Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 19th Apr 2009 13:16 UTC
Xfce The Xfce team has released the first bugfix release in the 4.6.x tree of the Gtk+ desktop environment, Xfce 4.6.1. "The first bugfix-release of xfce 4.6 has been released. Thanks to all the people who have been using xfce 4.6 and took the time and effort to submit bugreports for stuff that wasn't quite working the way it is supposed to. We have been able to fix several issues during the past few weeks."
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Progress is good.
by DoctorD on Sun 19th Apr 2009 18:28 UTC
DoctorD
Member since:
2009-03-08

XFCE has come to be my personal favorite window manager. For those who don't know, it is built with the same GTK toolkit as Gnome, and while they have a lot in common, XFCE is significantly more lightweight. This results in it being noticeably more responsive and taking up fewer system resources. XFCE also shares some similarities with CDE, a commercial GUI with great user interface guidelines.

In spite of being lightweight, they have done an excellent job of making it user friendly, configurable, and pretty.

If only they would seriously consider changing the name. That's my only mild beef with XFCE; I can only verbally communicate it to others by spelling the name out... 'X' 'F' 'C' 'E'. Who picks these kind of names?
Heh...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Progress is good.
by Hiev on Sun 19th Apr 2009 20:33 UTC in reply to "Progress is good."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

I call it X-FACE.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Progress is good.
by thinker5555 on Sun 19th Apr 2009 20:39 UTC in reply to "Progress is good."
thinker5555 Member since:
2008-01-13

X-Face? Eggs-Face? Zefeekee? Zeef Key? Suffice?

*shrugs*

Reply Score: 1

RE: Progress is good.
by maaxx on Sun 19th Apr 2009 21:14 UTC in reply to "Progress is good."
maaxx Member since:
2007-11-06

For those who don't know, it is built with the same GTK toolkit as Gnome, and while they have a lot in common, XFCE is significantly more lightweight.


Its lightweightness is more of a myth. The difference in resource usage between XFCE and Gnome is far from "significant", doesn't really make the change worthwhile, especially when looking from an ergonomic standpoint.

LXDE+Pcmanfm is light, IceWM is light etc, XFCE.. not quite. Sorry.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Progress is good.
by dagw on Mon 20th Apr 2009 07:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Progress is good."
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

The difference in resource usage between XFCE and Gnome is far from "significant",

I haven't bothered to check actual difference in CPU cycles or bytes of memeory used or anything like that so I won't comment on if they're "significant". However XFCE is significantly faster than GNOME on my old laptop in many ways that do count. On things like time from login in prompt to desktop or time to launch the file browser it easily beats GNOME (and easily gets beaten by fluxbox).

XFCE 'feels' faster and more responsive than GNOME all around on older hardware. So perhaps it doesn't actually use significantly less resources, but it certainly more feels more lightweight on older hardware, and that is really all I care about.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Progress is good.
by cmost on Mon 20th Apr 2009 12:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Progress is good."
cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

"For those who don't know, it is built with the same GTK toolkit as Gnome, and while they have a lot in common, XFCE is significantly more lightweight.


Its lightweightness is more of a myth. The difference in resource usage between XFCE and Gnome is far from "significant", doesn't really make the change worthwhile, especially when looking from an ergonomic standpoint.

LXDE+Pcmanfm is light, IceWM is light etc, XFCE.. not quite. Sorry.
"

I agree. I installed the new XFCE 4.6 on my Debian box and used it for about a week or so. It took some getting used to but I found it serviceable. The menu system is especially more intuitive than Gnome's and I liked the cleaner control panel. Fully tricked out with murrine themes, Compiz-Fusion, etc. and it didn't seem any faster than Gnome. The more the XFCE developers bolt on in their apparent need to compete with the big boys Gnome and KDE, the more they lose their so called performance advantage.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Progress is good.
by DoctorD on Mon 20th Apr 2009 20:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Progress is good."
DoctorD Member since:
2009-03-08

The desktop environment itself is what qualifies as snappy and responsive, not the effect the DE has on the applications you run. Just thought I'd make that distinction. ;)

However, it may or may not indirectly affect running applications based on the CPU and RAM overhead it requires. This gain is more pronounced on systems which have a limited amount of resources to begin with (like the PS3). The more limited the system resources, the more pronounced the effect, yet it's a nice advantage to consider even if you never max out your system resources. Why should something use 128 mb when it can be done effectively with 64 mb?

