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XFce Desktop 4 Released 261

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the minimalist-approaches dept.
BladeMelbourne writes "After thorough RC testing, version 4.0 of my favourite 'lite' desktop environment has been released. Sporting purty eye candy, XFce is leaps and bounds ahead of the legacy XFce 3.8.18 release, whilst retaining it's performance. Release notes are available, as well as binary and source packages. Bring that PII back to life!" While it may not have all the bells and whistles, it's pretty clean looking.
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XFce Desktop 4 Released

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  • Cutest logo (Score:4, Funny)

    by questamor (653018) on Friday September 26, 2003 @12:36AM (#7061172)
    I vote for xfce as having the dang cutest logo yet.

    *squeeee* lil rodent
  • by commodoresloat (172735) on Friday September 26, 2003 @12:41AM (#7061195)
    It's incredible, really. Here I was reading slashdot, trying to procrastinate doing some work, but it's the same stories I read earlier.... just when I am almost forced to stop reading /. and actually do some work, along comes slashdot not only with a new story for me to procrastinate more, but a story that involves looking at pictures of other people doing work! Thank you slashdot!!
    • by sinserve (455889) on Friday September 26, 2003 @01:09AM (#7061350)
      I spent the day pushing my "good boy" debian stable to the dark side by introducing it
      to the sinful pleasures of the "unstable" apt sources. In the process, I documented
      minor GNOME quirks and posted a couple of screen shots to freshmeat. I still have to
      configure VideoLAN since I am missing the OGG codecs.

      So you see, not every screenshot envolves a "working" person, some of us are just
      broken.

  • lighter is better (Score:5, Informative)

    by SHEENmaster (581283) <travis@utk.eNETBSDdu minus bsd> on Friday September 26, 2003 @12:42AM (#7061205) Homepage Journal
    I run TWM on my server and OpenBox on my iBook. Smaller window managers leave more ram and more proc. time for the processes that matter.

    Try comparing compile times of the kernel between TWM and KDE3, no surprise which will win.
    • Re:lighter is better (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phraktyl (92649) * <<moc.ooggard> <ta> <ttayw>> on Friday September 26, 2003 @12:47AM (#7061237) Homepage Journal
      I agree. I'm a big supporter of light. I use PWM [cs.tut.fi]. All keyboard shortcuts. No cute GUI stuff. And very fast...
      • Re:lighter is better (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Depends on what the box is like for me.

        My laptop? Blackbox. Small, sweet, sexy.

        My workstation? KDE3. My workstation has the beef to handle running it and anything else at the same time. Plus, there's the aesthetic advantage.

        I'm not talking about crazy eyecandy and sickening animated whatnots; rather, everything looks like it belongs on the desktop. I open up the mail program, it looks and feels the same as the browser. Et cetera.

        Can't really get that on 'light' wm's without all sorts of crazy hax
        • I'm not talking about crazy eyecandy and sickening animated whatnots; rather, everything looks like it belongs on the desktop. I open up the mail program, it looks and feels the same as the browser. Et cetera.

          XFCE4 uses the Gnome theme settings, so once you set the theme in XFCE, then Evolution, etc, all look the same. You can then set a similar theme in kcontrol for KDE, and everything looks unified.

          And BTW, I'm runnning this lightweight WM on a Dual Athlon 2600+ with a Gig of ram, and I can still
      • I agree. I'm a big supporter of light. I use PWM. All keyboard shortcuts. No cute GUI stuff. And very fast..

        You use my local airport [portlandjetport.org] for a desktop???

        Remainder of my .sig: be the majority of voters.
    • Similar thing with me. I run a simple Fvwm environment on everything I have. And Slack. I like my overhead at a minimum, so that all my programs get the resources.

      After all, I'm trying to escape the 'Doze, ain't I? Why waste cycles and memory on fancy effects? It can look pretty without all the sugar.
      • I run a simple Fvwm environment on everything I have.

        Heh, I hate to tell you this, but I had a quick look at FVWM [fvwm.org] and FVWM isn't simple any more! It's now got themes (as in window decorations)! And png support! Even the menu looks half-decent!

        Who'd have thought it ... ??

    • by shellbeach (610559) on Friday September 26, 2003 @02:52AM (#7061672)

      Try comparing compile times of the kernel between TWM and KDE3, no surprise which will win.

      But there is a "middle-ground" between butt-ugly TWM and big-and-bloated KDE (which is also, IMHO, butt-ugly, but that's more because I can't see the GUI for the kitchen sink that's in the way ...)

      That's why environments like xfce, ROX, WindowMaker and IceWM exist - providing speed, but not at the expense of being so minimal they interfere with usability. I'm currently using IceWM and ROX as a desktop, but having had a quick look at xfce4 I'll certainly give it a try. It looks very neat indeed ...

