Linked by Ben Mazer on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 07:27 UTC
Xfce I think the best thing you can say about XFce-4 is that it is stable. In my over 6 months of using XFce-4 (used CVS before the release), I have only had one crash (and this was during the CVS version as well). Some other popular Desktop Environments seem too complex for their own good. XFce-4 was a perfect match for me. It had everything that I like in a Desktop Environment, without any of the bloat found elsewhere. XFce 4.0.2 was released yesterday.
Order by: Score:
xfce4 is just super fast
by gullevek on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 07:39 UTC

Yes, I also fell in love with it. Thought at office I still use KDE as the default WM, at home it is Xfce. The simple reason for this, is the amazing speed. At home I only have a 650Mhz Pentium III with 512MB RAM, so I am happy about every MB of saved memory and Mhz ;)
And yes, the Panel is just extremly cool ...

Happy user since xfce3
by Peter Hoeg on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 08:08 UTC

Xfce3 was fast, functional and to the point - xfce4 is all with good looks thrown in as well! I will recommend xfce to anybody who just wants the job done. I can use gdm to start both gnome and kde but I honestly cannot remember the last time I started anything else but xfce.

Xinerama Support
by Richard Tough on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 08:20 UTC

KDE, and Gnome both have excellent Xinerama support - although by default its not configured too good, KDE3.2 beta has all the settings in a new kontrol center part, and it too can do the virtual screen changing by using the wheel on the desktop.

Overall, very good review that highlighted some points I didn't no about.

Cheers

xffm...not really
by stew on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 08:55 UTC

While I really like Xfce in general (I'm using xfwm and xfdesktop), I never liked xffm. IMO, it's rather clunky and slow. I am really sad to say so, but I never found a file manager for Linux/X11 that was even close to BeOS' OpenTracker or the Classic MacOS in terms of simplicity and elegance.

Hover effect
by Artem on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 09:14 UTC

"One annoyance in XFWM is that there is no hover effect on the buttons."

Actually there is. This depends on GTK+ theme. I use beautiful ThinIce theme, and it has this feature.

Re: xffm...not really
by Felix on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 09:15 UTC

@stew

Have you tried ROX-Filer http://rox.sf.net/ ? While not exactly Classic MacOS, it feels to me about as close as I've got. (It has some nuisances---you can't place icons around a window freely, and it places new windows near the pointer rather than where the were, which is incredibly annoying (indeed, it has absolutely no memory, a feature I plan to rectify eventually), but other than Classic MacOS's, it's the only filemanager I've enjoyed using. Though I haven't used BeOS's, OS X's, XFfm, NeXTStep's, RiscOS's (on which it's based) and many others. I haven't used an open dialog box since I started using, and if I understand correctly, GTK 2.4 will mean I won't need to use a save box.)

I hope I included enough complaints to avoid being accused of zealotry ;)

I love it =).
by Bram on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 09:29 UTC

I'm a big XFCE Advocate. I thoroughly enjoy it's superior speed (it's a good match for WindowMaker and even Blackbox). While Blackbox' development has been slow -- nearly nonexistent -- for an extensive time these people are actually making progress. Kudos!

"... without any of the bloat found elsewhere."
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 09:47 UTC

People who want to be taken seriously should'nt use this misnomer "bloat".

I love it too, but
by IP on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 10:41 UTC

How can I do that the panel be on top but not hide other windows?
like in kde or gnome.

Re: I love it too, but
by Artem on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 11:21 UTC

"How can I do that the panel be on top but not hide other windows?
like in kde or gnome."

Look in XFCE panel properties ;-)

Re: Re: I love it too, but
by Artem on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 11:26 UTC

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't read your post carefully:

You want panel on top but so that it doesn't hide other windows? I'm afraid I don't get it. Isn't it either/or? I mean, if the panel is not covering an overlapping window, then it's not on top, and vice versa...

Re: Re: I love it too, but
by finn c. on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 12:20 UTC

Do you mean not cover a maximised window? You can set this manually in the 'Workspace Margins' in the Settings Manager.

