Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 02:53 UTC, submitted by spectator
Xfce After more than two years of development, Xfce 4.4.0 has just been released. Xfce 4.4 features new tools such as the much awaited Thunar file manager as well as several improvements in its core components. Benedikt Meurer had also prepared a tour for the newcomers.
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Yay!
by DevL on Sun 21st Jan 2007 22:42 UTC
DevL
Member since:
2005-07-06

Like I mentioned a couple of days ago in the thred about Xfce 4.2 being updated, it'd be great to have 4.4 released. And now it is. Good job Xfce team and thanks for staying mean and lean!

Reply Score: 1

w00t
by baadger on Sun 21st Jan 2007 22:44 UTC
baadger
Member since:
2006-08-29

I noticed the release of Thunar 0.8.0 on GnomeFiles, went to the authors blog to see that Xfce 4.4 would be released in the next few hours and I couldn't navigate over to OSNews quick enough.

I simply cannot wait to get this installed and try it out. Xfce was my absolute preferred DE a year ago, but Gnome overtook it for me around 2.14 or 2.16. The Xfce guys are really slick. I can't wait.

Reply Score: 1

RE: w00t
by butters on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 05:12 UTC in reply to "w00t"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Xfce was my absolute preferred DE a year ago, but Gnome overtook it for me around 2.14 or 2.16.

I agree. As implied in the tour linked in the teaser, Thunar had some revolutionary ideas back in the GNOME 2.14 days. The Xfce guys have done a commendable job in bringing their vision to fruition, but they might be a little late to the party.

The GNOME folks have turned what looked at the time to be a major slip-up with spatial Nautilus into the much more pleasant version we have today. It's, well, a lot like Thunar, except with more features. Both are great filemanagers, but Nautilus was able to steal most of Thunar's thunder.

I think it comes down to the development platform. Each environment comes with a stock GTK2 toolkit plus some extra libraries that really pull the applications into the desktop in a cohesive way. Xfce has some great strengths, including the lean and mean distinction it proudly wears, but it can't compete with the consistency and cohesiveness provided by GNOME's extensive libraries. It's a tradeoff.

( Neither can compete with KDE's development environment, but that's another post... )

Reply Score: 5

v RE[2]: w00t
by deb2006 on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 06:58 UTC in reply to "RE: w00t"
RE[3]: w00t
by hal2k1 on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: w00t"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//KDE might have superior dev libraries, but what's it good for if the desktop itself is bloated?//

Define "bloated". If by "bloated" you mean "size on disk" - disk storage is cheap. A full-featured KDE wouldn't occupy any more than 1% of a typical hard disk.

Since KDE 3.5.4 KDE is just about as "snappy" as Xfce on the same hardware.

If you mean "memory footprint", then KDE uses a little more than Xfce. KDE has way, way more functionality than Xfce though.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: w00t
by xerverius on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 10:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: w00t"
xerverius Member since:
2005-07-06

"Define 'bloated'."

This bloated discussion is just sooo stupid. There is nothing wrong with Gnome or KDE, it's just an other approach of desktop usage. The direction Xfce has chosen is 'minimal but still usable'. If you don't like this approach, feel free to choose an other desktop environment (or a mix of them), you HAVE that freedom on Linux/BSD so use it!

It's a bit silly to say Xfce is not good because you're using KDE, Gnome or whatever. Other people are happy with Xfce, so what's wrong with that?

Maybe the memory usage of Xfce is a bit lower, it starts 1 second faster, so what? Most important is you're happy when you start you're computer and it suits your needs!

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: w00t
by superstoned on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: w00t"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

you might not have tried KDE since 3.2 (which was indeed it's most icon-and-option-loaded fase), as it has become quite a bit more userfriendly already.

still, indeed, being able to do more often means more buttons and settings, no matter how hard you try to do it the smart way instead of just giving up and removing features.

about XFCE, looking at the visual tour really shows how it's just recreating gnome (and KDE), just being behind both 3 (or 5) years... and it's not even really doing any better. ok, some things are better, but many simply are not.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: w00t
by xerverius on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:35 UTC in reply to "RE: w00t"
xerverius Member since:
2005-07-06

"...but they might be a little late to the party."

