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X GUI Software

Xfce 4.2.0 Released 275

kelnos copies and pastes: "The Xfce Team is pleased to announce the availability of Xfce 4.2.0, the next major version of the Xfce Desktop Environment and Development Framework for Unix and Unix-like platforms. Xfce 4.2.0 can be downloaded here. Xfce 4.2.0 includes new applications like a session manager and an application finder, a new and beautiful icon theme, support for bleeding-edge features (like the Composite extension), usability and performance improvements, better support for multihead desktops, new and updated translations, additional themes, and various other improvements over the previous stable releases. See this page for a complete list of changes between Xfce 4.0 and Xfce 4.2. Furthermore, Xfce 4.2 is the first desktop environment to ship with an easy-to-use and platform-independent graphical installation wizard, which takes care of compiling and installing Xfce on your system. Visit the os-cillation installers website for download links and instructions. If you want to try Xfce 4.2.0 first, without installing anything on your system, you might want to try the Xfce Live Demo 0.2, provided by os-cillation, to discover the power and efficiency of Xfce."
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Xfce 4.2.0 Released

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  • Can Xfce be used without GNOME or KDE? I'm looking for a very small window mangler I can throw into a USB pen drive distro, and the site doesn't seem to be too clear on this.

    Oh, wait, I found it. It requires GTK+. Hm. Are there any good WMs which don't have any gtk+ or Qt dependencies? Remember, I said GOOD. I've used wmaker and its ilk, but something a little more modern would be nice.

    Oh, and I'm also familiar with DSL [], but I hate Debian...

    • by ThisNukes4u ( 752508 ) <> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:49PM (#11380025) Homepage
      You could try enlightenment, its not exactly "lightweight" but it could serve that purpose and doesn't have many external dependencies. But really, there is no point of running X without either Gtk or Qt as most apps use one of those.
      • Toolkit API wrappers (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
        I wonder whether there's a role for something like "Gtk--": the Gtk/++ API implemented minimally. Both graphics and features are reduced to the bare usable minimum, but compiling against Gtk-- lets "Gtk" dependent apps run on totally stripped systems (like the requested pendrive). Of course a Qt-- seems just as possible, as I'm discussing only architectures, not which toolkit is better.

        Such a "Toolkit--" could be a good enhancement, or spinoff, of the Gtk/Qt unification projects underway. The holy grail is
        • While this may be technically feasable by removing some of the lesser-used functions of the libraries out and removing themeing functionality, in practice I would say that it is not practical because you have no idea of knowing if a certain app is going to use that one function that no other app uses but that one, and soon in order to have compatiability with all the apps you want you are basically including all functions. Some of those problems could possibly be worked around by implementing "dummy" funct
          • I'm talking about "slimming down" every function, but keeping all the functions. So, for example, rather than a widget loading a bitmap to simulate a "real" widget (like a button or shaded dropdown), it just draws its border, and maybe an "X" across to show its area. Other GUI functions get just as simple. Some toolkits, like blackbox, do this, but they don't expose a Gtk or Qt API. So they're nice and lightweight, but useless for running the apps we need - so useless. Maybe an interesting project is not so
            • Ok I guess I misunderstood you. That seems to be a pretty good idea actually, as long as it wouldn't detract from useability.
            • You are exactly describing creating a theme for Gtk. The actual wodget drawing is a separate plugin system, so you can do exactly what you describe by writing a theme engine. And of course, people have done this already; if you try some theme engine like IceWM, you'll notice it will be a lot faster than the pixmap engine. It won't be nearly as configurable either, but that's what you "pay".

              Generally, however, Gtk is pretty fast for what it does. "Slimming" it down would entail removing real functionality.
      • XFce4 has NO *external* dependancies (whatever that means). Every desktop env for *nix is standalone and you most deffinitelly do not need Gnome or KDE installed in order to run XFce4. However, you have the ability to load the load the esential libraries/services from either KDE or Gnome if you want to speed up the execution of KDE/Gnome software or if you want to add more functionality. XFce4 does not have a usable desktop i.e. you can only put a background and no shortcuts there and you will need to run p
    • Try Blackbox or one of its relations (fluxbox, etc). I don't know what you mean by "modern", but they're small, efficient window managers that don't do anything but manage windows.
    • It requires GTK+, but not Gnome.

