Updated April 5, 2023
What is Linux XFCE
XFCE is defined as an open-source environment for desktops or PCs specifically aimed at Linux and BSD operating systems. With the native intent, while developing the open-source environment of keeping it lightweight and fast, XFCE personifies the art of modularity and, hence promotes re-usability. In XFCE, since it is modular, it contains separate parts packaged so that, when they come together, it helps the user perform all functions of the Linux or BSD environment on the desktop or PCs. Another priority highly discussed for XFCE is standard adherence, specifically the ones defined on the website of freedesktop.org.
How does Linux XFCE Work?
- By now, we know that XFCE is a desktop environment that uses configurable panels. The look will be very similar to the age-old version of windows, though it is completely customizable. XFCE has a traditional application launcher where their names and categories list the applications. It might bring back a sense of nostalgia to people of the 90s who used desktops then.
- In addition, users can turn on transparent window borders, make the windows translucent, add virtual desktops, and rename or arrange them howsoever they like. That’s not it. Thunar, the file manager, works in order to keep file management in check. Parole, the music player, enables users to listen to music. Mousepad is an application to be used as a text editor.
- All these applications working together helps in the smooth working of XFCE in Linux. Long story short, one can think XFCE is a panel-holding application that allows the operating system’s smooth working.
How to Use Linux XFCE?
In our earlier conversations, we saw that XFCE is a lightweight environment, but there are some minimum requirements for XFCE to run even in those cases. Let us look at the specific minimum requirements before we jump on to understand the way of using XFCE. Now it is evenly hard to talk about 90 UNIX like distributions. Let us talk about 1 of the highly used ones (Ubuntu) so that one can get a qualitative sense of requirements.
In the case of Ubuntu, it is:
- 0Ghz+ CPU.
- 512MiB+ for Desktop/LiveCD RAM.
- 5GB of hard drive space available.
- 800×600 resolution monitor and graphics card.
Now that we know the minimum requirements, we are in a position to talk about installing XFCE on Ubuntu.
- Open the terminal window in Linux.
- Execute the command sudo apt-get and install Xubuntu-desktop.
- The user will now be prompted to enter the sudo password and consecutively press enter after giving the password.
- In case some dependencies are not installed in the system, the apt-get install will automatically detect those dependencies and install them. The user should now wait for the installation to complete.
- Once the installation is complete, the user needs to log in again to the system and choose the new XFCE desktop.
Now once XFCE is installed, we mentioned in the last point to “choose XFCE desktop”, and for that, the user would need to run the XFCE-4 session. Now, to run that, one can take the help of display managers (DM) or command line, both of which options we will discuss here.
Though XFCE doesn’t have its own DM, options like gdm, slim, lightdm comes in handy as DM, where a file is added, which includes an option to run an XFCE session. In the other option of the command line, the user needs to execute the command startxfce4, which will then allow them to choose an XFCE session. This session includes a session manager, panel, window, and desktop manager.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux XFCE
Given below are the advantages and disadvantages of Linux XFCE:
- XFCE is a lightweight construction. It has a very small memory footprint along with less CPU usage in comparison to KDE or GNOME.
- The next big advantage is the simplicity of the virtual environment. The XFCE desktop is uncluttered and simple. The basic desktop consists of 2 panels with a vertical line of icons. One panel has a basic application launcher, and the other has a workspace switcher.
- XFCE’s default file manager is simple, easy to use, and configured with an almost flat learning curve.
- With regular updates, the XFCE desktop is exceptionally stable, with new releases happening in a 3-year cycle.
- XFCE4 has a powerful emulator where tabs are used to allow multiple terminals in a single window.
- Last but not least, XFCE has a high degree of reconfigurability (lesser than KDE but much higher than GNOME) and thus allows users to enjoy modularity.
- In some instances, the lightweight construction can pose a bottleneck when the data being processed in the environment is huge, and the environment itself doesn’t support the power.
- One specific use case of some packages needs to be installed in order to make the disk mounter work.
- It lacks some advanced features as GNOME videos have.
- A utility to speed up or slow down media playback is not possible in XFCE.
Features of Linux XFCE
There are a lot of features available for XFCE, majorly covering 7 genres of usability.
1. Window Manager
Using this feature, the user takes care of the placement of the windows on the screens with window decorations capability and finally arrives to manage the workspace.
2. Desktop Manager
By usage of this feature, the user can set the background image and allows the user with a root window menu, minimized icons, and a windows list.
This feature helps the user switch between windows that are opened, along with the ability to launch applications, workspace switch capabilities, and menu plugins for browsing applications or directories.
4. Session Manager
Using session manager, the user is able to control login and the power management application. This power management application is the heart of multiple login sessions being stored.
5. Application Finder
This feature allows quick access to the applications stored in the environment so that users can quickly access and launch them.
6. File Manager
This feature allows file management tools and utilities in basic file management, such as renaming, moving, etc.
7. Setting Manager
Various settings in a desktop are controlled using this feature. Some examples of the settings are keyboard shortcuts, display settings, personalization space, etc.
With the different aspects being discussed in the article, we have looked at how XFCE eases working in Linux. Now we have a lot of desktop options available hence not compulsory that one should use Ubuntu Unity, making use of Linux is all about choice.
This is a guide to Linux XFCE. Here we discuss the introduction, working, and how to use Linux XFCE. Advantages, disadvantages and features. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –