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Xfce 4.8 Released 193

Posted by timothy
from the when-snappy-matters dept.
PerlDudeXL writes "Today, after almost two years of work, we have the special pleasure of announcing the much awaited release of Xfce 4.8, the new stable version that supersedes Xfce 4.6. [..] Xfce 4.8 is our attempt to update the Xfce code base to all the new desktop frameworks that were introduced in the past few years. We hope that our efforts to drop pieces like ThunarVFS and HAL with GIO, udev, ConsoleKit and PolicyKit will help bringing the Xfce desktop to modern distributions."
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Xfce 4.8 Released

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  • by caseih (160668) on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:05AM (#34901710)

    Hopefully all these new-fangled frameworks and technologies aren't going to turn Xfce into just another Gnome or KDE competitor. Xfce was always fast and light. Hopefully it stays that way.

    • by simcop2387 (703011) on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:20AM (#34901774) Homepage Journal
      Actually dropping HAL for PolicyKit/ConsoleKit/udev makes it considerably lighter in that regard. HAL has always been a beast of a system that got so unwieldy to maintain and fix that they started dismantling it years ago. As far as ThunarVFS vs GIO, I'm not sure, but it shouldn't be much different and at least reduces the amount of code around that duplicates functions, this should at least make your system itself lighter (unless you've got nothing but XFCE apps on your system, in which case there shouldn't be a change).
      • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Monday January 17, 2011 @03:33AM (#34902450) Homepage

        The irony is that all these subsystems worked pretty damn well in QT3 years ago, and they've only gotten better, since. A lot of the long-running bugs in the various GTK wm subsystems were never really a problem for KDE, and things like the VFS implementations worked much, much better.

        If only KDE wasn't such a general memory hog, eh?

        • That was my immediate reaction. I use XFCE, but I still use Konqueror and Kwrite for browsing remote files systems and editing files on them because they work much better.

          KDE is not as much of a memory hog as it is reputed to be. It depends on what you install and how you configure it.

          • by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday January 17, 2011 @08:47AM (#34903426)

            For being memory hog, the "out of the box" installation is what counts. I install Ubuntu, comes with Gnome (but that's not the point), and don't want to start heavy configuring to make it less of a memory hog. I guess I could make it lighter, but it's too much effort for me. It has to just work.

            You sound like a tinkerer (me too sometimes) but for most people stuff has to Just Work. And for most of my computers I also want them to Just Work. Which modern Linux distros luckily do more and more.

            • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

              And Ubuntu packs so much extra stuff, that unless you do a minimal install and then add what you want, it is virtually impossible to have a lightweight system. This isn't a slam against Ubuntu. They are trying to be all things to all people. As such they have a lot of services running and such to handle just about any situation. Need a hammer, it's in a default install Ubuntu, need a wrench it's in a default install Ubuntu, need a screwdriver, it's in a default install Ubuntu. However, if all you neede

              • by wvmarle (1070040)

                Absolutely true. That's what I like about Ubuntu, no (at least not much) tinkering needed. The only thing that needs serious work is the network login: it's not easy to set up a system to do kerberos login, and get user/group details from an ldap server. Previously I used Mandriva (really loved that distro - worried about the future and tried Ubuntu which works well too) - there you could set that up very easily when installing the system. A tick mark, enter a few settings (kerberos realm, ldap server name)

              • by tom17 (659054)
                tom@muon:~$ hammer
                hammer: command not found
                tom@muon:~$ wrench
                wrench: command not found
                tom@muon:~$ screwdriver
                screwdriver: command not found
                tom@muon:~$ tweezers
                tweezers: command not found

                liar
                • by fwarren (579763)

                  Ubuntu is a Gnome distribution. Did you try

                  gnome-hammer, gnome-wrench, gnone-screwdriver or gnome-tweezers?

