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1 nightmorph 1.1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2     <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 nightmorph 1.30 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xfce-config.xml,v 1.29 2010/06/13 23:34:12 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 1.30 <version>1.25</version>
22     <date>2010-07-13</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 nightmorph 1.29 <p>
109     You'll also need a graphical terminal so that you can continue working with your
110     new desktop environment. <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is a good choice, as it's
111     made specifically for Xfce. Install Terminal as shown:
112     </p>
113    
114     <pre caption="Installing Terminal">
115     # <i>emerge x11-terms/terminal</i>
116     </pre>
117    
118 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
119     </section>
120     </chapter>
121    
122     <chapter>
123     <title>Configuring Xfce</title>
124     <section>
125     <title>Starting Xfce</title>
126     <body>
127    
128     <p>
129     Now that Xfce is now installed, we'll configure it to be the default desktop
130     environment when we issue the <c>startx</c> command. Exit your root shell and
131     log on as a regular user.
132     </p>
133    
134     <pre caption="Setting Xfce as the default desktop environment">
135     $ <i>echo "exec startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc</i>
136     </pre>
137    
138 nightmorph 1.27 <note>
139     If you have ConsoleKit installed, your <path>~/.xinitrc</path> should instead
140     contain <c>exec ck-launch-session startxfce4</c>. Otherwise, some of your
141     applications may stop working. You'll also need to add consolekit to the
142     default runlevel by running the following command as root: <c>rc-update add
143     consolekit default</c>.
144     </note>
145    
146 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
147     Now start your graphical environment by typing <c>startx</c>:
148     </p>
149    
150     <pre caption="Starting Xfce">
151     $ <i>startx</i>
152     </pre>
153    
154     <p>
155     Congratulations, and welcome to your new Xfce desktop environment. Go ahead,
156     explore it a bit. Then continue reading to learn how you can configure Xfce to
157     suit your needs.
158     </p>
159    
160     </body>
161     </section>
162     <section>
163     <title>Program access</title>
164     <body>
165    
166     <p>
167     You might notice right-clicking on the desktop shows you the menu of all your
168     applications. It's useful, but your desktop can easily be completely obscured by
169     open windows, making it hard to to launch a new program. So, one of the first
170     things you may wish to do is give yourself a handy application menu on your
171     panel. Right click on this panel, and choose "Add New Item". Scroll through the
172     list of choices and select "Xfce Menu". You can choose where you want it to be
173     displayed on your panel. When clicked, it displays the application/preferences
174     menu, providing a nicely categorized list of your installed programs.
175     </p>
176    
177     </body>
178     </section>
179     <section>
180     <title>Sessions &amp; startup</title>
181     <body>
182    
183     <p>
184     If you've installed (or plan to install) popular Gnome or KDE applications such
185     as <c>k3b</c>, <c>nautilus</c>, <c>kmail</c>, <c>evolution</c>, etc. then you
186     should make sure that Xfce launches the appropriate services for these at
187     startup. Navigate to Menu --> Settings --> Sessions &amp; Startup. On the
188     "Advanced" tab, select the appropriate checkbox. This might slightly increase
189     Xfce startup times, but it decreases load times for KDE and Gnome applications.
190     </p>
191    
192     <p>
193     Xfce has the ability to save your session settings and running programs from the
194     "General" tab in the Sessions &amp; Startup menu. They can be automatically
195     saved when you logout, or Xfce can ask you each time. This feature is
196     particularly useful for undoing configuration mistakes. Accidentally killed a
197     panel? Just select "No" when prompted to save your current session, and the next
198     time you start Xfce, your old desktop is restored. Want to automatically launch
199     your open webbrowser, terminal, and email client the next time you login? Just
200     save your session before logging out.
201     </p>
202    
203     <p>
204     You've now got a basic working environment installed and configured. But if
205     you're interested in doing more, then continue reading!
206     </p>
207    
208     </body>
209     </section>
210     </chapter>
211    
212     <chapter>
213     <title>Additional Applications</title>
214     <section>
215     <title>Panel plugins</title>
216     <body>
217    
218     <p>
219     In this chapter, we'll discuss some useful plugins and applications for everyday
220     use within Xfce.
221     </p>
222    
223     <p>
224     There are many plugins for the panel available in Portage; see for yourself with
225     <c>emerge --search xfce</c>. Though for the most part their names are self
226     explanatory, a few deserve some attention, as they are quite helpful. To use
227     them, simply <c>emerge</c> them. They'll be added to the list of available items
228 nightmorph 1.4 in the "Add New Item" menu shown when you right-click on the panel.
