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You should be able to install ROX using the ROX-All package.

One known problem is that installing ROX-Session system-wide asks for the root password, but Ubuntu doesn't have a root password by default as it encourages people to use sudo instead.

Here is a summary of the status reports from the comments. If you can clarify further which versions work, please add a comment to this page!

Ubuntu 4.10 (The Warty Warthog): October 2004
Should work, but use Debian (not "Ubuntu") package of 0launch because Warty uses Python 2.3 like Debian.
Ubuntu 5.04 (The Hoary Hedgehog): April 2005
Reported to work (possible D-BUS problems with configuration applets)
Ubuntu 5.10 (The Breezy Badger): October 2005
Reported to work (possible D-BUS problems with configuration applets)
Ubuntu 6.06 (The Dapper Drake): June 2006
Reported to work (possible D-BUS problems with configuration applets)
Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft): October 2006
Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn): April 2007
Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon): October 2007
Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron): April 2008


The process has changed and these instructions need to be updated. Looks like you need to run gconf-editor and edit /gnome/desktop/session. There is a list of required components which are gconf keys at the next level. These list .desktop files to be run. [ TODO ]

Step-by-step instructions for Ubuntu/feisty

As an alternative to using ROX-Session, these instructions show how to reconfigure gnome-session to start ROX. This provides better integration with the existing Ubuntu environment.

  1. Start the package manager, by opening the Applications menu at the top of the screen and choosing Add/Remove ....
  2. Find and install the zeroinstall-injector package (you may need to select Show: All available applications).
  3. Open a terminal emulator using Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal.
  4. Use this to get ROX-Filer, by entering this command in the terminal emulator (hint: clicking the middle mouse button pastes the selected text):
    $ 0alias rox

    (it may prompt you to create a bin ("binary") directory for the script; follow the instructions)

  5. You can now try running ROX-Filer like this:
    $ rox

    Right-click in the window and choose Options from the menu. In the Compatibility section, turn on the Panel is a 'dock' option. This is needed for Metacity, the default Ubuntu window manager.

  6. We'll set up some defaults (e.g. that clicking on a .zip file should unpack it using Archive) by adding the ROX-Defaults package. Add this line to your ~/.gnomerc file (creating a new one if you don't have one):
    eval `0launch`

    This won't take effect until you next login. Note that those ` characters are graves ("back-ticks"), not apostrophes.

  7. Next, you might like to change some GNOME settings by entering the commands below. Here, we disable the GNOME splash screen and the Windows-like raise-on-click behaviour. We also enable changing keyboard short-cuts. You can also set focus-follows-mouse mode if you want (the fourth command does this). Disabling raise-on-click makes it easier to use drag-and-drop between programs, which is a core part of ROX.
    $ gconftool-2 -s /apps/gnome-session/options/show_splash_screen -t bool false
    $ gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/interface/can_change_accels -t bool true
    $ gconftool-2 -s /apps/metacity/general/raise_on_click -t bool false
    $ gconftool-2 -s /apps/metacity/general/focus_mode -t str sloppy
  8. We're going to put a ROX panel along the bottom of the screen, so remove the existing gnome panel by right-clicking on it and choosing Delete this panel from the menu.
  9. Now we'll use ROX-Filer to manage the desktop rather than Nautilus. Using the gnome-panel menu at the top of the screen, run System/Preferences/Sessions. The Current Session tab lists the session-aware programs that are currently running. The idea here is to run the programs you want by the normal means, and then save the current state.
  10. Set the style for "nautilus" to "Deleted Items" so that it doesn't get automatically restarted when we kill it, and then kill it using this command:
    $ killall nautilus
  11. Run ROX in "session" mode to replace it, like this:
    $ rox -S

    You should get a new backdrop and a new panel along the bottom of the screen.

  12. Quit any programs you don't want to be run on each login, and then go to the Session Options tab in gnome-session and click on "Save the current session".
  13. Log out and log back in again.

You might like to read the Getting Started Guide next. More applications can be found in the ROX-All package.

See also:

Rox on Ubuntu

Any way round this, apart from enabling root?

su on Ubuntu

I guess you could run ROX-Session itself using sudo. Does that work?

Perhaps someone could send a patch against the CVS copy of ROX-Lib, in the module?

Dealing with su/sudo for installation

Perhaps the install script could ask the user which method/password to use. I'm not sure of the best wording though.

Root password in Ubuntu

Although Ubuntu doesn't need the root-user by default, you can still log in as root and set the root password. To set a new password for the root user (which you can use to install ROX-Session for all users), use the following commands in a terminal window:

sudo -s # opens a root-session, enter your own password
passwd # changes the root password, enter it twice
exit # closes the root-session

If ROX-Session now asks for a password, you know which one to use :-)

Rox-session not working

I believe Rox-session uses an obsolete libdbus, as GDM is unable to start it, saying that some element of Rox's calls is deprecated somethingy.Dbus.otherthingy :)
Maybe an update is in order?