      WindowMaker is an excellent window manager - I don't know what else you expect a "small window mangler" to do. If you want something "modern", then I would advise you to stop using an operating system that can trace it's origins back to the 1960's.

      Blackbox is another personal favorite - it's about as lightweight as you can get.
      • Blackbox is another personal favorite - it's about as lightweight as you can get.

        No, ION [] is as light as you can get (or ratpoison, but let's be realistic and err on the side of usability). Windows ary typically full screen, without borders. Everything is basically in "workspaces", b/w which you switch by alt-1, alt-2 etc. Works like a charm on that server if you still want to use a browser or GUI apps every now and then.
      • Young at Heart (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:47PM (#11380346) Homepage Journal
        All operating systems' origins can be traced back to the 1960s, when they invented operating systems. OS development is largely "punctuated evolution" - incremental accelerated by occasional revolutionary changes. So OS'es with older, more direct roots have the advantage of maturity, meaning that many problems which OS'es address have been solved, in order to survive enough to contribute to the next generation. Truly new OS'es, like PalmOS, aren't even tested enough in many scenarios to predict how they'll fail, the most imporant property of using an OS. Some OS'es, like Windows, are trapped in both worlds: significant new, untested tech combined with lots of obsolete legacy apps to support, often in mutually exclusive modes or subsystems. Of all these lineages, Linux probably has the best deal, being a rebirth of pedigreed Unix architectures, without the old apps or users to hold back innovation, combined with its essential self-modifying toolchain and community.
      • --For the easily infuriated, here is the direct link to the Debian package repository for XFCE 4:

        --For the impatient:

        deb testing main
        deb-src testing main

        --I spent like 10 minutes going round the bend with their stupid circular links to find that!!
    • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:03PM (#11380103) Homepage
      Are there any good WMs which don't have any gtk+ or Qt dependencies?
    • by damiam ( 409504 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:13PM (#11380162)
      XFCE isn't a window manager; it's a desktop environment. If you want something so ultra-lightweight that libgtk alone is too big, then you probably want Fluxbox or something of that ilk. But that's a damn small pen drive.

      For any decent-sized drive (128MB and up) on any computer built within the past ten years, XFCE would be fine.

      • I'm running Xfce on a 64Mb pentium box and its pretty reasonable a performer. I've run xfce in the past on 32Mb boxes and it was ok. xfce+sylpheed+abiword works very well on smaller systems. Its also nice on a fast box - Xfce X sessions start essentially instantly on a decent machine unlike gnome/kde
    • gtk+ is not that big - maybe 5-6 mb.
      Besides, as a *common* library, it will ultimately *save* space, if you are planning to actually install graphical applications.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:18PM (#11380186)
      Are there any good WMs which don't have any gtk+ or Qt dependencies? Remember, I said GOOD.
    • You could try Ion 2 ( - no GTK+ or Qt dependencies.

      I started using it after I got tired of the mainstream window managers, fluxbox included.
    • Gnome != GTK

      I use KDE, and have GTK installed because I use GTK apps, but I have no Gnome installation.
      What are you going to run from the pen drive anyway? Most non-KDE X11 apps use GTK now (it's not just for Gnome programs like QT is for KDE apps).

      The above must look quite like a lot of acronyms connected by grammar...
    • The only real dependency it has is, as you said, GTK+. As for DEs not requiring a toolkit i'm not aware of any - there's a lot of assorted WMs though. You could try IceWM [] or Fluxbox [], both very lightweight but excellent, well-featured window managers.

      As for light DEs, look no further: XFCE is the best. And by far. Give it a shoot, it runs very well on an old PII of mine.
    • by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @06:01PM (#11380849) Homepage
      Are there any good WMs which don't have any gtk+ or Qt dependencies?

      IceWM [] is my favorite.