Keep in mind that the number of developers working on Xfce is ~15 people (active). I guess the number of people working on Gnome/KDE is a bit more.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: w00t
by butters on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: w00t"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

The number of active developers for any given OSS project is some relatively small fraction of its total number of users. This is perhaps the only force in the free software community that leads to consolidation of effort, the lack of which is a common criticism of our development culture.

Eventually the independent spirit of small projects gives way to the realization that the big guys have an advantage in development resources that cannot be overcome by their projects' unique merits (whatever they might be).

If this wasn't free software, and if users or ideas weren't permitted to freely move from one project to the next, then this theory might impose barriers to innovation. But as we have seen, ideas move between projects just as easily as do users, creating a situation where the best ideas consolidate in the projects with the most users. I think we can agree that this is a very fortunate outcome of the free software community.

Reply Score: 2

RE: w00t
by GhePeU on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:41 UTC in reply to "w00t"
GhePeU Member since:
2005-07-06

I simply cannot wait to get this installed and try it out. Xfce was my absolute preferred DE a year ago, but Gnome overtook it for me around 2.14 or 2.16. The Xfce guys are really slick. I can't wait.

Same here! I switched to Gnome when 2.10 was released, because I liked the automounting and the nice icons for mounted volumes on the desktop, and gradually it became my favorite DE until I eventually removed xfce from my installation.
Now I'm eager to try this new release of xfce; I hope that they kept the right-click-on-desktop application menu which xfce 4.2 included.

Reply Score: 2

Wohoo!
by DigitalAxis on Sun 21st Jan 2007 22:47 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

Wonderful. I use XFCE4 a lot, it's good to see they've finally got this new release out. XFCE has a very nice non-Windows-like (CDE, actually) look to it I really like (though I do miss the way XFCE 4.0 had taskbar buttons sized by how many programs there were- if only one was running it'd take the entire taskbar; with two each would get half... it was odd, but I grew to like it)

Edited 2007-01-21 22:48

Reply Score: 4

Congrats
by brewin on Sun 21st Jan 2007 22:49 UTC
brewin
Member since:
2005-06-30

The best desktop environment (IMO) keeps getting better. Congrats to the developers and thanks for all the hard work!

Reply Score: 1

v lightweightedness
by lawina on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 03:18 UTC
RE: lightweightedness
by sbergman27 on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 03:46 UTC in reply to "lightweightedness"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""With all these features, like translucent windows its going to be another bloated WM."""

"Bloat" is like "Fud". Everyone uses the term. It's so convenient. And since everyone knows what it means, it saves the inconvenience of having to actually define it.

Of course, there are as many definitions as there are readers here.

Bloat is relative.

For those who insist upon dragging along their old 16MHz 386sx laptops with 4MB of memory, I'm sure there will continue to be projects to serve them. (Both of them.)

If Xfce can implement a reasonable feature set that can be run by people with low spec'd machines *by the standards of 2007*, I think that is what is really important.

The Gnome and KDE approach has been to get the features in first, and then go back and look at efficiency.

The Xfce approach would seem to be to implement features as they can do so efficiently.

Gnome, KDE, and Xfce are so wonderfully complementary. KDE for the techies who feel they can't be productive without being able to control the exact amount of bevel in their window frames in 2% increments... Gnome for those who want a simpler interface... and Xfce for those who can't just run out and buy a new machine at the drop of a hat, but still need a full featured, intuitive interface.

Ain't it grand? :-)

Edited 2007-01-22 03:47

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: lightweightedness
by twenex on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 04:19 UTC in reply to "RE: lightweightedness"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

"Bloat" is like "Fud". Everyone uses the term. It's so convenient. And since everyone knows what it means, it saves the inconvenience of having to actually define it.

Of course, there are as many definitions as there are readers here.


The only definition I've ever heard of "FUD" is "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt".

As for "bloat", a non-word-for-word definition would be "a 'feature' which needlessly contributes to the size of a program/operating system/desktop/environment, without doing much else."

That too, comes close to most people's definition, I should think.