229 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
230    
231     <ul>
232     <li>
233 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-battery-plugin</c> is perfect for laptop users. It displays battery
234 nightmorph 1.1 percentage, time remaining, power source (AC or battery), fan status,
235     warnings, and can even be configured to execute commands at certain power
236     levels. This feature can be used to put the laptop into hibernate mode when
237     the battery is almost exhausted.
238     </li>
239     <li>
240 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-verve-plugin</c> is a small command line embedded into the panel.
241     It's quicker than opening up another terminal when you want to run a
242     command.
243 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
244     <li>
245 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-mount-plugin</c> gives you a handy method of mounting devices
246     listed in <path>/etc/fstab</path> just by clicking your mouse
247     </li>
248     <li>
249     <c>xfce4-sensors-plugin</c> lets you monitor your hardware sensors, such as
250     CPU temperature, fan RPM, hard drive temp, motherboard voltage, and more
251 nightmorph 1.1 </li>
252     </ul>
253    
254 nightmorph 1.4 <p>
255     If you can't find what you're looking for in the plugins specifically made for
256     Xfce, try searching through the list of Gnome panel applets! That's right, by
257 nightmorph 1.21 first emerging <c>xfce4-xfapplet-plugin</c>, you can install and run any applet
258     made for Gnome.
259 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
260    
261 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
262     </section>
263     <section>
264     <title>Useful programs</title>
265     <body>
266    
267     <p>
268 nightmorph 1.21 We should now <c>emerge</c> some useful applications and utilities:
269     <c>xfce4-mixer</c>, <c>xfprint</c>, <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c>,
270 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c>, <c>orage</c>, <c>mousepad</c>, <c>x11-terms/terminal</c>,
271     and <c>thunar</c>.
272 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
273    
274     <p>
275     <c>xfce4-mixer</c> is a volume control for your sound card. It can also be run
276     as a panel applet, giving you fast access to playback volume. <c>xfprint</c>
277     provides easy printer management and job control; it's a must if you intend to
278     do any printing from your desktop. <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c> displays a list of
279     all running programs, and the CPU and memory consumption each one takes up. By
280     right-clicking an item, you can kill a misbehaving application, pause and
281     restart it, or even alter its runtime priority, which lets you fine-tune how
282     much of a demand it puts on your system's resources.
283     </p>
284    
285     <p>
286 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c> adds several window manager themes. You may want to add a
287     more full-coverage icon theme such as <c>tango-icon-theme</c> just to round out
288     your desktop.
289 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
290    
291     <p>
292 nightmorph 1.4 <c>orage</c> is a simple, handy calendar. <c>mousepad</c> is a barebones text
293 nightmorph 1.21 editor that starts up extremely quickly. <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is an X11
294     terminal emulator, far more configurable and useful than the barebones
295 nightmorph 1.29 <c>xterm</c>. <c>terminal</c> supports Unicode text, color schemes,
296     pseudo-transparency and hardware-accelerated transparency via Xfce's built-in
297     compositor, all out-of-the-box. Just make sure that the default action on the
298 nightmorph 1.4 terminal launcher of your panel runs <path>/usr/bin/Terminal</path> instead of
299 nightmorph 1.29 <path>xterm</path>. Right-click the launcher and choose "Properties" to change
300     the command.
301 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
302    
303     <p>
304 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar</c> is Xfce's default graphical file manager. It's fast yet quite
305     powerful, can support several plugins for even more functionality; just install
306 nightmorph 1.4 them with <c>emerge</c>. Let's take a look:
307 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
308    
309 nightmorph 1.4 <ul>
310     <li>
311 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-archive-plugin</c> lets you create and extract archive files using
312     the right-click menu. It provides a handy <uri
313     link="http://www.foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-archive-plugin">front-end</uri>
314     for graphical archiving applications such as <c>xarchiver</c>,
315     <c>squeeze</c>, and <c>file-roller</c>.
316 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
317     <li>
318 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-media-tags-plugin</c> lets you intelligently rename multiple media
319     files at once, and lets you <uri
320 nightmorph 1.4 link="http://thunar.xfce.org/pwiki/projects/thunar-media-tags-plugin">edit</uri>
321 nightmorph 1.21 their information tags, such as id3 and ogg tags.
322 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
323     <li>
324     <c>thunar-thumbnailers</c> lets you <uri
325     link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/thunar-plugins/thunar-thumbnailers">preview</uri>
326     certain types of files from within Thunar, such as images and fonts.
327     </li>
328     <li>
329     <c>thunar-volman</c> automatically <uri
330     link="http://foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-volman/">manages</uri>
331     removable media and drives.
