Difference between revisions of "Xfce"

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(→‎Tips: - Added "Replacements for the default 'menu' panel applet" section)
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You select your xfwm theme in:
You select your xfwm theme in:
  Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager Settings
  Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager Settings
=== Replacements for the default 'menu' panel applet ===
The "Ubuntu System Panel" (Gnome) panel applet has similar features to those found in its KDE v4.2 equivalent.  It can be installed by issuing:
yaourt -S usp2
It can be added to an Xfce panel via the 'XfApplet' panel applet, which allows Gnome applets to be used in Xfce.
=== How to remove menu entries from the System menu ===  
=== How to remove menu entries from the System menu ===  

Revision as of 02:48, 15 March 2009

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What is Xfce?

Xfce is a Desktop Environment, like GNOME or KDE. It contains a suite of apps like a root window app, window manager, file manager, panel, etc. Xfce is written using the GTK2 toolkit, and contains its own development environment (libraries, daemons, etc), similar to other big DEs. Unlike GNOME or KDE, Xfce is lightweight and designed more around CDE than Windows or Mac. It has a much slower development cycle, but is very stable and extremely fast. Xfce is great for older hardware.

Why use Xfce?

Here is a (subjective) list of reasons to use Xfce:

  • It's fast, faster than the other major DEs.
  • It's stable. In the long time Xfce-4 has been out, only a small handful of bugs has been discovered, despite it having a rather large following.
  • It's pretty. It uses GTK2 and is themable. You can make Xfce look very nice. The fonts are completely AA as well.
  • It works great with multiple monitors. Xfce's Xinerama support is arguably the best out of any WM/DE.
  • It doesn't get in your way. You'll find Xfce helps your work flow, rather than always making itself "present."
  • It comes with a built-in compositor which allows for true transparency among other cool things.

Why not use Xfce?

Here is a (subjective) list of reasons not to use Xfce:

  • Doesn't contain all the features and integration of the major DEs.
  • Slower development cycle.
  • Because it's based on the CDE design, the layout may not be as familiar.

How to Install Xfce

The Xfce source and documentation are available at http://www.xfce.org/. But since you're using ArchLinux, you can grab Xfce from Pacman.

Xfce is modular. That means there is no need for you to run every part, you can pick and choose. Because of this, Xfce has a bunch of Arch packages.

To install the base Xfce system, run:

# pacman -S xfce4

If you want extras, like panel plugins and extra themes, run this:

# pacman -S xfce4-goodies gtk2-themes-collection

If you want to be able to play sound files, you should also install ESD, which acts as the Xfce sound daemon. (Or you can install xfmedia, the default Xfce media player, and it will pull ESD as a dependency.)

# pacman -S esd

If you want to admire 'Tips and Tricks' on login, you must install the fortune-mod package:

# pacman -S fortune-mod

Running Xfce

There are two ways to run Xfce. One is the "automatic" method. To start Xfce from the console, you can simply run:

# startxfce4

Note: startxfce4 sets DPI to 96 by default, so font sizes will be different than when starting from .xinitrc.

To customize the Xfce startup using this method, you could copy /etc/xdg/xfce4/xinitrc to $HOME/.xfce4, and edit that file.
To add programs to the startup using this method, add symlinks from the programs you want to $HOME/Desktop/Autostart.

If you want more control over what starts and your initial settings, you can add these items to your $HOME/.xinitrc (leaving out and adding what you want):

xfwm4 --daemon
xfdesktop &
exec xfce4-panel


exec xfce4-session

How To Use Xfce With DMs

As of Xfce 4.2.0, the Arch packages add the proper session files for Xfce. They are contained in the xfce-utils package, which should be installed with a base installation. Simply Enable a DM.

How to shutdown and reboot from Xfce

Make sure that DBus and HAL are enabled in the DAEMONS line in /etc/rc.conf. Then add your normal user to the shutdown group:

# gpasswd -a USER power

Note: This group is only used by HAL, so you still need root privileges for shutting down the system via command line (halt/poweroff/shutdown).

With the new hal in extra situation has changed: Use either a consolekit/policykit capable display manager (e.g. gdm) or when you start from a shell use "startx" instead of "startxfce4" and add this to your ~/.xinitrc:

exec ck-launch-session xfce4-session

see http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=59954 for more details.


Commands for the settings manager

There is no official documentation for the commands executed. One must look at .desktop files /usr/share/applications/ folder. For the people who like to know exactly what is happening, here is a handy list to save the effort:

xfce-setting-show backdrop
xfce-setting-show display
xfce-setting-show keyboard
xfce-setting-show sound
xfce-setting-show mouse
xfce-setting-show session
xfce-setting-show splash
xfce-setting-show ui
xfce-setting-show xfwm4
xfce-setting-show wmtweaks
xfce-setting-show workspaces
xfce-setting-show printing_system
xfce4-panel -c

To review all the available setting manager commands run the following in a terminal:

$ grep xfce-setting-show /usr/share/applications/xfce*settings*

A drop down console like in quake

# pacman -S tilda

will install tilda, a drop down console, juste like yakuake in kde. It uses quite some ram, and a more lightweight alternative would be stjerm that can be found in the AUR.

How to enable the compositor in Xfce 4.4

Xfce 4.4 comes with a builtin compositor adding the option for fancy window effects, shadows and transparency and so on.