                  It could even be

                  ghammer, gwrench, gscredriver or gtweezers

                  However

                  khammer, kwrench, kscredriver and ktweezers will not work till you do a apt-get install kubuntu desktop

                • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:11PM (#34904954)

                  tom@muon:~$ hammer

                  hammer: command not found

                  tom@muon:~$ wrench

                  wrench: command not found

                  tom@muon:~$ screwdriver

                  screwdriver: command not found

                  tom@muon:~$ tweezers

                  tweezers: command not found

                  Obviously your system administrator doesn't trust you using such powerful tools and has removed access to them for your account. :)

            • I'm a long-term UNIX and Linux user & the last thing I ever do is evangelise about operating systems.

              If you like Windows, then good luck to you, just use proper registered & purchased versions of everything so that you're not running virus-ridden cracked crap that makes the Internet that little bit worse for the rest of us. And if you're a Windows user who doesn't like paying for extra software, then run FOSS apps on it.

              As for Ubuntu, I try it occasionally, it's a nice piece of work but far too bloa

          • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

            That was my immediate reaction. I use XFCE, but I still use Konqueror and Kwrite for browsing remote files systems and editing files on them because they work much better.

            KDE is not as much of a memory hog as it is reputed to be. It depends on what you install and how you configure it.

            So what you are saying is that by using Konqueror and Kwrite, you aren't concerned with the memory footprint and Xfce being lighter (or not) is irrelevant since you are loading most of the kdelibs anyway. Is that correct?

            I do agree with the last part of your last statement about it depending on what is installed. It never ceases to amaze me that people will say they want a low resource desktop environment like Xfce or even LXDE and then install, say OpenOffice.org on it. While obviously, we want any desk

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          I've done a lot of GTK programming and never programmed anything that hit frameworks like HAL as part of GTK. GTK deals with the screen and widgets and window managers. It doesn't care about HAL or VFS, etc. While GTK may not be as complete as QT, if any of these subsystems were causing a problem, it wouldn't matter whether QT or GTK were the toolkit used.

      • by bjourne (1034822)
        HAL itself is only five years old and has only recently reached version 0.5. It is hard to tell exactly what is wrong with HAL, just calling it "unwieldy" doesnt prove anything. DeviceKit was supposed to also replace parts of HAL but now that project is merged into udev-extras. And all these replacements are Linux specific, so bsd-users are left out in the cold stuck with HAL. There have been far to many hardware abstraction and filesystem virtualization layers developed for Linux many of which competes wit
        • by ultranova (717540)

          There have been far to many hardware abstraction and filesystem virtualization layers developed for Linux many of which competes with each other.

          The obvious solution is to add an abstraction layer that wraps them all. Perhaps a small set of intermediate layers to wrap various combinations of existing abstraction layers, and a loopback layer to deal wtih more complex circumstances, such as a many-world quantum computer?

      • by ultranova (717540)

        As far as ThunarVFS vs GIO,

        Why do GUI systems on Linux have their own VFS systems? Is there a point to it besides just making it harder to use applications not native to said GUI system? Or do the developers just like adding redirection layers to make their codebase look bigger?

        • by spitzak (4019)

          Why do GUI systems on Linux have their own VFS systems?

          The normal excuse is that all other methods of making a VFS are Linux-specific (such as using FUSE). But you certainly could at least offer a FUSE solution on Linux and a library-only one on other systems. Also the only main alternative is BSD and it has methods for this, too.

          However I think the real reason is that they already started writing it that way and don't want to do the work of splitting it away from their other libraries.

          Linux would be MUCH b

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday January 17, 2011 @01:43AM (#34902124) Journal

      It's funny how the further Xfce develops, the more it resembles Gnome... the way it's meant to be - full-featured yet fast and configurable.

      As far as I'm concerned, it's a good thing. It means that, when Gnome goes for that crazy "shell" thing in 3.0, and what with KDE guys still trying to make their stuff not crash every other day, there will still be a sane DE to fall back to.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        I've got my wife/kids running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS because they are familiar with the Start Menu motif, while I run Xfce on Sid.

        When it's time to upgrade their OS, it'll probably be to xbuntu 12.04.

