Blackbox FAQ/Blackbox Itself
This FAQ section covers questions related to Blackbox in itself, such as what architectures it's been ported to, when it first appeared, what version is recommended and so on. There's a good chance such questions are answered throughout this site already, so please do a wiki search or some browsing before you ask something here.
Do not add new questions here. Add them to /NewQuestions instead, so they can be reviewed and answered at least once.
However, feel free to add more answers to any question. Place your answer after any other answers, mark it with a bold A: and add a number if there is already at least one other answer (ie. A1:, A2:).
When in doubt about something, don't do anything or add a comment stating your concernes. Let others review the issue too.
- 1 What is Blackbox? Who would use it, why and where?
- 2 No, really, why should I use Blackbox?
- 3 What version should I use?
- 4 Why do Blackbox releases appear so slowly?
- 5 Why isn't feature X being implemented already?
- 6 Which architectures does Blackbox support?
- 7 How can I see which version of Blackbox I'm running (I grab CVS snapshots)?
- 8 Blackbox reports something about PixmapCache maximum size being exceeded
- 2 No, really, why should I use Blackbox?
A: Here's an attempt* I once made to answer this very questions in broader terms. And I've since learned that no, it wasn't blind luck that pushed Blackbox to the current state: BradleyHughes was in fact part of the group that developed the NetWM standard. -- CiprianPopovici
A: The latest stable release. You can always DownloadBlackbox source and compile it yourself. You may prefer to get precompiled binaries for your distribution, as you should. If they are not available, get in touch with whoever is in charge of Blackbox packages for your distro and ask why not.
A1: There's only one (1) stable and comitted developer: BradleyHughes. Occasionally other people contribute to Blackbox in various ways, but history has shown that they eventually move on. Bradley has a life of his own, which includes job and family. Blackbox is just a hobby.
A2: If you really need to get Blackbox more often, use BlackboxCVS and pull a fresh copy once a week; many people do it and it seems to satisfy them. The fact that official Blackbox releases are sparse is rather irrelevant. The CVS code is most of the time pretty usable, if you are willing to put up with bugs once in a while.
A1: Because BradleyHughes is the only true long-term Blackbox developer, everything relates to his use of Blackbox. He doesn't use Xinerama, for instance (he'd rather use true multihead), so he's not going to implement full support for it until he finds the time to implement it in a way that mimics that. In many ways, Blackbox is just a project that scratches certain itches. This doesn't mean that he wouldn't welcome code from other people, so feel free to contribute.
A2: Users have the priviledge of using Blackbox for free, not the right to demand anything from it. Such a right is earned by making serious contributions to the code or by helping the project in major ways. "Put up or shut up"; it may seem like a harsh philosophy because it discriminates against people who can't code, but that's the way it is. Find other ways to contribute if you really care and, in time, your rights will be acknowledged; in the meantime, you can only make suggestions*.
A: This question is answered here: SupportedPlatforms.
A1: Type blackbox -v in a terminal and examine the output. Hopefully, the developers put a meaningful version number there. But with CVS they usually don't bother, so you're most likely to always get the version of the most recent public release. Version is only considered relevant for releases.
A2: Another idea would be to read the top notes in the Changelog file in the source directory, or use CVS-specific methods to see when the last changes were commited. This will only give you a date and time though, with no version indication.
bt::PixmapCache: maximum size (2048 kb) exceeded bt::PixmapCache: current size: 17046 kb
A1: This message has been supressed in 0.70.1. Only previous versions used to output it.
A2: There is nothing to worry about. Blackbox internally limits the pixmap cache size and periodically refreshes it by discarding the oldest pixmaps. The message is purely informative; it reports how big the cache limit is, that it was passed, and how much data was discarded so far to make room for new data. (The Blackbox "pixmaps" are the textures it uses to draw windows and buttons. It caches them so it doesn't have to recreate them again all the time.)