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1 nightmorph 1.1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2     <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 nightmorph 1.25 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xfce-config.xml,v 1.24 2009/11/30 18:49:45 nightmorph Exp $ -->
4 nightmorph 1.1
5 nightmorph 1.25 <guide>
6 nightmorph 1.1 <title>The Xfce Configuration Guide</title>
7    
8     <author title="Author">
9 nightmorph 1.24 <mail link="nightmorph"/>
10 nightmorph 1.1 </author>
11    
12     <abstract>
13     This guide provides an extensive introduction to Xfce, a fast, lightweight,
14     full-featured desktop environment.
15     </abstract>
16    
17     <!-- The content of this document is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license -->
18     <!-- See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5 -->
19     <license/>
20    
21 nightmorph 1.25 <version>1.20</version>
22     <date>2009-11-30</date>
23 nightmorph 1.1
24     <chapter>
25     <title>Introduction</title>
26     <section>
27     <title>The Xfce desktop environment</title>
28     <body>
29    
30     <p>
31     <uri link="http://www.xfce.org">Xfce</uri> is a fast, lightweight desktop
32     environment for Unix-like operating systems. It is designed for productivity,
33     and is quite configurable while still adhering to the <uri
34     link="http://www.freedesktop.org">Freedesktop</uri> specifications.
35     </p>
36    
37     <p>
38     Unlike heavier desktop environments, such as Gnome and KDE, Xfce uses far fewer
39     system resources. Additionally, it offers greater modularity and fewer
40     dependencies; it takes up less space on your hard disk and takes less time to
41     install.
42     </p>
43    
44     <p>
45     This guide will not only show you how to install and configure a minimal Xfce
46     environment, but will also explore options to create a full-featured desktop in
47     keeping with the Xfce philosophy: light, fast, and modular.
48     </p>
49    
50     </body>
51     </section>
52     </chapter>
53    
54     <chapter>
55     <title>Installing Xfce</title>
56     <section>
57     <title>The basics</title>
58     <body>
59    
60     <p>
61 nightmorph 1.19 First, make sure you've configured Xorg as shown in the <uri
62 nightmorph 1.8 link="/doc/en/xorg-config.xml">X Server Configuration Howto</uri>.
63     </p>
64    
65     <p>
66 nightmorph 1.12 Next, double-check your USE flags in <path>/etc/make.conf</path>; you'll
67 nightmorph 1.22 probably at least want <c>USE="-gnome -kde -minimal -qt3 -qt4 X branding dbus
68 neysx 1.23 hal jpeg lock session startup-notification thunar"</c>.
69 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
70    
71     <p>
72     Now, let's install Xfce.
73 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
74    
75     <pre caption="Installing Xfce">
76 nightmorph 1.21 # <i>emerge -avt xfce4-meta</i>
77 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
78    
79     <p>
80 nightmorph 1.3 Next, add your regular user(s) to the <c>plugdev</c>, <c>cdrom</c>, <c>cdrw</c>,
81     and <c>usb</c> groups, so that they can take full advantage of <c>hal</c> and be
82     able to mount and use devices such as cameras, optical drives, and USB sticks.
83 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
84    
85     <pre caption="Adding users to the hardware groups">
86 nightmorph 1.3 <comment>(Replace username with your actual user)</comment>
87     # <i>for x in plugdev cdrom cdrw usb ; do gpasswd -a username $x ; done</i>
88 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
89    
90     <p>
91     Next, update your environment variables:
92     </p>
93    
94     <pre caption="Updating environment variables">
95     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
96     </pre>
97    
98     <p>
99     Now start up <c>hald</c> and add it to the default runlevel:
100     </p>
101    
102     <pre caption="Starting hald">
103     # <i>/etc/init.d/hald start</i>
104     # <i>rc-update add hald default</i>
105     </pre>
106    
107     </body>
108     </section>
109     </chapter>
110    
111     <chapter>
112     <title>Configuring Xfce</title>
113     <section>
114     <title>Starting Xfce</title>
115     <body>
116    
117     <p>
118     Now that Xfce is now installed, we'll configure it to be the default desktop
119     environment when we issue the <c>startx</c> command. Exit your root shell and
120     log on as a regular user.
