Xfce 4.4 RC2 review

by rbytes.net on

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for unix-like operating systems

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 0K
Developer: Olivier Fourdan
0 stars award from rbytes.net

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for unix-like operating systems. Xfce aims to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and easy to use.

Xfce 4.2 embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that together provide the full functionality of the desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick and choose from the available packages to create the best personal working environment.

Another priority of Xfce 4 is adhereance to standards, specifically those defined at freedesktop.org.

Xfce 4 can be installed on several UNIX platforms. It is known to compile on Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Solaris, Cygwin and MacOS X, on x86, PPC, Sparc, Alpha...

Here are some key features of "Xfce":

Freedesktop specifications compliance for Window Manager hints, menus, icons themes, XDG Basedir Specification, Xsettings protocol, drag and drop...
Real multiscreen and Xinerama support.
Support for "kiosk mode" in which the allowed user actions can be restricted in xfce4-session, xfce4-panel, and xfdesktop.
Development framework for applications.
Xft fonts anti-aliasing support.
You can install/launch each Xfce module separately. Very useful if you do not need them all or if you have very limited system resources.
More than 40 languages translations...

Libraries (libxfce4util, libxfcegui4, libxfce4mcs)

libxfce4util : library with non-graphical helper functions.
libxfcegui4 : widgets and convenience functions to create graphical user interfaces.
libxfce4mcs : settings management library used by most Xfce 4 components.

Settings manager (xfce-mcs-manager and xfce-mcs-plugins

Provides the Multi-Channel Settings, a modular, host independent, network transparent and centralized configuration system. It runs in the background and provides global settings information to other Xfce components. There is a main control panel to access the configuration dialogs of Xfce components. Its icons are customizable. The MCS plugins provide settings dialogs for general items that are not part of a package, e.g. GTK, mouse, fonts, keyboard and display settings.

Window manager (xfwm4)

The Xfce 4 window manager. It manages the placement of application windows on the screen, provides window decorations and manages workspaces or virtual desktops. Xfwm4 natively supports multihead mode. It provides its own compositing manager (a manager for the Xorg Composite extension, which brings true transparency to the Xfce desktop). The themes support image composition with PNG images as layers, which means that one can do gradients or anything else, and that applies to any pixmap that make the window frame. Xfwm4 includes a keyboard shorcuts editor. Moreover, users can shade windows and switch desktops using the mouse wheel.

Panel (xfce4-panel)

The Xfce 4 panel. It provides both vertical and horizontal modes, a workspace switcher, a clock, an auto-hide feature, easy-to-setup detachable menus and application launchers, and a mail checker with mbox, Maildir and POP3 support. The panel supports transparency when the X Composite extension is enabled. It offers an easy way to add a plugin, using a dialog and mouse double-click. It's compatible with the numerous plugins available from the Xfce Goodies Project page.

Desktop manager (xfdesktop)

The desktop background manager. This program sets the background image and provides a root window menu. It includes gradient support for background color, saturation support for background image, real multiscreen and xinerama support, a desktop menu editor with DND support from xfce4-appfinder and .desktop files from Rox, Konqueror, Nautilus, Xffm... The desktop menu and the window list have optional support for icons, so you can use icons only if you want, and if your computer has enough resources to handle them. Moreover, Xfdesktop4 provides a desktop menu plugin for the panel: you can get standard menu from either the panel or the desktop.

Utilities (xfce-utils)

Essential utilities and scripts. Provides a taskbar, an "about" dialog, a run dialog and several important scripts that are used by other packages including the panel (startxfce4, xfhelp4, xflock4, xfmountdev4, and xfterm4). Also contains the user guide. The taskbar includes an "always group tasks" option, a selectable left/center/right alignment and variable width, and a right-click action menu.

File manager (xffm)

A fast file manager, with two independent panes, integrated samba network browser and mount/umount capabilities using fstab data. It includes an icon theme editor.

Printing Helper (xfprint)

Print dialog. Provides a graphical frontend for printing. It includes xfprint4 and xfprint-manager. Xfprint can use either CUPS, BSD-LPR or a file as destination, and printers are retrieved from the printing system you choosed.

Application finder (xfce4-appfinder)

An application finder, which allows you to search, launch and find information about applications installed on your system.

Session manager (xfce4-session)

The session manager. The session manager controls the startup and shutdown of the Xfce Desktop Environment. On logout it can save the running application and start them again the next time you log in. It's compatible with Gnome/KDE, supports multihead modes (Xinerama and multiscreen), doesn't rely on smproxy (or any rewrite like gnome-smproxy), but provides (partial) session management even for non-sm or X11R5-sm aware apps. Moreover, it supports nice themes.

Sound Mixer (xfce4-mixer)

A volume control for the panel. It includes a mixer dialog wich supports ALSA, OSS and Sun audio.

Notification area (xfce4-systray)

Notification area (or "system tray") for the panel.

Toys (xfce4-toys)

Less serious utilities and additions for the panel. Contains a tips/fortunes dialog and an xeyes implementation for the panel.

Calendar and Appointments (xfcalendar)

A simple calendar application with reminders.

Toggle Button plugin (xfce4-trigger-launcher)

Provides a toggle button for the panel, showing on or off state. May be used for starting or ending network connections for example.

Icon Box (xfce4-iconbox)

An icon box that can be used as an alternative for the taskbar provided in the xfce-utils package. Its transparency level is configurable when using the X Composite extension.

Themes for the Window Manager (xfwm4-themes)

More than 60 window decoration themes for xfwm4.

Icon Theme (xfce4-icon-theme)

Default icon theme for Xfce 4. It includes both PNG and SVG icons

GTK Theme Engine (gtk-xfce-theme-engine)

A theme engine for GTK2. Not required for the desktop, but it's a nice theme engine so you might just as well give it a try.

Xfce 4.4 RC2 keywords