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1 nightmorph 1.1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2     <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 nightmorph 1.28 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xfce-config.xml,v 1.27 2010/06/07 18:11:14 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 1.28 <version>1.23</version>
22     <date>2010-06-13</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 nightmorph 1.27 Unlike heavier desktop environments, such as <uri
39     link="http://www.gnome.org">Gnome</uri> and <uri
40     link="http://www.kde.org">KDE</uri>, Xfce uses far fewer system resources.
41     Additionally, it offers greater modularity and fewer dependencies; it takes up
42     less space on your hard disk and takes less time to install.
43 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
44    
45     <p>
46     This guide will not only show you how to install and configure a minimal Xfce
47     environment, but will also explore options to create a full-featured desktop in
48     keeping with the Xfce philosophy: light, fast, and modular.
49     </p>
50    
51     </body>
52     </section>
53     </chapter>
54    
55     <chapter>
56     <title>Installing Xfce</title>
57     <section>
58     <title>The basics</title>
59     <body>
60    
61     <p>
62 nightmorph 1.19 First, make sure you've configured Xorg as shown in the <uri
63 nightmorph 1.8 link="/doc/en/xorg-config.xml">X Server Configuration Howto</uri>.
64     </p>
65    
66     <p>
67 nightmorph 1.12 Next, double-check your USE flags in <path>/etc/make.conf</path>; you'll
68 nightmorph 1.26 probably at least want <c>USE="-gnome -kde -minimal -qt4 branding dbus
69     hal jpeg lock session startup-notification thunar X"</c>.
70 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
71    
72     <p>
73     Now, let's install Xfce.
74 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
75    
76     <pre caption="Installing Xfce">
77 nightmorph 1.21 # <i>emerge -avt xfce4-meta</i>
78 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
79    
80     <p>
81 nightmorph 1.3 Next, add your regular user(s) to the <c>plugdev</c>, <c>cdrom</c>, <c>cdrw</c>,
82     and <c>usb</c> groups, so that they can take full advantage of <c>hal</c> and be
83     able to mount and use devices such as cameras, optical drives, and USB sticks.
84 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
85    
86     <pre caption="Adding users to the hardware groups">
87 nightmorph 1.3 <comment>(Replace username with your actual user)</comment>
88     # <i>for x in plugdev cdrom cdrw usb ; do gpasswd -a username $x ; done</i>
89 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
90    
91     <p>
92     Next, update your environment variables:
93     </p>
94    
95     <pre caption="Updating environment variables">
96     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
97     </pre>
98    
99     <p>
100     Now start up <c>hald</c> and add it to the default runlevel:
101     </p>
102    
103     <pre caption="Starting hald">
104     # <i>/etc/init.d/hald start</i>
105     # <i>rc-update add hald default</i>
106     </pre>
107    
108     </body>
109     </section>
110     </chapter>
111    
112     <chapter>
113     <title>Configuring Xfce</title>
114     <section>
115     <title>Starting Xfce</title>
116     <body>
117    
118     <p>
119     Now that Xfce is now installed, we'll configure it to be the default desktop
120     environment when we issue the <c>startx</c> command. Exit your root shell and
121     log on as a regular user.
122     </p>
123    
124     <pre caption="Setting Xfce as the default desktop environment">
125     $ <i>echo "exec startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc</i>
126     </pre>
127    
128 nightmorph 1.27 <note>
129     If you have ConsoleKit installed, your <path>~/.xinitrc</path> should instead
130     contain <c>exec ck-launch-session startxfce4</c>. Otherwise, some of your
131     applications may stop working. You'll also need to add consolekit to the
132     default runlevel by running the following command as root: <c>rc-update add
133     consolekit default</c>.
134     </note>
135    
136 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
137     Now start your graphical environment by typing <c>startx</c>:
138     </p>
139    
140     <pre caption="Starting Xfce">
141     $ <i>startx</i>
142     </pre>
143    
144     <p>
145     Congratulations, and welcome to your new Xfce desktop environment. Go ahead,
146     explore it a bit. Then continue reading to learn how you can configure Xfce to
147     suit your needs.
