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From PyPanel sourceforge page:

PyPanel is a lightweight panel/taskbar written in Python and C for X11 window managers. It can be easily customized to match any desktop theme or taste. PyPanel works with EWMH compliant WMs (Openbox, PekWM, FVWM, etc.) and is distributed under the GNU General Public License v2.
Some of the customizable features include:
  • Transparency with shading/tinting
  • Panel dimensions, location and layout
  • Font type and colors with Xft and shadow support
  • Button events/actions
  • Clock and workspace name display
  • System Tray (Notification Area)
  • Autohiding
  • Application Launcher
  • Custom Application Icons


Install pypanel package.


Although pypanel is lightweight, it still has a lot of features that can be configured in the .pypanelrc file. This file is created in your home directory the first time pypanel is run.

To run pypanel simply type:

$ pypanel

To start pypanel automatically see xinitrc or Autostart applications.

Now that we have a default configuration file in our home directory we can edit the behavior of pypanel. The ~/.pypanelrc file is actually a Python script, and therefore requires correct Python syntax and formatting. The file is well commented, so rather than duplicating it, here are some suggestions:

BG_COLOR        = "0xfaebd7"    # Panel background and tint (Antique White)
TASK_COLOR      = "0xffffff"    # Normal task name color
DESKTOP_COLOR   = "0xffffff"    # Desktop name color
CLOCK_COLOR     = "0xffffff"    # Clock text color

TASK_SHADOW_COLOR      = "0x000000"
SHADED_SHADOW_COLOR    = "0x000000"
CLOCK_SHADOW_COLOR     = "0x000000"

SHADE           = 64

ABOVE           = 1             # Panel is always above other apps
APPICONS        = 1             # Show application icons
AUTOHIDE        = 0             # Autohide uses the CLOCK_DELAY timer above
SHADOWS         = 1             # Show text shadows
SHOWLINES       = 0             # Show object separation lines
SHOWBORDER      = 1             # Show a border around the panel

Many other settings can be changed. These examples only illustrate some of the visual options available. Mouse clicks and other behavior can be also adjusted according preference. Read the comments and experiment.


If you wish to add launchers to PyPanel, you will have to enable the launcher in the Panel Layout section.

 # Panel Layout:
 # ...
 DESKTOP    = 1
 TASKS      = 3
 TRAY       = 4
 CLOCK      = 5

And then add your launch commands in the LAUNCH_LIST section. The first part is the command to run, the second part is a full path to the icon to display.

            ("firefox", "/usr/lib/firefox-3.0.1/icons/mozicon16.xpm"),
            ("thunar", "/usr/share/icons/oxygen/16x16/apps/system-file-manager.png"),
            ("urxvt -bg black -fg grey", "/usr/share/icons/oxygen/16x16/apps/terminal.png"),

Take a look around /usr/share/icons for icons to use for your applications.

Tips and tricks

If you want to make the mouse click act more traditionally, find the following lines in .pypanelrc:

def taskButtonEvent(pp, button, task):
   """ Button event handler for the panel's tasks """
   if button == 1:

and then, add the last line once again, so that it looks like this:

def taskButtonEvent(pp, button, task):
   """ Button event handler for the panel's tasks """
   if button == 1:

If pypanel yields an error about non-existing .Xauthority file, create it:

$ touch ~/.Xauthority

See also