Edited 2007-01-22 04:21

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: lightweightedness
by DeadFishMan on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 18:33 UTC in reply to "RE: lightweightedness"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

Gnome, KDE, and Xfce are so wonderfully complementary. KDE for the techies who feel they can't be productive without being able to control the exact amount of bevel in their window frames in 2% increments... Gnome for those who want a simpler interface... and Xfce for those who can't just run out and buy a new machine at the drop of a hat, but still need a full featured, intuitive interface.

Oh! Iīm afraid that you arenīt being fair, my friend. How about this:

KDE: For those that like a desktop that enable them to have the work done in a way that suits their taste better.

GNOME: For those that like to work on an environment so restricted that feels even more crippled than the Windows shell (in the name of usability) >:-)

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: lightweightedness
by sbergman27 on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 21:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: lightweightedness"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Fair enough. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

You can spend your days happily fiddling with your desktop settings. (Hey, I'm not your employer.) I can support my users better. And people who want something full featured but need or want something lighter can be happy, as well.

Like I say: Ain't it grand? :-)

The "battle for the desktop" is not a zero-sum game.

Reply Score: 1

RE: lightweightedness
by fsckit on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 04:04 UTC in reply to "lightweightedness"
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

LMAO. Please go look here.

http://www.ca-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce-4.4.0/installers/

Yes, the source code for xfce, plus the source for the build environment, plus thunar, plus goodies is indeed less than 40 friggin Megs. Last time I compiled Gnome the source alone pushed around 300M compressed. I think XFCE has a good ways to go before people start putting the bloat tag on it.


Congrats to the XFCE team. I've been patiently waiting for this release for a good while now.

Edited 2007-01-22 04:05

Reply Score: 5

good try troll
by buff on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 03:30 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

With all these features, like translucent windows its going to be another bloated WM.

The transparency is completely optional. good try though. How's that pessimism working for ya?

Reply Score: 4

beautiful looking and fast
by buff on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 03:48 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

XFCE 4.4 is beautiful looking and speedy. Thunar file manager is working well, simple and fast. The XFCE Terminal is more lightweight than Gnome's and opens fast. The new Panel with moveable icons is excellent. It is near perfect for a lightweight desktop. I like that you can even kill the desktop to save memory and just stick to windows. Very slick development. I took a screenshot of XFCE 4.4 running on Fedora 6.
http://markbokil.org/images/xfce4-fc6.png

Edited 2007-01-22 03:55

Reply Score: 3

RE: beautiful looking and fast
by Temcat on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 10:07 UTC in reply to "beautiful looking and fast"
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

The new Panel with moveable icons

By "moveable icons", do you mean that launchers and applets can now be drag-n-dropped within the panel?

Also, how many clicks does it take now to create a launcher for a known application from AppFinder?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: beautiful looking and fast
by fsckit on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE: beautiful looking and fast"
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

Err no you can't drag an icon from the menu or desktop to the panel but just like 4.2, all you have to do is drag the icon from appfinder to the launcher properties dialog and it fills in everything for you.

Reply Score: 2

Awesome
by w00dst0ck on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 03:58 UTC
w00dst0ck
Member since:
2006-02-01

I can't wait to give this DE a go, that and FreeBSD 6.2 mixed together works wonders on all of my old hardware.

Xfce4 has increased a little in resources but not by much, especially considering all of the new features and applications added in. I'm especially looking forward to using Thunar and the new calendar application Orage.

Overall, a lot of major features have been added which now make this even more than an amazingly fast DE but also a feature rich DE.

Again, all this is considering it's small footprint on resources.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Awesome
by s-peter on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 06:38 UTC in reply to "Awesome"
s-peter Member since:
2006-01-29

I'd love to use XFCE 4.4 on FreeBSD 6.2 on an older machine I have but I've yet to find any packages. Please tell me if you know any place I could get them. I found this for ports for 4.4RC2 but building it would take ages on that machine...
http://people.freebsd.org/~oliver/xfce/

Reply Score: 2

Integrated networking for Thunar yet?
by deathshadow on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 04:20 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

While yes, I know you can implement a semi-working equivalent with fuseSMB, it's the only thing that's making me still open nautilus (or xffm)...

It's the only thing I've yet to hear any progress on... the rest looks great.

Reply Score: 1

spikeb Member since:
2006-01-18

Far as I know, there is no progress on it, because nobody is working on it. It's a design decision.