    • Hopefully all these new-fangled frameworks and technologies aren't going to turn Xfce into just another Gnome or KDE competitor. Xfce was always fast and light. Hopefully it stays that way.

      More than that: its turning into Gnome.

      Meanwhile Canonical writes their own desktop environment...

    • by thsths (31372)

      That has already happened. I tried Xubuntu 10.04 on an old laptop, and it was terribly slow. Slower than KDE3 (Trinity) in fact.

      So I had to move on to Lubuntu with LXDE. It is lightning fast and very small now, but even there you have to be careful not to pull in to many Gnome dependencies. Unfortunately I need Nautilus, because I really like it, and it is the only file manager that Dropbox will cooperate with.

      • by amn108 (1231606)

        Hilarious post - it sums up modern desktop computing.

        "X has become bloated and now I use Y which is great unless you use Z with it, which I have to because I like it, and it's the only thing that W works with."

        No offense, after all we're all users, but you have to see the irony of it all here...

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Dropbox works with thunar just fine.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      The big thing is that many of the distros are shifting to these "new-fangled frameworks and technologies" and Xfce needs to change to support them, regardless of the impact. If the major distro's drop HAL, for instance, and Xfce would still require it, then Xfce could rightly be called bloated as it would load additional frameworks that nothing else used and possibly would conflict with what was already installed.

      • by fwarren (579763)

        It would not be just the fact that HAL would be a dependency that takes up extra room and resources. The larger issue is it is becoming outdated, and broke. What happens when HAL no longer compiles cleanly on a particular distro? Who will fix it? The HAL folks? The XFCE folks? The distro? The more nonstandard a package becomes the more of a risk it is to rely on it. Moving away from HAL can't be considered a bad thing.

  • by 0x000000 (841725) on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:15AM (#34901756)

    What functionality are we BSD users going to be missing? It didn't really say in the article at all other than that apparently there is a lot of Linux only stuff out there in the open source world. As a developer I am saddened by this fact, that what I have available for use on Linux won't work the same on FreeBSD for example making my life as a developer and porter much harder.

    Where does the problem lie? Is it in the library developers or in the OS developers? What can be done to change the situation? Where are some places we can start looking?

    • by hedwards (940851)
      From the looks of it, some of the dependencies haven't been ported to FreeBSD yet. Such as xfconf, xfdesktop and garcon. Which would account for the loss of features, but OTOH it doesn't look like that big of a deal in the long term. From the looks of it they'll be ported as the changes were made with some concern for not making it Linux only.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061)

      I will tell you what can be done to fix this issue:

      Merge. Free Software is powerful, but not that powerful, and we are split. Thousands of distros, Linux + 3 flavors of BSD, Android, ChromeOS, plus countless other half-dead projects like Hurd. We need to stop being dicks about it and merge it all down. A single Free Unix. Then we can have a few flavors of it, for example: Desktop, Server, Lightweight, Mobile, Realtime (but all coming from the same codebase). Then we would be unstoppable. But, instead, we ha

      • I will tell you what can be done to fix this issue:
        ...blah blah blah...

        good luck with that.

      • by Korin43 (881732)

        You seem to be missing the point entirely..

      • I'll tell you what, Ace. You get all the Linux distros to merge first, and then you have to right to come knocking at BSD's door. Just ask yourself why operating systems developed as a complete unit would want to merge with a kernel.

        BTW, there are 4 major flavors of BSD.
      • by jjohnson (62583) on Monday January 17, 2011 @03:50AM (#34902524) Homepage

        the fact that people like Theo and Linus are jerks doesn't count

        Why not? That's the main reason right that there are so many variants of basically the same thing. Everyone has their own idea about the best way it should be, few are sufficiently humble or diplomatic to accept consensus decisions, and so you get a million shades of red.

        You can argue that the continual splintering is worthwhile--natural selection of projects, in effect--but you can't deny that the basic motive behind most forks is "fuck you if you won't do it my way".