      • I agree! TWM is, well, nothing! Just an xterm to run X programs at the command line. KDE is ok on a brand new box, but on older boxen it's a big fat pig (Gnome too). Xfce provides some functionality, but it's much faster than KDE/Gnome, and I like it better than the other "mid-size" envionments that I've tried.
      • Yes, and actually TWM and FVWM are not actually the lightest window managers around, just the simplest.
    • Totally agree. Who wants to slow their machine down with the window manager? Also, it tends to be the smaller window managers that are trying out new ideas. My current favourite is WindowLab [freshmeat.net], it's small and the author has managed to combine a number of influences and totally original features really well IMHO.
    • Also compare the compile time between tcc(http://wandel.ca/homepage/tcc/) and gcc(http://gcc.gnu.org).
      gcc compile is quite a few tens of thousands % slower, and tcc uses _significantly_ less memory. Does that mean tcc is better and fits most peoples needs ? I think not.
  • by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Friday September 26, 2003 @12:44AM (#7061215) Journal
    How funny, just last week I was wondering what desktop to put on an old P133 with 48mb of RAM. I stumbled on Xfce and I was going to try the 4.0 release candidates. Does anyone here use Xfce, and if so, how well would you expect it to run on this computer ? Any tips ?
  • unless its being slashdotted.
  • I really wish they'd make a nice light desktop for Windows XP. Yes, I know, we all hate M$ here, but some of us really don't mind it. Anyway, Fluxbox and Gentoo almost made me switch about a year ago -- maybe it's time to give it another shot...
    • by quantaman (517394) on Friday September 26, 2003 @01:03AM (#7061325)
      I really wish they'd make a nice light desktop for Windows XP.

      Not gonna happen. Even if it didn't cost them anything, if fact I suspect if they wanted to they could adapt their PDA window manager which I suspect is fairly lightweight. There are two reasons why (I can think of). One is upgrade cycle. Most people who get a new computer do so because their old one gets old and slow. When they buy a new one they also buy a new OS and other software along with it not to mention the other software they buy seperately to go with their new computer. Offering a light WM would allow people to extend their computers life cycle and slow the upgrade cycle, assuming it was free of course but even if it isn't MS would just be taking a slice of their future pie.

      Another reason is variety, right now one of MS's biggest advantage is people don't have experience with variety. If they get used to a utilitarian WM without the flashy features they may start to wonder if it wouldn't be easy for someone other then MS to make a good WM and start looking around.

      The main rule I've learned about when a corporation gets to be a monopoly is what is good for the corporation is very often not what is good for the consumer.
      • >. Offering a light WM would allow people to >extend their computers life cycle and slow the >upgrade cycle

        Wait a minute.

        If I buy a new Gateway 2000, they're probably recieving a licence fee of perhaps USD 50 due to super-discount OEM licences.

        If I buy "XP-Lite upgrade kit", they're probably getting USD 70 or more of the 90-100 I pay. Alternatively, you can sell it for 20 bucks or so on top of the standard XP upgrade kit.
        • If I buy "XP-Lite upgrade kit", they're probably getting USD 70 or more of the 90-100 I pay. Alternatively, you can sell it for 20 bucks or so on top of the standard XP upgrade kit.

          If they're selling an "upgrade kit" then their market would be microscopic. The vast majority of people won't buy software for their 'ancient' computer that barely works now only to extend it's lifespan a couple years by sacrificing functionality. If they're in the mood to spend money on their computer they'd much rather get
      • by gaijin99 (143693) on Friday September 26, 2003 @01:48AM (#7061489) Journal
        Another reason is variety, right now one of MS's biggest advantage is people don't have experience with variety. If they get used to a utilitarian WM without the flashy features they may start to wonder if it wouldn't be easy for someone other then MS to make a good WM and start looking around.

        This is actually a good point. MS, by promoting a ruthlessly standardized desktop environment, has managed to get large numbers of people quite used to doing things one way (the MS way, that is). It really is a struggle for some of the more ossified types to even change to another browser simply because the buttons have slightly different icons from IE.

        By eleminating diversity, the MS designers have quite neatly gotten a psychological lock into the minds of many people. Gamers tend to switch more easily because games don't follow the MS standard interface, but non-gamers are very used to/addicted to the MS look and feel.

        Not, mind you, that standardization doesn't have its place. When every program makes the scrollbars look and behave differently even the most flexible of mind can get a bit worn out. I wonder if there's a happy medium between over-compliance with a standard UI, and over-diversity in UI look and feel?