  • by MisterP ( 156738 ) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:48PM (#11380016)
    I've been a Window Maker user for 7 or 8 years and I've tried XFCE 4.0 and the RC's of 4.2. I used 4.0 for a good 2 weeks at home and at work and then 4.2 RC for another week but I'm back using Window Maker again. XFCE is very nice and the developers have done a great job making a nice light WM, but the reason I switched back is the same reason I don't use KDE or Gnome. They all redraw funny. The GUI doesn't feel "solid" like MS Windows, OS X or Window Maker does. I'm not talking about stability. I wish I could explain it better and I hope someone else can chime and explain it. Here's how I reproduce it:

    When I have 4+ desktops (or even one loaded up with applications) and I switch desktops or alt-tab, with XFCE (or Gnome, KDE) it takes longer than it should to redraw the screen or window. I notice this even on fast machines with fast video cards running recent Xorg releases.

    Does anybody else experience this?
  • Best Alternative (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ebob ( 220513 ) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:49PM (#11380022) Homepage
    To anyone who thinks this sounds like the best alternative to the bloated KDE and Gnome, it is. Go the their website and check out the flash demos []. They show how well (and how fast) it works better than any description. The window manager has about a bazillion styles from simple to extreme. If you want to compile it yourself, the graphical installers are fabulous. Translations into 40 languages! Xfce simply rocks.

    • I'm using xfce on a PII/300MHz laptop. It works very well, looks nice, loads fast and is not a resource hog. I've tried both KDE and Gnome on the laptop, but I can't stand the loooong loading times.
      • Nice to know... I'm downloading the live demo as a quick way of installing a low spec (hardware requirements wise) Linux onto an old Cyrix MII 300 MHz machine... That machine has currently got an old install of Mandrake 7.0 with KDE 1.whatever on it... getting a bit dated, but it's what I started with and it's got happy memories for me... I won't be wiping that disk, just use another 6 gig disk I found in the drawer...
    • Re:Best Alternative (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Val314 ( 219766 )
      Go the their website and check out the flash demos
      i dont want to bash Xfce (never tried it, so i cant say anything) but compare this [] to that [] (not the product, just the movie itself).
      why did they had to make those flash moves so damn fast that you cant really follow them.
    • The flash demos are quite impressive, so here's my question: How do you create such a flash demo that records your actions? Is there some kind of a tool that does this (on whatever platform)?
      • use vnc2swf []
      • by ebob ( 220513 ) *
        This question came up on the xfce user's email list. Here is a link to the relevent reply: r/012132.html
      • by Saeger ( 456549 )
        I researched this a little while ago, and you've got a few options for doing video screencaptures under linux:
        • vnc2swf []
        • vncrec [] + transcode []
        • xvidcap []
        • Use the "better" Windows capture software to capture whatever you want running in VMWare, on a FAST machine.
        • (point a camcorder at the screen and encode later)

        If you also want to sync audio recording along with the video, it takes some extra work.

    • Re:Best Alternative (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wolfrider ( 856 )
      --I've found that ' xftree ' and ' gqview ' (separate package) are a decent alternative to konqueror, at least for local files. Much resource savings since you don't have to load multiple kdeinits.
    • Re:Best Alternative (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      you forgot to add something...

      if you absolutely must clutter your desktop with files and icons. add to XFCE the ROX filer from here []

      it will give you the ability to have thousands of icons and files on your desktop as well as that comforting "my computer" that makes your computer all warm and fuzzy.
  • torrent (Score:4, Informative)

    by froggero1 ( 848930 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:49PM (#11380023)
    here's the torrent [] of it
    • Thats not XFCE!
      Thats the XFCE live demo, the XFCE version of Knoppix. Also quite cool, but it's not XFCE for installing on your main distro.
  • nice (Score:2, Informative)

    by BibelBiber ( 557179 )
    Looks really nice from the screenshots. Something between Gnome and KDE (but more Gnome like) Thanks to the developers, I'll give it a try if I get it to run on my PPC Ubuntu :-)
  • Building. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theapodan ( 737488 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @03:55PM (#11380049)
    To be playing devil's advocate for a moment,

    Is this release substantially slower/more bloated than the 4.0 release, and less so than the 4.1 release? When I went from the 4.0 release to the 4.1 release, my system couldn't take it and still remain reasonable (I have a junker running FreeBSD). So how does 4.2 run, for those who went right ahead and installed the release? I wonder if there will even be packages built for this version for the 4.x tree.

