Tag Archives: xfce

Xfce 4.8 – The Little Mouse That Roared

It’s here, folks. We’ve been patiently waiting for this one… version 4.8 of everyone’s (mine, anyway) favorite desktop environment –> Xfce!

There have been many improvements, judging by the release notes. Read more about it here –> http://www.xfce.org/about/news/?post=1295136000 It may be a bit before you start seeing this in your distribution’s repositories, but you can always attempt an install from source, if you know what you’re doing.

For you Slackers (users of Slackware Linux) out there, Robby Workman has a Slackware Package of 4.8 on his server. Don’t forget to read his NOTES and install the dependencies (which he also provides for you) in the order he suggests. Of course, install at your own risk. If you have an experimental installation of Slack, as I do, it might be better to play with it in that installation rather than your primary OS… just in case, you know.

Ever since KDE4 became a fat, over-bloated MS Windows-like clone, Xfce has been my primary desktop environment. Aww, shucks! I’m just kidding about KDE. It’s fine too, as long as you have 12Gig of RAM and a water-cooled, over-clocked quad-core processor… and don’t mind the occasional system crashes.

Anyway, watch a repository near you or take the bold approach and install from source. Either way, you’ll come to love that little mouse.



Image credits: Xfce logo Copyright 2003-2011 Xfce Development Team

Notification Area – The Tray Manager Lost Selection

Have you ever booted up your Xfce4 Linux system and seen that error notice?

Well, if you have, you’re not the only one out there. Ever wonder what causes that annoying bugaboo? Me too. I’ve narrowed it down to the point where I think it’s caused by a couple of theme packages I have installed. I can’t definitively reproduce the effect, though.

When this notice comes up on your system, if you’ll check the Xfce4 Task Manager (or top @ the command line),  you’ll find that you have two instances of xfce4-panel running. Open your Xfce4 Session Manager and under the Sessions tab, you’ll see it there also. Delete one instance if xfce4-panel in your Session Manager, then Save (see Figure 1).

That’s it. Once you reboot, you shouldn’t see that annoying Notification Area error message again.

Figure 1

As stated above, if you do see two instances of the xfce4-panel, just click on one of them with your mouse to highlight, then click on Quit Program at the lower right. After you’ve done that, click on Save Session on the lower left side.

I hope someone finds this info useful.



Variety On the Desktop

Are you like me? Do you like to change your desktop backgrounds and themes pretty often?

Do you get kinda’ tired of the same ol’ offerings for your windows managers; be they KDE, Gnome, Xfce? I trolled Xfce-Look and snarfed up most of the good stuff there over the past couple years. Sometimes though, you just gotta’ do it yourself. Here’s how to customize already existing Xfce themes the easy way.

Pick a simple based theme like Clearlooks-gray. If you don’t already have it installed, go to Xfce-Look and pick it up real quick. Once you have it installed in your /home/<user>/.themes directory, you’re ready to start. The first thing you want to do is make a copy of the Clearlooks-gray directory. Call it Clearlooks-build or something like that.

Now, go into the new Clearlooks-build directory and you’ll find gtk-2.0 directory. Inside that one, you’ll find the gtkrc file and the menu.png file. That’s what we’re going to work with here. Open the gtkrc file using your favorite text editor. It looks similar to Figure 1.

Figure 1

The color codes that I’ve circled are the ones you’ll be dealing with. They determine the colors for the background, foreground, text, selected times, etc. Use your favorite color picker app (I use Gcolor) to pick and choose your custom colors. just copy/paste them over the existing ones in the gtkrc file. Save the file and reload your theme using the Xfce Settings –> Appearance tool. You can also use The GIMP to re-colorize the menu.png image so that it matches the rest of your theme colors.

Once you have everything the way you like it, save the files and rename your top level directory from Clearlooks-build to whatever you want to call your new theme. It’s easy-peasy, folks. Since you’re working on a copy of the Clearlooks-gray theme, you’re not going to break anything by tweaking this stuff.

Here are a couple shots of my Clearlooks-dkblue theme:



Until next time, folks…

Have some fun!


