Xfce – the first glimpse

Xfce site has very nice and understandable tutorials, a must read.
Both distros (Mint and Xubuntu) I am talking here about, come in traditional Xfce appearance: main panel on upper edge, and 'launcher panel' on bottom of screen. Xubuntu 12.10 has 'all drives are double' bug on desktop but it goes away after updates are applied.
I moved main panel to bottom, launcher-panel to left side and removed all desktop icons. So, almost nothing remained like it was in vanilla form. Point of mentioning this is, that everything on Xfce desktop is tunable. How vanilla looks – visit Xfce, Mint and Xubuntu – there are screenshots to look.

First Xfce I installed was Xubuntu 12.10. Because there are several reviews singing praise to it - do google if interested.
First things to do - as usual: Software sources/additional drivers = change video driver to proprietary one, if there are more available drivers, change those too. Update Manager wants to update, let it do that. Install 'xubuntu-restricted-extras' from repository. (Longer description of those first things is in post named 4. Cinnamon!).
Synaptic wasn't even installed, and menu lacked almost everything that should be in System folder. Settings were presented only through Settings Manager. That's in 'Xubuntu session', 'Xfce session' menu is more "open".
Not liking that very much and just for fun, I decided to try out Mints' Xfce version. All aforementioned nags were nicely absent there, BUT – to my big surprise – there wasn't any menu editor present. To my even bigger surprise I found that Xfce traditionally doesn't have a menu editor! One is supposed to hack menu manually. Or – as advised somewhere – to use menu editor of Lxde 'which works alright'. Well it worked, but only half-way, part of menu was simply missing. So it boils down to manual method – which is really quite simple, but takes time to do.
HOW-TO: First, copy contents of /usr/share/applications to your home folders' .local/share/applications. Those .desktop files represent all possible menu items and contain their configurations (type, where to appear, exec, icon and so on).
Also copy etc/xdg/menus/xfce-applications-menu to ~/.config/menus/ xfce-applications-menu. It's xml file containing whole architecture of menu tree.
Why to copy? To avoid sudo-ing every time you change something. And to make sure those files stay exactly like you change them (being now owned by you).
What to do, how to change various options, is very nicely described in this official tutorial.
Fancy that after successfully hacking Mints' menu etc, I decided to switch back to Xubuntu – because Xubuntu has menu editor alright (alacarte) and it seemed somehow important to me in those still n00bish times.
When Xubuntu installs, it creates two sessions: Xubuntu and (pure) Xfce.
As 'Xfce session' has all settings and system things available by default, I picked it as my default and removed Xubuntu session from login screen selection altogether.

Bugs, errors:
I have installed Xfce now four times. In all those desktops I had couple of identical bugs and errors. Difference here is that I call a glitch I see a 'bug', and 'errors' are those listed in .xsession-errors after every system-start. Not sure how they correlate... Anyway, all 5 errors seem to be known but unfixed. One bug – which creates useless 'outputstream'-files into home folder, is also known and unfixed (these files could be deleted without problem).
Two bugs I couldn't find any reference to. One prevents me from editing autostart apps (option grayed out). No clue what to do about that (Edit: Not a bug at all - it appears you can edit only entries you yourself have made. So, simply a silly 'feature').
The second is this: I can add wallpapers to wallpaper folder, I close Manager – and the fucker forgets all of them except this one I have on desktop (and two ugly default wallpapers). Plus – I can't delete them, button is grayed out. And no – it doesn't appear to be permissions issue...
For this I used this workaround: I mounted my custom wallpaper folder to folder where Xfce keeps its default wallpapers. And now they stay, and I can add or delete them in my home folder without any hassle (still can't delete in wallpaper manager).
HOW-TO mount a folder permanently:
Create folder ~/Pictures/wall (or whatever-name) for your wallpapers.
Open terminal, type: sudo leafpad /etc/fstab
Add to the end of file:
#wallpaper mount 
/home/myhomename/Pictures/wall /usr/share/xfce4/backdrops none defaults,bind 0 0
Save, reboot. Should be mounted now.
#is a comment line, first address is what you are going to mount, the second is where are you going to mount. And don't loose parameters that come after that. Line should be spaced the same table-like way as are previous entries. And DO make backup of fstab before.

As an environment, Xfce scores 9/10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem with wallpapers. Thanks for workaround tip!