Linked by Howard Fosdick on Sat 7th Jun 2014 00:53 UTC
Xfce Over the past several years, mobile devices have greatly influenced user interfaces. That's great for handheld users but leaves those of us who rely on laptops and desktops in the lurch. Windows 8, Ubuntu Unity, and GNOME have all radically changed in ways that leave personal computer users scratching their heads.

One user interface completely avoided this controversy: Xfce. This review takes a quick look at Xfce today. Who is this product for? Who should pass it by?
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The title pretty much sums it up
by crystall on Sat 7th Jun 2014 08:16 UTC
crystall
Member since:
2007-02-06

As a long time GNOME2 user I tried GNOME3 and even stuck with it for 3 releases, trying to smooth its edges with extensions and tweaks that reduced some of the annoying changes in the user interface. One thing that I found frustrating was how slow it was in spite of running on some pretty top-of-the-range hardware. I'm not sure how much of that was caused by the use of GL acceleration with open-source drivers (I was using a Radeon HD3870 at the time) and how much by GNOME3 itself but it was pretty damning. It also had some horrible quirks: for example setting the polling rate of my Razer mouse to 1000Hz caused the window manager to suck 20% of a CPU core for no apparent reason.

In spite of this what put the final nail on it for me was the stability. The last version I used was 3.8 so I understand that it was early in the 3.x cycle but it was just too unstable for my tastes. Common functionality both in the window manager / file manager and in the accompanying core applications would contain horrible bugs. Crashes were frequente and I filed over 20 bugs via ABRT while using it. The use of extensions to fix UI problems was probably making the issue worse as some had bugs of their own.

So one day I just decided to give Xfce a spin; I hadn't used it for a while and it didn't seem to have changed much which was good. What was better however was that it was fast, smooth and solid. I've been using it for a year now as my main desktop and the only issue I had was a minor glitch in the Thunar file manager when plugging a digital camera. That's it: no crashes, no "you have to restart the shell" messages, no broken functionality in the core applications.

Of course it might not have the bling of other desktop environments but frankly who cares. I code all day on my Linux machine for a living; it needs to work, to be fast and responsive and to be stable. Xfce gives me these three characteristics in a familiar and unsurprising environment, why change?

Reply Score: 8

remenic Member since:
2005-07-06

I can attest to the issue with polling rate, although I have it with compton & xfce. When I move a window, compton tries to render/update it 1000 times per second, despite my refresh rate being only 60. It causes a lot of CPU usage and even jumpy movement.

Setting it to 100hz fixes that and makes XFCE+compton the fastest OpenGL composited desktop ever for me.

Reply Parent Score: 2