332     </li>
333     </ul>
334 nightmorph 1.1
335     <p>
336 nightmorph 1.4 Next, let's see about adding some useful but lightweight desktop applications,
337     in keeping with Xfce's philosophy.
338 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
339    
340     <p>
341 nightmorph 1.21 Though <c>mousepad</c> is nice enough as a basic text editor, if you need a
342 nightmorph 1.17 full-featured word processor but don't want the bloat of OpenOffice, try
343 nightmorph 1.19 emerging <c>abiword</c>. <uri link="http://www.abisource.com">AbiWord</uri> is
344 nightmorph 1.17 lighter, faster, and is completely interoperable with industry-standard document
345     types. It can also be further extended with <c>abiword-plugins</c>.
346 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
347    
348     <p>
349     Need a nice email client/newsreader that isn't as demanding as
350 nightmorph 1.28 <c>thunderbird</c> or <c>evolution</c>? Try emerging <c>claws-mail</c>.
351 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
352    
353     <p>
354     For your internet chat needs, <c>irssi</c> is an excellent, tiny, incredibly
355     configurable IRC client that runs in your terminal. If you prefer a compact
356     all-in-one client that handles nearly all chat protocols, you may want to
357 nightmorph 1.10 <c>emerge pidgin</c>.
358 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
359    
360     <p>
361     If you need movie and music players, look no further than <c>mplayer</c> and
362 nightmorph 1.19 <uri link="/proj/en/desktop/sound/decibel.xml">decibel-audio-player</uri>. They
363     can play most every media format available quite nicely.
364 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
365    
366     <p>
367     Finally, you'll need a webbrowser. Nearly all graphical webbrowsers require more
368     resources than most of your other desktop applications. Still,
369     <c>mozilla-firefox</c> (or <c>mozilla-firefox-bin</c>) is always a good choice.
370     Alternatively, you may find <c>opera</c> to be quite fast. However, <c>opera</c>
371     is not available on as many processor architectures as <c>mozilla-firefox</c>,
372 nightmorph 1.30 and it has more dependencies unless you override them with a few USE flags.
373 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
374    
375     <pre caption="Adding a webbrowser">
376     <comment>(Installing Mozilla Firefox)</comment>
377     # <i>emerge mozilla-firefox</i>
378     <comment>(Installing Opera)</comment>
379 nightmorph 1.30 # <i>echo "www-client/opera gtk -kde" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
380 nightmorph 1.1 # <i>emerge opera</i>
381     </pre>
382    
383     <p>
384     Now that we've explored some good suggestions for rounding out your desktop
385     applications, let's see what else we can do to enhance your Xfce experience.
386     </p>
387    
388     </body>
389     </section>
390     <section>
391     <title>Graphical login</title>
392     <body>
393    
394     <p>
395     Remember when we added <c>startxfce4</c> to our <path>~/.xinitrc</path>? All you
396     have to do to get into your desktop is type <c>startx</c> after logging in. This
397     is fine if you prefer a completely text-based boot and login, but let's use a
398     display manager that will automatically start Xfce after booting (so that you
399     can login graphically).
400     </p>
401    
402     <p>
403     First, let's make sure Xfce loads at boot:
404     </p>
405    
406     <pre caption="Adding xdm to the default runlevel">
407     # <i>rc-update add xdm default</i>
408     </pre>
409    
410     <p>
411     We aren't quite finished yet. We have to pick a display manager and set the
412     appropriate variable. Though there are a few choices available in Portage, for
413 nightmorph 1.16 this guide, we'll stick with <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de">SLiM</uri>, the
414     Simple Login Manager.
415 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
416    
417     <p>
418 nightmorph 1.16 <c>slim</c> is speedy and lightweight, with minimal dependencies. Perfect for
419     Xfce!
420 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
421    
422 nightmorph 1.16 <pre caption="Installing SLiM">
423     # <i>emerge -avt slim</i>
424 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
425    
426 nightmorph 1.19 <note>
427     The <c>branding</c> USE flag will pull in the <c>slim-themes</c> package, which
428     will give you an assortment of login themes, including a Gentoo Linux theme.