121     </p>
122    
123     <pre caption="Setting Xfce as the default desktop environment">
124     $ <i>echo "exec startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc</i>
125     </pre>
126    
127     <p>
128     Now start your graphical environment by typing <c>startx</c>:
129     </p>
130    
131     <pre caption="Starting Xfce">
132     $ <i>startx</i>
133     </pre>
134    
135     <p>
136     Congratulations, and welcome to your new Xfce desktop environment. Go ahead,
137     explore it a bit. Then continue reading to learn how you can configure Xfce to
138     suit your needs.
139     </p>
140    
141     </body>
142     </section>
143     <section>
144     <title>Program access</title>
145     <body>
146    
147     <p>
148     You might notice right-clicking on the desktop shows you the menu of all your
149     applications. It's useful, but your desktop can easily be completely obscured by
150     open windows, making it hard to to launch a new program. So, one of the first
151     things you may wish to do is give yourself a handy application menu on your
152     panel. Right click on this panel, and choose "Add New Item". Scroll through the
153     list of choices and select "Xfce Menu". You can choose where you want it to be
154     displayed on your panel. When clicked, it displays the application/preferences
155     menu, providing a nicely categorized list of your installed programs.
156     </p>
157    
158     </body>
159     </section>
160     <section>
161     <title>Sessions &amp; startup</title>
162     <body>
163    
164     <p>
165     If you've installed (or plan to install) popular Gnome or KDE applications such
166     as <c>k3b</c>, <c>nautilus</c>, <c>kmail</c>, <c>evolution</c>, etc. then you
167     should make sure that Xfce launches the appropriate services for these at
168     startup. Navigate to Menu --> Settings --> Sessions &amp; Startup. On the
169     "Advanced" tab, select the appropriate checkbox. This might slightly increase
170     Xfce startup times, but it decreases load times for KDE and Gnome applications.
171     </p>
172    
173     <p>
174     Xfce has the ability to save your session settings and running programs from the
175     "General" tab in the Sessions &amp; Startup menu. They can be automatically
176     saved when you logout, or Xfce can ask you each time. This feature is
177     particularly useful for undoing configuration mistakes. Accidentally killed a
178     panel? Just select "No" when prompted to save your current session, and the next
179     time you start Xfce, your old desktop is restored. Want to automatically launch
180     your open webbrowser, terminal, and email client the next time you login? Just
181     save your session before logging out.
182     </p>
183    
184     <p>
185     You've now got a basic working environment installed and configured. But if
186     you're interested in doing more, then continue reading!
187     </p>
188    
189     </body>
190     </section>
191     </chapter>
192    
193     <chapter>
194     <title>Additional Applications</title>
195     <section>
196     <title>Panel plugins</title>
197     <body>
198    
199     <p>
200     In this chapter, we'll discuss some useful plugins and applications for everyday
201     use within Xfce.
202     </p>
203    
204     <p>
205     There are many plugins for the panel available in Portage; see for yourself with
206     <c>emerge --search xfce</c>. Though for the most part their names are self
207     explanatory, a few deserve some attention, as they are quite helpful. To use
208     them, simply <c>emerge</c> them. They'll be added to the list of available items
209 nightmorph 1.4 in the "Add New Item" menu shown when you right-click on the panel.
210 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
211    
212     <ul>
213     <li>
214 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-battery-plugin</c> is perfect for laptop users. It displays battery
215 nightmorph 1.1 percentage, time remaining, power source (AC or battery), fan status,
216     warnings, and can even be configured to execute commands at certain power
217     levels. This feature can be used to put the laptop into hibernate mode when
218     the battery is almost exhausted.
219     </li>
220     <li>
221 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-verve-plugin</c> is a small command line embedded into the panel.
222     It's quicker than opening up another terminal when you want to run a
223     command.
224 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
225     <li>
226 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-mount-plugin</c> gives you a handy method of mounting devices
227     listed in <path>/etc/fstab</path> just by clicking your mouse
228     </li>
229     <li>
230     <c>xfce4-sensors-plugin</c> lets you monitor your hardware sensors, such as
231     CPU temperature, fan RPM, hard drive temp, motherboard voltage, and more
232 nightmorph 1.1 </li>
233     </ul>
234    
235 nightmorph 1.4 <p>
236     If you can't find what you're looking for in the plugins specifically made for
237     Xfce, try searching through the list of Gnome panel applets! That's right, by
238 nightmorph 1.21 first emerging <c>xfce4-xfapplet-plugin</c>, you can install and run any applet
239     made for Gnome.