        • Great thesis except it doesn't apply to either Linus or Theo. Theo spent months trying to regain his commit status. He wasn't looking to fork. The NetBSD core guys basically locked him out and gave him no reason to believe anything would ever change. The sad thing was (besides the fact Theo co-founded the project) was that the code NetBSD locked out was really useful to them. A real interesting story, but it was not an "F*** you" situation.

          Linus claimed he wasn't aware of the existing BSD projects,
      • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Monday January 17, 2011 @04:16AM (#34902630) Journal

        Our goals are varied and often incompatible.
        Ubuntu wants to be up-to-date and user friendly, and will tolerate proprietary elements to make it happen. Debian sacrifices the cutting edge for the sake of stability, and user-friendliness for the sake of openness. Red Hat and Novell want to simplify support by controlling their codebases. DSL wants to be smaller than 50 MB, and Yellow Dog wants to run on PS3s.

        Apt and Yum handle dependency resolution for you. Slackware hands you a pile of .tgz/.txz files and lets you figure out what you need for yourself. LFS has you compile every piece by hand.

        KDE wants every config option to be controllable from the UI. Gnome gives you a UI for some config options, and a registry for the rest. XFCE gives you practically no UI config options whatsoever. The independent WMs are mostly adjusted by editing config files.

        KDE uses the Qt toolkit. Gnome and XFCE use GTK. The independent WMs stay lean and fast by not using any toolkits.

        GPL wants to ensure that what you write isn't simply forked into a proprietary product. BSD is less concerned about proprietary forks, as long as what they've built on their own is still available to whomever wants it.
        This, incidentally, is why FreeBSD should exist: because there is a fundamental disagreement about what "free" software is, and FreeBSD is the largest project in the BSD camp. It's differences in principles such as this one that lead to, for example, Apple choosing to base itself on the FreeBSD kernel rather than Linux.

        So we should have a Single Unified Unix, eh? That's great. Gnome, KDE, Enlightenment, XFCE, CDE or LXDE? Or maybe BlackBox, OpenBox, Fluxbox, JWM, or IceWM, Ratpoison, FVWM, or xmonad? Yum, Apt or Emerge? Should there be any proprietary binaries (like drivers) in the default install? Should any proprietary binaries be available in the repos at all? Do we accept Mozilla's terms regarding their trademark, or do we fork it a la Iceweasel? BSD, GPL, or Apache license? Microkernel or Macrokernel? Benevolent Dictator for Life or democratically-selected project leaders? How do we accommodate companies like Canonical, Red Hat, and Novell?

        Every possible combination will have supporters; how do you reconcile them?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          Only bad designers will use a "registry"

          Keep the configs in Config files where they belong.

          DesktopIconSize=Large

          is better than

          {12433242354435435.3245324534253245.345456.5467345643567435643256.34256.3456.34562456324.2546.4356.4356} Option 0

          Only a complete nutjob likes the former compared to the latter.

          • If you want bad design, consider the overhead of several hundred extra fopen() calls to read all the separate .config files for your DE between typing your password and seeing a usable desktop. I'll take "configuration dialog looks superficially like Windows" over "log in, go get coffee, come back, wait, wait some more, read email" any day!

            Besides, Microsoft's abuse of UUIDs in the Windows registry doesn't mean everything that looks like a registry is a mess of stupidly-long numbers. Gconf uses human-read

            • Really?

              $ ls ~/.kde/share/config/ | wc -l
              200
              $ time cat ~/.kde/share/config/* > /dev/null
              cat: /home/dave/.kde/share/config/colors: Is a directory
              cat: /home/dave/.kde/share/config/kdm: Is a directory
              cat: /home/dave/.kde/share/config/kresources: Is a directory
              cat: /home/dave/.kde/share/config/session: Is a directory

              real 0m0.069s
              user 0m0.020s
              sys 0m0.000s

              I don't know about you, but I can afford to wait 0.069 seconds. Just because some filesystems suck handling small files dosen't mean it's a bad i

        • by Kjella (173770)

          I agree that there is an ideological split between the BSD and GPL camp. But apart from that you're throwing up a million kinds of problems that equally well apply to the Linux kernel but that is running on everything from desktops to servers, with or without binary modules on lots of distros that want different things.

          KDE and Gnome may have their holy flamewars over UI design, but if that was the only thing splitting them apart we'd long since see a unification and the different UIs as different skins/sett

        • by npsimons (32752) *

          Every possible combination will have supporters; how do you reconcile them?

          It's called freedom (or liberty; take your pick). And not "freedom to force my choice on others" but freedom to live and let live. This is why I don't have problems with people choosing Apple or Microsoft, as long as they know there are other options available, and they don't ask me to support them. The other day, I had a conversation with a friend who is going to get an iphone as soon as his current contract on his blackberry exp

      • Welcome to Unix. You seem to be confused about a great many things. I'm not more than a novice myself, but I must recommend Eric S. Raymond's The Art of Unix Programming [faqs.org] , because for better or worse Unix and F/LOSS count most of your complaints as strengths. Core principles, even.

        Your view of the One True Unix implies that there is only one correct way to implement an OS. If there's only one way to implement an OS, doesn't that imply that all computer usage is pretty similar? Perhaps we can optimize for all use-cases at once? Or do you just think that you know better than everyone else how they should spend their coding time?

        It's likely that if you've raised this argument here before that people have mentioned the UNIX certification process as well as the Linux Standard Base. In what way do these entities fall short in defining a common standard?

        Oh, fuck it. Don't have this argument with me. Don't have it with anyone on slashdot. Go have it out with Theo de Raadt, Linus, Eric Raymond, and RMS. If you want to change the world and change people's minds, start at the top. Alternately, close your mouth, open your mind, and start with the first chapter of that book.

        • Or do you just think that you know better than everyone else how they should spend their coding time?

          This is a key point that pretty much anybody who is not a developer completely misses. Clearly, GP is not a developer. It's the same misunderstanding as thinking that if Valve and Epic and Infinity Ward and Bungie (or whoever develops the big FPSs today) all got together and made one FPS it would turn out better than anything they can do alone. Hopefully even non-developers can see the folly in that.

      • For one thing, Linux isn't Unix. BSD is Unix, Linux is only Unix-like. So if you say "A Single Free Unix," Linux is technically straight out. I'm sure this distinction is important for a lot of technical reasons that I'm not cognizant of.

        source [wikipedia.org] (more specifically, "functional Unix"). And personally, it would seem to me to be a sort of personal insult to throw away the BSD developers' legal victory back in the 80's in being allowed to exist at all.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      What functionality are we BSD users going to be missing? It didn't really say in the article at all other than that apparently there is a lot of Linux only stuff out there in the open source world?

      According to the 3rd paragraph, udev replaces HAL.

      So, since udev is Linux-only, apparently none of the devices that it manages and exposes to the WM can be seen by BSD.

    • I wonder if removing the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) makes Xfce more specific to one OS (Linux) and harder to port.

    • by bjourne (1034822)
      It is freaking hard to develop for a system you dont have access for. Most free software developers doesn't use BSD (or Windows for that matter) so they need help bug-testing and verifying that their software works on those platforms. They don't get the help they need, so they advertise that they really need help triaging those platforms, they still don't get any help so they drop support for them.
      • by 0racle (667029)
        If they can get a linux system, they could get a BSD, the array of free virtualization options make it even easier. They choose to use libraries and frameworks that do not exist on other OS's. It is pretty much unportable by design.
    • by Ant P. (974313)

      If my Linux Xfce 4.7 install is any indication (I exorcised PAM long ago, so none of this fancy bloat actually works), you'll just lose the ability to shut down from the menu. And maybe automounting.

    • by Chemisor (97276)

      > there is a lot of Linux only stuff out there in the open source world
      > Where does the problem lie? Is it in the library developers or in the OS developers?