        • This is actually a good point. MS, by promoting a ruthlessly standardized desktop environment, has managed to get large numbers of people quite used to doing things one way (the MS way, that is)

          Which "ruthlessly standard desktop environment" would that be? 95? 98? ME? NT? 2000? XP? They are all quite a bit different, you know, and they all require retraining and relearning. And each of them can be customized in lots and lots of ways. With third party apps, you can completely change their behavior.

          Sor
        • It really is a struggle for some of the more ossified types to even change to another browser simply because the buttons have slightly different icons from IE.
          Agreed. I lived this with my mom and Firebird last week. The back arrow is a different pic so she couldn't find it ... though I would substitute "less technically inclinded" for "more ossified."
      • You want WindowsXP lite? Jeebus, save me I'm giving XP tips on /.

        I found this [blackviper.com] site one time (in band camp) and it's made me tolerate WindozeXP ever since.

        The site (listed above) is way too complex, so the summary is this -- create another "Hardware Profile" then when you go into Services, click on the "Log On" tab under "Properties" for each service, and disable just about everything except RPC and Server for your new profile. Then on bootup you'll see nifty new boot profile with no damage to regist
    • LiteStep, GeoShell, bb4win, and countless others are available as shell replacements for windows. I have been using LiteStep for about 5 years, and it even made win98 look stable. Very fast, very configurable, modular, and much prettier than the plain default explorer startmenu.

      ShellFront [shellfront.org] and Desktopian [desktopian.org] are great places to start.
    • Re: Light desktop (Score:5, Informative)

      by dcuny (613699) on Friday September 26, 2003 @01:35AM (#7061447)
      I don't know how light it is, but you might consider looking at the ROS Explorer [franken.de]. It was written as a replacement for the NT Explorer, and runs under XP. Its current goal in life is to run as the ReactOS [reactos.com] (i.e. NT clone) desktop, although currently the ReactOS doesn't currently implement enough functionality to run it.

      It works just fine under XP as a shell. If you want to test it without replacing your current shell, just launch it from the command line with the -desktop option.

    • by johnwroach (624103) <johnwroachiii+sl ... om minus physici> on Friday September 26, 2003 @02:14AM (#7061562)
      I really wish they'd make a nice light desktop for Windows XP.

      There are a few:

      There's also progman.exe*, shipped with windows. I've heard tell of a "winfile" also supposedly built in, but I don't know anything about that.

      I've tried a few of these, but some of them (Blackbox) seemed to take more resources than Explorer! Another caveat, the ports of *nix windows managers retain the *nix settings system, so setting them up can be a pain if you don't have experience with them.

      *Yes, that is progman of Win16 fame.

  • must be running their website on that PII he mentioned.
  • Keyboard shortcuts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheFlu (213162) on Friday September 26, 2003 @12:50AM (#7061253) Homepage
    I've been keeping up with XFCE for a while now, and I've really enjoyed using it. I typically use either it or fluxbox when I'm in the mood for a minimal window manager. Anyhow, if you'd like to edit your keyboard shortcuts in XFCE (one of the first things I do when I install a new WM), you can do that in the following file: /usr/share/xfwm4/themes/default.keys/keythemerc
  • by BladeMelbourne (518866) on Friday September 26, 2003 @12:57AM (#7061297)
    I advise all RedHat users (downloading XFce RPMs) not to download and install gtk2-2.2.4-1rh9.i386.rpm from the XFce SourceForge page - it prevented my gdm graphical greeter from loading the login screen.

    The error message was: "The theme for the graphical greeter is corrupt. It does not contain definition for the username/password entry element." I clicked OK several times, but the error message stayed there.

    If you run into troubles, revert to an older package like gtk2-2.2.2-0.ximian.6.3.i386.rpm or gtk2-2.2.1-4.i386.rpm

    Dont play with /etc/X11/gdm/gdm.conf for half an hour like me, changing gdm greeter themes.

    Mike
  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Friday September 26, 2003 @01:05AM (#7061337)
    But their web server sure isn't!

    Ah, the power of a good Slashdotting. :-)

  • Really, when you use the ROX pinboard, it's all great. To get the proper feel, hunt down the location of the icons for the icon theme you're using for the XFce panel and use it for your ROX folders. Make sure to set ROX to not override window manager control of the root window.
  • Screenshots (Score:5, Informative)

    by breman (683776) on Friday September 26, 2003 @01:14AM (#7061367)
    Here is a mirror for the png's.

