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1 nightmorph 1.1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2     <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 nightmorph 1.39 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xfce-config.xml,v 1.38 2011/09/18 13:29:45 swift 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 1.39 <version>7</version>
22     <date>2011-11-08</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 nightmorph 1.36 <p>
52     The last part of this guide lists a few commands to run after upgrading to Xfce
53     4.8, so be sure to follow them if you are upgrading from an older version.
54     </p>
55    
56 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
57     </section>
58     </chapter>
59    
60     <chapter>
61     <title>Installing Xfce</title>
62     <section>
63     <title>The basics</title>
64     <body>
65    
66     <p>
67 nightmorph 1.19 First, make sure you've configured Xorg as shown in the <uri
68 nightmorph 1.8 link="/doc/en/xorg-config.xml">X Server Configuration Howto</uri>.
69     </p>
70    
71     <p>
72 nightmorph 1.12 Next, double-check your USE flags in <path>/etc/make.conf</path>; you'll
73 nightmorph 1.35 probably at least want <c>USE="-gnome -kde -minimal -qt4 dbus jpeg lock session
74     startup-notification thunar udev X"</c>.
75 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
76    
77     <p>
78 nightmorph 1.34 Now that you've set your <c>USE</c> variables in
79 nightmorph 1.32 <path>/etc/make.conf</path>, it's time to install Xfce.
80 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
81    
82     <pre caption="Installing Xfce">
83 nightmorph 1.21 # <i>emerge -avt xfce4-meta</i>
84 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
85    
86     <p>
87 swift 1.38 Next, add your regular user(s) to the <c>cdrom</c>, <c>cdrw</c>,
88 nightmorph 1.34 and <c>usb</c> groups, so that they can mount and use devices such as cameras,
89     optical drives, and USB sticks.
90 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
91    
92     <pre caption="Adding users to the hardware groups">
93 nightmorph 1.3 <comment>(Replace username with your actual user)</comment>
94 swift 1.38 # <i>for x in cdrom cdrw usb ; do gpasswd -a username $x ; done</i>
95 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
96    
97     <p>
98     Next, update your environment variables:
99     </p>
100    
101     <pre caption="Updating environment variables">
102     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
103     </pre>
104    
105     <p>
106 nightmorph 1.29 You'll also need a graphical terminal so that you can continue working with your
107     new desktop environment. <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is a good choice, as it's
108     made specifically for Xfce. Install Terminal as shown:
109     </p>
110    
111     <pre caption="Installing Terminal">
112     # <i>emerge x11-terms/terminal</i>
113     </pre>
114    
115 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
116     </section>
117     </chapter>
118    
119     <chapter>
120     <title>Configuring Xfce</title>
121     <section>
122     <title>Starting Xfce</title>
123     <body>
124    
125     <p>
126     Now that Xfce is now installed, we'll configure it to be the default desktop
127     environment when we issue the <c>startx</c> command. Exit your root shell and
128     log on as a regular user.
129     </p>
130    
131     <pre caption="Setting Xfce as the default desktop environment">
132     $ <i>echo "exec startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc</i>
133     </pre>
134    
135 nightmorph 1.27 <note>
136     If you have ConsoleKit installed, your <path>~/.xinitrc</path> should instead
137     contain <c>exec ck-launch-session startxfce4</c>. Otherwise, some of your
138     applications may stop working. You'll also need to add consolekit to the
139     default runlevel by running the following command as root: <c>rc-update add
140     consolekit default</c>.
141     </note>
142    
143 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
144     Now start your graphical environment by typing <c>startx</c>:
145     </p>
146    
147     <pre caption="Starting Xfce">
148     $ <i>startx</i>
149     </pre>
150    
151     <p>
152     Congratulations, and welcome to your new Xfce desktop environment. Go ahead,
153     explore it a bit. Then continue reading to learn how you can configure Xfce to
154     suit your needs.
155     </p>
156    
157     </body>
158     </section>
159     <section>
160     <title>Program access</title>
161     <body>
162    
163     <p>
164     You might notice right-clicking on the desktop shows you the menu of all your
165     applications. It's useful, but your desktop can easily be completely obscured by
166     open windows, making it hard to to launch a new program. So, one of the first
167     things you may wish to do is give yourself a handy application menu on your
168     panel. Right click on this panel, and choose "Add New Item". Scroll through the
169     list of choices and select "Xfce Menu". You can choose where you want it to be
170     displayed on your panel. When clicked, it displays the application/preferences
171     menu, providing a nicely categorized list of your installed programs.