Xfce4 is great!
by jose_g on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 12:29 UTC

and the best features are:
- switching between workspaces with mouse wheel (when desktop is focused)
- shading/unshading windows with mouse wheel (when windows title bar is focused)
- The Panel!

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: love it too, but
by IP on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 12:35 UTC

thank you!! finn! I love you!

It might be fast, but it is not a desktop
by tuttle on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 12:35 UTC

Its a window manager. There is nothing wrong with that for all those people that do not need or want a full-fledged desktop with its own component technology, printing system, standardized menus and dialogs etc. But calling XFCE a desktop is like calling notepad an integrated development environment.

Re: "... without any of the bloat found elsewhere."
by Kick The Donkey on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 12:37 UTC

People who want to be taken seriously should'nt use this misnomer "bloat".

Yeah. They should use cruft. ;)

Excellent speed, flawed UI
by yawningdog on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 12:46 UTC

First, XFCE4 is blazingly fast, and to me that is its best feature (by far). Everyone who says GTK2 is soooo slow should try XFCE4 and rethink that idea. The whole desktop is super-responsive, and loads in 1-2 seconds.

On the other hand, while Gnome may be slower, it has the edge on usability and HIGification; and that's something I sorely miss on XFCE4. Some preference menus are *very* bad: the window manager configuration, with the 132108x4534580 radio buttons is really horrible. Or why is there a button to use Diff on two files by default on the File Manager? Just some examples. Sorry, but that's bad design. IMO, some UI work and reorganization should be top priorities for next releases. Then, we may have a third player on the linux desktop arena.

Disclaimer: Tried one of the pre-releases of XFCE4, not the final version. It looked like it was on feature freeze by the time I checked it though, so my UI concerns should still be valid.

i've loved xfce 3 for the very reason that it just lets me get work done easily with minimal distraction or overwhelming effort to get common things done.

xfce 4 is nice looking ... i don't really need all that xfce print and xfiler etc etc ....

but the feature i have been struggling to replicate is this: in xfce 3 i could right click on a windows title-bar and it would shade/unshade. i find it really too much effort to pulld own the menu to shade it - or to move the mouse over to the correct icon in the title bar to do it. its too much effort when i'm trying actually do real work.

i wonder if anyone else finds this a distraction - and if anyone has fixed it? i might even patch the code to do it?

t

i find it really too much effort to pulld own the menu to shade it - or to move the mouse over to the correct icon in the title bar to do it. its too much effort when i'm trying actually do real work.

Well, as was mentioned in the article, you could just use your mouse wheel, or you can also double click anywhere on the titlebar. Minimum aiming required. ;)

XFCE4
by Fred on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 13:31 UTC

I'm an avid xfce4 user, while I used to be a blackbox/fluxbox user. I do miss the one feature which makes fluxbox unique in its use, and that's grouping stuff together. Oh well.

Anyway, people complain about the menu system. Luckily I'm a debian user, and XFCE4 honours the debian menu system, so I don't have to worry about that *at all*. I also used xfce in combination with ROX, and if you're into drag 'n drop and filemanagers, it's a golden combination. I consider this definately a desktop environment, though a poster above this disagreed because it doesn't have 'its own print management' and some other typical features which actually *shouldn't* be provided as part of the desktop manager package, IMO. Anyway, the point is that I agree with most of the whole review. It's fast, its comfortable, it has a couple of very convenient usability features (like the great use of the scroll wheel in the whole window manager). I think maybe the "big two" should pay some more attention to the "little lot", instead of packing more and more complexity into their products. Simplicity is a feature.

thanks - will look into that - usually a double click used to maximise the window - which is how i liked it... but i'll look into the middle-click.

t

totally wrong
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 13:53 UTC

"Its a window manager. There is nothing wrong with that for all those people that do not need or want a full-fledged desktop with its own component technology, printing system, standardized menus and dialogs etc. But calling XFCE a desktop is like calling notepad an integrated development environment."

It has it's own:
Window Manager
Printer Manager
Panel
Desktop Manager
File Manager
Session Managager
And lots of Panel Plugins

It provies a gui to change almost everything about it. It IS indeed a DE.

xfce is ok
by Richard Moe on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:03 UTC


I have tried most of the WMs and DEs for Linux, but I always
fall back to fluxbox (fluxbox.sf.net). It's simple, small, fast and good looking. The only gripe I have is that that
the toolbar is a bit minimalistic.