Ubuntu Breezy - latest Rox-all, all stock Ubuntu programs other than Rox-all.

Try CVS ROX-Session

Please help us test the CVS version, which supports newer versions of D-BUS.

I'll try :)

Sounds nice, i'll try it.

I really like the Rox way of user install - everything is in my homedir, the only global change it made was for GDM, and I don't mind that.

For almost every other DE, it isn't that simple to set it up in your homedir.

Nice work :)

Patch for ROX-Session 0.26 has a patch to make ROX-Session 0.26 work and updated versions of the configlets etc.

Rox 2.2 works well on Ubuntu

I use Rox 2.2.0-xfld.2 on Ubuntu Hoary 5.04 and it works perfectly for few months already.

rox works very well with ubuntu

Except for the known rox-session/dbus issue I have no trouble with rox under ubuntu hoary, breezy, and dapper. I only installed the 0install launcher with dpkg -i and the rest using AddApp (when possible).

ROX works well on ubuntu

I can also report good experiences with ROX-All on Ubuntu. For unimportant reasons, I had to install the old Warty release, which comes packaged with python2.3, however it was a breeze to update it to the next-newer release, Hoary (hint: instructions are here.) This was required in order to get python2.4 (which 0install needs.)

I'm afraid I enabled the root user before installing ROX so I can't comment on that particular issue, but as a ROX-user since 2002 and an old Archie nut, it's exciting to see the progress of this desktop environment.


Today I updated ubuntu from Hoary to the next-most recent release, Breezy... and ROX-Session broke calling lib-dbus (" cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory.") I've confirmed that Breezy has updated this library to

I'm not sure I have the time, energy, competence, or patience to install from CVS just yet (having been using the lovely 0install packages so far,) so it seems for the time being I will just have to wait to get my lovely desktop back.

Ubuntu and D-BUS

The latest versions of ROX-Session (0.28 and later) do not require D-BUS for general operation, so you should still be able to log in and use ROX.

However, some of the configuration applets may not work without it.

Edgy ??

Does anyone know what the situation with EDGY is ? Its almost released now...and I'd love to switch from Gnome to Rox

menu-methods for rox

How do i get the top list programs to run when you right click on a file?

I had the list in mandriva, but it's gone in ubuntu edgy.

I think what I want is /etc/menu-methods/rox but am not sure. I have the copy used in mandriva, but am afraid to mix the two.

rox on linux

1/. It would be wonderful if there could be a Rox/Zeroinstall based distro - perhaps based on Ubuntu (Rubuntu or 0buntu?). It is so difficult to get Rox up and running on any distro (ive tried lots) that it is hard to see how their can be any widespread adoption of this system, for all its attributes. This seems such a shame - all this potential and hard work going to waste. A proper Rox distro would not only solve the problems getting a basic Rox desktop up and running, but provides the opportunity to build in 0install based default apps and proper gui launchers on the desktop for all the usual suspects. A normal default Rox install gives only a completely bare desktop which is hardly inspiring.

2/. The Rox-All package does not seem to exist on Ubuntu Feisty for some reason.

3/. Off topic, but we need someone to package up some mainstream apps into 0install (ardour, hydrogen, audacity, klear, kaffeine, devede, dvdstyler, etc) to encourage use of 0install.

re: ROX on Linux

1. We could certainly improve the default desktop. At least, put some applications on the panel (possibly include some .desktop files from /usr/share/applications too).

2. A 'zeroinstall-injector' package is now in Ubuntu/feisty (universe), which should make things a bit easier.

3. Please ask those projects to provide Zero Install feeds; they won't do it if there's no demand. You could point them at the packaging tutorial. If they'd like to do it but don't have time, let us know (on the Zero Install mailing list) and we can make one for them.

Have a look at

Have a look at FLuxbuntu:

ROX works with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn

I have been running ROX-session with Openbox as the window manager on Ubuntu Edgy Eft. Yesterday I made the upgrade to Feisty Fawn (I did not use the Update Manager, just command line 'sudo apt-get dist-upgrade'), and ROX-session continued to work without problems.

I'm pretty new to Linux, so

I'm pretty new to Linux, so please help if there's something I'm forgetting. I have gone through this entire process, but when I close Terminal the desktop and bottom bar disappear, leaving me with the original Ubuntu desktop background. I'd either like to:

1. Get this working, or
2. Restore the session back to the default, and use Nautilus

Any help would be much appreciated, I'm trying to experiment with the RISC GUI to see what it is like.

