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update xfce guide for 4.8 stuff, still waiting on a full list of package drops/suggested replacements, but this should be good in the mean time

1 nightmorph 1.1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2     <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 nightmorph 1.34 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xfce-config.xml,v 1.33 2010/08/31 18:06:31 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 1.34 <version>2</version>
22     <date>2011-01-22</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 nightmorph 1.34 jpeg lock session startup-notification thunar udev X"</c>.
70 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
71    
72     <p>
73 nightmorph 1.34 Now that you've set your <c>USE</c> variables in
74 nightmorph 1.32 <path>/etc/make.conf</path>, it's time to install Xfce.
75 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
76    
77     <pre caption="Installing Xfce">
78 nightmorph 1.21 # <i>emerge -avt xfce4-meta</i>
79 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
80    
81     <p>
82 nightmorph 1.3 Next, add your regular user(s) to the <c>plugdev</c>, <c>cdrom</c>, <c>cdrw</c>,
83 nightmorph 1.34 and <c>usb</c> groups, so that they can mount and use devices such as cameras,
84     optical drives, and USB sticks.
85 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
86    
87     <pre caption="Adding users to the hardware groups">
88 nightmorph 1.3 <comment>(Replace username with your actual user)</comment>
89     # <i>for x in plugdev cdrom cdrw usb ; do gpasswd -a username $x ; done</i>
90 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
91    
92     <p>
93     Next, update your environment variables:
94     </p>
95    
96     <pre caption="Updating environment variables">
97     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
98     </pre>
99    
100     <p>
101 nightmorph 1.29 You'll also need a graphical terminal so that you can continue working with your
102     new desktop environment. <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is a good choice, as it's
103     made specifically for Xfce. Install Terminal as shown:
104     </p>
105    
106     <pre caption="Installing Terminal">
107     # <i>emerge x11-terms/terminal</i>
108     </pre>
109    
110 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
111     </section>
112     </chapter>
113    
114     <chapter>
115     <title>Configuring Xfce</title>
116     <section>
117     <title>Starting Xfce</title>
118     <body>
119    
120     <p>
121     Now that Xfce is now installed, we'll configure it to be the default desktop
122     environment when we issue the <c>startx</c> command. Exit your root shell and
123     log on as a regular user.
124     </p>
125    
126     <pre caption="Setting Xfce as the default desktop environment">
127     $ <i>echo "exec startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc</i>
128     </pre>
129    
130 nightmorph 1.27 <note>
131     If you have ConsoleKit installed, your <path>~/.xinitrc</path> should instead
132     contain <c>exec ck-launch-session startxfce4</c>. Otherwise, some of your
133     applications may stop working. You'll also need to add consolekit to the
134     default runlevel by running the following command as root: <c>rc-update add
135     consolekit default</c>.
136     </note>
137    
138 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
139     Now start your graphical environment by typing <c>startx</c>:
140     </p>
141    
142     <pre caption="Starting Xfce">
143     $ <i>startx</i>
144     </pre>
145    
146     <p>
147     Congratulations, and welcome to your new Xfce desktop environment. Go ahead,
148     explore it a bit. Then continue reading to learn how you can configure Xfce to
149     suit your needs.
150     </p>
151    
152     </body>
153     </section>
154     <section>
155     <title>Program access</title>
156     <body>
157    
158     <p>
159     You might notice right-clicking on the desktop shows you the menu of all your
160     applications. It's useful, but your desktop can easily be completely obscured by
161     open windows, making it hard to to launch a new program. So, one of the first
162     things you may wish to do is give yourself a handy application menu on your
163     panel. Right click on this panel, and choose "Add New Item". Scroll through the
164     list of choices and select "Xfce Menu". You can choose where you want it to be
165     displayed on your panel. When clicked, it displays the application/preferences
166     menu, providing a nicely categorized list of your installed programs.