Re: xffm...not really
by stew on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:16 UTC

yes, I tried ROX, and it didn't feel as good as OT or Classic Finder. Still, I might install it again, it's the Linux filemanager that sucks least.

Synopsis
by Bryan on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:18 UTC

"At home I only have a 650Mhz Pentium III with 512MB RAM"

ONLY???

Jesus, I'm running KDE on a 256 mb 550 PIII, compiled with -03 -march=pentium4, and it's fast...but I acknowledge that I would be fine without the extra ram...but buddy, realize that 512 is a hell of a lot more ram than most of us.

Re: totally wrong
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:19 UTC

They call themselve a DE. A quick glance on the site says so http://www.xfce.org i'm not sure when something is a DE or a WM, i don't know the exact borders. If custimizability is a rule, then i'd argue E16 is a DE.

"XFce-4 is as fast as any Window Manager/Desktop Environment on my Pentium4 2Ghz, 256MB of RAM, and Geforce4MX. I recently compared it to fluxbox and Windowmaker, some of my other favorites, and there was basically no increase in speed or reduction of memory usage. The entire Environment feels more responsive."

Neither Fluxbox nor Windowmaker is a DE. I wouldn't argue these 2 are user-friendly for ***casual*** users _compared_ next to XFce. At an internet workplace we've switched from Fluxbox/IceWM to XFce using P166-P200's and the speed was indeed about the same; fast. The clear gain was the user-friendlyness. The switch was proposed by a casual user, btw.

Re: totally wrong
by Spark on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:22 UTC

It's certainly a desktop, just no developer plattform like GNOME and KDE are.

v ROFL
by Goblyn on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:28 UTC
RE: It might be fast, but it is not a desktop
by Goblyn on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:30 UTC

That's so funny! tuttle you are the man that is just funny. (the comment about notepad... haa haa) :-)

xfce eats mem
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:37 UTC

"I recently compared it to fluxbox and Windowmaker, some of my other favorites, and there was basically no increase in speed or reduction of memory usage"

Xfce won't eat all your memory like gnome and/or kde can do, but *dude*, xfce is based in gtk2 and it eats *way more* memory than *box, WM, icewm, etc....

The Best Just got better.
by 3BSD on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:38 UTC

I'm a big fan of the XFCE family, but sadly, I've not yet had the pleasure of trying XFCE 4 out. Mainly because I own a Mac and I love OSX. But as soon as I settle down in a few months and get an x86 box to run FreeBSD on, XFCE4 will be my DE of choice. This review makes me want to try XFCE 4 so bad, that I, for a second wanted to install Linux on my iBook, but I won't commit the sin of installing anything other than OSX on my iBook.

-3BSD

People hate CDE, yet love XFCE...why?
by Christopher X on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 14:44 UTC

Please note I have yet to use CDE, but whats some of the major differences? I tried a XFCE 4 beta a while back, it was neat but kinda bizzaro feeling to me. Anyone here used both before? CDE, for all its ugliness, is supposed to be tons fast for whatever thats worth.

XFCE
by Joe on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 15:26 UTC

I used XFCE 4 (ala Morphix lite) for a couple months, so I'll throw in my experience. It was simple, clean, good looking, and pretty fast (although not that much faster than KDE 3.1.X). I did the job, but the novelty wore off as time went on. Many little drawbacks became apparent compared to using KDE or Gnome (too many to remember right now), and I found myself at the command line way too often to complete simple tasks and change settings.

Xffm (file manager) is the worst part of the whole package, and usually found myself using xterm to mange files. The panel/taskbar were other issues, as the taskbar is always maximized across the width of the screen. For example, lets say you want the panel and taskbar to be on the top of the screen, theres no way to fit nicely together (can use autohide but that sucks), so one will always overlap the other. Another issue is desktop icons, which can be resolved my using Metacity but not there by default.

