I have a relatively new Debian installation -- when it was first installed, it was without a gui, but I ran apt-get install xinit and apt-get install openbox, so when I run startx I get an openbox session.

My openbox menu is rather limited, and .xsession-errors shows

Openbox-Message: Unable to find a valid menu file "debian-menu.xml"
Openbox-Message: Unable t o find a valid menu file "/var/lib/openbox/debian-menu.xml"

When I check /var/libopenbox/debian-menu.xml there's nothing there. Is it possible to fix it so that openbox can show debian menu items?


The following is an excerpt from my ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml file:

  <!-- You can specify more than one menu file in here and they are all loaded,
       just don't make menu ids clash or, well, it'll be kind of pointless -->

  <!-- default menu file (or custom one in $HOME/.config/openbox/) -->
  <!-- system menu files on Debian systems -->
  <!-- if a press-release lasts longer than this setting (in milliseconds), the
       menu is hidden again -->
  <!-- center submenus vertically about the parent entry -->
  <!-- time to delay before showing a submenu after hovering over the parent
       if this is a negative value, then the delay is infinite and the
       submenu will not be shown until it is clicked on -->
  <!-- time to delay before hiding a submenu when selecting another
       entry in parent menu -->
       if this is a negative value, then the delay is infinite and the
       submenu will not be hidden until a different submenu is opened -->
  <!-- controls if icons appear in the client-list-(combined-)menu -->
  <!-- show the manage desktops section in the client-list-(combined-)menu -->
  • 1
    Is the menu package installed? – jw013 Apr 18 '12 at 6:31
  • @jw013 It wasn't... So I just installed it, and the "/var/lib..." error seems to have gone away, but I still get Openbox-Message: Unable to find a valid menu file "debian-menu.xml" – math4tots Apr 18 '12 at 6:38
  • @jw013 I've edited my post and added the stuff. And yes, I have the /var/lib/openbox/debian-menu.xml file. The second line in debian-menu.xml mentions something about it being an automatically generated file. – math4tots Apr 18 '12 at 6:52
  • @jw013 Actually I think I've solved the problem. I am not sure exactly what was wrong, but I ran cp /etc/xdg/openbox/* .config/openbox/ again after installing menu, and everything works. – math4tots Apr 18 '12 at 6:57

The menu package provides the Debian menu and must be installed.


By your description, it looks like the openbox package doesn't operate correctly if the menu package is not installed before it. The easy fix would be for it to Depend: on menu. As Openbox is a light-weight window manager intended for small systems that may not want menu, it would be better to fix Openbox's configuration. Please check whether you can reproduce this issue on a pristine installation of Openbox (save your configuration files and purge the package). If you can, please check the Debian bug tracker to see if this issue has been reported, and if not, report it.

  • 1
    openbox only suggests menu. I'd be interested in seeing how such a bug report to request a depends would be triaged as one could argue that openbox is still useful without the Debian menu. (I have never looked at the auto-generated Debian menu except to see what was in it out of curiosity.) The error messages seen by the OP are probably caused by the combination of openbox not depending on menu yet still including debian-menu in its default configuration files. – jw013 Apr 20 '12 at 2:29

The menu package provides the Debian menu and must be installed.

  1. Enable the breezy Universe repository
  2. sudo apt-get update
  3. sudo apt-get install menu

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