen/autostart  otherwise.   You   may
       place anything you want to run automatically in this file, for example:

              xset -b off
              clipit &

       Make sure that each command that does not return quickly is followed by
       a "&" or else the script will stop there and further commands will  not
       be  executed. You can use the /usr/share/bunsen/skel/.config/bunsen/au‐
       tostart file as an example for creating your own.

       Window Manager: users can choose another window manager  than  the  de‐
       fault openbox by editing the line:


       near  the  top  of  ~/.config/bunsen/autostart. In such cases they will
       probably want to adjust the autostarted applications, likely with a new
       "case" clause for the new window manager. (See autostart for examples.)

Other useful information can be found in the Comments in ~/.config/bunsen/autostart

The menu is run with jgmenu, keybinds for commands are set by xbindkeys, and Openbox keybinds are set with bl-rc.xml.

Openbox Session
This is provided as a legacy for those users who wish to recreate their old Helium setup (specifically, so that users can have a separate Openbox setup). ~/.config/openbox/autostart is a template, and any autostart settings need to be added.

The menu is set with ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml, and keybinds with ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml.

For a guide on editing the Openbox menu and keybinds, please refer to Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Helium Desktop

  • if a particular user never logs in to bunsenlabs-session - even if it's installed - then they won't get the BL default user config files imported from /usr/share/bunsen/skel. Again, this is so a completely bunsen-free user can co-exist with a standard BL setup.

NB   Many settings changes require Openbox to be reconfigured:
    Menu -> Preferences -> Openbox -> Reconfigure, or use the command

openbox --reconfigure


Main Menu

(The following section assumes the default bunsenlabs-session is running.)

Lithium uses jgmenu as a replacement for the Openbox menu. It auto-updates, has a search facility, and is very configurable.
There are 4 ways to Activate the menu:

  • by R-clicking on an empty area of the desktop

  • using the "Super key"

  • using "Super key + spacebar"

  • clicking on the Bunsenlabs icon on the left of the Tint2 panel

You are encouraged to explore the menu, especially the Help options - many questions can be resolved there. What isn't answered there, please search the forums, and if it is still unanswered, ask your question in an appropriate area on the forum.

Editing the Menu:    Menu -> Preferences -> jgmenu gives access to help on configuration:

  • menu content is set with /.config/jgmenu/prepend.csv

  • menu settings are set with ~/.config/jgmenu/jgmenurc

Comprehensive help is provided by the commands man jgmenu and man jgmenututorial, also accessible from the menu.

Guide to jgmenu

Basic Introduction to jgmenu on BL Lithium


Tint2 panel

The Tint2 theme can be changed with the Tint2 Chooser script:    Menu -> Preferences -> Tint2 -> Tint2 Chooser
Alternative Tint2 configs are shipped with Bunsenlabs, and you can add your own to ~/.config/tint2/

Tint2 configuration:    Menu -> Preferences -> Tint2 -> Edit Tint2s

tint2conf is the gui editor, although using a text editor to modify an existing tint2rc is not difficult (and often easier).

Menu -> Help & Resources -> Tint2 provides links to various sources of help.


A huge subject, with almost infinite possibilities. The Bunsenlabs forum is probably the best Conky resource on the web, where the experts hang out: Show us your Conky

The Conky can be changed with the Conky Chooser script:    Menu -> Preferences -> Conky, and you can add your own to ~/.config/conky/
Multiple conkys can be run together and saved as a conky session, which is started at login.

Menu -> Help & Resources -> Conky provides links for configuration.

Desktop Background

Set with nitrogen, accessed with Menu -> Preferences -> Choose Wallpaper

Windows, Fonts and Icons

The window decorations and settings are set by Openbox, and the theme can be set with the Openbox Configuration Manager (obconf):   Menu -> Preferences -> Openbox -> WM Preferences. This is also where you can change the number of Desktops ("workspaces"), which will be shown in the Tint2 panel.

GTK themes, fonts and icons can be set with lxappearance:    Menu -> Preferences -> Appearance.

Changing the GTK font via lxappearance means it will also have to be adjusted in obconf, text editors etc, in order to have consistency. Changing the default fonts in ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf is a way to keep everything in synch, by editing a single file:    Menu -> Preferences -> Font Configuration.
There is a forum HowTo here: Setting monospace, serif & sans-serif default fonts

If the theme has been changed, then don't forget to synchronize jgmenu by running Menu -> jgmenu -> Sync Theme w. Openbox.

Editing or Installing themes:   It is suggested that before editing any installed themes in /usr/share/themes/ they are first copied to ~/.local/share/themes/. This is where downloaded themes should also be placed, unless there are multiple users.

The same can be done for fonts (~/.local/share/fonts) and icons (~/.local/share/icons).
The font cache needs to be refreshed if a new font is installed, either on the commandline, or by logging in again.

sudo fc-cache -fr


Installing Software

Bunsenlabs has the gui Synaptic Package Manager: Menu -> System -> Synaptic Package Manager, but using apt, apt-get or aptitude on the commandline is worth learning.

Package details - source, versions etc - can be found with Menu -> Help & Resources -> Debian -> Package Search.

Heed the warnings on the website and in the bl-welcome script! Remember that you had to enter "I understand", to say you are aware of the risk of system breakage if you use non-Debian or non-Stable sources.

DontBreakDebian.  You get to keep the pieces if you do!

Run applications


The Run box is gmrun, started with "Alt-F2".
Commands can be entered here, and like in the terminal you can use tab for auto-complete.

Configuration:    Menu -> Preferences -> gmrun

The Alt Menu is dmenu, started with "Alt-F3".
The default dmenu opens along the top of the screen, and blocks other actions until you use "Enter" or "Esc".
Any executables in your $PATH will appear here. Start typing to show matching commands in the list, then highlight (Arrow keys) the command and use "Enter" to start it.

Configuration:    Menu -> Preferences -> dmenu

Obviously, applications can also be started on the commandline, and this is a good way of looking for any error messages if you have problems.

gksudo is now deprecated by Debian, so to start gui applications with root privileges requires pkexec and policykit configuration, or some familiarity with the inner workings of permissions or root commands.

BLOB Themes Manager


The BunsenLabs OpenBox theme management script:    Menu -> BL Utilities -> BLOB Themes Manager

Each saved collection of settings ("blob") is stored in ~/.config/blob/, and backups of important config files are also saved. A screenshot is stored with each blob, so you can remember what it looks like wink

When you have set up the looks of your desktop and windows how you like them, all the settings can be saved as a single collection for future restoration.

The following settings can be saved together, and restored individually or collectively:

  • Openbox theme

  • GTK theme

  • Icon theme

  • Wallpaper

  • Conky session

  • Tint2 panel

  • dmenu

  • lightdm login screen

  • Certain X files

  • Terminal configuration

Several BLOBs are shipped with Bunsenlabs, if you want to try out that retro look smile

Comments and suggestions can be posted HERE

Last edited by damo (2020-02-26 23:51:15)

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