back to article Fresh version of Xfce, the oldest Linux desktop of them all, revealed in Xubuntu builds

Xfce is the slow-moving, sensible Linux desktop option, and new versions only appear every year or two. Version 4.18 is coming soon, and you can try it in the early test builds of Xubuntu 23.04. The next short-term release of Ubuntu will be 23.04, scheduled for April, and as the company's official Twitter page hinted, it will …

  1. Scene it all

    A return to simpler times

    I used XFCE many years ago. Then I wandered off to Ubuntu, did not like their (constantly changing) UI and found MATE, which was more like the old days. But then Gnome 2 went away and even MATE started suffering from bloat. So a year ago I ditched Ubuntu and went back to vanilla Debian with XFCE. It is like a breath of fresh air, and boots a lot faster. Everything is where I expect it to be.

  2. Toe Knee

    My daily driver

    XFCE has been my daily driver for over a decade now (Xubuntu -> MX Linux fairly recently). It’s fast, useful, customizable to no end, and the dev team doesn’t insist upon breaking it seemingly at random.

    What more could one ask?

  3. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    startxfce4

    What is this KDE and Gnome that you speak of?

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Use it here too

    I have that installed on everything down to a Raspberry PI. However, on my 'main' 'pooter it's as a backup - I prefer the Openbox/ROX Filer combo. (quite RISC-OS like).

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Use it here too

      Ahhh, now I remember where I have seen that name other than the Reg comments boards -- on the ROX-users mailing list!

      I was very pleased to see Rox included in antiX Linux, but I find that distro to be rather too limited for me. Some way down my to-do list is to attempt to do some customisation on it, so that it always loads with `rox-session` and the Rox filer.

      It used to have its own window manager too, long ago. Ouroborox, I think?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Use it here too

        Yes Ourobrox. I did some development on it in the early days adding a few extra bits of RISC-OS behavior. Sadly, much later (when I wasn't looking) someone removed it saying it didn't behave like 'proper' window managers. I think the entire project is dead now :(

        1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: Use it here too

          What the hell is a "proper" window manager?

          Had they never heard of UDE?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UDE

  5. phuzz Silver badge

    Just in the process of moving several clients from Mint MATE to Mint XFCE. I've not noticed any change in performance (the hardware is mostly older Atom and Celeron CPUs), but a key advantage for me is that it stores it's configuration as XML rather than using dconf.

    (To me, dconf has all the downsides of the Windows Registry, without the benefit of being the sole repository of configuration).

    I've also run into a problem that if I disable the screen locker, then the screensaver and power management never trigger.

  6. SMOKEING

    For the record, here's one, late middle-age, fairly successful, software engineer happily looking to retire, four primary laptops since 2003, and not ever looking to switch away from Xfce. Cheers to Olivier Fourdan and these gentlemen:

    Alexander Schwinn <alexxcons@xfce.org>

    Ali Abdallah <ali@xfce.org>

    Andre Miranda <andreldm@xfce.org>

    Romain Bouvier <skunnyk@alteroot.org>

    Sean Davis <bluesabre@xfce.org>

    Simon Steinbeiß <simon@xfce.org>

  7. david 12 Silver badge

    `Windows style single-panel?

    What alternate universe is this?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: `Windows style single-panel?

      [Author here]

      > What alternate universe is this?

      The same single-panel taskbar that Windows has has in all versions since Windows 95, 27 years ago. That one?

      As opposed to the GNOME 2 design, with a top panel that's mostly empty wasted space with a few menus at one end, and maybe a few launcher icons, and a few status icons at the other end, with the middle app-switching section of the Win9x taskbar ripped out and plonked at the bottom in a panel of its own...

      Which irritating waste of space is one of the few things that was _kept_ in GNOME 3.

  8. NATTtrash

    CSD discussion done now?

    Very, VERY happy and grateful Xfce camper here since Lucid. And funny thing is that, even although Xfce development didn't move for some time, it now seems to move quite quickly. Nevertheless, it always "just worked™", perfect for production boxen.

    Surprised to see Liam mark the "restore panel settings" as new, since I'm almost certain, it was already there in 4.12/ 4.14? Not sure though on when exactly it was introduced. Do remember some issues of it not working between different LTS versions though...

