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Author Topic: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement  (Read 10094 times)

f0dder

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Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« on: November 14, 2005, 07:53:44 PM »
Tired of the way the default windows shell looks?

Then try heading over to http://www.bb4win.org/ - a port of blackbox for windows. It's a sort of minimalistic window manager, with pretty modest resource consumption (~10meg working set size, ~6meg private bytes on my machine). It's got skinning support, and is pretty snappy.

It's highly configurable if you don't mind getting your hands a bit dirty, supports multiple virtual desktops, has various plugins for various tasks, support overriding default windows keybindings (like Win+R -> FARR), and should generally just be tried.

You can simply download the zip (I got the bbLean release which is pretty barebone, Xoblite is supposedly more pre-configured), unpack, and run the blackbox exe - no need to replace your default shell right away. You can exit blackbox at any time, and get back to the regular explorer interface.

http://www.xoblite.net has a whole bunch of addtional plugins...

Here's a screenshot of my left monitor (I've got two TFTs) running blackbox with a few apps open. The black bar to the bottom left is "uberbox", a fancier version of the windows "Run" box with aliases and history completion - I'll replace this with FARR soon.
- carpe noctem

XMinus1

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Re: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2005, 07:17:26 PM »
I believe that I tried BlackBox a couple of years ago, but I've stuck with Litestep.  I first dabbled with shells using GeoShell, a nice, very minimalist alternative to Explorer.  Then I tried LiteStep and never looked back (although, out of curiosity, I have tested out other shells on occasion).  Both Geoshell and Litestep have regularly active IRC channels on Freenode.  Of the two communities, Geoshell is (or at least was a year or so ago) more established as a recognizeable group.

nudone

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Re: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 04:16:50 AM »
please excuse my ignorance but are there any advantages to using something like Litestep or other shells rather than the native operating system shell?

i'm, sort of, keen to try something that will make my system look 'cool' and 'dark'. currently i'm using the 'noire' skin within 'windowblinds' - looks nice but i appreciate that it must be taking up system resources (maybe insignificant) so i'm wondering would a shell that looked similar be a better path to take.

f0dder

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Re: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2005, 06:04:58 AM »
blackbox has a very low footprint; one of the reasons is that it uses gradients and stuff to draw it's skins, rather than bitmaps. It's also nice for me to be entirely rid of explorer.exe (since I use xplorer^2 as my file manager). And replacing win+r with my own custom run bar, and win+e with xplorer^2. These might be doable when using explorer.exe as shell, but it was a no-brainer to do it with blackbox; for explorer I'd have to do some research :)

Changing styles is very fast in blackbox, btw...
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nudone

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Re: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2005, 07:20:00 AM »
sounds like a novel way of doing things then f0dder. next rainy day i might give blackbox and litestep a try.

nudone

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Re: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2006, 09:24:32 AM »
not entirely sure what i think about this yet http://www.flyakiteosx.com/

i've had it running an a virtual machine and it appears to work very well.

now, it looks very pretty (as mac os x does) but as i'm not into the 'silver' colour scheme i don't think i'll be using it seriously. what i thought was impressive was the ease of installation and the way it appears to have taken over the xp interface. if only it had been a 'dark' theme then i would use it on my 'real' machine (not just the virtual one).

i know stardock do mac os type things but the flyakite one is free and, so far, works really well.

admittedly, i've not tried uninstalling it - so maybe that's when things will appear less impressive, but for now it looks like everything has been perfectly produced.

jgpaiva

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Re: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2006, 02:32:31 PM »
eheh.. I'm a bb user too!
Good to know there are more bblean users in this forum :D
This is my current desktop:

http://img365.imageshack.us/img365/9896/screenshot180120062015597bw.jpg
Blackbox for windows - shell replacement


the bar on the left is the volume control for my pc, and the buttons on the right and left lower corners change the virtual desktop.
the two command boxes (farr on the top and typeandrun on the bottom) are what allows me to launch 99% of my programs :D
(although if I'm in the mood for using the mouse, i also right-click the desktop and have access to all of them in the context menu ;) )