240 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
241    
242 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
243     </section>
244     <section>
245     <title>Useful programs</title>
246     <body>
247    
248     <p>
249 nightmorph 1.21 We should now <c>emerge</c> some useful applications and utilities:
250     <c>xfce4-mixer</c>, <c>xfprint</c>, <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c>,
251 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c>, <c>orage</c>, <c>mousepad</c>, <c>x11-terms/terminal</c>,
252     and <c>thunar</c>.
253 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
254    
255     <p>
256     <c>xfce4-mixer</c> is a volume control for your sound card. It can also be run
257     as a panel applet, giving you fast access to playback volume. <c>xfprint</c>
258     provides easy printer management and job control; it's a must if you intend to
259     do any printing from your desktop. <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c> displays a list of
260     all running programs, and the CPU and memory consumption each one takes up. By
261     right-clicking an item, you can kill a misbehaving application, pause and
262     restart it, or even alter its runtime priority, which lets you fine-tune how
263     much of a demand it puts on your system's resources.
264     </p>
265    
266     <p>
267 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c> adds several window manager themes. You may want to add a
268     more full-coverage icon theme such as <c>tango-icon-theme</c> just to round out
269     your desktop.
270 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
271    
272     <p>
273 nightmorph 1.4 <c>orage</c> is a simple, handy calendar. <c>mousepad</c> is a barebones text
274 nightmorph 1.21 editor that starts up extremely quickly. <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is an X11
275     terminal emulator, far more configurable and useful than the barebones
276     <c>xterm</c> supplied with <c>xorg-server</c>. <c>terminal</c> supports Unicode
277     text, pseudo-transparency and accelerated transparency via Xfce's built-in
278     compositor, all out-of-the-box. Just make sure that the default action on the
279 nightmorph 1.4 terminal launcher of your panel runs <path>/usr/bin/Terminal</path> instead of
280     xterm. Right click the launcher and choose "Properties" to change the command.
281 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
282    
283     <p>
284 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar</c> is Xfce's default graphical file manager. It's fast yet quite
285     powerful, can support several plugins for even more functionality; just install
286 nightmorph 1.4 them with <c>emerge</c>. Let's take a look:
287 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
288    
289 nightmorph 1.4 <ul>
290     <li>
291 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-archive-plugin</c> lets you create and extract archive files using
292     the right-click menu. It provides a handy <uri
293     link="http://www.foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-archive-plugin">front-end</uri>
294     for graphical archiving applications such as <c>xarchiver</c>,
295     <c>squeeze</c>, and <c>file-roller</c>.
296 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
297     <li>
298 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-media-tags-plugin</c> lets you intelligently rename multiple media
299     files at once, and lets you <uri
300 nightmorph 1.4 link="http://thunar.xfce.org/pwiki/projects/thunar-media-tags-plugin">edit</uri>
301 nightmorph 1.21 their information tags, such as id3 and ogg tags.
302 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
303     <li>
304     <c>thunar-thumbnailers</c> lets you <uri
305     link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/thunar-plugins/thunar-thumbnailers">preview</uri>
306     certain types of files from within Thunar, such as images and fonts.
307     </li>
308     <li>
309     <c>thunar-volman</c> automatically <uri
310     link="http://foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-volman/">manages</uri>
311     removable media and drives.
312     </li>
313     </ul>
314 nightmorph 1.1
315     <p>
316 nightmorph 1.4 Next, let's see about adding some useful but lightweight desktop applications,
317     in keeping with Xfce's philosophy.
318 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
319    
320     <p>
321 nightmorph 1.21 Though <c>mousepad</c> is nice enough as a basic text editor, if you need a
322 nightmorph 1.17 full-featured word processor but don't want the bloat of OpenOffice, try
323 nightmorph 1.19 emerging <c>abiword</c>. <uri link="http://www.abisource.com">AbiWord</uri> is
324 nightmorph 1.17 lighter, faster, and is completely interoperable with industry-standard document
325     types. It can also be further extended with <c>abiword-plugins</c>.