      It lies in the BSD philosophy of stability, which the OS developers have translated into stagnation. The native BSD development environment is unusable until you install the GNU toolchain. The BSD desktop is unusable until you install a bunch of GPL software. Even the shell tools suck. And once you get that far, why bother keeping the BSD kernel?

      • by Kjella (173770)

        I think more that GPL code can use BSD code, but BSD code can't use GPL code. So in practice the GPL tools tend to do everything the BSD tools do, plus whatever was made by people that only want to release code under the GPL. Same goes for projects, if there's a BSD project someone probably started a similar GPL project that could stand on the shoulders of the BSD one. Then the GPL version gets some unique features the BSD variety doesn't have and the momentum shifts.

        It's well and good to believe in the BSD

        • by Chemisor (97276)

          > The easy way to scratch your itch is to just use the GPL tool rather than patch the BSD tool.

          That's not the problem. The BSD maintainers will not let you patch the BSD tool because the interface must be kept stable: just like it was back in 1970 or whatever. That's the whole point of using BSD in the first place. It does not change. Some people like that. Those must be the people who still use BSD make. The rest of us like our tools to improve over time, so we use Linux.

  • XFCE is amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4.gmail@com> on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:27AM (#34901802)

    Everytime I think about it, I'm totally shocked by how good XFCE is. I was a bit misled when I was using Xubuntu (not as lightweght as I had hoped) so I dropped it for a bit, but then I came back when I installed Arch on my netbook. It makes Debian superfast and Arch superstable (and yes, I use both). And on top of all that are all the config tools, which are exceedingly comprehensive, the panel, with a plethora of widgets, and a really good WM (not as powerful as I wish, but I'm so satisfied with it that I can't convince myself to replace it with Openbox). And on top of it all, it's remarkably elegant and simple. Hot damn, it even has its own built-in compositor.

    It's hard to think of things that I don't like about it... I do wish some of the config settings were more intuitive, or if they could all be placed in one spot so you could search for what you need... but other than that, for me at least, it's as close to perfect as could ever be hoped. It is, quite frankly, awesome. Sorry for the pun. Here's to hoping that 4.8 is just as good.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      I haven't used XFCE in a few years, but this tempts me to play with it, again. Last time I used it, I just deployed it on what was otherwise usually going to be a headless server that I just need CLI access to. It was such a joy, after the other hefty, bloated, overkill options out there (for these purposes, at least).

      • Re:XFCE is amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Monday January 17, 2011 @03:14AM (#34902400) Journal

        Agreed. Xubuntu was not light enough. Among the many advantages of Linux that is trumpeted, particularly around the time of the advent of Windows Vista, is the ability to make old computers usable again. But it rings hollow. Seems a lot of desktop environments, including XFCE, do font work on the fly, and that's a real drag on old systems. If you turn off the anti-aliasing, the environment looks horrible unless you switch to a fixed or terminal font. A while ago, I tried Firefox 3.5 on a 133 MHz Pentium. Took 30 seconds just to come up. How the heck did we ever surf the Internet on 40MHz 486s with VGA graphics?

        I switched from XFCE to LXDE on Arch Linux about 2 years ago. LXDE does seem faster, but it has issues too. Have tried KDE 3 and 4, Gnome, and various bare window managers. Good to know there's a new version of XFCE to check out.

        • by Draek (916851)

          Agreed. Xubuntu was not light enough. Among the many advantages of Linux that is trumpeted, particularly around the time of the advent of Windows Vista, is the ability to make old computers usable again. But it rings hollow. Seems a lot of desktop environments, including XFCE, do font work on the fly, and that's a real drag on old systems. If you turn off the anti-aliasing, the environment looks horrible unless you switch to a fixed or terminal font.

          No, not really. I use Debian with LXDE on a Pentium II 300mhz with 160 MBs of RAM for University, and it has worked perfectly so far other than the lack of integrated wifi. Used to run fairly well with Xfce too, except the lack of available RAM hurt when trying to browse more than ~7-8 webpages at the same time.