167     </p>
168    
169     </body>
170     </section>
171     <section>
172     <title>Sessions &amp; startup</title>
173     <body>
174    
175     <p>
176     If you've installed (or plan to install) popular Gnome or KDE applications such
177     as <c>k3b</c>, <c>nautilus</c>, <c>kmail</c>, <c>evolution</c>, etc. then you
178     should make sure that Xfce launches the appropriate services for these at
179     startup. Navigate to Menu --> Settings --> Sessions &amp; Startup. On the
180     "Advanced" tab, select the appropriate checkbox. This might slightly increase
181     Xfce startup times, but it decreases load times for KDE and Gnome applications.
182     </p>
183    
184     <p>
185     Xfce has the ability to save your session settings and running programs from the
186     "General" tab in the Sessions &amp; Startup menu. They can be automatically
187     saved when you logout, or Xfce can ask you each time. This feature is
188     particularly useful for undoing configuration mistakes. Accidentally killed a
189     panel? Just select "No" when prompted to save your current session, and the next
190     time you start Xfce, your old desktop is restored. Want to automatically launch
191     your open webbrowser, terminal, and email client the next time you login? Just
192     save your session before logging out.
193     </p>
194    
195     <p>
196     You've now got a basic working environment installed and configured. But if
197     you're interested in doing more, then continue reading!
198     </p>
199    
200     </body>
201     </section>
202     </chapter>
203    
204     <chapter>
205     <title>Additional Applications</title>
206     <section>
207     <title>Panel plugins</title>
208     <body>
209    
210     <p>
211     In this chapter, we'll discuss some useful plugins and applications for everyday
212     use within Xfce.
213     </p>
214    
215     <p>
216     There are many plugins for the panel available in Portage; see for yourself with
217 nightmorph 1.32 <c>emerge --search xfce</c>. Though for the most part their names are
218     self-explanatory, a few deserve extra attention, as they are quite helpful. To
219     use them, simply <c>emerge</c> them. They'll be added to the list of available
220     items in the "Add New Items" menu shown when you right-click on the panel.
221 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
222    
223     <ul>
224     <li>
225 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-battery-plugin</c> is perfect for laptop users. It displays battery
226 nightmorph 1.1 percentage, time remaining, power source (AC or battery), fan status,
227     warnings, and can even be configured to execute commands at certain power
228     levels. This feature can be used to put the laptop into hibernate mode when
229     the battery is almost exhausted.
230     </li>
231     <li>
232 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-verve-plugin</c> is a small command line embedded into the panel.
233     It's quicker than opening up another terminal when you want to run a
234     command.
235 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
236     <li>
237 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-mount-plugin</c> gives you a handy method of mounting devices
238     listed in <path>/etc/fstab</path> just by clicking your mouse
239     </li>
240     <li>
241     <c>xfce4-sensors-plugin</c> lets you monitor your hardware sensors, such as
242     CPU temperature, fan RPM, hard drive temp, motherboard voltage, and more
243 nightmorph 1.1 </li>
244     </ul>
245    
246 nightmorph 1.4 <p>
247     If you can't find what you're looking for in the plugins specifically made for
248     Xfce, try searching through the list of Gnome panel applets! That's right, by
249 nightmorph 1.21 first emerging <c>xfce4-xfapplet-plugin</c>, you can install and run any applet
250     made for Gnome.
251 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
252    
253 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
254     </section>
255     <section>
256     <title>Useful programs</title>
257     <body>
258    
259     <p>
260 nightmorph 1.21 We should now <c>emerge</c> some useful applications and utilities:
261 nightmorph 1.34 <c>xfce4-mixer</c>, <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c>, <c>xfwm4-themes</c>, <c>orage</c>,
262     <c>leafpad</c>, <c>xfce4-power-manager</c>, <c>x11-terms/terminal</c>, and
263     <c>thunar</c>.
264 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
265    
266     <p>
267     <c>xfce4-mixer</c> is a volume control for your sound card. It can also be run
268 nightmorph 1.34 as a panel applet, giving you fast access to playback volume.