Reply Score: 1

Yay
by twenex on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 04:23 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

Seems like I've been waiting for Thunar for ages...KDE is probably going to be replaced on this machine as soon as the Gentoo ebuilds are out!

Reply Score: 3

Running SVN for a while now
by PAPPP on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 05:05 UTC
PAPPP
Member since:
2006-07-26

I've been running a SVN build (out of the archlinux unstable repo) for some time, since some of the 4.4 features are enough improved (in my opinion) to make it worth the hassle. Its been as stable as anything, and impressively fast since I started. I spent about a week fiddling whatever bothered me (you really can tweak every behavior in a fairly straightforward way) and it looks and feels entirely "natural" to work in. (Currently using Candido-Redux theme with Etiquitte-xfce icons with it, just to plug since I'm pleased with them.) Highly recommended, especially for the new tabbed terminal emulator and Thunar. Only feature I like but haven't been able to play with is transparency since the fglrx drivers don't play nice with compositing.

Reply Score: 1

Just right
by Dave_K on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 07:58 UTC
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

There are plenty of ultra-lightweight and minimalist window managers around, and a choice of feature rich DEs that require more resources. XFCE is quite unique in the way it balances between the two, offering a combination of speed and features that's just right for me.

I'm surprised that more people aren't following XFCE, it isn't just people with out of date hardware who can benefit from a more efficient DE. In my opinion it's become just as mature and usable as larger projects like KDE and GNOME.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Just right
by Savior on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 08:27 UTC in reply to "Just right"
Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

"I'm surprised that more people aren't following XFCE, it isn't just people with out of date hardware who can benefit from a more efficient DE. In my opinion it's become just as mature and usable as larger projects like KDE and GNOME."

I do not know if I am in the target group of XFCE, but I believe so. I have a HP nx9010, Celeron 2.4 GHz laptop, with 700 MB memory (I had to extend it, 256-64 wasn't that great). I installed Xubuntu, and used it until a few days ago.

However, I installed KDE on the weekend, partly because I was not satisfied with ivman, and wanted to try it. And what I have found is... KDE seems much snappier. OK, maybe Mousepad starts quicker than KDE alternatives, but once loaded, the GUI just feels more responsive (maybe not Mousepad, but larger apps anyway). What surprised me the most, is that even Firefox and Thunderbirds seem to react quicker under KDE! How that can be is beyond me, I had already used the least demanding GTK theme.

The only issue I have with KDE is that the fonts do not look nearly as good under Firefox.

But good luck to XFCE anyway... it just didn't really work out for me. I miss the cute mascot, though ;)

Reply Score: 2

Thunar is a bit slim on the surface
by shapeshifter on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 08:49 UTC
shapeshifter
Member since:
2006-09-19

From the screenshots of Thunar I see it doesn't have any significant toolbar or fully featured left navigational tree.
Are those features that are just not turned on by default or are they simply not in there at all?
Because from the default look, I would not call it a file manager. More like a file browser.

Reply Score: 1

Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

Dunno about toolbar, but it does have a tree view: http://thunar.xfce.org/images/filewindow-6.png

Reply Score: 1

desktop
by lighans on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:12 UTC
lighans
Member since:
2006-01-14

There's one thing I like to see in xfce. Single-click desktop icons. Further: I am happy with it on Vectorlinux 5.8

Reply Score: 1

Some features still lacking
by da_Chicken on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:13 UTC
da_Chicken
Member since:
2006-01-01

Both KDE and Fluxbox have an ability to set a keyboard shortcut for opening the application menu. They both also have the ability to make applications remember the size, position, and workspace where their windows were last time opened.

As long as XFCE (or, rather, it's window manager XFwm) lacks these features, I prefer to use KDE and Fluxbox.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Some features still lacking
by xerverius on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:18 UTC in reply to "Some features still lacking"
xerverius Member since:
2005-07-06

You can create a keyboard shortcut to 'xfce4-popup-menu' to open the panel menu plugin (part of xfdesktop). You can also run 'xfdesktop -menu' to popup the desktop menu.

