back to article Torvalds' temptress comes of age: Xfce 4.12 hits the streets

April brings not just showers but traditionally a new release of Ubuntu, this time 15.04. With Ubuntu 15.04 will come Xubuntu and with that an update to Linus Torvalds’ briefly favoured Linux desktop (Xfce), version 4.12. Some of what's new in Xfce 4.12 has already been a part of Xubuntu for some time, but Ubuntu 15.04 will …

  1. gerryg


    Along with almost every desktop environment under the sun, find it here

    1. asdf

      Re: openSUSE

      Almost every DE under the sun but ultimately its all (really should be dot borg or at least a subdomain under

  2. Ole Juul

    just works

    This is good news. I'd say Xfce is the best desktop around for most non-expert users simply because it's functional and stable and doesn't require dealing with a bunch of quirks. I generally use that on Linux machines when I set them up for others. For myself I prefer fluxbox or KDE on FreeBSD. KDE has lots of features and configuration possibilities which I've grown to love, but you have to fight a lot. Xfce performs without a fight.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: just works

      Actually, I'd put it the other way around Gnome (simple) or KDE (looks most like Windows) are probably best for the non-IT specialist. Look for a guide on how to configure something in Ubuntu and there are lots of convenient Gnome-tools to do it. On Xfce, this is less the case. I use Xfce myself because I do like the minimalist approach that just keeps out of my way and don't need cosseting with warm-friendly shortcuts. So I consider Xfce the DE of choice for the GNU/Linux advanced user.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: just works

        +1 on xfce for advanced users.

        I love how basic and minimal it is. I've managed to get it to run on OpenBSD while installed on a first-gen BeagleBone. Threw an office suite and SeaMonkey on top. Runs quite well as an emergency / travel system for dealing with issues at work, especially since it can run off a couple AA batteries and attach itself to a hotel room TV or a modified portable DVD player screen.

        1. Antonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: just works

          +2 on xfce being best suited to the more confident penguinista.

          I've found that the sort of MS exiles who need pointing seem to feel particularly comfortable with LXDE so I tend to point them towards Lubuntu, with consistently favourable results.

          (The ones who don't "need pointing" tend to automatically gravitate towards KDE)

          1. david bates

            Re: just works

            I've moved two XP-ers to Mint Mate - no support calls or problems of any sort.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just works

      +1 for KDE and frameworks 5 is looking good.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And if debian had stuck with it we wouldn't now be saddled with that bloody mess of systemd.

    Dreams, dreams...

    1. John Sanders

      Troll cut the FUD

      Please easy with the systemd FUD, you could lose some fingers there...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Troll cut the FUD

        I don't think FUD means what you think it does. I think you'll find the above was lament, the time for fear, uncertainty or doubt is long past.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Teiwaz

      Ah Fvwm2

      Actually revisited it lately. (been trying to get a grip on 'buttons' for years off and on)

      Hardly changed a bit. I like it's configurability, but the arcane configuration file certainly hampers adoption, could do with a rewrite (then of course it wouldn't be fvwm).

      Fvwm-Nightshade seems a promising project.

      1. asdf

        Re: Ah Fvwm2

        Fvwm2 is perfect for as the default for base OpenBSD X install. Runs great on a memory stick and the code base is so lean, ancient and audited its perfect for banking. For that use case I don't need extra configuration or even any menu item other than xterm (xterm the only app launcher you need). But yeah I take your point for a daily driver. Still IMHO even today with all the fancy compositor eyecandy the simplicity and beauty of Motif stands out (style of OpenBSD fvwm2) even if it is now decades old.

  5. marky_boi

    too little too late

    XFCE served me well enough for a few years but the weirdisms got to me in the end. Proxy settings, panel settings and a few others. Moved to Ubuntu Mate, it's like I've come home. Martin Wimpress has almost single handedly created a distro-spin that is perfect.. Not only that, he listens and actively takes advice from the community, making it even better. XFCE could have been there...

    1. frank ly

      Re: too little too late

      I also prefer MATE to XFCE having tried them both two years ago when I got rid of Windows 7 in favour of Linux Mint. As I recall, XFC didn't quite cut it for my tastes and seemed a bit more clunky and less easy to use than MATE. However, I will try it in the near future because two years is a long time in software development. If I can't get the latest version from the Mint repos, I'll install Ubuntu to try it; it costs nothing but some personal time and it's a wet Easter weekend.