          Do keep in mind as well that Xubuntu is known for being the 'heaviest' Xfce distro around, vanilla Xfce on top of Arch or Debian is much lighter.

          A while ago, I tried Firefox 3.5 on a 133 MHz Pentium. Took 30 seconds just to come up. How the heck did we ever surf the Internet on 40MHz 486s with VGA graphics?

          Poorly.

          Still, as you should know Linux is heavily RAM-

        • by Foresto (127767)

          FYI: I disabled antialiasing (but left hinting enabled) on xubuntu, and switched to Microsoft Core Fonts (Arial, Tahoma, etc.) It looks great.

    • by Korin43 (881732)

      You might find it interesting that Gnome feels the same way on Arch. Pretty much everything feels lighter when you're not using Ubuntu ;)

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Ubuntu Server edition is pretty speedy, but nothing beats a slackware install in speed.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      It's hard to think of things that I don't like about it...

      Let me get you started, then.

      You only get an icon on the panel. Descriptive text only shows up after a couple seconds of mouseover.

      No themes that disable window borders. The included themes all have thick borders, and even modifying them some, I didn't find a way to drop it below that last 1 pixel width.

      No easy way to quickly disable all keyboard shortcuts... one unnoticed minor version upgrade added a zillion new shortcuts that caused several nas

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Kiosk environment... Why are you using a WM?

        Launch X with your App. Tada!

        Done it many times, if a user figures a way to crash the app, it relaunches X and the app. Never EVER use a WM if you are not going to use one.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      It's hard to think of things that I don't like about it...

      Here's one. There's no way to permanently turn off the trash bin in XFCE. Fuckin trash nazis.

  • VFS eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Erik Fish (106896) on Monday January 17, 2011 @01:03AM (#34901956) Journal

    All I ask is that ThunarVFS not suck.

    One of the main reasons I don't use GNOME anymore is because GnomeVFS was such a godawful piece of shit for years and years, with nobody seeming particularly concerned about it.

    I would be all "Hey, I'll use the GUI to copy these files from one drive to another" and GnomeVFS would be all "Sure thing! I'll have that done sometime after the heat death of the universe!"

    Don't even get me started on the SMB performance.

  • by Just Brew It! (636086) on Monday January 17, 2011 @01:04AM (#34901960)

    ...between functionality and bloat. I have not used it as my primary desktop environment, but I do sometimes install it when I want a reasonably full-featured desktop in a VM without causing the size of the VM disk image to balloon too much.

    For a truly minimalist lightweight desktop, LXDE seems to be showing a lot of promise.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree. I see Xfce more as becoming a replacement for the "Classical GNOME", as Ubuntu people call it. Lxde is much more light-weight. From a user perspective, I really like the way of the gnome-panel and xfce4-panel. Gnome-panel is dead, though, and obvious and very visible bugs have remained untouched for years. I really think Xfce4 can be a really good replacement for it.

      I'm very much looking forward to trying this out.

      • by macshit (157376)

        Hmm, things I like about Gnome: (1) gtk, and (2) gnome-panel
        Things I don't like about Gnome: Their continuing descent into the abyss

        As xfce uses gtk, it's always sort of on my radar as something to use instead of gnome, but in the past their panel has always been a little clunkier and uglier than gnome-panel. I'd always try it out, but go back to gnome after a while.

        Gnome 3 is looking pretty awful, so here's hoping for xfce 4.8!

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      The problem with LXDE is that by the time you add all of the features that it does not provide, it gets pretty heavy, too. You could install openbox and add just XFCE's panel and pretty much recreate LXDE's footprint.

      Don't get me wrong, LXDE is very good, very fast. It's just that it doesn't provide a lot of the services that people have come to expect in a full desktop environment.

      However, if I were installing a server and wanted to have a GUI, LXDE would certainly be a consideration.

  • Or was "4.7" already taken by KDE and thus they had to use "4.8"?

    • by jensend (71114)

      Like a lot of open-source software (most famously Linux before they decided everything from here on out would be 2.6), the odd point releases are the development branches.