    And yes, while Xfce is a breath of consistency, sometimes things do change. Like the whole discussion on CSD. Has that been resolved now? Although I personally am not a fan, I must commend the Xfce devs for having the discussion. Be honest, "some out there" can be not so kind or reasonable, are rather "but-on-all-the-systems-in-Skeggie" centered, and Simon took more than I think he ever deserved. And despite this, the team stayed open minded and is offering (some sort of) respite: I personally was very happy to see a "client side decorations (restart required)" ON/ OFF tick box in mousepad, and I hope this will be a trend popping up in other packages. (Sure, blame me for being an old fart who thinks old menus/ menu placement are good, and hates looking for default functions in new fangled "jeez-your-mobile-phone-has-2-27"-screens!" hamburger menus or default "Open", "Save", "Close", or "Cancel" button placement tourism... FFS)

  9. Blackjack Silver badge

    Xfce was my jam for a few years and I am tempted to use it again. Unfortunately I really don't like modern Ubuntu, so maybe MX Linux is worth a try?

    1. Kabukiwookie

      Try Devuan.

      Comes with XFCE as an option and you're able to choose from 3 different init systems during installation (none of which is systemd).

    2. coredump

      MX Linux is certainly worth a try. If you like Debian-flavored stuff it will feel comfortable.

      Also check out Liam's review of same for a good overview.

  10. hayzoos

    Perfect partner for Slackware

    I have been using XFCE with Slackware just because they follow similar philosophies. Updates do happen, when needed, and changes are reasonable. Even though KDE/Plasma is Slackware's default, changing is as easy as selecting an XFCE session upon login. Oh, and systemd is not present, but has left a mark through dependencies.

  11. JohnHMorris

    XFCE on OpenSUSE

    I use XFCE on OpenSUSE Leap especially because of the low memory requirements for Vultr cloud instances. Never had the feeling that it wasn't anything except quite a nice desktop. Will be nice to update.

  12. jilocasin
    Coat

    Has it fixed the 1px window edges yet?

    I used to use XFCE, unfortunately the devs have never addressed the 1px wide window borders and I got tired of constantly fighting this particular problem.

    Last time I checked, there's an open issue that's more than a decade complaining about this particular problem. The devs want to redirect, belittle, blame theme designers, end users, and basically do anything possible to avoid having to address the issue. It's nice to hear that they are still adding bells and whistles to XFCE. At it's core it's a very nice DE, it's just too bad the devs don't seem to want to address the decidedly unsexy, but ultimately more important fundamental bugs.

    If they ever get back to fixing these core concerns, I would love to give them a try agian.

    https://gitlab.xfce.org/xfce/xfwm4/-/issues/176

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Has it fixed the 1px window edges yet?

      You can actually see a pixel? If the devs wait long enough then you will eventually be old enough that 1 pixel won’t matter to you either anymore!

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Has it fixed the 1px window edges yet?

      [Author here]

      > have never addressed the 1px wide window borders

      Unfortunately you do not specify what your problem is with 1px wide window borders.

      Are they too big? You'd prefer no window borders, just a drop shadow, like in macOS?

      Or they are too small? AIUI a theme can change that. I used to use a Motif-look with big fat chunky ones, but in the end it got visually intrusive and I switched to managing windows with the keyboard.

      1. jilocasin
        Facepalm

        Re: Has it fixed the 1px window edges yet?

        Glad to hear that you dropped in to comment.

        If you took the time to peruse the link in my original response you would have read that the issue is that they are too small, too difficult to change, and a major accessibility issue. Theme changes don't actually address the issue as the current mechanism XFCE uses requires deep and detailed knowledge and solutions currently available to end users don't fully rectify the problem.

        Folks with fine-motor difficulties, forced to used alternative pointing devices, don't have the luxury of worrying about things being 'visually intrusive'.

    3. oiseau
      FAIL

      Re: Has it fixed the 1px window edges yet?

      The devs want to redirect, belittle, blame theme designers, end users, and basically do anything possible to avoid having to address the issue.

      Yes, been there/seen that.

      And not only for that issue, happens with most anything that is not on their radar.

      It's always some other apps' fault.

      In the end, I got fed up and as a result will most probably move to an Openbox setup when I upgrade my Devuan Beowulf.

      It's nice to hear that they are still adding bells and whistles to XFCE.

      I beg to differ, I would much rather the devs undertake some much needed fix and polish before adding any bells. whistles or unnecessary bling.

      Obviously, these are my 0.02 and YMMV.

      O.

  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Really like XFCE

    Have been using it ever since I gave up on KDE and GNOME always adding more stuff I didn't need or want. XFCE is responsive, easily customisable, and not nearly as resource hungry as most alternatives.

  14. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    Ooh

    I use XFCE on most of my secondary systesm, but I use WindowMake on my main PC so I was going to challenge the "XFce, the oldest Linux desktop of them all" statement as I was sure there was something older.

    WindowMaker came out in the same year, but as a window manager it cant compete.

    Well, looks like XFCE does have the crown but by a very narrow margin, almost like a hourse race KDE and XFCE were neck and ncek in 1996 with their birth.

    What an exciting time it was, when tech was new, edgy and old at the same time.

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