Today’s Featured Distribution – Zenwalk

Ahhhhhmmmm… Ahhhhhmmmm… It’s a Zen thing.

Good morning faithful readers! Today we’re going to talk a bit about what I like to call “Slackware for the faint of heart” – Zenwalk Linux. Zenwalk is a tight, lite, and beauteous thing to behold. Only a geek can see beauty in operating systems, but it’s there. I assure you. Zenwalk (originally Minislack) is based on Slackware.

Its default desktop environment is the “little mouse that roars” – Xfce. For those of you unfamiliar with Xfce, it kinda’ looks like Gnome, but it’s a whole lot less bloated and much faster. Click HERE for a nice Zenwalk/Xfce screenie. Sharp looking, huh? It’s extremely customizable, so you can easily make it your own.

I first ran across Zenwalk about four years ago when I was experimenting with Slack-based Linux distributions. I was impressed from the very first boot up. Not only is Zen relatively easy-peasy to install, but it’s also easy to customize and operate. You don’t have to be a Linux whiz kid to drive this baby. And with all that going for it, it still has the guts of Slackware… one of the most stable distributions of GNU/Linux ever created.

Zenwalk Linux also has a few other things going for it. It has a dedicated development team, a wonderful support community, a great wiki, and excellent documentation.

Don’t just sit there. Run on over to the Zenwalk Main page and grab yourself the version of your choice. It’s free. Of course, any assistance you can offer is always welcome.

Ahhhhmmmm… you feel calmer just thinking about running Zenwalk, huh?

Peace out!


Jack Wallen Likes Gnome 3

I’m not so sure I do.

I ain’t no young whipper-snapper geek here, kids. Us older folks don’t like change. Wallen thinks we need to be getting away from the Win 95 taskbar/icons/Start button paradigm. I don’t. Old farts like me have a saying… “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Wallen contends that the model is broken, though.

Oh of course there will be those that say, “If it isn’t broke…” Well, I am one of those who will first claim that it is, in fact, “broke.” The current desktop that most everyone uses is klunky, kludgy, and ugly. It’s a task bar, and menus, and icons, and blah blah blah…

For the entire article at Tech Republic –> clicky.

Klunky? Kludgy? C’mon… how can anyone say that about my beautiful Slack/Xfce desktop?

Aieee! KDE 3.5 wasn’t broke either. Now KDE 4 is borked <– play on spelling. Cute, huh?

Hey! There’s no Gnome Menu on the panel. There aren’t any app icons on the panel. I can’t find my Nautilus. ARRRRRGH! It looks like a friggin’ iPad. Oh my! I guess this old geek is just going to have to get used to all this new-fangled progress stuff.

Ah… whatever happened to the good old days of Slackware 9.0 with Lynx in the CLI?

I’m outta’ here…


KDE4… Pretty? Pretty Ugly? Just Plain Ugly?

In 2008, KDE developers released the much awaited total rework of the K Desktop Experience… version 4.

It didn’t start showing up in the mainline Linux distros’ repos until a few months later with version 4.2. My first experience with it was with my install of Slackware 13 x86_64 back in mid-’09. It was an ugly first experience. I had continual issues with instability and random desktop errors using 4.2.

Having been a KDE fan for quite a few years already, I was sorely disappointed, to say the least. It was just not usable on my system. Slackware is my primary operating system, folks. I couldn’t continue like that. I ended up nuking the KDE completely and running Slackware with Xfce. I never looked back. I was an Xfce fan already, anyway. I used it in my Zenwalk Linux installation.

A while later, after reading a few better reviews regarding KDE 4.3, I decided to install it in a new Mandriva Free installation that I was putting on my system a few weeks back. Hmm… I did notice some improvement, but the same ol’ instability bugs started jumping up again. I ended up trashing the KDE in Mandriva and using LXDE/Openbox. Sad.

I saw this article at Linux Journal today and thought I’d post a bit about my own KDE experiences. Well, now I have… and now you know why I’ve had to exorcise this demon from all my installations.

Until next time, folks…