148     </p>
149    
150     </body>
151     </section>
152     <section>
153     <title>Program access</title>
154     <body>
155    
156     <p>
157     You might notice right-clicking on the desktop shows you the menu of all your
158     applications. It's useful, but your desktop can easily be completely obscured by
159     open windows, making it hard to to launch a new program. So, one of the first
160     things you may wish to do is give yourself a handy application menu on your
161     panel. Right click on this panel, and choose "Add New Item". Scroll through the
162     list of choices and select "Xfce Menu". You can choose where you want it to be
163     displayed on your panel. When clicked, it displays the application/preferences
164     menu, providing a nicely categorized list of your installed programs.
165     </p>
166    
167     </body>
168     </section>
169     <section>
170     <title>Sessions &amp; startup</title>
171     <body>
172    
173     <p>
174     If you've installed (or plan to install) popular Gnome or KDE applications such
175     as <c>k3b</c>, <c>nautilus</c>, <c>kmail</c>, <c>evolution</c>, etc. then you
176     should make sure that Xfce launches the appropriate services for these at
177     startup. Navigate to Menu --> Settings --> Sessions &amp; Startup. On the
178     "Advanced" tab, select the appropriate checkbox. This might slightly increase
179     Xfce startup times, but it decreases load times for KDE and Gnome applications.
180     </p>
181    
182     <p>
183     Xfce has the ability to save your session settings and running programs from the
184     "General" tab in the Sessions &amp; Startup menu. They can be automatically
185     saved when you logout, or Xfce can ask you each time. This feature is
186     particularly useful for undoing configuration mistakes. Accidentally killed a
187     panel? Just select "No" when prompted to save your current session, and the next
188     time you start Xfce, your old desktop is restored. Want to automatically launch
189     your open webbrowser, terminal, and email client the next time you login? Just
190     save your session before logging out.
191     </p>
192    
193     <p>
194     You've now got a basic working environment installed and configured. But if
195     you're interested in doing more, then continue reading!
196     </p>
197    
198     </body>
199     </section>
200     </chapter>
201    
202     <chapter>
203     <title>Additional Applications</title>
204     <section>
205     <title>Panel plugins</title>
206     <body>
207    
208     <p>
209     In this chapter, we'll discuss some useful plugins and applications for everyday
210     use within Xfce.
211     </p>
212    
213     <p>
214     There are many plugins for the panel available in Portage; see for yourself with
215     <c>emerge --search xfce</c>. Though for the most part their names are self
216     explanatory, a few deserve some attention, as they are quite helpful. To use
217     them, simply <c>emerge</c> them. They'll be added to the list of available items
218 nightmorph 1.4 in the "Add New Item" menu shown when you right-click on the panel.
219 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
220    
221     <ul>
222     <li>
223 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-battery-plugin</c> is perfect for laptop users. It displays battery
224 nightmorph 1.1 percentage, time remaining, power source (AC or battery), fan status,
225     warnings, and can even be configured to execute commands at certain power
226     levels. This feature can be used to put the laptop into hibernate mode when
227     the battery is almost exhausted.
228     </li>
229     <li>
230 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-verve-plugin</c> is a small command line embedded into the panel.
231     It's quicker than opening up another terminal when you want to run a
232     command.
233 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
234     <li>
235 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-mount-plugin</c> gives you a handy method of mounting devices
236     listed in <path>/etc/fstab</path> just by clicking your mouse
237     </li>
238     <li>
239     <c>xfce4-sensors-plugin</c> lets you monitor your hardware sensors, such as
240     CPU temperature, fan RPM, hard drive temp, motherboard voltage, and more
241 nightmorph 1.1 </li>
242     </ul>
243    
244 nightmorph 1.4 <p>
245     If you can't find what you're looking for in the plugins specifically made for
246     Xfce, try searching through the list of Gnome panel applets! That's right, by
247 nightmorph 1.21 first emerging <c>xfce4-xfapplet-plugin</c>, you can install and run any applet
248     made for Gnome.
249 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
250    
251 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
252     </section>
253     <section>
254     <title>Useful programs</title>
255     <body>
256    
257     <p>
258 nightmorph 1.21 We should now <c>emerge</c> some useful applications and utilities:
259     <c>xfce4-mixer</c>, <c>xfprint</c>, <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c>,
260 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c>, <c>orage</c>, <c>mousepad</c>, <c>x11-terms/terminal</c>,
261     and <c>thunar</c>.
262 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
263    
264     <p>
265     <c>xfce4-mixer</c> is a volume control for your sound card. It can also be run
266     as a panel applet, giving you fast access to playback volume. <c>xfprint</c>
267     provides easy printer management and job control; it's a must if you intend to
268     do any printing from your desktop. <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c> displays a list of
269     all running programs, and the CPU and memory consumption each one takes up. By
270     right-clicking an item, you can kill a misbehaving application, pause and
271     restart it, or even alter its runtime priority, which lets you fine-tune how
272     much of a demand it puts on your system's resources.
273     </p>
274    
275     <p>
276 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c> adds several window manager themes. You may want to add a
277     more full-coverage icon theme such as <c>tango-icon-theme</c> just to round out
278     your desktop.
279 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
280    
281     <p>
282 nightmorph 1.4 <c>orage</c> is a simple, handy calendar. <c>mousepad</c> is a barebones text
283 nightmorph 1.21 editor that starts up extremely quickly. <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is an X11
284     terminal emulator, far more configurable and useful than the barebones
285     <c>xterm</c> supplied with <c>xorg-server</c>. <c>terminal</c> supports Unicode
286     text, pseudo-transparency and accelerated transparency via Xfce's built-in
287     compositor, all out-of-the-box. Just make sure that the default action on the
288 nightmorph 1.4 terminal launcher of your panel runs <path>/usr/bin/Terminal</path> instead of
289     xterm. Right click the launcher and choose "Properties" to change the command.
290 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
291    
292     <p>
293 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar</c> is Xfce's default graphical file manager. It's fast yet quite
294     powerful, can support several plugins for even more functionality; just install
295 nightmorph 1.4 them with <c>emerge</c>. Let's take a look:
296 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
297    
298 nightmorph 1.4 <ul>
299     <li>
300 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-archive-plugin</c> lets you create and extract archive files using
301     the right-click menu. It provides a handy <uri
302     link="http://www.foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-archive-plugin">front-end</uri>
303     for graphical archiving applications such as <c>xarchiver</c>,
304     <c>squeeze</c>, and <c>file-roller</c>.
305 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
306     <li>
307 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-media-tags-plugin</c> lets you intelligently rename multiple media
308     files at once, and lets you <uri
309 nightmorph 1.4 link="http://thunar.xfce.org/pwiki/projects/thunar-media-tags-plugin">edit</uri>
310 nightmorph 1.21 their information tags, such as id3 and ogg tags.
311 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
312     <li>
313     <c>thunar-thumbnailers</c> lets you <uri
314     link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/thunar-plugins/thunar-thumbnailers">preview</uri>
315     certain types of files from within Thunar, such as images and fonts.
316     </li>
317     <li>
318     <c>thunar-volman</c> automatically <uri
319     link="http://foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-volman/">manages</uri>
320     removable media and drives.
321     </li>
322     </ul>
323 nightmorph 1.1
324     <p>
325 nightmorph 1.4 Next, let's see about adding some useful but lightweight desktop applications,
326     in keeping with Xfce's philosophy.
327 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
328    
329     <p>
330 nightmorph 1.21 Though <c>mousepad</c> is nice enough as a basic text editor, if you need a
331 nightmorph 1.17 full-featured word processor but don't want the bloat of OpenOffice, try
332 nightmorph 1.19 emerging <c>abiword</c>. <uri link="http://www.abisource.com">AbiWord</uri> is
333 nightmorph 1.17 lighter, faster, and is completely interoperable with industry-standard document
334     types. It can also be further extended with <c>abiword-plugins</c>.
335 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
336    
337     <p>
338     Need a nice email client/newsreader that isn't as demanding as
339 nightmorph 1.28 <c>thunderbird</c> or <c>evolution</c>? Try emerging <c>claws-mail</c>.