    • Re:Building. (Score:2, Informative)

      by drigz ( 804660 )
      Using 4.2 over 4.0, I have noticed no speed difference during normal use, although #xfce say that it should be faster.

      However, it is _much_ (several times) slower to load (they have a splash engine now). However, I don't do this very often, so that doesn't really matter.
  • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:08PM (#11380129) Homepage

    From the download page of the website []:

    "Various parts of Xfld are covered by so many different licenses, we can't possibly keep them all straight."

    They have an obligation to do exactly that--keep the licensing straight--so they aren't distributing something they don't have a license to distribute. Perhaps it is time to comb the distribution and make sure the licensing is correct.

    • I can't find that anywhere on the page you link to, but maybe they've removed it. Anyway, it doesn't have to mean the licenses are unknown, just that they are too numerous to list on the web page. And since it seems to be based on Debian, they probably used Debian's packages, and you'll find the licenses and the names of copyright holders under /usr/share/doc/$packagename/copyright.
  • I wonder if this now means IceWM is no longer the only WM where I can set F11 to `tile windows vertically`...
  • ION (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G. Waters ( 172392 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:16PM (#11380173)
    Do yourselves a favor; try ion [] for 15 minutes and you'll be hooked.
  • A a universal frontend for configure and make, which has a list of --enable-* and --with-* options, maintained in a file separate from configure. The front-end could be customized by each distro to create packages in its native form if desired. It should depend on some simple widget set, maybe even Xlib, and not GTK+ or Qt.

    It doesn't have to be for essential things like glibc, bash, or other such text-based programs. Maybe the X server itself and up should be buildable by this system.
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @04:39PM (#11380300) Journal
    I run a lab of thin clients hanging off a rack of Dell servers. I really wasn't too keen on umpteen Gnome sessions running, or even half a dozen bloaty nautiluses. So I stripped them out, and made XFCE the only option.

    Its slick, light, windowsy-enough to not scare newbies too much, and the lab has run for over a term with no problems.

    I set the servers up to give the users a choice of connecting to the Linux boxes or Windows boxes, and 95% of the connections are to the Linux boxes....

    • That's very interesting. What kind of situation is it, though? IE, what kind of school, which demographic tends to use them the most, what is the unitlity of both the Windows and Linux terminal sessions, what kind of performance differential is there, and what kind of maintanance do the Windows machines get (ie, are they riddled with spyware)? It all makes a play on the difference.

      For instance, if the Windows terminals are slow, then it's unlikely they'd use them if all they're doing is checking their emai
  • Oh common! (Score:2, Funny)

    by odyrithm ( 461343 )
    I've been running xfce for years now, in that time I have yet to restart X, amasing really as I have a cron job running nightly updating.. but I swear if I go into work tommorow and my box(dual head) with a gizillion xterms open, gedits all over, ICA windows, vnc sessions, logins to places I've forgotten password to etc breaks.. I'm gonna go grrr and drink pepsi! yes pepsi! thats how bad this could be!
  • I mean, come on... that's just awesome. It's like, "I'm loading XFCE 4.2.0, time to spark up."

  • by bcmm ( 768152 )
    Clearly a lot of /.ers have started downloading XFld [] (the XFCE live demo - basically Knoppix with XFCE 4.2) many using the torrent []. If you are one of the majority who aren't uploading at all, could you PLEASE learn how to open port 6881?
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @05:23PM (#11380613)'s the shit :)

    Seriously, give it a whirl, specially if you're unenchanted with KDE/GNOME's last offerings or have older hardware and want to run something better looking than Fluxbox []. XFCE has got an increased number of users since version 4, and with good reason. It's great.