Saving the size of the application window is a task of the application IMHO, Xfwm4 only tries to position the window right there where it's not overlapping other windows.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Some features still lacking
by twenex on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Some features still lacking"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Saving the size of the application window is a task of the application IMHO,

Well not in X11 - not because that "isn't the X Window Way," it's just the way it's implemented. The so-called "window manager" has to do a lot more work than managing windows (like managing the desktop/background (though not the picture), which is even known in X11 as the "root window", and providing the menus you see when you click on the root window).

Reply Score: 2

xerverius Member since:
2005-07-06

"Well not in X11 - not because that "isn't the X Window Way," it's just the way it's implemented. The so-called "window manager" has to do a lot more work than managing windows (like managing the desktop/background (though not the picture), which is even known in X11 as the "root window", and providing the menus you see when you click on the root window)."

There is nothing in the wm-specs Xfwm4 should take care about that (window matching). And as long as there is no good way to 'detect' the application (command, application, window name, icon.. everything can change), it won't be added.

And BTW the desktop(-menus) are managed by xfdesktop. If you kill xfwm4, this is still working w/o problems.

Edited 2007-01-22 10:30

Reply Score: 1

da_Chicken Member since:
2006-01-01

You can create a keyboard shortcut to 'xfce4-popup-menu' to open the panel menu plugin (part of xfdesktop). You can also run 'xfdesktop -menu' to popup the desktop menu.

Thanks for the tip. IMO, this is a useful feature and it should be added to the list of default shortcuts for easy editing.

Saving the size of the application window is a task of the application IMHO.

Well, the developers of Fluxbox and KDE/KWin apparently think that such a feature is quite useful in a window manager, and I agree with them. Many applications don't offer any way to control the initial size or placement of their windows and currently XFCE/Xfwm4 doesn't help in controlling them either.

Fluxbox and KDE/KWin also allow you to set the initial workspace (or "virtual desktop") where the application always starts while XFCE/Xfwm4 lacks this feature. This would be useful for users who like to dedicate different workspaces for special tasks. For example, you could configure an "Internet workspace" for all your Internet-related tasks and you can set all your Internet-related applications to open in that specific workspace.

Then you only need to memorize which workspaces are dedicated to specific tasks and then you can switch between tasks by simply switching workspaces. And you'll always have easy access to the applications that are needed for that specific task. It's too bad that XFCE/Xfwm4 doesn't support this.

Reply Score: 3

Waiting.......
by raver31 on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 09:30 UTC
raver31
Member since:
2005-07-06

Until Ubuntu repository is updated before I upgrade.

I love xfce, it is my desktop of choice on Ubuntu. It flies.
Heres how I do it...
Install Ubuntu, then add xfce on top.
Therefore I get all the goodies from Gnome but have a xfce face !
Pity gnome does not fly like xfce.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Waiting.......
by getaceres on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 10:16 UTC in reply to "Waiting......."
getaceres Member since:
2005-07-06

If you want official Xubuntu packages, then you will have to upgrade to Feisty.

Reply Score: 1

Bulk Renamer
by FunkyELF on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 15:44 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

I really like this idea...but did anyone else see a problem with that screenshot?

libelle01.jpg => Picture 1.jpg
libelle02.jpg => Picture 2.jpg
[...]
libelle09.jpg => Picture 9.jpg
libelle10.jpg => Picture 0.jpg

Reply Score: 1

Awesome...
by madcrow on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 22:34 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

CDE for GTK gains a new version ;) Seriously, I'm puzzled as to why Solaris chose GNOME rather than XFCE as their CDE replacement... IMHO, XFCE is CDE done right (and free)

Reply Score: 1

SUSE?
by Angel Blue01 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 00:14 UTC
Angel Blue01
Member since:
2006-11-01

I like Xfce and I'm glad there's a new release.

But is it possible to run it on openSUSE 10.2?

Reply Score: 1

RE: SUSE?
by fsckit on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 05:03 UTC in reply to "SUSE?"
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

Don't know about 10.2 but one of the guys I work with used the installer to compile RC2 on OpenSUSE 10.1 and it worked perfectly.

Reply Score: 2

RE: SUSE?
by stavrosg on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 10:18 UTC in reply to "SUSE?"
stavrosg Member since:
2005-09-30

There are packages for OpenSUSE announced in the Xfce Mailing List. See this message:
http://foo-projects.org/pipermail/xfce/2007-January/020297.html

Reply Score: 1