    • by dmbasso (1052166)

      odd version numbers = unstable/development
      even version numbers = stable/release

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Monday January 17, 2011 @03:40AM (#34902486)

    Anyone know if this is in time to make it into the next Xubuntu in April?

  • by DrMorris (156226) on Monday January 17, 2011 @04:32AM (#34902684)

    Are there any resources that actually back Xfce's claim of being "light" in comparison to GNOME?

    I tried Xfce several years ago and while it was nice and easy and all, I had the feeling that with a bit more memory I could just as well run GNOME with obvious benefits (feature-wise).

    Today the situation is still the same IMHO. Sure, Xfce has probably a lot more features nowadays, but so does GNOME. I see the benefit in the GNOME framework: it's mature and stable, and more or less customizable. I guess it would be possible to strip out some GNOME services (e.g. desktop search) if memory is of concern. CPU usage shouldn't be an issue with GNOME (unless some background service runs, which again could be turned off if not wanted).

    With that in mind: how does Xfce compare to [a minimalistic] GNOME regarding resource usage?

    Note that I'm not a GNOME fanboy (I use a plain window manager), but right now it's the desktop environment I'd recommend to others.

    • It used to be much lighter, I think.

      Then again, I ran it on Gentoo, so who knows. When I tried it a couple years later in Ubuntu it looked way different (worse) and felt way more bloated, but I'm not sure whether it's because XFCE changed or because the Ubuntu team configured it that way.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday January 17, 2011 @08:28AM (#34903352)

      I am guessing from your post that you run Ubuntu or one of it's derivatives. Xfce on Ubuntu is not much better than Gnome, becaue Ubuntu packs a lot of stuff in to their Xfec impleimenation besides Xfce. Ubuntu, is not a distribution you want to use for a memory constrained or slow CPU system.

      However, if you run Xfce on Debian, Fedora, Arch, etc. it simply flies and uses fewer resources than gnome.

    • by hey! (33014)

      Sorry, but it turns out that all the facts about XFCE's resource usage are warm and squishy, and a lot of folks prefer it that way.

  • With the current absence of GPU hardware acceleration and low memory available, Xfce has been the desktop environment of choice for my 3.15 PS3's OtherOS. I'm really excited to try this new version which seems vey promising.
  • There are two, hopefully simple, things XFCE4 could provide which would make it a tenable desktop for me. Otherwise, I'll stick with WindowMaker:

    Pinnable window lists. In WindowMaker, the feature provided by hitting the middle mouse button, or F11 key. A window menu with a list of all available windows. Allows you to scroll through these, click on likely subjects, etc., trying to find that 24th rxvt instance or the 7th Iceweasel window that you'd lost track of somewhere. Without this, managing the mess of windows my typical desktop devolves to after a day or so (and sessions typically run weeks to months) becomes an utter nightmare.

    Circulate-and-raise alt-tab navigation. Similar rationale to above, and also implemented in WindowMaker (or Mac OS X or the Windows desktop). Under XFCE4, an outline of the window raises. Utterly .... useless.

    Really, of all the alternative desktops (and I regularly revisit GNOME, KDE, XFCE4, OpenBox, ionwm, and others) XFCE4 comes the closest to a replacement for WindowMaker. But 12 years after having first tried that old standard, it still provides a light, fast, stable, configurable (from a keybindings and behavior standpoint), extremely workable desktop.

    My one concern is that WindowMaker's seen no development since 2008, though it is very nearly feature complete, and is certainly very highly usable. I recommend it particularly for newbies.

    Otherwise, congrats to the XFCE4 team for their milestone. Anyone else missing features (if I dare ask)?

    • Go WindowMaker fans! *high five*

      I thought I was the only one. Everyone else seems to use the hideous *box window managers for ultra-light GUI work.

    • Wow, another windowmaker fan. I thought I was the only one (although my favorite feature is focus follow mouse; maybe other window managers can do that now, but I don't check around as much as you do).

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