Thanks to the infinite knowledge of Mikachu, I’ve finally figured out how to switch window managers while running Openbox without having to terminate any running applications. Using the Openbox ‘restart’ action, you can launch a different window manager. To do so, add the following to your menu.xml file (using Pekwm as an example):

	<item label="Pekwm"> 
	<action name="Restart"><command>Pekwm</></> 

You won’t be able to do this through Obmenu, but text files aren’t that scary. 😉

For all you Pekwm enthusiasts: you can do the same thing easily in Pekwm using the RestartOther action ({ Actions = “RestartOther openbox” } for example). I’m not sure how that works in other window managers; you might not be able to switch back to Openbox without logging out.

PCMan, one of the developers behind the LXDE project, has just released a first version of LXappearance, a simple application to change the Gtk theme, icons and fonts when outside Gnome or Xfce.

The application is very straightforward. There is a tab to change the Gtk theme, one for the Icons and one for ‘Other’, which at the moment only allows you to change the toolbar style of Gtk applications (icons, icons and text, only text, etc.). It has a preview window which updates automatically when you select a different theme, but changes are only applied when you press the ‘apply’ button.

Here are a few screenshots of the application in action:

As far as I can tell, this is now the best theme-changing application available for window managers. Unlike its predecessors, gtk-theme-switch and gtk-chtheme, LXappearance can set the icon theme for you as well, and the instant preview of the theme is well implemented. You can also install new themes with it, though I admit I haven’t tested that yet. The only issue I’ve had so far, is that the icons and Gtk themes are not listed alphabetically in LXappearance (as you can see in the screenshot). I’m not sure what the logic is behind the listing, but it isn’t very handy.

Note that LXappearance overrides your ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file, where it stores the Gtk theme, icon, font and toolbar settings, so be sure to back that file up if you have some settings in there you’d like to keep. I also had to uncomment the icon settings I had specified in my ~/.gtkrc-2.0.mine file; for some reason they overrode the settings in ~/.gtkrc-2.0.

This is a great addition for those who use window managers without desktop environments, but want a light and attractive way to change their Gtk settings. I’ll be updating the Openbox guide soon.