    2. Salts

      Re: too little too late

      I also like Ubuntu Mate, it just feels right, which is really all I care about.

    3. The last doughnut

      Re: too little too late

      Mate is good and so is Cinnamon. But Xfce is better and crucially allows you to place the panel on the side of the screen, which to me is essential on a letterbox laptop.

  6. DN4

    Please no huge leaps...

    Have not tried 4.12 yet but all the talk about major updates and huge leaps makes me nervous. If I do not want something from a desktop environment, it is huge leaps. In any direction. And XFce fulfilled this perfectly, with each version being essentially the same, just a bit better.

    1. Chewi

      Re: Please no huge leaps...

      Don't worry, despite the numerous changes mentioned in the article, I completely failed to notice any of them when I updated my Gentoo system the other week.

  7. h4rm0ny

    Slightly creepy article heading slightly creepy. Reminds me of the Sun's countdown to when Emma Watson was "legal".

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: Slightly creepy article heading

      I thought maybe a re-make of 'Lure of the Temptress'

      Not that a long waited Xfce update is not very welcome indeed. I'd throw it on my Arch machine, but I already have Gnome and KDE5 on there and I find myself on i3 most of the time.

      What I like about Xfce is that it's still modular, I pull in bits to augment my current Window Manager (xfce-mcs-manager, etc.), it's increasingly difficult with gnome, although I'm hoping Frameworks modular nature will make KDE a better candidate than it has been in KDE4.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slightly creepy article heading

      Why did the Sun have a legal countdown for Emma Watson? Must've missed her Page 3 appearance!

  8. John Deeb

    end of quest

    Too late now for me to consider XFCE again since I moved to Cinnamon 2.4. The tweaked version included with latest Mint was everything I ever asked (not too little, not too much). The end of what seems like a long trial & search period (Gnome2, Unity, Gnome3, KDE, Mate, Cinnamon, Openbox, XFCE, KDE, more KDE etc).

  9. PyLETS

    split between Xubuntu and Lubuntu

    The LXDE Lubuntu desktop runs extremely well on low RAM hardware such as my old netbook. I tend to prefer Xubuntu on better provisioned desktops. Haven't looked at Gnome or KDE for a few years since their developers seemed to lose the plot, though that may have changed since. The great thing about having choice in this environment is that all the Gnome/KDE whatever oriented applications seem to install and run fine on all the desktop manager options, so changing desktop managers doesn't require you to change your applications.

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    If it ain't broke...

    The version available from debian wheezy is fine for me. I want to work on stuff, not admire how pretty the frills are. Oh, and I want a title bar. It seems all the 'improvements' are backward steps.

    1. fnj

      Re: If it ain't broke...

      If you want a title bar, you've still got it. The default is still to have a title bar. So this is an utterly pointless objection.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: If it ain't broke...

        I am well aware that the title bar is still there. I don't see how that in any way invalidates my observation of what appears to be the current trend.

        Therefore, if my comment was pointless, then surely yours is even more so.

      2. PNGuinn

        Re: If it ain't broke...

        "If you want a title bar, you've still got it"

        Which is the whole point. Add something new by all means but Don't force it down our throats and don't break what's already there.

        Are you listening there under that bridge, Gnome devs??

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice article. Shame about the clickbait headline though.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Diary of a nobody

    > Xfce's biggest problem seems to be that no one sticks with it.

    As both me, all in my household, and some clients have run XFCE under Xubuntu and OpenSUSE for at least the last 5 years, that must make me a nobody. Where is the "Help, help I'm being repressed!" icon?

    XFCE - just enough desktop, along with useful little wrinkles, like the "Open a terminal here" option.

  13. Col_Panek

    "..visually appealing and intuitive user interface designed for productivity"

    What about "lightweight"? All the others are.

  14. phil dude

    KDE so far..

    I'm using KDE+Debian right now (took a break from opensuse for technical reasons...).

    I have 6400 x 2160 desktop and it does the right thing.