172     </p>
173    
174     </body>
175     </section>
176     <section>
177     <title>Sessions &amp; startup</title>
178     <body>
179    
180     <p>
181     If you've installed (or plan to install) popular Gnome or KDE applications such
182     as <c>k3b</c>, <c>nautilus</c>, <c>kmail</c>, <c>evolution</c>, etc. then you
183     should make sure that Xfce launches the appropriate services for these at
184     startup. Navigate to Menu --> Settings --> Sessions &amp; Startup. On the
185     "Advanced" tab, select the appropriate checkbox. This might slightly increase
186     Xfce startup times, but it decreases load times for KDE and Gnome applications.
187     </p>
188    
189     <p>
190     Xfce has the ability to save your session settings and running programs from the
191     "General" tab in the Sessions &amp; Startup menu. They can be automatically
192     saved when you logout, or Xfce can ask you each time. This feature is
193     particularly useful for undoing configuration mistakes. Accidentally killed a
194     panel? Just select "No" when prompted to save your current session, and the next
195     time you start Xfce, your old desktop is restored. Want to automatically launch
196     your open webbrowser, terminal, and email client the next time you login? Just
197     save your session before logging out.
198     </p>
199    
200     <p>
201     You've now got a basic working environment installed and configured. But if
202     you're interested in doing more, then continue reading!
203     </p>
204    
205     </body>
206     </section>
207     </chapter>
208    
209     <chapter>
210     <title>Additional Applications</title>
211     <section>
212     <title>Panel plugins</title>
213     <body>
214    
215     <p>
216     In this chapter, we'll discuss some useful plugins and applications for everyday
217     use within Xfce.
218     </p>
219    
220     <p>
221     There are many plugins for the panel available in Portage; see for yourself with
222 nightmorph 1.32 <c>emerge --search xfce</c>. Though for the most part their names are
223     self-explanatory, a few deserve extra attention, as they are quite helpful. To
224     use them, simply <c>emerge</c> them. They'll be added to the list of available
225     items in the "Add New Items" menu shown when you right-click on the panel.
226 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
227    
228     <ul>
229     <li>
230 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-battery-plugin</c> is perfect for laptop users. It displays battery
231 nightmorph 1.1 percentage, time remaining, power source (AC or battery), fan status,
232     warnings, and can even be configured to execute commands at certain power
233     levels. This feature can be used to put the laptop into hibernate mode when
234     the battery is almost exhausted.
235     </li>
236     <li>
237 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-verve-plugin</c> is a small command line embedded into the panel.
238     It's quicker than opening up another terminal when you want to run a
239     command.
240 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
241     <li>
242 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-mount-plugin</c> gives you a handy method of mounting devices
243     listed in <path>/etc/fstab</path> just by clicking your mouse
244     </li>
245     <li>
246     <c>xfce4-sensors-plugin</c> lets you monitor your hardware sensors, such as
247     CPU temperature, fan RPM, hard drive temp, motherboard voltage, and more
248 nightmorph 1.1 </li>
249     </ul>
250    
251     </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 nightmorph 1.34 <c>xfce4-mixer</c>, <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c>, <c>xfwm4-themes</c>, <c>orage</c>,
260     <c>leafpad</c>, <c>xfce4-power-manager</c>, <c>x11-terms/terminal</c>, and
261     <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 nightmorph 1.34 as a panel applet, giving you fast access to playback volume.
267     <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c> displays a list of all running programs, and the CPU
268     and memory consumption each one takes up. By right-clicking an item, you can
269     kill a misbehaving application, pause and restart it, or even alter its runtime
270     priority, which lets you fine-tune how much of a demand it puts on your system's
271     resources.
272 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
273    
274     <p>
275 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c> adds several window manager themes. You may want to add a
276     more full-coverage icon theme such as <c>tango-icon-theme</c> just to round out
277     your desktop.
278 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
279    
280     <p>
281 nightmorph 1.34 <c>orage</c> is a simple, handy calendar. <c>leafpad</c> is a barebones text
282 nightmorph 1.32 editor that starts up extremely quickly.