    XFce screens [members.shaw.ca]
  • In KDE I like to use an auto-hiding external taskbar in the upper-right corner of my screen, so if I jam the mouse over there it flies out, and the windows are shown in a vertical list rather than across the whole screen. This method uses real estate more efficiently than a Windows 95 style taskbar, because the horizontal space is only as much as is needed for a single window title, and I never open enough windows to run out of vertical space, and my window titles are seldom truncated. It's like a stack o
  • Here [plig.org]is a page with some info and links to other screenshots
  • "While it may not have all the bells and whistles, it's pretty clean looking."

    Bells, whistles!?!, i've been tring to write c apps that would generate those tone for years!! When is someone going to release code with bells and whistles... damnit!!! i want to see the source so i know what i've been doing wrong!
  • meh, no they arn't but does anyone know of a way to get scrollbars to default to the right? any os will due. A lefty on a tablet is a terrible thing to waste.
  • xfce with fvwm (Score:5, Informative)

    by HermesHuang (606596) on Friday September 26, 2003 @03:17AM (#7061737)
    What hasn't been mentioned yet is the xfce plugin for fvwm. I kinda liked xfce, but really liked fvwm but didn't want to spend the time customizing, and then I find that there's a plugin to load into fvwm and suddenly I have the xfce taskbar. It's really the best of both worlds. Fvwm's efficient management of the desktop, and a nice toolbar to keep everything organized. Although I suppose the fact that three of the buttons on the taskbar get set to different sizes and colors of xterms says something about me....
  • Im wondering how deeply programs like galeon and evolution are embended into gnome environent or can the be ran and do they behave normally in xfce ? I really would like to make a switch since my computer seems sluggier and sluggier after each upgrade ..
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday September 26, 2003 @03:49AM (#7061835)
    ..the Fonts look a little mangled [xfce.org], no?

    SCNR
  • "XFce" (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hard_Code (49548) on Friday September 26, 2003 @08:50AM (#7062742)
    "XFce", great. See, it's attention to pronouncable and memorable names such as "Ex-Eff-Cee-Eee" that endears open source projects to tens of users worldwide ;)
  • I had just downloaded the last RC release the day before this story came out. Dammit. Well, that RC release is excellent. For as fast and as light as it is, it is the best looking as well. I'm still working on getting some menus working, but that should be trivial. I just upgraded my kernel from 2.4.20-20.9 to 2.6.0test5 right after I install xfce4. Even though it was fast to begin with, the preempt support and better scheduling just rocked my world in combo with this desktop. I must say damn, linux
  • by axxackall (579006) on Friday September 26, 2003 @10:07AM (#7063344) Homepage Journal
    I use GNOME on Linux and I am happy with that. But on Cygwin there is no GNOME and KDE is not good for Cygwin either. That's why I have to use FVWM or WM, and I am not happy with either of them. That's why I am always open for some better alternative windows/destop manager that I can use on Cygwin.

    So, is it available for Cygwin yet? In other words - is it buildable and workable?

  • It's amazing what a big difference a new set of colors, and a good color theme makes. I always found Xfce ugly, and just slightly better than CDE. I might have to give it a shot now. The only thing I wish all WM or DE would do is have a decent program, script that searches for a list of well known X apps and arranges them in the menu, with their appropriate icons. KDE has something similar in app finder, but the program almost never finds all the Gnome apps that I like.

    All DE have everything one needs no
  • XFCE is great (Score:3, Informative)

    by penguin7of9 (697383) on Friday September 26, 2003 @11:12AM (#7063887)
    I use it everywhere. It works, it does just the things one wants a desktop environment to do, out of the box, and it's light and fast, as advertised. It's basically Macintosh simplicity come to Linux, without the sluggishness and memory usage of Macintosh system software. XFCE3 looked a bit too much like CDE, but XFCE4 looks nicer in addition to working well.
  • where's the debian .deb of this already. I tried it out on a RH9 system and loved it but the latest version for debian is 3.something. Installing it from source is a mission since everything is in a seperate package and needs to be done in a specific order. (There's an auto-downloading/installing script but I was not able to get it to work on my woody box.)
  • very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oohp (657224) on Friday September 26, 2003 @05:03PM (#7067181) Homepage
    I'm using fluxbox, but I tried out XFCE and I really like it. It's very cool in terms of speed and very good looking too. My girlfriend loves it too, so I configured her user with XFCE running the Aqua theme. Maybe I could make Linux suck less for her, thanx to this nice DE.
  • I know I'm late to the party, but here it is for anyone that might stil be hanging around this story...

    My single biggest problem with XFce was that it screwed-up my long-running desktop royally.

    On OpenBSD, I thought X was fscked, becuase everything would freeze-up after running for a few days straight. On other platforms, I was able to get better insight into the mystery. On FreeBSD/Linux, X would just restart all-of-a-sudden after just a short time of use. Appartently, XFce was crashing (xfwm to be sp

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