You can find it in Settings->Window manager tweaks. But if it isn't there, take the following steps:

  • Open up $HOME/.config/xfce4/mcs_settings/wmtweaks.xml, and ensure that <option name="Xfwm/UseCompositing" type="int" value="1"/> is present. If the wmtweaks file is not there, open up the Settings->Window manager tweaks and change some things, then close it, and the file should appear.
  • Make sure the following lines are in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:
Section "Extensions"
	Option "Composite" "Enable"
  • Finally, restart X and the compositor should be available.

Why doesn't my desktop refresh?

Xfce 4.4 uses FAM (File Alteration Monitor) to get notification when a file or directory changes. Don't forget to add 'fam' to the list of DAEMONS in /etc/rc.conf

Use a transparent background for desktop icon titles

To change the default white background of desktop icon titles to something more suitable, edit the .gtkrc-2.0 file in your home directory and add the following (create the file if needed):

style "xfdesktop-icon-view" {
XfdesktopIconView::label-alpha = 10
base[NORMAL] = "#000000"
base[SELECTED] = "#71B9FF"
base[ACTIVE] = "#71FFAD"
fg[NORMAL] = "#ffffff"
fg[SELECTED] = "#71B9FF"
fg[ACTIVE] = "#71FFAD" }
widget_class "*XfdesktopIconView*" style "xfdesktop-icon-view"

How to customize xfce panel background

The same, edit ~/.gtkrc-2.0. ( foo.bar is path to your image )

 style "panel-background" {
   bg_pixmap[NORMAL]        = "foo.bar"
   bg_pixmap[PRELIGHT]      = "foo.bar"
   bg_pixmap[ACTIVE]        = "foo.bar"
   bg_pixmap[SELECTED]      = "foo.bar"
   bg_pixmap[INSENSITIVE]   = "foo.bar"
 widget_class "*Panel*" style "panel-background"

How to customize starting xfce

This includes getting necessary environment variables into the GUI runtime.

  • Copy the file /etc/xdg/xfce4/xinitrc to ~/.config/xfce4/
  • Edit this file. For example, you can add something like this somehwere in the middle:
  • source $HOME/.bashrc
  • # start rxvt-unicode server
  • urxvtd -q -o -f

How to add themes to XFCE

pacman -S xfce-mcs-plugins

1. Go to xfce-look.org and click "Themes" in the left navbar. Look around for a theme you want and click "Download".

2. Go to the directory where you downloaded the tarball/file and extract it using Squeeze/Xarchiver/CLI.

3. Move the extracted folder to /usr/share/themes (for all users) or ~/.themes (for just you). Inside /usr/share/themes/abc, there is a folder that you create called xfwm4 that will contain whatever files that is included with that theme.

4. GTK theme is available here:

Menu --> Settings --> User Interface Settings

You select your xfwm theme in:

Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager Settings

Replacements for the default 'menu' panel applet

The "Ubuntu System Panel" (Gnome) panel applet has similar features to those found in its KDE v4.2 equivalent. It can be installed by issuing:

yaourt -S usp2

It can be added to an Xfce panel via the 'XfApplet' panel applet, which allows Gnome applets to be used in Xfce.

How to remove menu entries from the System menu

With the built-in menu editor, you cannot remove menu entries from the System menu. Here’s how to hide them:

  1. Go to the /usr/share/applications folder. Type in the terminal (Xfce menu > System > Terminal):
    $ cd /usr/share/applications
  2. This folder should be full of .desktop files. To see how many there are, type:
    $ ls
    Say the one you want to edit is Firefox. Type in the terminal:
    $ sudo mousepad firefox.desktop
  3. In the bottom of the file, paste the following:
  4. Save and exit. Now Firefox won’t show up in the System menu. You can do this with any program.

But what do you do with menu entries which do not show up in /usr/share/applications (e.g., apps installed via wine)?

I've found some shortcuts that show in the category “Other” in this directory: ~/.local/share/applications/wine/.

How do I get xfce4-mixer and OSS4 to work together?

It seems as if the xfce4-mixer package in the binary repositories is only compiled for ALSA sound support. For those of us who use OSS4, there is a very easy way to get xfce4-mixer to support OSS4. First, navigate to the SVN entry for the xfce4-mixer package[1]:

Then download both the PKGBUILD and the .install file to the same directory on your machine. Next, cd to that directory, and look for this line in the PKGBUILD file (it's near the bottom):

--with-sound=alsa || return 1

Change alsa to oss in that line and save the file. Then run:

makepkg PKGBUILD

This takes a few minutes, depending upon the speed of your system and your compiling options in /etc/makepkg.conf.

After that, there will be a .pkg.tar.gz file in the current directory, and all you need to do to finish installing xfce4-mixer is:

pacman -U xfce4-mixer-4.4.2-2-i686.pkg.tar.gz

Your file version and architecture may be different from mine; 4.4.2-2 32-bit was the version I installed on my system.

EDIT: I have just posted the modified version of xfce4-mixer as xfce4-mixer-oss4 on AUR, and you can simply install that as you would any ABS package and achieve the same results as above.

--Kclive18 18:02, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

How to make screenshots (print-screen key)

Simple way is use command-line screenshot utility with Xfce

# pacman -S scrot


Xfce-menu --> Settings --> Keybord settings >>> Shortcuts

Add new theme and for command "scrot" use key "PrintScreen".

All screenshorts will be placed in your home folder with unique name like

this "2009-02-19-063052_1280x1024_scrot.png"!

Related Articles

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