326 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
327    
328     <p>
329     Need a nice email client/newsreader that isn't as demanding as
330 nightmorph 1.9 <c>mozilla-thunderbird</c> or <c>evolution</c>? Try emerging <c>claws-mail</c>.
331 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
332    
333     <p>
334     For your internet chat needs, <c>irssi</c> is an excellent, tiny, incredibly
335     configurable IRC client that runs in your terminal. If you prefer a compact
336     all-in-one client that handles nearly all chat protocols, you may want to
337 nightmorph 1.10 <c>emerge pidgin</c>.
338 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
339    
340     <p>
341     If you need movie and music players, look no further than <c>mplayer</c> and
342 nightmorph 1.19 <uri link="/proj/en/desktop/sound/decibel.xml">decibel-audio-player</uri>. They
343     can play most every media format available quite nicely.
344 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
345    
346     <p>
347     Finally, you'll need a webbrowser. Nearly all graphical webbrowsers require more
348     resources than most of your other desktop applications. Still,
349     <c>mozilla-firefox</c> (or <c>mozilla-firefox-bin</c>) is always a good choice.
350     Alternatively, you may find <c>opera</c> to be quite fast. However, <c>opera</c>
351     is not available on as many processor architectures as <c>mozilla-firefox</c>,
352     and it has more dependencies unless you override them with a USE flag.
353     </p>
354    
355     <pre caption="Adding a webbrowser">
356     <comment>(Installing Mozilla Firefox)</comment>
357     # <i>emerge mozilla-firefox</i>
358     <comment>(Installing Opera)</comment>
359     # <i>echo "www-client/opera qt-static" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
360     # <i>emerge opera</i>
361     </pre>
362    
363     <p>
364     Now that we've explored some good suggestions for rounding out your desktop
365     applications, let's see what else we can do to enhance your Xfce experience.
366     </p>
367    
368     </body>
369     </section>
370     <section>
371     <title>Graphical login</title>
372     <body>
373    
374     <p>
375     Remember when we added <c>startxfce4</c> to our <path>~/.xinitrc</path>? All you
376     have to do to get into your desktop is type <c>startx</c> after logging in. This
377     is fine if you prefer a completely text-based boot and login, but let's use a
378     display manager that will automatically start Xfce after booting (so that you
379     can login graphically).
380     </p>
381    
382     <p>
383     First, let's make sure Xfce loads at boot:
384     </p>
385    
386     <pre caption="Adding xdm to the default runlevel">
387     # <i>rc-update add xdm default</i>
388     </pre>
389    
390     <p>
391     We aren't quite finished yet. We have to pick a display manager and set the
392     appropriate variable. Though there are a few choices available in Portage, for
393 nightmorph 1.16 this guide, we'll stick with <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de">SLiM</uri>, the
394     Simple Login Manager.
395 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
396    
397     <p>
398 nightmorph 1.16 <c>slim</c> is speedy and lightweight, with minimal dependencies. Perfect for
399     Xfce!
400 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
401    
402 nightmorph 1.16 <pre caption="Installing SLiM">
403     # <i>emerge -avt slim</i>
404 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
405    
406 nightmorph 1.19 <note>
407     The <c>branding</c> USE flag will pull in the <c>slim-themes</c> package, which
408     will give you an assortment of login themes, including a Gentoo Linux theme.
409     </note>
410    
411 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
412     Then edit the DISPLAYMANAGER variable in <path>/etc/conf.d/xdm</path>:
413     </p>
414    
415     <pre caption="Editing /etc/conf.d/xdm">
416 nightmorph 1.16 DISPLAYMANAGER="slim"
417 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
418    
419     <p>
420 nightmorph 1.16 SLiM can automatically start your Xfce session if you add
421 nightmorph 1.25 <c>XSESSION="Xfce4"</c> to <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path>:
422 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
423    
424 nightmorph 1.25 <pre caption="Setting XSESSION">
425     # <i>echo XSESSION=\"Xfce4\" > /etc/env.d/90xsession</i>
426     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
427     </pre>
428    
429 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
430     </section>
431     <section>
432     <title>Beautifying your desktop</title>
433     <body>
434    
435     <p>
436     A little customization of your desktop's appearance can go a long way. Xfce has
437     all the options you'd expect from a modern desktop environment, font
438     antialiasing settings, color schemes, dozens of window decorations, themes, and
439     more. If these aren't enough, it's easy to install third-party themes, icon
440     sets, mouse cursor themes, and wallpapers.
