Installation based on the Ubuntu installer is natural a breeze so I won't waste time talking about it. At the login prompt I encountered my first (trivial) issue. The username field was already populated with "live". Hmmm...of course you can't login with password free live account that is a hangover from the live CD install, but still. So I replace live with my own username. Now I'm quite sure I could fix this pretty easily, but that is not the point. I don't much care for the default wallpaper that also decorates the login screen a scroll of pink ribbon, no not to my taste at all. Again something I could change.
The first thing I did change was the Conky script. I didn't like the overly simple CPU and RAM usage indicators in the bottom left corner. If I'm going to waste resources running Conky it might as well be useful.
First job second...Madbox was naturally only displaying on one monitor and at the wrong resolution. I immediately went to the Administration menu and selected Additional Drivers (this being an Ubuntu based distro). I was offered an NVIDIA accelerated graphics driver and I choose to Activate it. Then the alarm bells went off. A large red no entry sign and the message “You are not authorised to perform this action”. Oh joy. What the hell does the menu shortcut point to...how can I find out? Er...eventually I worked out how to add a shortcut to Adeskbar from the Menu, then I could edit the taskbar shortcut to gksudo /usr/bin/jockey-gtk. Problem, that should never have presented itself, solved.
I get some graphical corruption when I log in but the two monitors work well thereafter. Nitrogen is the default wallpaper manage and it does work. I select the directory my new wallpaper was dumped in an managed to hang it until I rebooted. Now I can remove the folder it resides in browse back to and select it. However, my wallpaper stubbornly refuses to appear in the preview window for me to select and hang.
Right let's install some packages. Firefox and Pidgin came down a treat, Synaptic Package Manager may no be as easy and friendly as the Ubuntu Software Centre, but it will do the job easily as well. Then I hit another snag...no menu shortcuts? I had to log off and on again to get them, later I found I could quit Adeskbar and Alt-F2 run Adeskbar again to update it. Not very impressed by that.
I downloaded a .tar file and immediately hit another snag. Nothing was associated with .tar files to open them and yet .zip files open up a treat in File Roller. File roller lives in /usr/bin so it should be easy enough to ensure that .tar file open in File Roller automatically. Well it should, I could browse to /usr/bin and select file-roller, but this did nothing. I was left opening a zip file with a double click (since there is not menu entry for File Roller) and then selecting Open and browsing to my .tar files! The exclamation mark conveys my frustration and incredulity.
Out of sheer frustration I used Synaptic to install Wine and without restoring to any configuration or creating a wine environment I created a shortcut directly to the World of Warcraft executable. I was confounded as WoW opened up a little quicker than I'm used to on Ubuntu and I'll be damned if it wasn't a significant number of frames per second faster. 5 – 10 may not sound a lot, but in high population density areas like major cities the FPS can slow to under ten and the game stutter a little. An extra 5 FPS in these circumstances is very valuable. I'd rather have an extra 5 FPS when my game is normally running at around 10, then an extra 20 FPS at 50 FPS. The lighter distro wins one.
Now the fun starts. I downloaded a USB package and installed some dependencies through synaptic and once I had complied the USB source I had downloaded I could use the software that controls my gaming keyboard and uploads the keycodes to the device to set up all the keybinds from a simple .csv file. That worked relatively painlessly, I was very pleased so I created a shortcut to the file that initiates the keycode programming. I couldn't get it to do anything. Not Adeskbar isn't the first dock I've had issues launching 'run in terminal' shortcuts from, AWN and Docky are both less than perfect. Honestly I haven't had any success with them at all. So I was irritated with Adeskbar for not being able to hand this a Gnome does but hardly surprised, how not having a Gnome bar to fall back on I not have to open a terminal and hit the up arrow repeated until I get to the command I need...
The default File Manager is PCManFM and it's OK but...is there a search, really, I couldn't find one?
In conclusion I have to say I quite like Madbox. Then project show a lot of potential. Using Openbox is a fine idea, it's lightweight and works well giving you back the resources for where you need the performance. However, Adeskbar is functionally incomplete and some aspects of the OS do not appear to be bug free. I also don't really like the choice of File Manager. The worst aspect of Madbox though is Adeskbar, again I like it as a project but it is just not finished yet. Case in point: the Places plugin displays a list of the folders you have bookmarked plus your home and File System (root folder), it doesn't work clicking on any of the entries does nothing at all. It doesn't update live so adding new software requires you to shut it down and start it again or log off and back on. It most damningly of all does not support drag and drop, criminal.
So, what next in my distro odyssey? Crunchbang definitely and maybe even the stable mother lode: Debian itself. Why do I immediately think rock solid, but inflexible and difficult to use? We'll see.