These are just a couple issues, but there were many more little issues that I can't remember. Don't get me wrong, I do like this desktop, but I feel KDE and Gnome are just more usable and productive, and fit me better. The only way to tell is to try it yourself, so go download Morphix Lite (250MB if I remember correctly, livecd so no install necessary) and check it out, it might be the desktop you're looking for.

XFCE
by Cybem on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 15:27 UTC

Great DE!

re: XFCE
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 15:50 UTC

"Another issue is desktop icons, which can be resolved my using Metacity but not there by default."

Metacity is a window manager. It does not draw icons on the desktop. You must mean Nautilus. IMO desktop icons are a complete waste of space. They compete with windows for screen space.

The Real Test
by James on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 15:55 UTC

Bah, all you guys with your p3-550's and what not.

The real test is a p133 with 32mb of ram. Now you're probably interested in how it performed -- well it was not bad actually. It was useable -- but obviously not as fast as blackbox.

I bet if they did a bit of optimisation it could be quite snappy on a p133. Why bother? Well I still have lots of old junk computers, and I see no reason to throw them out if they still work.

And no, neither gnome or kde were even remotely useable on the same configuration.

What is a DE? What is a window manager?
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 15:56 UTC

"They call themselve a DE. A quick glance on the site says so http://www.xfce.org i'm not sure when something is a DE or a WM, i don't know the exact borders. If custimizability is a rule, then i'd argue E16 is a DE."

A window manager is a program that manages windows. Nothing more, nothing less. Metacity is the window manager for Gnome. Kwin is the window manager for KDE. Some "window managers" also draw the desktop and provide a panel of sorts like blackbox. On those grounds I'd argue Blackbox is a DE but Xfce4 is more of one (-; It has most of the things that you get in KDE or Gnome short of full blown applications.

RE: xfce
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 16:05 UTC

Joe said:

>Xffm (file manager) is the worst part of the whole >package, and usually found myself using xterm to mange >files

I've found myself using MC a whole lot more for this same reason and loving it... nothing faster in my opinion

re: eople hate CDE, yet love XFCE...why?
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 16:08 UTC

I used CDE at my old Uni (2 years ago) on a number Solaris servers using thin clients. It was usable and kicked the ass of the WinNT/Word workstations we had, not having to save you're work every couple of minutes. However, the print manager had a habit of crashing and taking the job you'd sent, I therefore learnt how to use lpr very quickly. Other than that it worked very well, if a bit clunky.

Compared to XFCE, when I tried it it seemed nice but I was looking for something even smaller and less intrusive so moved on to a different WM (ratpoison). If I'd been looking for a full DE, I guess I'd have stayed with XFCE.

MenuMaker
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 16:26 UTC

Good to see MenuMaker mentioned. I found it a couple of months ago, liked it, fired off an e-mail saying so and got a reply the next day. I think it's a fantastic tool and Oleg is a nice guy as well.

Definitely my favorite desktop
by ripcrd6 on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 16:39 UTC

I like everything except certain aspects of xffm, the file manager. It has great SMB integration, but it is a bit slow and I would like to have a separate pane showing current location in tree view. And it crashes on me while doing one particular task.
But it is way faster and stable than Nautilus. Preview works without locking up the machine. Some tasks are better performed at the cli, but it is a nice piece of work.

I'm using XFCE 4-Final on my Morphix 0.4.1 install on a P-233 Laptop w/ 196MB of Ram. The ram is for apps, not desktop. It runs pretty sweet and I love the goodies (panel add-ons).

Nice to see another Archer out there
by Tsykoduk on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 16:56 UTC

I have played with XFCE - but I just keep going back to KDE.. I just gess that I like Bloat. ;)

key bindings
by fosco on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:04 UTC

The only thing I did not like in Xfce4 was inablity to summon root menu with a key binding. If anyone knows a solution, post it here! I was unable to find it. ;)

Can't stand it
by ptman on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:14 UTC

I'm really sorry to asy this, but I can't stand xfce4. Everything that everyone else seems to love, is in the way for me. I could probably stand it better if it was easy to couple the taskbar and panel together.

RE: XFCE4 (by Fred)
by ptman on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:19 UTC

I'm an avid xfce4 user, while I used to be a blackbox/fluxbox user. I do miss the one feature which makes fluxbox unique in its use, and that's grouping stuff together. Oh well.

