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I like to run light Window Managers, like Fluxbox, not for performance just because I find them simpler to configure and they fit better my working style. But having automatic hardware and network detection is also very convenient.

Is there any way I can have that same Gnome or KDE functionality without having to use the whole environment itself?

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2 Answers 2

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Yes, install components of gnome/kde and/or lightweight alternates.

For networking, take a look at wicd

What do you want in terms of hardware detection ? If you want a graphical interface for installation of graphical drivers (nvidia) you can try jocky or jocky-gtk. The graphical drivers tend to be a one-time installation so not sure if you want these tools.

There are tons of other small applications such as tint2, nitrogen, pcmanfm, etc.

On Fluxbox / openbox you can install single gnome / kde applications

See :

http://blog.bodhizazen.net/linux/a-5-minute-guide-to-fluxbox/

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Lightweight_Applications

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What I would like is basically network and hardware detection on the fly and maybe autoinstallation of required plugins, etc. Like autodetecting any USB device, wifis, etc. –  Anvironment May 23 '13 at 13:02
    
wicd and jocky-gtk would be good first starts. –  bodhi.zazen May 23 '13 at 13:07

You should be able to use the eg. gnome networkmanager.

sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome

Use nm-applet to start the network manager, or add the nm-applet command into your ~/.xinitrc to automatically load the applet.

Good luck!

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