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LinuxPlanet: XFce: The Little Desktop That Could

Jun 07, 2000, 14:35 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)

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"...it is just possible that KDE is not for everyone. There are computers in the world that have all the juice necessary to run Linux and the X Window System but just not quite enough memory or drive space to run a bells-and-whistles desktop such as KDE or Gnome. There are people in the world- my friend David A. Bandel is among them--who want something slick and quick and who would rather pick and choose from the galaxy of Linux and X applications to create a full-featured desktop comprising applications that are their favorites. It's entirely possible, too, that businesses employing Linux don't need the whole selection of features offered by a KDE or Gnome, and would just as soon limit desktop choices to business-related applications."

"For these users there is XFce, just about the niftiest little desktop around. Unlike the big guys, which are the work of scores of programmers, XFce is the work of just one fellow, Olivier Fourdan. A couple of years ago, seeking a fast, friendly, and efficient Linux desktop and finding none to his liking, he scratched the itch by writing his own which, if memory serves, was written at first against the XForms libraries. It quickly developed a devout following. In March 1999 he moved the project to GTK+. Others have contributed a few patches, and its window manager (xfwm), pager (xfpager), and file manager (XFTree) as well as a Gnome module are based on the work of earlier programmers, but this little masterpiece is a Fourdan original."

"The more I play around with XFce, the more I see how it could be viewed as the ideal desktop by Linux veterans and serious newbies alike. The veterans could, not without justification, see the big, elaborate desktops as eyecandy and insulation from ever having to learn much about Linux. New users will find nothing here beyond their abilities, but will in the course of things get a good sense of the underlying system. Those who absolutely despise Windows will find nothing in XFce that reminds them of the hated product possessed by those who are computer owners, not computer users. OS/2 refugees will find a certain familiarity in the application drawers. There are really few Linux users who could not be comfortable with XFce--it might not be their first choice, but they would certainly learn to live with it and perhaps in time to love it."

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