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Fluxbox vs. Openbox: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 3, 2023
Fluxbox is a stacking window manager featuring a tabbed window feature, while Openbox is a highly configurable, next generation window manager with extensive standards support.

Key Differences

Fluxbox is widely acknowledged for its distinctive utilization of a tabbed window interface, enhancing the ease of navigating between different windows and applications. Openbox, while also prioritizing streamlined navigation, pivots more towards delivering a highly configurable environment, thus appealing to users who desire a greater degree of control over their graphical user interface. Fluxbox allows users to group multiple windows into a single window with tab navigation, whereas Openbox prioritizes a user-driven configuration, enabling various interface alterations.
The customizability of Fluxbox tends to be appreciated by users who prefer straightforward and user-friendly solutions, with its interface providing a blend of ease and intuitive interaction. Openbox, in contrast, resonates with users who emphasize detailed customization and perhaps have a penchant for micromanaging graphical user interface settings. Fluxbox embraces a balance between functionality and simplicity, while Openbox appeals to users who require an extensively adjustable interface.
In the realm of lightweight window managers, Fluxbox is notable for its minimal resource requirements, ensuring that system performance is largely unhindered by its operation. Alternatively, Openbox, while also being lightweight, is recognized for its compatibility with various desktop environments like LXDE, providing an adaptable user experience across diverse settings. Fluxbox guarantees a streamlined operation by minimizing system resource utilization, while Openbox promises adaptability by coherently merging with numerous desktop environments.
Fluxbox extends its utility with features like the slit, which can hold small applications, and the toolbar that provides quick access to essential functionalities. Openbox, diverging in functionality, usually doesn’t provide such features natively, but enables them through utilizations of external applications, ensuring that users have the flexibility to choose their preferred add-ons. Fluxbox naturally integrates certain utilities to enhance user experience, while Openbox provides a platform where users can selectively incorporate desired functionalities.
Fluxbox additionally utilizes a blackbox-derived style for theming, offering users the opportunity to aesthetically configure their environment within certain structural confines. In contrast, Openbox enables a more extensive degree of theming and customization, incorporating them into its repertoire to allow users an encompassing control over aesthetics and functionality alike. Fluxbox incorporates theming with certain structural limitations, whereas Openbox allows for a more intricate and expansive aesthetic configuration.

Comparison Chart

Window Navigation

Utilizes a tabbed window feature
Doesn’t use a tabbed window feature

Customization Level

Moderately customizable
Highly customizable

Resource Utilization

Very lightweight
Lightweight and adaptable

Integrated Features

Contains slit and toolbar
Lacks integrated utilities

Theming Capabilities

Limited, blackbox-derived style
Extensive and deeply customizable

Fluxbox and Openbox Definitions


Features integrated slit and toolbar.
Fluxbox provides direct access to applications via its toolbar.


A highly configurable window manager.
Openbox allows users to meticulously adjust their graphical interface.


Adopts a blackbox-derived style for theming.
Theming in Fluxbox offers a blend of aesthetics and simplicity.


Allows detailed aesthetic and functional customization.
Users can deeply personalize their user environment with Openbox.


A lightweight, stacking window manager.
Fluxbox is known for its minimal resource usage.


Does not use a tabbed window feature.
Navigation between windows in Openbox does not utilize tabs.


Utilizes a tabbed window interface.
Fluxbox allows users to easily navigate through windows using tabs.


Can be integrated with various desktop environments.
Openbox is commonly used with desktop environments like LXDE.


Does not heavily prioritize extensive customization.
Fluxbox provides a moderate degree of user interface customizability.


Known for extensive standards support.
Openbox ensures compatibility with a range of desktop standards.


Does Fluxbox contain integrated features for usability?

Yes, Fluxbox includes features like slit and toolbar to enhance usability.

What is the defining feature of Fluxbox’s window navigation?

Fluxbox uses a tabbed window interface to streamline navigation between windows.

Does Openbox natively contain features like slit and toolbar?

No, Openbox typically requires external applications for such features.

How does Openbox stand out in terms of customization?

Openbox is recognized for its highly configurable environment and detailed customization options.

Can Openbox use tabs for window navigation?

No, Openbox does not natively feature a tabbed window interface.

How does theming in Openbox compare to Fluxbox?

Openbox allows for more extensive theming and customization compared to Fluxbox.

Can Fluxbox support complex configurations?

Fluxbox does offer configuration options, but not as extensively as Openbox.

What is a defining quality of Openbox's interface?

A defining quality of Openbox is its meticulously configurable graphical interface.

What is a notable quality of Openbox in relation to desktop environments?

Openbox is notable for its compatibility and adaptability with various desktop environments.

What makes Fluxbox user-friendly?

Fluxbox features like tabbed windows and an intuitive toolbar contribute to its user-friendly nature.

How can functionalities like slit and toolbar be achieved in Openbox?

In Openbox, similar functionalities can usually be achieved through utilizing external applications.

Is Openbox a suitable window manager for beginners?

Openbox might have a steeper learning curve for beginners due to its extensive customization.

Can Fluxbox be used in various desktop environments?

Fluxbox is generally used standalone but can be used with other desktop environments.

What is the nature of Fluxbox in terms of resource usage?

Fluxbox is known for being very lightweight and minimal in resource usage.

Is Fluxbox compatible with blackbox themes?

Yes, Fluxbox can use blackbox themes due to its blackbox-derived style.

Can Openbox function effectively on older computers?

Yes, Openbox is lightweight and can function well on older computers.

Can Openbox be customized by users who are not tech-savvy?

While Openbox is customizable, non-tech-savvy users may find its detailed settings challenging.

Does Fluxbox allow extensive theming like Openbox?

No, Fluxbox has more limitations in theming compared to Openbox.

How does Fluxbox manage window grouping?

Fluxbox allows window grouping by enabling navigation through tabs.

Is Fluxbox a good option for older computers?

Yes, due to its minimal resource usage, Fluxbox is suitable for older computers.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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