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 http://rox.sourceforge.net/2005/interfaces/ROX-Filer

    (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 http://rox.sourceforge.net/2005/interfaces/ROX-Defaults`

    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: