Avoiding unnecessary dependencies
Avoiding optional GNOME support and packages will keep the system more lean and congruous. This section is entirely optional; proceed in this manner if the goal is to keep the system small(er) rather than large(r).
Ensure that the system is using the basic "desktop" profile:
eselect profile set default/linux/amd64/17.1/desktop
+qt5 by default:
-qt5 can also be set globally in /etc/portage/make.conf if one desires.
It is time to install the complete Xfce desktop!
Without explicitly including xfce-extra/xfce4-notifyd in the emerge command, virtual/notification-daemon will draw in GNOME's x11-misc/notification-daemon instead. So install it together with xfce-base/xfce4-meta and later deselect it so it is not included in the world file:
emerge --ask xfce-base/xfce4-meta xfce-extra/xfce4-notifyd
emerge --ask --deselect=y xfce-extra/xfce4-notifyd
emerge --ask --oneshot xfce-extra/xfce4-notifyd
emerge --ask xfce-base/xfce4-meta
Of course, it is also possible to select only needed packages:
emerge --ask xfce-base/xfwm4 xfce-base/xfce4-panel
It is possible to use a display manager to start Xfce. Please refer to the display manager article to configure a display manager.
Most display managers use
- .desktop files to configure available sessions. The following is an example desktop file:
[Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Name=Xfce4 Comment=Use this session to run Xfce 4 as desktop environment Exec=/usr/bin/startxfce4 Icon=/usr/share/pixmaps/xfce4_xicon1.png Type=Application
The desktop file can be placed in the right location for the display manager.
Starting Xfce without a display manager
startx and startxfce4 are two of the readily available options for starting Xfce without using a display manager.
When using startx, create a ~/.xinitrc file with the following contents:
When experiencing authorization or permissions issues within xfce4 in a OpenRC profile (symptoms include being unable to open power manager and unable to suspend/hibernate) be sure the sys-auth/consolekit package has been merged with the
pm-utils USE flag set. Then replace the above line in ~/.xinitrc with the following (see this entry on the Gentoo Forums for more information):
ck-launch-session dbus-launch --sh-syntax --exit-with-session xfce4-session
To launch the Xfce4 desktop simply type startxfce4 at the command-line and press enter:
Xfce is a desktop environment and as such can be tuned and tailored to the needs of (almost) every user. In this section, a number of popular (or more challenging) aspects are covered.
emerge --ask media-sound/tudor-volumed
When using pulseaudio with xfce4, use xfce-extra/xfce4-volumed-pulse:
emerge --ask xfce-extra/xfce4-volumed-pulse
Run xfce4-keyboard-settings to bind the following keys:
- volume up button: amixer set Master 5%+
- volume down button: amixer set Master 5%-
- mute button: amixer set Master toggle
Consistent GTK 3 themes
Native Xfce theme engine
Xfce's own theme engine, x11-themes/gtk-engines-xfce, is now deprecated and scheduled to be removed. It was last updated in version 3.0, which implemented native support for GTK 3 with no further configuration.
Another option is to use the Greybird theme, which has support for GTK 2, GTK 3, xfwm4, emerald, and metacity:
emerge --ask x11-themes/greybird
Go to Xfce menu -> Settings -> Appearance. Or run xfce4-appearance-settings. Select "Greybird" from the "Style" list.
Now GTK 2 and GTK 3 applications should have a consistent look.
Other themes available in Portage that are compatible with XFCE can be emerged with the following list:
emerge --ask x11-themes/clearlooks-phenix x11-themes/gnome-themes-standard x11-themes/gtk-engines-aurora x11-themes/light-themes x11-themes/murrine-themes x11-themes/nimbus x11-themes/redhat-artwork x11-themes/shiki-colors x11-themes/tactile3 x11-themes/zukini
There are a number of additional applications that are part of Xfce.
|x11-terms/xfce4-terminal||A popular terminal emulator for Xfce; superior to the standard xterm program.|
|xfce-base/thunar||Xfce's file manager.|
|xfce-extra/xfce4-mixer||Volume control. (deprecated and removed from Gentoo - Pulseaudio users can install xfce-extra/xfce4-pulseaudio-plugin. Others can install media-sound/volumeicon or similar tray audio mixer)|
|xfce-extra/thunar-volman||Manages removable media and drives.|
|xfce-extra/tumbler||File previewer for Thunar.|
|xfce-extra/thunar-archive-plugin||Plugin for Thunar to work with archives; uses app-arch/file-roller.|
|xfce-extra/xfce4-battery-plugin||Displays battery percentage, time remaining, power source (AC or battery), fan status, warnings, and can even be configured to execute commands at certain power levels, which can be used to put the laptop into hibernate mode when the battery is almost exhausted.|
|xfce-extra/xfce4-verve-plugin||A small command line embedded into the panel; quicker than opening up another terminal to run a command.|
|xfce-extra/xfce4-mount-plugin||One-click mounting of devices listed in /etc/fstab.|
|xfce-extra/xfce4-sensors-plugin||Monitor hardware sensors, such as CPU temperature, fan RPM, hard drive temp, motherboard voltage, and more.|
|x11-themes/xfwm4-themes||Several window-manager themes.|
|xfce-extra/xfce4-power-manager||An application to monitor and manage power usage (especially important for laptops). Choose maximum-performance or battery-saving modes. Adjust screen brightness and setup hibernate, suspend, and shutdown actions (i.e., when the lid is shut or buttons are pressed). Can warn when the battery reaches certain levels, or even turn off the machine. Includes panel plugins to display battery/charging status, and control brightness.|
The following applications work well in Xfce and round out a basic desktop environment.
|app-editors/mousepad||Lightweight text editor.|
|app-cdr/xfburn||CD burning application.|
|x11-misc/alacarte||GNOME's menu editor works fine in Xfce.|
|x11-terms/tilda||Lightweight quake-style terminal emulator.|
Enable vertical window snapping
Most modern desktop environments have vertical window snapping enabled by default. This is also possible in Xfce, but not by default. To enable, navigate to: Settings → Window manager → Advanced tab.
- Make sure the "Snap windows to screen border" checkbox has been checked.
- Make sure the checkboxes under "Wrap workspaces when reaching the screen edge" have been unchecked. These interfere with vertical window snapping.
Once the checkboxes are set it should be now possible to drag a window to the right or left side of the screen, which should cause the window to resize to 50% of the screen width.
Keyboard shortcuts can be set in order to do this via the typical Super+← or Super+→ behavior. Navigate to Settings → Window manager → Keyboard tab.
Set the "Tile window to the left" and "Tile window to the right" actions with the Super+← and Super+→ key combinations respectively.
Audio mixer complains about missing pavucontrol binary
Clicking the speaker (audio) icon in the panel and then selecting Audio mixer... results in a message saying "pavucontrol binary not found".
The solution is to install media-sound/pavucontrol:
emerge --ask media-sound/pavucontrol
Program starting hotkeys are not working / Colors not changeable from appearance
Xfce can have hotkeys for both starting an application as well as modifying the behavior of an already running application or setting. An example of behavior hotkey is the Ctrl+Alt+D combination, which minimizes all windows to show the deskop (and vice-versa).
Assuming that hotkeys for starting an application (such as Alt+F2 to start the application finder) are not working, while the application can be started from the menu, then Consolekit is not running. Start it, and make sure that it gets started at boot time:
rc-update add consolekit default
This will also start D-Bus, a prerequisite for Consolekit. Restart X to enjoy the new hotkeys and colors.
- Xfce/Guide — provides an extensive introduction to Xfce, a fast, lightweight, full-featured desktop environment.