429     </note>
430    
431 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
432     Then edit the DISPLAYMANAGER variable in <path>/etc/conf.d/xdm</path>:
433     </p>
434    
435     <pre caption="Editing /etc/conf.d/xdm">
436 nightmorph 1.16 DISPLAYMANAGER="slim"
437 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
438    
439     <p>
440 nightmorph 1.16 SLiM can automatically start your Xfce session if you add
441 nightmorph 1.25 <c>XSESSION="Xfce4"</c> to <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path>:
442 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
443    
444 nightmorph 1.25 <pre caption="Setting XSESSION">
445     # <i>echo XSESSION=\"Xfce4\" > /etc/env.d/90xsession</i>
446     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
447     </pre>
448    
449 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
450     </section>
451     <section>
452     <title>Beautifying your desktop</title>
453     <body>
454    
455     <p>
456     A little customization of your desktop's appearance can go a long way. Xfce has
457     all the options you'd expect from a modern desktop environment, font
458     antialiasing settings, color schemes, dozens of window decorations, themes, and
459     more. If these aren't enough, it's easy to install third-party themes, icon
460     sets, mouse cursor themes, and wallpapers.
461     </p>
462    
463     <p>
464     A selection of nice Gentoo wallpapers in a variety of resolutions are hosted on
465 nightmorph 1.2 the <uri link="/main/en/graphics.xml">Gentoo website</uri>. If you're looking
466     for icon sets and complete Xfce themes, <uri
467 nightmorph 1.1 link="http://www.xfce-look.org/">Xfce-Look</uri> has a huge collection. The
468     important thing to remember about any third-party eyecandy you download is that
469     it will usually first need to be unpacked and then installed to the proper
470     directory. Icon sets go in <path>/usr/share/icons/</path>, and themes go to
471 nightmorph 1.2 <path>/usr/share/themes/</path>; use these directories when you want all users
472     to be able to access themes and icon sets. Individual users can install themes
473     and icon sets to <path>~/.themes/</path> and <path>~/.icons/</path>.
474 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
475    
476     <p>
477 nightmorph 1.16 If you installed SLiM as your display manager, there are lots of themes in the
478     <c>slim-themes</c> package available in Portage. Also, be sure to check the SLiM
479     <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes01.php">themes page</uri> for more
480     themes. Creating your own SLiM theme is fairly easy; just read the <uri
481 nightmorph 1.19 link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes_howto.php">Themes HowTo</uri>. Gentoo also
482     ships a <c>slim-themes</c> package that you can <c>emerge</c>.
483 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
484    
485     <p>
486     Finally, Xfce has its own built-in compositor to manage window transparency.
487     This option can be found in Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager. For best
488     performance, you will need to be running a graphics card with drivers that
489 nightmorph 1.4 support hardware-accelerated rendering. Make sure you emerged <c>xfwm4</c> with
490     the <c>xcomposite</c> USE flag. Next, you will need to enable compositing in
491     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> by adding the following section:
492 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
493    
494     <pre caption="Enabling composite in xorg.conf">
495     Section "Extensions"
496     Option "Composite" "Enable"
497     EndSection
498     </pre>
499    
500     <p>
501     This is the bare minimum configuration required for Xfce and Xorg-X11. However,
502     setting up hardware-accelerated rendering depends on your individual graphics
503     card, and is beyond the scope of this guide. Please see the other guides in the
504     <uri link="/doc/en/index.xml?catid=desktop">Desktop Documentation
505     Resources</uri> list to learn about configuring hardware-accelerated rendering
506     for your graphics card.
507     </p>
508    
509 nightmorph 1.21 <p>
510     Once you've finished setting up a beautiful Xfce desktop, the next thing to do
511     is take a picture of it to share with other folks! Just install
512     <c>xfce4-screenshooter</c> and post your pictures somewhere for all to admire.
513     </p>
514    
515 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
516     </section>
517     </chapter>
518    
519     <chapter>
520     <title>Summary</title>
521     <section>
522     <body>
523    
524     <p>
525     Congratulations on making it this far! You've installed and configured a speedy
526     desktop environment with a solid suite of applications for your computing
527     needs.
528     </p>
529    
530     </body>
531     </section>
532     <section>
533     <title>Resources</title>
534     <body>
535    
536     <p>
537     Need additional help on configuring and using Xfce? Need more lightweight
538 nightmorph 1.4 application suggestions? Try checking out:
539 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
540    
541     <ul>
542     <li><uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org">The Gentoo forums</uri></li>
543     <li>#xfce on irc.freenode.net</li>
544 nightmorph 1.7 <li>
545     The installed help files and other documentation provided by Xfce:
546     <path>/usr/share/xfce4/doc/C/index.html</path>. Just point your browser at
547     it and start reading. There are even a lot of "hidden" configuration options
548     detailed in the help files.
549     </li>
550 nightmorph 1.4 <li><uri link="http://www.xfce.org">Xfce's home page</uri></li>
551 nightmorph 1.1 </ul>
552    
553     </body>
554     </section>
555     </chapter>
556     </guide>

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