That's not a fluxbox-only feature, in fact fluxbox wasn't even the first wm to feature it. PWM was, and it's fast, and configurable, and ion is even better, and the development branch of ion (ion-devel soon to be ion2) rocks: http://modeemi.cs.tut.fi/~tuomov/pwm/

re: Can't stand it
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:21 UTC

well then either get it "fixed" or stop trying so hard. I mean... how can xfce users stand haveing a person around that hates the basic design of the DE?

Re:Can't stand it
by Korbinus on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:21 UTC

I could probably stand it better if it was easy to couple the taskbar and panel together.

It's easy: just write a plugin ;-)

good idea... way to tired to have thought of that (-:
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:23 UTC

"It's easy: just write a plugin ;-)" Eveything on the panel is a plugin. No reason you can't write a taskbar plugin...

Me Too
by darren on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:43 UTC

If you have never tried XFCE4, you should give it a try.

This may not be the appropriate forum for bringing this up (although it does address UI usability). Anyway, there is only one thing that I haven't figured out how to do. Maybe there is an XFCE guru who can tell me. To access a program that doesn't have a shortcut button on the "kicker/taskbar", you right click on the desktop. When I have a couple of windows maximized and I want to start a program that is not on the taskbar, I have to minimize a couple of windows before I can get to the desktop. That's too many steps. How can I get around that?

@yawningdog:
I have to disagree with your dislike for the examples you mentioned. You have a right not to like them. But, I just don't want to leave people with the idea that this window manager is flawed. Rather than implement your changes and create a 3rd major DE, XFCE4 should continue to provide a light and fast alternative. Yes, it does things differently. If it did everything the same, it would be redundant and unecessary?

Xfce for Fedora
by Antarius on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:49 UTC

Where can I get ready rpms for Fedora Core 1? Thank you.

re: Me Too
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:52 UTC

Alt-Tab?

re: Me Too
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 17:58 UTC

Well there is a show desktop panel plugin.

re: Me Too
by darren on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:05 UTC

Alt-Tab?? I'll give that a try. I just found out that Alt-F2 brings a run command. That's pretty helpful.

The "show desktop" panel plugin would be helpful, as well. But, what I would really like is a "taskbar/kicker/panel" (whatever they call it) button that gives access to the same menu that right clicking on the desktop does.

Then, I could auto-hide the panel, move my mouse to it and click the button to show the menu. I know, I've basically just described the start button. But, it works well for me. And, there isn't a subsitute for it in XFCE that I have found as easy to access.

my mistake
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:18 UTC

"Alt-Tab?? I'll give that a try."
My mistake.. thought you were talking about switching to other windows for second there. Your reference to the taskbar confused me...

re
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:22 UTC

"Then, I could auto-hide the panel, move my mouse to it and click the button to show the menu. I know, I've basically just described the start button. But, it works well for me. And, there isn't a subsitute for it in XFCE that I have found as easy to access."

Well each button can double as a one layer menu. I use the panel as the equivalent to the root of my "start menu".

@ptman
by Bee Arr Why on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:26 UTC

I'm really sorry to asy this, but I can't stand xfce4. Everything that everyone else seems to love, is in the way for me. I could probably stand it better if it was easy to couple the taskbar and panel together.

I really like xfce4, but I didn't like the separate taskbar. I normally find it's more usable to disable the taskbar altogether by commenting it out in the file /etc/xfce4/xinitrc. You can just use the middle mouse button to show what you would normally see on the task bar.

RE: xfce eats mem
by tup on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:30 UTC

*** "Along with that, XFce-4's memory usage is very slim. The complete environment only takes up about 30MB on my computer. Whereas GNOME or KDE would take up 100-150MB if I loaded everything. I have my application preferences." ***

How can one accept dedicating so much memory to desktop/window management, and why it is necessary to use up that much memory for performing the same tasks that Windows 95, OS2 Warp, Next and Mac OS8 did with slower CPUs and a maximum of 32mb of ram (while leaving most of this memory available for applications)?