269     <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c> displays a list of all running programs, and the CPU
270     and memory consumption each one takes up. By right-clicking an item, you can
271     kill a misbehaving application, pause and restart it, or even alter its runtime
272     priority, which lets you fine-tune how much of a demand it puts on your system's
273     resources.
274 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
275    
276     <p>
277 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c> adds several window manager themes. You may want to add a
278     more full-coverage icon theme such as <c>tango-icon-theme</c> just to round out
279     your desktop.
280 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
281    
282     <p>
283 nightmorph 1.34 <c>orage</c> is a simple, handy calendar. <c>leafpad</c> is a barebones text
284 nightmorph 1.32 editor that starts up extremely quickly.
285     </p>
286    
287     <p>
288     <c>xfce4-power-manager</c> is an application to monitor and manage power usage.
289     This is especially important for laptops! The power manager allows you to adjust
290     screen brightness, choose maximum performance or battery-saving modes, and setup
291     hibernate, suspend, and shutdown actions when the lid is shut or buttons are
292     pressed. You can set <uri
293     link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-power-manager">xfce4-power-manager</uri>
294     to warn you when your battery reaches certain levels, or even turn off your
295     machine. The application comes with a couple of helpful panel plugins to display
296     battery/charging status, and a brightness control.
297     </p>
298    
299     <p>
300     <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is an X11 terminal emulator, far more configurable and
301     useful than the barebones <c>xterm</c>. <c>terminal</c> supports Unicode text,
302     color schemes, pseudo-transparency and hardware-accelerated transparency via
303     Xfce's built-in compositor, all out-of-the-box. Just make sure that the default
304     action on the terminal launcher of your panel runs
305     <path>/usr/bin/Terminal</path> instead of <path>xterm</path>. Right-click the
306     launcher and choose "Properties" to change the command.
307 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
308    
309     <p>
310 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar</c> is Xfce's default graphical file manager. It's fast yet quite
311     powerful, can support several plugins for even more functionality; just install
312 nightmorph 1.4 them with <c>emerge</c>. Let's take a look:
313 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
314    
315 nightmorph 1.4 <ul>
316     <li>
317 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-archive-plugin</c> lets you create and extract archive files using
318     the right-click menu. It provides a handy <uri
319     link="http://www.foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-archive-plugin">front-end</uri>
320     for graphical archiving applications such as <c>xarchiver</c>,
321     <c>squeeze</c>, and <c>file-roller</c>.
322 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
323     <li>
324 nightmorph 1.34 <c>tumbler</c> lets you preview certain types of files from within Thunar,
325     such as images and fonts.
326 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
327     <li>
328     <c>thunar-volman</c> automatically <uri
329     link="http://foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-volman/">manages</uri>
330     removable media and drives.
331     </li>
332     </ul>
333 nightmorph 1.1
334     <p>
335 nightmorph 1.4 Next, let's see about adding some useful but lightweight desktop applications,
336     in keeping with Xfce's philosophy.
337 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
338    
339     <p>
340 nightmorph 1.34 Though <c>leafpad</c> is nice enough as a basic text editor, if you need a
341 nightmorph 1.17 full-featured word processor but don't want the bloat of OpenOffice, try
342 nightmorph 1.19 emerging <c>abiword</c>. <uri link="http://www.abisource.com">AbiWord</uri> is
343 nightmorph 1.17 lighter, faster, and is completely interoperable with industry-standard document
344     types. It can also be further extended with <c>abiword-plugins</c>.
345 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
346    
347     <p>
348     Need a nice email client/newsreader that isn't as demanding as
349 nightmorph 1.28 <c>thunderbird</c> or <c>evolution</c>? Try emerging <c>claws-mail</c>.
350 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
351    
352     <p>
353     For your internet chat needs, <c>irssi</c> is an excellent, tiny, incredibly
354     configurable IRC client that runs in your terminal. If you prefer a compact
355     all-in-one client that handles nearly all chat protocols, you may want to
356 nightmorph 1.10 <c>emerge pidgin</c>.
