Mandatory software includes the following:
- An operating system that Blackbox has already been ported to, see SupportedPlatforms for a list.
- A POSIX-conforming environment (see Wikipedia:POSIX).
- iconv(3) (Unicode support). Please note that even though iconv(3) is a part of the POSIX standard, some systems only provide support for it through an external library, such as GNU libiconv*.
- If you intend to build Blackbox from source, there are some additional compilation-specific requirements.
Be warned that Blackbox doesn't implement keyboard handling itself. You are hereby advised to grab and install the bbkeys keyboard handler if you want any kind of keyboard reaction (think Alt-Tab).
The packages listed below serve to enhance the Blackbox set of features. If you're going to compile Blackbox yourself, having them installed or not will determine whether the corresponding features will be present in the resulting binary. However, if you're going to use the binary Blackbox package that your distribution provides, it all comes down to how Blackbox was compiled by the distro maintainers. Usually a dependence will be signalled automatically by the package manager of your distro and you will be prompted to also install any additional required packages.
So, starting with 0.70.x, Blackbox can use the following:
- Xft* is a library built on top of FreeType 2, fontconfig and the RENDER extension for X. All these come as a complete deal; you either include all of them or none. If you have a recent version of X, all of them are most likely included with it.
- Xft provides anti-aliasing, which means that fonts will have nice, "blurred" edges which make them look nice regardless of size and slant; as opposed to jagged, ugly edges.
- FreeType provides support for TrueType fonts, among other types. Some of the most widely used and good looking fonts are in TrueType format.
- Fontconfig allows Blackbox to tap into the font collection on your machine via a standardized, modern and flexible font configuration and addressing system.
- The RENDER extension is a plugin that helps X render anti-aliasing effects using your video card's hardware acceleration.
- I18N: This means letting users choose among several languages to be used for the Blackbox messages and configuration options. FIXME: currently, this is disabled in the 0.70.x releases, and only English is available. It will be added later, at which point this will be a compile-time option. Please note that Unicode support is always included (since it is a mandatory dependency), regardless of I18N support. I18N means having Blackbox-specific menus and options appear in a language other than English.
Blackbox has always been and will always be built around minimalism. As such, it requires small amounts of RAM and CPU power, which makes it especially well suited for older hardware.
In case you want figures and additional details please see BlackboxPerformance.