WindowMaker uses 2.6 to 4.5 megs. Fluxbox uses 1.8 to 3.4 megs. I use Golem... 1.2 to 2.6 megs without the pager or taskbar (1.4 megs with the pager), and with Enlightenment-like configurability and with Xinerama.

Someone made an earlier comment that "bloat" is not an appropriate term, but I can't think of a more fitting word for KDE and Gnome.

RE: RE: Can't Stand it
by ptman on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:31 UTC

well then either get it "fixed" or stop trying so hard. I mean... how can xfce users stand haveing a person around that hates the basic design of the DE?


It's easy: just write a plugin ;-)


Well here comes my big disagreement with you. I think that you don't have to try to fix something. You can just use something that already works. And that's what I'm doing. Using ion-devel. Sorry for even taking part in the discussion.

@ ptman
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:33 UTC

"Sorry for even taking part in the discussion."

I forgive you. But you don't have a clue how FLOSS works. It takes people actually contributing to make anything better.

Keyboard access to the menu
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:37 UTC

"Then, I could auto-hide the panel, move my mouse to it and click the button to show the menu. I know, I've basically just described the start button. But, it works well for me. And, there isn't a subsitute for it in XFCE that I have found as easy to access."

I just learned that there is a way in the CVS version. The xfdesktop -menu and xfdesktop -windowlist commands. You can link those w/ a key or add a launcher on the panel.

re: RE: xfce eats mem
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:41 UTC

How can one accept dedicating so much memory to desktop/window management, and why it is necessary to use up that much memory for performing the same tasks that Windows 95, OS2 Warp, Next and Mac OS8 did with slower CPUs and a maximum of 32mb of ram (while leaving most of this memory available for applications)?

Because people like different things. It's all about tradeoffs. For me, the 30MB for Xfce4 is nothing at all in my 768MB world.

v lots to learn still
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:46 UTC
RE: re: RE: xfce eats mem
by tup on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 18:54 UTC

*** "Because people like different things. It's all about tradeoffs. For me, the 30MB for Xfce4 is nothing at all in my 768MB world." ***

Okay. But why does it require so much ram when complete OSs (Windows 95, Next, OS2 Warp, Mac OS8, etc.) use a fraction of that ram, while performing the same WM/desktop tasks in addition to all the other OS functions?

Re: tup
by WorknMan on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 20:24 UTC

Okay. But why does it require so much ram when complete OSs (Windows 95, Next, OS2 Warp, Mac OS8, etc.) use a fraction of that ram, while performing the same WM/desktop tasks in addition to all the other OS functions?

IIRC, Win95 has not the following capabilities:

1. Ability to create a quicklaunch toolbar
2. No web or ftp folder support
3. No virtual desktops
4. No ability to right click and edit the Start menu. (Dunno if many/any Linux DEs have the ability to do this, but Win98 did)
5. Probably more I can't think of right now.

Fast
by JAWA on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 20:25 UTC

I like the fact that XFCE4 is fast. It's snappy on my P2-350 with 320mb ram. It's nice to see a pretty desktop that isn't slow on old hardware like this.

RE: WorknMan
by tup on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 20:58 UTC

*** "IIRC, Win95 has not the following capabilities:
1. Ability to create a quicklaunch toolbar
2. No web or ftp folder support
3. No virtual desktops
4. No ability to right click and edit the Start menu. (Dunno if many/any Linux DEs have the ability to do this, but Win98 did)
5. Probably more I can't think of right now." ***


Some of the features you list are included in some of the OSs I mentioned.

More importantly, your features would not bring memory consumption to 30 megs if you added them to Win 9*, OS 2 Warp, Next, Mac OS8, WindowMaker with X or FluxBox with X. For instance, to add a pager (virtual desktops) to my Golem window manager, memory usage increases by only 200kb.

From where does the XFCE/KDE/Gnome bloat come?

Lil' Star - Iconbox
by Guybrush Threepwood on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 22:01 UTC

How do you turn Iconbox on/off? I didn't notice this option in Settings Manager.