340 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
341    
342     <p>
343     For your internet chat needs, <c>irssi</c> is an excellent, tiny, incredibly
344     configurable IRC client that runs in your terminal. If you prefer a compact
345     all-in-one client that handles nearly all chat protocols, you may want to
346 nightmorph 1.10 <c>emerge pidgin</c>.
347 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
348    
349     <p>
350     If you need movie and music players, look no further than <c>mplayer</c> and
351 nightmorph 1.19 <uri link="/proj/en/desktop/sound/decibel.xml">decibel-audio-player</uri>. They
352     can play most every media format available quite nicely.
353 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
354    
355     <p>
356     Finally, you'll need a webbrowser. Nearly all graphical webbrowsers require more
357     resources than most of your other desktop applications. Still,
358     <c>mozilla-firefox</c> (or <c>mozilla-firefox-bin</c>) is always a good choice.
359     Alternatively, you may find <c>opera</c> to be quite fast. However, <c>opera</c>
360     is not available on as many processor architectures as <c>mozilla-firefox</c>,
361     and it has more dependencies unless you override them with a USE flag.
362     </p>
363    
364     <pre caption="Adding a webbrowser">
365     <comment>(Installing Mozilla Firefox)</comment>
366     # <i>emerge mozilla-firefox</i>
367     <comment>(Installing Opera)</comment>
368     # <i>echo "www-client/opera qt-static" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
369     # <i>emerge opera</i>
370     </pre>
371    
372     <p>
373     Now that we've explored some good suggestions for rounding out your desktop
374     applications, let's see what else we can do to enhance your Xfce experience.
375     </p>
376    
377     </body>
378     </section>
379     <section>
380     <title>Graphical login</title>
381     <body>
382    
383     <p>
384     Remember when we added <c>startxfce4</c> to our <path>~/.xinitrc</path>? All you
385     have to do to get into your desktop is type <c>startx</c> after logging in. This
386     is fine if you prefer a completely text-based boot and login, but let's use a
387     display manager that will automatically start Xfce after booting (so that you
388     can login graphically).
389     </p>
390    
391     <p>
392     First, let's make sure Xfce loads at boot:
393     </p>
394    
395     <pre caption="Adding xdm to the default runlevel">
396     # <i>rc-update add xdm default</i>
397     </pre>
398    
399     <p>
400     We aren't quite finished yet. We have to pick a display manager and set the
401     appropriate variable. Though there are a few choices available in Portage, for
402 nightmorph 1.16 this guide, we'll stick with <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de">SLiM</uri>, the
403     Simple Login Manager.
404 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
405    
406     <p>
407 nightmorph 1.16 <c>slim</c> is speedy and lightweight, with minimal dependencies. Perfect for
408     Xfce!
409 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
410    
411 nightmorph 1.16 <pre caption="Installing SLiM">
412     # <i>emerge -avt slim</i>
413 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
414    
415 nightmorph 1.19 <note>
416     The <c>branding</c> USE flag will pull in the <c>slim-themes</c> package, which
417     will give you an assortment of login themes, including a Gentoo Linux theme.
418     </note>
419    
420 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
421     Then edit the DISPLAYMANAGER variable in <path>/etc/conf.d/xdm</path>:
422     </p>
423    
424     <pre caption="Editing /etc/conf.d/xdm">
425 nightmorph 1.16 DISPLAYMANAGER="slim"
426 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
427    
428     <p>
429 nightmorph 1.16 SLiM can automatically start your Xfce session if you add
430 nightmorph 1.25 <c>XSESSION="Xfce4"</c> to <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path>:
431 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
432    
433 nightmorph 1.25 <pre caption="Setting XSESSION">
434     # <i>echo XSESSION=\"Xfce4\" > /etc/env.d/90xsession</i>
435     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
436     </pre>
437    
438 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
439     </section>
440     <section>
441     <title>Beautifying your desktop</title>
442     <body>
443    
444     <p>
445     A little customization of your desktop's appearance can go a long way. Xfce has
446     all the options you'd expect from a modern desktop environment, font
447     antialiasing settings, color schemes, dozens of window decorations, themes, and
448     more. If these aren't enough, it's easy to install third-party themes, icon
449     sets, mouse cursor themes, and wallpapers.