Of course, this same logic can also apply to running applications, so it's not a bad idea to use apps which utilize GTK and are lightweight, too. An example is the Midori web browser, which uses GTK and webkit, rather then XUL and Gecko.

Edited 2009-04-20 20:42 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Progress is good.
by Doc Pain on Sun 19th Apr 2009 21:22 UTC in reply to "Progress is good."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Yes, progress *is* good, but into which direction? XFCE always called itself a "lightweight desktop environment". It has grown beyond the point where it's just to be called a better window manager, which would be the state I'd consider it being in the 3.x version, where it was much like a CDE replacement. (In fact, I used a customized XFCE 3 installation for a customer who was familiar with CDE and wanted "to have this again" - he's still happy with XFCE 3).

XFCE has come to be my personal favorite window manager.


Desktop environment. :-)

For those who don't know, it is built with the same GTK toolkit as Gnome, and while they have a lot in common, XFCE is significantly more lightweight.


But still it will pull all the dependencies of Gtk 2 which may have a relativating implication on the term "lightweight".

If it really comes to lightweight window managers - because I think complete desktop environments cannot be lightweight anymore due to the many functionalities they simply need to have, tiled window managers, FVWM, Fluxbox and WindowMaker come into mind.

This results in it being noticeably more responsive and taking up fewer system resources.


In comparison to the "two big players", KDE and Gnome, yes, of course - while it's still worth mentioning that XFCE comes with many features that you know from KDE or Gnome, such as a quite good file manager and a versatile set of bundled applications.

XFCE also shares some similarities with CDE, a commercial GUI with great user interface guidelines.


This applies much more to XFCE 3 than to XFCE 4.

In spite of being lightweight, they have done an excellent job of making it user friendly, configurable, and pretty.


But still I would argue about being lightweight. XFCE is user friendly, highly configurable and can be made looking pretty, you're completely right. Due to the amount of needed libraries (namely Gtk 2) it's not *that* lightweight, but still better than a KDE or (a complete) Gnome installation.

If only they would seriously consider changing the name. That's my only mild beef with XFCE; I can only verbally communicate it to others by spelling the name out... 'X' 'F' 'C' 'E'. Who picks these kind of names?


In German: "Icks eff tsee ee", not that bad. I found that a 4 letter (max) acronym seems to better memorable than those "artificial words" that are often used for applications. Note that this is a special problem in Germany where functional illitracy is a problem of the society, it may be different in other countries. It's not *that* bad name, but I agree with you, something more descriptive or better-sounding could be nice. But in the end... who cares? It just works! :-)

Not that I get misunderstood: XFCE is a great piece of software. In most cases, it's my first choice (instead of KDE or Gnome), and my most favourite use of it is from within the FreeSBIE live system CD that I often use for diagnostics and data recovery preparations. Of course, the XFCE version on this CD is quite old, so it's much faster than today's version. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Progress is good.
by elsewhere on Mon 20th Apr 2009 04:31 UTC in reply to "Progress is good."
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

In spite of being lightweight, they have done an excellent job of making it user friendly, configurable, and pretty.


What does lightweight mean? Other than the file manager, what applications are native to XFCE, in that they leverage a shared framework for resource efficiency?

Once you launch Firefox or OOo, the resource usage will spike regardless of the DE being used, because they're not native to any particular environment.

Granted, GTK-only apps may spare some resources under XFCE, but for what overall benefit? Gnome and KDE have native applications, such as browsers, media and office apps, that may be lacking in certain capabilities compared to their popular counterparts, but leverage the existing DE framework for efficiency. That's the point of a DE, versus just being a WM.