@Tup
by Rayiner Hashem on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 22:06 UTC

I don't know abuot XFCE, but in GNOME and KDE the "bloat" comes from functionality. Between KDE and Qt, there are maybe 40-50MB of framework libraries. These libraries provide applications with a wide range of capabilities, from GUI display to HTML rendering to SSH connectivity. Since KDE and GNOME apps use the framework libraries so heavily, the actual apps themselves can be quite small. For example, for everything it does, Konqueror is a 600KB binary. KDevelop is a 400KB binary. Kate is a 12KB binary. KMail and Kopete are relatively huge, at 2MB and 1MB, respectively.

So whether KDE and GNOME are "bloated" really depends on how you use your machine. If you use mostly xterms, then all the extra functionality sits unused and is indeed bloat. However, if you use kmail to check your mail, konqueror to do your webbrowsing, kate to edit code, etc, then you actually save memory in the long run, because apps can share the same framework libraries, instead of having each app duplicate all that code every time it needs it.

RE: I love it too, but
by James on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 22:37 UTC

This can be done by tweaking the workspace margins. You have to manually get the relevant margin to the right number of pixels but it can be done.

I still prefer KDE on a fast machine, mainly because of konqueror's network-transparency, but on a 266MHz/64Mb laptop XFCE is the only viable option these days. It seems that XFCE is now getting over the problems cuased by the huge growth-spurt from XFCE3 to XFCE4 (I wouldn't be surprised if the user-base has increased tenfold).

NO SOUND!!!
by PastorEd on Mon 22nd Dec 2003 22:57 UTC

Xfce4 is a very nice window manager / DE... but it has one major drawback.

NO SOUND SUPPORT.

There are NO sound events.

The OLD version (xfce 3.8) had sound support with xfsound... but xfsound did NOT make it into version 4.

A crying shame, really. Sound events (IMHO) make an older computer SEEM faster. It's like launch notification... at least you can tell the comptuer is doing something.

I installed Xfce4 on my wife's computer, and added the system notification plugin to the launchbar, so she can tell that the comptuer IS working on launching.

But for sournd support, Xfce4 would be perfect for me. Sadly, I don't use it just for that reason.

Re:
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 04:15 UTC

"Okay. But why does it require so much ram when complete OSs (Windows 95, Next, OS2 Warp, Mac OS8, etc.) use a fraction of that ram, while performing the same WM/desktop tasks in addition to all the other OS functions?"

Not a good compare. You'll have to compare the resources the GUI uses against the resources the GUI uses. XFce vs. Explorer for example. Where are your numbers? Mine are based on feelings and user reports: "XFce runs fine there on as little as P200/64 MB RAM (together with Galeon)". The "bloat" comes from GTK2+. Relatevely to GNOME/KDE, there's no bloat while there's use-friendliness. This be based on it's features, my experience, and user reports. Also, unlike Windows 9x, it is -together with the Linux kernel- stable. Regarding OS2/WARP i only used that in '95 and regarding MacOS 8 i only used MacOS somewhere near '96 for one time.

As file manager we kicked the one which came with XFce and installed Xfm instead. It's much like the explorer in Windows; tree like. It's fast. We've never had a complaint about it.

percentage
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 07:47 UTC

What percent of your standard 16MB ram did OS/2 or Windows 95 use? What percent does Linux/Xfce4 use of your now standard 256MB?

Very nice
by Peter on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 08:28 UTC

I had tried XFCE two years ago or so and was not very thrilled. After reading this review I thought I give it another try, and what I saw can be mainly described with: "Whow!"

I like eye-candy (GTK2) but I dislike bloat (KDE, Gnome). XFCE seems to be just that, essential stuff with eye-candy without bloat. So far no windowmanager survived longer than few days on my box before I returned to my beloved IceWM. Let's see how XFCE fares. :*)

Horay for XFce!!
by Howie S on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 17:56 UTC

Running on my PII 333, the speed gain over Gnome or KDE was AMAZING and well appreciated. Finally a more responsive system. Now if only we could do away with the resource HOG that is X, then maybe one day Linux could be as responsive on my box as BEOS (sniff, sniff) was.

Horay for XFree!!
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 18:19 UTC

"Now if only we could do away with the resource HOG that is X.."

I don't know where you have been but that resource hog is not X. It is GTK and QT. Not to mention, X is a protocal. You are talking about Xfree86.