357 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
358    
359     <p>
360     If you need movie and music players, look no further than <c>mplayer</c> and
361 nightmorph 1.19 <uri link="/proj/en/desktop/sound/decibel.xml">decibel-audio-player</uri>. They
362     can play most every media format available quite nicely.
363 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
364    
365     <p>
366     Finally, you'll need a webbrowser. Nearly all graphical webbrowsers require more
367 nightmorph 1.31 resources than most of your other desktop applications. Still, <c>firefox</c>
368 nightmorph 1.34 and <c>midori</c> are always good choices. Alternatively, you may find
369 nightmorph 1.31 <c>opera</c> to be quite fast. However, <c>opera</c> is not available on as many
370     processor architectures as <c>firefox</c>, and it has more dependencies unless
371     you override them with a few USE flags.
372 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
373    
374     <pre caption="Adding a webbrowser">
375     <comment>(Installing Mozilla Firefox)</comment>
376 nightmorph 1.31 # <i>emerge firefox</i>
377 nightmorph 1.34 <comment>(Installing Midori)</comment>
378     # <i>emerge midori</i>
379 nightmorph 1.1 <comment>(Installing Opera)</comment>
380 nightmorph 1.30 # <i>echo "www-client/opera gtk -kde" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
381 nightmorph 1.1 # <i>emerge opera</i>
382     </pre>
383    
384     <p>
385     Now that we've explored some good suggestions for rounding out your desktop
386     applications, let's see what else we can do to enhance your Xfce experience.
387     </p>
388    
389     </body>
390     </section>
391     <section>
392     <title>Graphical login</title>
393     <body>
394    
395     <p>
396     Remember when we added <c>startxfce4</c> to our <path>~/.xinitrc</path>? All you
397     have to do to get into your desktop is type <c>startx</c> after logging in. This
398     is fine if you prefer a completely text-based boot and login, but let's use a
399     display manager that will automatically start Xfce after booting (so that you
400     can login graphically).
401     </p>
402    
403     <p>
404     First, let's make sure Xfce loads at boot:
405     </p>
406    
407     <pre caption="Adding xdm to the default runlevel">
408     # <i>rc-update add xdm default</i>
409     </pre>
410    
411     <p>
412     We aren't quite finished yet. We have to pick a display manager and set the
413     appropriate variable. Though there are a few choices available in Portage, for
414 nightmorph 1.16 this guide, we'll stick with <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de">SLiM</uri>, the
415     Simple Login Manager.
416 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
417    
418     <p>
419 nightmorph 1.16 <c>slim</c> is speedy and lightweight, with minimal dependencies. Perfect for
420     Xfce!
421 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
422    
423 nightmorph 1.16 <pre caption="Installing SLiM">
424     # <i>emerge -avt slim</i>
425 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
426    
427 nightmorph 1.19 <note>
428     The <c>branding</c> USE flag will pull in the <c>slim-themes</c> package, which
429     will give you an assortment of login themes, including a Gentoo Linux theme.
430     </note>
431    
432 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
433     Then edit the DISPLAYMANAGER variable in <path>/etc/conf.d/xdm</path>:
434     </p>
435    
436     <pre caption="Editing /etc/conf.d/xdm">
437 nightmorph 1.16 DISPLAYMANAGER="slim"
438 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
439    
440     <p>
441 nightmorph 1.16 SLiM can automatically start your Xfce session if you add
442 nightmorph 1.25 <c>XSESSION="Xfce4"</c> to <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path>:
443 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
444    
445 nightmorph 1.25 <pre caption="Setting XSESSION">
446     # <i>echo XSESSION=\"Xfce4\" > /etc/env.d/90xsession</i>
447     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
448     </pre>
449    
450 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
451     </section>
452     <section>
453     <title>Beautifying your desktop</title>
454     <body>
455    
456     <p>
457     A little customization of your desktop's appearance can go a long way. Xfce has
458     all the options you'd expect from a modern desktop environment, font
459     antialiasing settings, color schemes, dozens of window decorations, themes, and
460     more. If these aren't enough, it's easy to install third-party themes, icon
461     sets, mouse cursor themes, and wallpapers.
