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Xfce Desktop: Less Lard, Less Bling, More Usability

Feb 10, 2010, 18:32 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Juliet Kemp)

"This is the first in a series of articles looking at some lightweight, but still fully-functional, desktop alternatives to KDE or Gnome. First up: Xfce. Xfce is designed to be lightweight and fully-functional, providing a full desktop environment whilst using minimal system resources; and it's modular, so you can choose exactly what you want to run.

"The current Xfce umbrella package in both Debian stable and Ubuntu 9.10 is xfce4 (version 4.4 in Debian, and 4.6 in Ubuntu). After you've installed it, log out of X. If you're running gdm or a similar app as your login manager, check the bottom left of the screen for a "Sessions" option, and you can choose Xfce for your next session. When starting the session, you'll then be asked if you want to make this your default window manager. First Impressions

"The first thing I noticed was how fast it started up compared to Gnome. Admittedly my desktop is reasonably old, so the difference might show up less on a newer, faster machine, but it was a very pleasant surprise to be started up so quickly. I also tried it out over VNC on my local network, and running inside a virtual machine, and for speed alone, I'd rate it significantly better than Gnome or KDE. Once running, the speed and usability increase continued; things like the system menus and settings were noticably faster to come up than on Gnome or KDE."

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