Friday, October 14, 2011

XFCE4 Impressions

  • looks very similar to Gnome2
  • doesn't seem to have a proper volume control applet
  • xfce4-mixer lets me mute, but not unmute
  • using keyboard shortcuts for lowering volume doesn't mute it at 0
  • no easy way to configure colors of window borders and GUI elements
  • launcher applet as trouble with custom icons, doesn't accept them, seems to be caused by reusing old .desktop files
  • there is a cpugraph applet, but no netgraph applet
  • GUI styles don't apply properly, some apps seems to get them, others not - caused by Gnome3, Gnome2 apps seem fine
  • problems with windows not maximizing on double-click where caused by to low doubleclick threshold
  • no easy way to lock the screen, one has to use command line tool xflock4 which in turn uses xscreensaver
  • installing xubuntu-desktop and using xubuntu session instead of just plain xfce4 might be a good idea, this fixes some issues with volume controls, among other things
Overall, I kind of like XFCE4, it however feels rather rough and buggy in some , so for the time being I switched back to the gnome-fallback, as it doesn't seem to have the problems with Gtk themes that XFCE4 has. If gnome-fallback will disappear I guess I'll switch to XFCE.

2 comments:

Eric52 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric52 said...

1. doesn't seem to have a proper volume control applet

answered by using the xubuntu session, or some manual tweaking

2. xfce4-mixer lets me mute, but not unmute

again see above.

3. using keyboard shortcuts for lowering volume doesn't mute it at 0

no because mute turns it off, not down. It makes sense to me.

4. no easy way to configure colors of window borders and GUI elements

Use the Settings-->Window Manager to change the decorations ans Gnome-color-chooser to change the colors. Some gtk decorations can not have custom colors around the window.
Also read:
http://wiki.compiz.org/Decorators/GTKWindowDecorator

5. Gnome three apps not showing proper gtk themes, this could be a huge variety of things to vague to really help you. It could be compiz which I do not use and has to be tweaked to properly respect older gtk2 themes, or it could be you are using metacity which has its own themes. The problem is there is too many of these things out there. God, I wish it was just metacity again. Fast, low resource, customizable, perfect.

On the bright side, you only have to make metacity/compiz and gtk match once and then it is done, which is cool unless you are of the "change the way everything looks weekly" crowd :D

6. I do not even understand the doubleclick maximize sentence since it is fragmented and vague but I am sure you know how to adjust this the doubleclick time in the settings anyway - ironicly the default settings are identical to gnome in this respect so I am not sure why this is in your rant.

6. No way to lock the screen.

Yes there is. Settings manager-->keyboard. Then make an application shortcut to xflock4 and map it to Ctrl-Alt-L or Windows (super) - L or both.

Also you do not have to have xscreensaver installed to lock your screen btw, you can install xlockmore and xlock4 looks for that if xscreensaver and gnomescreensaver are not installed. It is ugly, but it works. The other odd plus of xlockmore is that you can actually set a whole different password for that lock if you want.


In the end I agree that xfce is a bit more a pain to get it where you want it then gnome 2, but :

a) gnome2 is being abandoned quickly
b) gnome2 takes more resources
c) The gtk theme problems you have happen in gnome as well, it is just that Ubuntu has worked around them for you already but they never have for xubuntu. Like I said, tweak it once then it is done.

Hope I helped,

Eric Sebasta