    The 4.2 version fixes a number of issues with the previous 4.x ones - namely, session management, better configuration options and interface polish, specially in stuff like the taskbar and the panel. The only thing i imagine lacking from XFCE are desktop icons, and they're scheduled for a future version.
    • Hey, flux can look great if you spend the time to set it up properly. On the other hand, I'm really impressed with the XFCE screenshots. I used XFCE a year or so ago - now I'm using KDE on stronger machines, and fluxbox/rox on lower-end machines. Didn't like the filemanager back then - did it improve? There is still rox if didn't though...
      • I'm not bashing Flux, at all - i used to use it a lot. But XFCE gives you the "GNOME-look-and-feel" without the bloat that's been plaguing it lately. Flux looks, more... well, elite :)

        As for the filemanager, it has improved a lot but it's still a little weird to use. It tries to mix the best of dual pannel filemanagers and "explorer" ones, with mixed success. I use it every now and then, but i still preffer XNC [] better.
    • Actually, I'm quite happy to use XFCE without desktop icons; when I'm in a position to use Gnome, I go in and turn the icons off.

      The only major thing I miss from fluxbox is its built-in tabbing of like windows. If XFCE had window tabbing, I would be in a singular WM nirvana.
  • The XFCE file manager is the single worst element of an otherwise very nice desktop. I use it anyhow, but rarely browse files with XFFM, opting instead to resort to command line navigation and launching of applications and documents.

    The other annoyance I have is the taskbar taking up so much space and looking ugly unless it's on the opposite end of the screen from the panel. I almost wish it had a panel more like KDE's, with a task switcher as part of it.
    • The other annoyance I have is the taskbar taking up so much space and looking ugly unless it's on the opposite end of the screen from the panel. I almost wish it had a panel more like KDE's, with a task switcher as part of it.

      What you are looking for is the taskbar-plugin. Then you can just remove the old taskbar. This is what I do.

    • Completely agree with you, though it looks like some work was done on it for 4.2.0. Most distros have rox-filer as an install option, a very nice alternative.
  • I've been a die-hard Afterstep fan for years, until I discovered WindowMaker and found it not only an adequate replacement, but a worthy and much better successor.
    Several years later, the same story repeated with WindowMaker being the old system and XFCE4 being the newcomer.

    My only complaint with it is that I can't cover up the taskbar except for using the auto-hide feature, which I loathe. If I could do that, or even disable it altogether (most of the times I just about know what tasks I've running, thank
  • that uses GNOME!! I use XFCE for my notebook due to its slick lightweight interface... and minimal overhead.

    This is a 200MB distro complete with openoffice (or abiword/gnumeric)... so it fits on a 256MB stick with space for /home/luser too :)

    bloody slow but useful. With 256MB sticks being thrown out in wheatbix packets it is spot on.

    This distro could be trimmed to fit in 128MB if you deleted open office... any smaller and you would need to resort to xdirectFB or
  • My linux box is a P-233MMX with a Chips & Technologies graphics adapter and 64MB of RAM. Needless to say, the definition of 'lightweight' seems to have left me behind - FireFox is supposed to be lightweight, but when I am forced to use it I discover that it takes so long to render pages that it can make any connection feel like dialup.

    I've been using WindowMaker because it's the most lightweight thing I can find that I don't consider ugly as sin, but I would like to have something that does more than
    • P4 systems are going for $500. You can get CRTs for FREE from almost any computer recycling dump. Gimme a break, there is no need for even welfare recipients to be running your hardware at this point.
  • i've noticed as a new feature since the beta versions that they've made it easy enough for people to combine the taskbar with the panel (by having an option to add a taskbar applet on the panel).

    Before they are seperated, just like the way the default screenshots look like without a way of combining them.

    Eventhough it's easy to combine the two, there isnt a simple way of disabling the default taskbar up top other than killing the xftaskbar4 process or modifying the script to stop it from loading. I think
  • Installer (Score:2, Informative)

    by mdavids ( 143296 )

    Terrific. Now we can subvert our package management systems, and screw up our computers just like Windows users do. In no time at all we'll be formatting our hard drives and reinstalling everything from scratch on an annual basis. Maybe then GNU/Linux will be considered "ready for the desktop".

  • Congratulations... (Score:3, Informative)

    by borgheron ( 172546 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @01:51AM (#11383205) Homepage Journal
    You've just re-implemented CDE.


    It's the e(X)tremely (f)*cking (c)de-like (e)nvironment. :)

    Again... congrats.


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