It Sounds Like

You're running the pinboard and panel from the terminal. Am I right?

Try downloading ROX Session and running that.

Okay now it works... but I

Okay now it works... but I have 3 huge problems:

1. The fonts are TINY, about 4px high, so I have to guess what everything does. I'm writing this on a Windows machine for that reason.

2. There doesn't seem to be any window management

3. I can't log out to switch to Window Maker

Any help at all? I think for the time being my Linux box is out for the count.

Fonts, Window Management, Etc

There's a font app in the software section but it's a .tar.gz file. Does Windows do .tar.gzes?

Anyway, it has an option for setting the number of pixels per square inch. That might be useful.

Not sure about the window manager and window maker issues. Surely it should use the native window manager if OroboROX isn't installed (which I assume it isn't).

Are You Actually Running ROX in Windows?

Then you might want to look at this

Nope... I'm posting from a

Nope... I'm posting from a windows machine because I've somehow managed to screw up Linux badly enough that I can't do anything useful.

Is there a way I can just uninstall ROX and go back to the default Ubuntu desktop?

When You Run The Linux Machine

Is there a login screen?

If so, click on options, then sessions and choose Gnome. That should take you straight to the default Ubuntu DE. No need to uninstall ROX, unless you installed it in a really weird way.


If you can't log out normally, try Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to reset the X server. Your display manager (gdm, xdm, whatever) should restart it and you'll be back at the login screen. From there, you can choose a different session (window maker, failsafe, etc).

NB: On some systems, you have to press Backspace twice.

If you have somewhere to type commands ("Window -> Terminal Here" in any ROX-Filer window, or press "!" to get a prompt directly within a filer window), you can start any WM you have available (try one of "xfwm4", "metacity", "twm", etc).

For the fonts, ROX-Session should set something sensible. If you're using gnome-session, try running gnome-settings-daemon and possibly gnome-control-center. See also Fonts.

Okay. The Gnome session is

Okay. The Gnome session is the one over which I seem to have installed Rox for my user account, which seems to be the instructions for this article. That's my main problem: when I load it I get the pinboard and ROX desktop as normal. It also seems now to be managed by Metacity so that's good... it means I can move windows.

Again, sorry if I'm not using the right terminology here. I'm new to Linxu... and I'm not quite clear on why I have an X-windows server, then a desktop, window manager, etc... so I end up trying new ones that don't come with all the pieces I need. Rox doesn't seem to have a preferences application, which is another problem, although there might be one that I can't see because the font is tiny.

I used Gnome's preferences utility (which seems to come up when I right-click on the pinboard and select to change desktop background) to change my font sizes. They are now big enough on title bars but not in apps. The strange thing is that this doesn't seem to be a resolution issue. The icons are about the size you'd expect for my resolution. The fonts are about 1/4 of their size for no apparent reason. This makes it impossible to tell what I'm doing half the time. I'd include a screenshot if I had a clue of how to take them... and could find Firefox to load it.

I'm excited to try out the Risc UI though, have always been interested in GUI history. Thanks for helping me!

default mime types

I am using 8.04 ( Hardy Heron ) and the defaults don't appear to work. I checked a few random files (csv, pdf, ods) and none show up with program options.

I did make a .gnomerc file and logged out.

I ran rox -S from a terminal. The desktop pops up, etc, w/o a problem.

Any ideas?

Set Run Action

There are only defaults for a very few types (HTML, text, and various archive formats) at the moment.

For the rest, use "Set Run Action" on the menu

Set Run Action / mime type

Back when i was on mandrake, it seemed like there were a lot more preconfigured "Choices." I'm guessing that was done by the Mandrake team, then?

nautilus -> rox-filer

I really love rox-filer and I'm wondering how to go about completely removing nautilus from ubuntu and replacing it with rox-filer?

The main thing I'm worried about is replacing nautilus as the default file-manager. For instance, in firefox if I download a file I can right click and say show in folder, then a nautilus window opens. I want rox-filer to open instead. In fact, since I don't want to use nautilus at all, I'd like to completely remove it from the system.

Please let me know if what I want to do is possible? I've been using ubuntu for a little while but I don't really understand how gnome integrates with nautilus.

Incorrect title of doc.

Be clear at the start of this page: This is about integrating ROX with GNOME. Your page did not state this and I started to follow your instructions, which is a shame because I am using JWM and not Gnome.

nautilus -> rox-filer

It's probably using the xdg-open command. This guesses your desktop environment and then delegates to another helper (probably gnome-open in your case). You can change what that does as explained here:

Hope that helps,

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