462     </p>
463    
464     <p>
465     A selection of nice Gentoo wallpapers in a variety of resolutions are hosted on
466 nightmorph 1.2 the <uri link="/main/en/graphics.xml">Gentoo website</uri>. If you're looking
467     for icon sets and complete Xfce themes, <uri
468 nightmorph 1.1 link="http://www.xfce-look.org/">Xfce-Look</uri> has a huge collection. The
469     important thing to remember about any third-party eyecandy you download is that
470     it will usually first need to be unpacked and then installed to the proper
471     directory. Icon sets go in <path>/usr/share/icons/</path>, and themes go to
472 nightmorph 1.2 <path>/usr/share/themes/</path>; use these directories when you want all users
473     to be able to access themes and icon sets. Individual users can install themes
474     and icon sets to <path>~/.themes/</path> and <path>~/.icons/</path>.
475 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
476    
477     <p>
478 nightmorph 1.16 If you installed SLiM as your display manager, there are lots of themes in the
479     <c>slim-themes</c> package available in Portage. Also, be sure to check the SLiM
480     <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes01.php">themes page</uri> for more
481     themes. Creating your own SLiM theme is fairly easy; just read the <uri
482 nightmorph 1.19 link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes_howto.php">Themes HowTo</uri>. Gentoo also
483     ships a <c>slim-themes</c> package that you can <c>emerge</c>.
484 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
485    
486     <p>
487     Finally, Xfce has its own built-in compositor to manage window transparency.
488     This option can be found in Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager. For best
489     performance, you will need to be running a graphics card with drivers that
490 nightmorph 1.4 support hardware-accelerated rendering. Make sure you emerged <c>xfwm4</c> with
491     the <c>xcomposite</c> USE flag. Next, you will need to enable compositing in
492     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> by adding the following section:
493 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
494    
495     <pre caption="Enabling composite in xorg.conf">
496     Section "Extensions"
497     Option "Composite" "Enable"
498     EndSection
499     </pre>
500    
501     <p>
502     This is the bare minimum configuration required for Xfce and Xorg-X11. However,
503     setting up hardware-accelerated rendering depends on your individual graphics
504     card, and is beyond the scope of this guide. Please see the other guides in the
505     <uri link="/doc/en/index.xml?catid=desktop">Desktop Documentation
506     Resources</uri> list to learn about configuring hardware-accelerated rendering
507     for your graphics card.
508     </p>
509    
510 nightmorph 1.21 <p>
511     Once you've finished setting up a beautiful Xfce desktop, the next thing to do
512     is take a picture of it to share with other folks! Just install
513     <c>xfce4-screenshooter</c> and post your pictures somewhere for all to admire.
514     </p>
515    
516 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
517     </section>
518     </chapter>
519    
520     <chapter>
521     <title>Summary</title>
522     <section>
523     <body>
524    
525     <p>
526     Congratulations on making it this far! You've installed and configured a speedy
527     desktop environment with a solid suite of applications for your computing
528     needs.
529     </p>
530    
531     </body>
532     </section>
533     <section>
534     <title>Resources</title>
535     <body>
536    
537     <p>
538     Need additional help on configuring and using Xfce? Need more lightweight
539 nightmorph 1.4 application suggestions? Try checking out:
540 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
541    
542     <ul>
543     <li><uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org">The Gentoo forums</uri></li>
544     <li>#xfce on irc.freenode.net</li>
545 nightmorph 1.7 <li>
546     The installed help files and other documentation provided by Xfce:
547     <path>/usr/share/xfce4/doc/C/index.html</path>. Just point your browser at
548     it and start reading. There are even a lot of "hidden" configuration options
549     detailed in the help files.
550     </li>
551 nightmorph 1.4 <li><uri link="http://www.xfce.org">Xfce's home page</uri></li>
552 nightmorph 1.1 </ul>
553    
554     </body>
555     </section>
556     </chapter>
557     </guide>

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