    KDEConnect on Android means you can read messages (and phone calls) from the phone in notifications - So you can ignore until you go to look at mail, for example. I can't wait until they had reply capability!!

    Using Redshift (I cannot speak highly enough about this tool getting you to take a break in the evening!!), it makes for a very pleasant working environment.

    I might almost say WindowsXP with multiple desktops....but that would be cruel ;-)


  15. John Crisp

    Just wish Thunar had split screen that was dropped from Nautilus. I hate multiple panes and/or tabs. Might as well use Gmoan. Yuck.

    I use Nemo, the Minted Nautilus fork, but it is a pain in the tentacles to try and get rid of Thunar and make Nemo the default file manager, despite making it the default in settings. So much for 'choice'.

    C'est la vie....

    1. Havin_it

      Viewport splitting is one reason why I stayed with Konqueror when KDE decided to go with the Joey Deacon of file-managers, Dolphin. With Dolphin you can split exactly once, down the middle; with Konq you can split horizontally or vertically, resize the halves, split them further... turtles all the way down, in theory. Start with a square-ish viewport and you can render a golden spiral quite nicely ;)

      Unfortunately I must be pretty much alone, as Konq hasn't had a maintainer for months and isn't likely to appear in KDE5. Probably time to learn to love Dolphin (unlikely) or jump ship to LXQt, which has been impressing on my Raspberry Pis.

      But I'll never love another FM like I have loved Konqueror, the only one deserving to be called "a file-manager on steroids".

      Also, your Konqi icon's the wrong colour.

  16. Slow Joe Crow

    Been using XFCE for years

    I went to XFCE in 2008 since I hate Nautilus and thus avoid Gnome and while I used KDE3 for years KDE4 was too weird to use daily.

    I've never looked back and any complaints I have with XFCE disappear after a session with our default corporate window manager, FVWM2!

    I've liked XFCE because it was simple, quick, easily grasped and Thunar worked the way I expected a file manager to work.

  17. nematoad
    Thumb Up

    Get it here

    "... but look for other distros to begin incorporating Xfce 4.12 into their releases later this year."

    PCLinuxOS being a rolling release already has it in its repositories, I'm getting it even as I write.

    Looks good so far.

  18. Six_Degrees

    "Xfce's biggest problem seems to be that no one sticks with it."

    This describes huge portions of the open source software world.

  19. RISC OS

    "Visual polish on the Xfce 4.12 interface is noticeable"


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Visual polish on the Xfce 4.12 interface is noticeable"

      > Where?

      Based on your handle, don't you mean "!WHERE?"

  20. batfastad


    Long time user of XFCE, love it. Used to be Mint+XFCE, now Xubuntu, for a couple of minor reasons.

    MATE and Cinnamon are decent too though to be fair.

    It does what it's meant to. A menu. A status bar. An actual usable desktop. And plenty of customisation within that.

  21. Herbert Fruchtl

    another one succumbed to bloatware

    "not just an alternative to GNOME and Unity, but one that's every bit as sophisticated and refined". Please don't! I use an older version of Xfce because it leaves a few cycles and kilobytes for doing something useful, even on older hardware. And I don't want MORE docking behaviour when I move a window out of the way. I know where the "maximize" button is, thank you very much!

    So which one am I supposed to use now?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: another one succumbed to bloatware

      wmx. I've been using it for over a decade. Gives me a title bar, icons, basic window chrome and that's it. Takes about a meg of RAM and lets me run all the apps I want.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mmmm choice

    Personally I don't really care what desktop environment you lot above use but I do care that we all have choice - lots of it. And I spotted a *BSD user pop their head over the parapet - yes: choice of free OS.

    1. Antonymous Coward

      Re: Mmmm choice

      Nailed it!

    2. Havin_it

      Re: Mmmm choice


      Quick, nail him to a bit of wood or something!

      Who is not with us is against us.

  23. jason 7

    Man... all sounds so confusing.

  24. asdf

    my 2 cents

    Whisker menu makes all the difference with Xfce IMHO (Mint showed that). It really should be integrated as the default launcher.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like XFCEs Lite, but......

    Who cares! Linux is for heavy lifting, not pretty Windows. If it opens an app, great ..... who gives a shit about the rest. It's all about what doesn't require X.

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