450     </p>
451    
452     <p>
453     A selection of nice Gentoo wallpapers in a variety of resolutions are hosted on
454 nightmorph 1.2 the <uri link="/main/en/graphics.xml">Gentoo website</uri>. If you're looking
455     for icon sets and complete Xfce themes, <uri
456 nightmorph 1.1 link="http://www.xfce-look.org/">Xfce-Look</uri> has a huge collection. The
457     important thing to remember about any third-party eyecandy you download is that
458     it will usually first need to be unpacked and then installed to the proper
459     directory. Icon sets go in <path>/usr/share/icons/</path>, and themes go to
460 nightmorph 1.2 <path>/usr/share/themes/</path>; use these directories when you want all users
461     to be able to access themes and icon sets. Individual users can install themes
462     and icon sets to <path>~/.themes/</path> and <path>~/.icons/</path>.
463 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
464    
465     <p>
466 nightmorph 1.16 If you installed SLiM as your display manager, there are lots of themes in the
467     <c>slim-themes</c> package available in Portage. Also, be sure to check the SLiM
468     <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes01.php">themes page</uri> for more
469     themes. Creating your own SLiM theme is fairly easy; just read the <uri
470 nightmorph 1.19 link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes_howto.php">Themes HowTo</uri>. Gentoo also
471     ships a <c>slim-themes</c> package that you can <c>emerge</c>.
472 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
473    
474     <p>
475     Finally, Xfce has its own built-in compositor to manage window transparency.
476     This option can be found in Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager. For best
477     performance, you will need to be running a graphics card with drivers that
478 nightmorph 1.4 support hardware-accelerated rendering. Make sure you emerged <c>xfwm4</c> with
479     the <c>xcomposite</c> USE flag. Next, you will need to enable compositing in
480     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> by adding the following section:
481 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
482    
483     <pre caption="Enabling composite in xorg.conf">
484     Section "Extensions"
485     Option "Composite" "Enable"
486     EndSection
487     </pre>
488    
489     <p>
490     This is the bare minimum configuration required for Xfce and Xorg-X11. However,
491     setting up hardware-accelerated rendering depends on your individual graphics
492     card, and is beyond the scope of this guide. Please see the other guides in the
493     <uri link="/doc/en/index.xml?catid=desktop">Desktop Documentation
494     Resources</uri> list to learn about configuring hardware-accelerated rendering
495     for your graphics card.
496     </p>
497    
498 nightmorph 1.21 <p>
499     Once you've finished setting up a beautiful Xfce desktop, the next thing to do
500     is take a picture of it to share with other folks! Just install
501     <c>xfce4-screenshooter</c> and post your pictures somewhere for all to admire.
502     </p>
503    
504 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
505     </section>
506     </chapter>
507    
508     <chapter>
509     <title>Summary</title>
510     <section>
511     <body>
512    
513     <p>
514     Congratulations on making it this far! You've installed and configured a speedy
515     desktop environment with a solid suite of applications for your computing
516     needs.
517     </p>
518    
519     </body>
520     </section>
521     <section>
522     <title>Resources</title>
523     <body>
524    
525     <p>
526     Need additional help on configuring and using Xfce? Need more lightweight
527 nightmorph 1.4 application suggestions? Try checking out:
528 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
529    
530     <ul>
531     <li><uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org">The Gentoo forums</uri></li>
532     <li>#xfce on irc.freenode.net</li>
533 nightmorph 1.7 <li>
534     The installed help files and other documentation provided by Xfce:
535     <path>/usr/share/xfce4/doc/C/index.html</path>. Just point your browser at
536     it and start reading. There are even a lot of "hidden" configuration options
537     detailed in the help files.
538     </li>
539 nightmorph 1.4 <li><uri link="http://www.xfce.org">Xfce's home page</uri></li>
540 nightmorph 1.1 </ul>
541    
542     </body>
543     </section>
544     </chapter>
545     </guide>

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