441     </p>
442    
443     <p>
444     A selection of nice Gentoo wallpapers in a variety of resolutions are hosted on
445 nightmorph 1.2 the <uri link="/main/en/graphics.xml">Gentoo website</uri>. If you're looking
446     for icon sets and complete Xfce themes, <uri
447 nightmorph 1.1 link="http://www.xfce-look.org/">Xfce-Look</uri> has a huge collection. The
448     important thing to remember about any third-party eyecandy you download is that
449     it will usually first need to be unpacked and then installed to the proper
450     directory. Icon sets go in <path>/usr/share/icons/</path>, and themes go to
451 nightmorph 1.2 <path>/usr/share/themes/</path>; use these directories when you want all users
452     to be able to access themes and icon sets. Individual users can install themes
453     and icon sets to <path>~/.themes/</path> and <path>~/.icons/</path>.
454 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
455    
456     <p>
457 nightmorph 1.16 If you installed SLiM as your display manager, there are lots of themes in the
458     <c>slim-themes</c> package available in Portage. Also, be sure to check the SLiM
459     <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes01.php">themes page</uri> for more
460     themes. Creating your own SLiM theme is fairly easy; just read the <uri
461 nightmorph 1.19 link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes_howto.php">Themes HowTo</uri>. Gentoo also
462     ships a <c>slim-themes</c> package that you can <c>emerge</c>.
463 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
464    
465     <p>
466     Finally, Xfce has its own built-in compositor to manage window transparency.
467     This option can be found in Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager. For best
468     performance, you will need to be running a graphics card with drivers that
469 nightmorph 1.4 support hardware-accelerated rendering. Make sure you emerged <c>xfwm4</c> with
470     the <c>xcomposite</c> USE flag. Next, you will need to enable compositing in
471     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> by adding the following section:
472 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
473    
474     <pre caption="Enabling composite in xorg.conf">
475     Section "Extensions"
476     Option "Composite" "Enable"
477     EndSection
478     </pre>
479    
480     <p>
481     This is the bare minimum configuration required for Xfce and Xorg-X11. However,
482     setting up hardware-accelerated rendering depends on your individual graphics
483     card, and is beyond the scope of this guide. Please see the other guides in the
484     <uri link="/doc/en/index.xml?catid=desktop">Desktop Documentation
485     Resources</uri> list to learn about configuring hardware-accelerated rendering
486     for your graphics card.
487     </p>
488    
489 nightmorph 1.21 <p>
490     Once you've finished setting up a beautiful Xfce desktop, the next thing to do
491     is take a picture of it to share with other folks! Just install
492     <c>xfce4-screenshooter</c> and post your pictures somewhere for all to admire.
493     </p>
494    
495 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
496     </section>
497     </chapter>
498    
499     <chapter>
500     <title>Summary</title>
501     <section>
502     <body>
503    
504     <p>
505     Congratulations on making it this far! You've installed and configured a speedy
506     desktop environment with a solid suite of applications for your computing
507     needs.
508     </p>
509    
510     </body>
511     </section>
512     <section>
513     <title>Resources</title>
514     <body>
515    
516     <p>
517     Need additional help on configuring and using Xfce? Need more lightweight
518 nightmorph 1.4 application suggestions? Try checking out:
519 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
520    
521     <ul>
522     <li><uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org">The Gentoo forums</uri></li>
523     <li>#xfce on irc.freenode.net</li>
524 nightmorph 1.7 <li>
525     The installed help files and other documentation provided by Xfce:
526     <path>/usr/share/xfce4/doc/C/index.html</path>. Just point your browser at
527     it and start reading. There are even a lot of "hidden" configuration options
528     detailed in the help files.
529     </li>
530 nightmorph 1.4 <li><uri link="http://www.xfce.org">Xfce's home page</uri></li>
531 nightmorph 1.1 </ul>
532    
533     </body>
534     </section>
535     </chapter>
536     </guide>

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