Note, I'm not knocking XFCE. It's a fine alternative compared to Gnome or KDE etc. as an alternative interface.

But I really don't get the whole "XFCE is so much lighter" argument. I've tried it from time to time with each release. Sure, it loads a little bit faster and is a bit snappier, but once you start actually loading apps, there's really no difference. In fact, I'd say that Gnome and KDE have an advantage in terms of apps that leverage those native frameworks.

XFCE is interesting, and for people that prefer a different interface, all the more power to them, I think it's always good to have alternatives. I just think the whole "it's lighter" thing is misleading. Without native applications, the applications average users run will use additional resources that will ultimately render XFCE's lower footprint moot, compared to a simple WM. Better to find a different angle to stress, at this point.

Just my 2c...

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Progress is good.
by darkcoder on Mon 20th Apr 2009 20:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Progress is good."
darkcoder Member since:
2006-07-14

What does lightweight mean? Other than the file manager, what applications are native to XFCE, in that they leverage a shared framework for resource efficiency?

Once you launch Firefox or OOo, the resource usage will spike regardless of the DE being used, because they're not native to any particular environment.


I agree with you.

The low memory and disk footprint that those "lightweight" DE provide can only be enjoyed if you have a clean DE with no additional apps. If you start adding stuff to it, you end using more disk space than a KDE or GNOME install. Why? The answer is simple, there are few pure GTK2 apps out there. If you for example, install Transmission, you end with half a gnome install as dependencies.

I see those small footprint DE more for machines that can use an optional "small desktop" like some servers.

Reply Score: 1

Not a bad idea
by DoctorD on Sun 19th Apr 2009 20:47 UTC
DoctorD
Member since:
2009-03-08

I like that, actually. It's easy to say... and also kind of makes sense.

X-face, a "face" for the X windows system. Simple and to-the-point, which is sort of what XFCE is all about.

Heh, thinker - that actually sums up my original point pretty well... lawl

Edited 2009-04-19 20:59 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Comment by DoctorD
by DoctorD on Sun 19th Apr 2009 22:50 UTC
DoctorD
Member since:
2009-03-08

Fair responses.

Lightweight being a relevant term, I mostly used it for comparing XFCE against desktop environments like Gnome and KDE. There are of course window managers out there that can be considered extremely lightweight (IceWM, fluxbox, etc), but those are a different kind of beast to what I was comparing.

On a related note, I have never personally found a stripped-down tiling WM to be a decent replacement for a full fledged desktop environment. XFCE seems to hit that sweet spot for me, enough substance to be considered a full Desktop Environment, with great tools and interface, yet coded with efficiency and minimalism in mind.

One other really appealing use of XFCE is the ability to run a decent desktop environment on the PS3. Whether you're a fan or not, the cell provides a rather fascinating CPU design to work with... something a bit different then run-of-the-mill x86. However, being a console, it only comes with 256 megs of ram to work with (excluding some tricks which attempt to tap into the extra 256 megs of graphics ram). While Gnome or KDE can be particuarly sluggish on the PS3, XFCE performs rather well and responds beautifully.

The difference can definitely be observed. I find it to be significant. Of course whether or not anyone else does is largely a matter of taste and circumstance.

Reply Score: 2

let's me work
by project_2501 on Sun 19th Apr 2009 23:25 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

I've always liked xfce. It has stayed out of my way and let me get one with my work. It doesn't cry out to be fiddled with or configured every session.

I'm sure you can configure other desktops to do this stuff but the default things make me happy:

* scroll wheel on background cycles through desktops.
* cntrl+Fn selects desktops.
* scroll wheel on title bar shutters up windows out of the way and down into view again. No need to go finding them in any taskbar or stack.

I'm sure there are many other productivity enhancing mechanisms .. but I use these all the time.

Reply Score: 2

woot!
by siimo on Mon 20th Apr 2009 02:37 UTC
siimo
Member since:
2006-06-22

Props to the Xfce team

Reply Score: 2