283     </p>
284    
285     <p>
286     <c>xfce4-power-manager</c> is an application to monitor and manage power usage.
287     This is especially important for laptops! The power manager allows you to adjust
288     screen brightness, choose maximum performance or battery-saving modes, and setup
289     hibernate, suspend, and shutdown actions when the lid is shut or buttons are
290     pressed. You can set <uri
291     link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-power-manager">xfce4-power-manager</uri>
292     to warn you when your battery reaches certain levels, or even turn off your
293     machine. The application comes with a couple of helpful panel plugins to display
294     battery/charging status, and a brightness control.
295     </p>
296    
297     <p>
298     <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is an X11 terminal emulator, far more configurable and
299     useful than the barebones <c>xterm</c>. <c>terminal</c> supports Unicode text,
300     color schemes, pseudo-transparency and hardware-accelerated transparency via
301     Xfce's built-in compositor, all out-of-the-box. Just make sure that the default
302     action on the terminal launcher of your panel runs
303     <path>/usr/bin/Terminal</path> instead of <path>xterm</path>. Right-click the
304     launcher and choose "Properties" to change the command.
305 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
306    
307     <p>
308 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar</c> is Xfce's default graphical file manager. It's fast yet quite
309     powerful, can support several plugins for even more functionality; just install
310 nightmorph 1.4 them with <c>emerge</c>. Let's take a look:
311 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
312    
313 nightmorph 1.4 <ul>
314     <li>
315 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-archive-plugin</c> lets you create and extract archive files using
316     the right-click menu. It provides a handy <uri
317     link="http://www.foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-archive-plugin">front-end</uri>
318     for graphical archiving applications such as <c>xarchiver</c>,
319     <c>squeeze</c>, and <c>file-roller</c>.
320 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
321     <li>
322 nightmorph 1.34 <c>tumbler</c> lets you preview certain types of files from within Thunar,
323     such as images and fonts.
324 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
325     <li>
326     <c>thunar-volman</c> automatically <uri
327     link="http://foo-projects.org/~benny/projects/thunar-volman/">manages</uri>
328     removable media and drives.
329     </li>
330     </ul>
331 nightmorph 1.1
332     <p>
333 nightmorph 1.4 Next, let's see about adding some useful but lightweight desktop applications,
334     in keeping with Xfce's philosophy.
335 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
336    
337     <p>
338 nightmorph 1.34 Though <c>leafpad</c> is nice enough as a basic text editor, if you need a
339 nightmorph 1.17 full-featured word processor but don't want the bloat of OpenOffice, try
340 nightmorph 1.19 emerging <c>abiword</c>. <uri link="http://www.abisource.com">AbiWord</uri> is
341 nightmorph 1.17 lighter, faster, and is completely interoperable with industry-standard document
342 nightmorph 1.37 types.
343 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
344    
345     <p>
346     Need a nice email client/newsreader that isn't as demanding as
347 nightmorph 1.28 <c>thunderbird</c> or <c>evolution</c>? Try emerging <c>claws-mail</c>.
348 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
349    
350     <p>
351     For your internet chat needs, <c>irssi</c> is an excellent, tiny, incredibly
352     configurable IRC client that runs in your terminal. If you prefer a compact
353     all-in-one client that handles nearly all chat protocols, you may want to
354 nightmorph 1.10 <c>emerge pidgin</c>.
355 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
356    
357     <p>
358     If you need movie and music players, look no further than <c>mplayer</c> and
359 nightmorph 1.19 <uri link="/proj/en/desktop/sound/decibel.xml">decibel-audio-player</uri>. They
360     can play most every media format available quite nicely.
361 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
362    
363     <p>
364     Finally, you'll need a webbrowser. Nearly all graphical webbrowsers require more
365 nightmorph 1.31 resources than most of your other desktop applications. Still, <c>firefox</c>
366 nightmorph 1.34 and <c>midori</c> are always good choices. Alternatively, you may find
367 nightmorph 1.31 <c>opera</c> to be quite fast. However, <c>opera</c> is not available on as many
368     processor architectures as <c>firefox</c>, and it has more dependencies unless
369     you override them with a few USE flags.
370 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
371    
372     <pre caption="Adding a webbrowser">
373     <comment>(Installing Mozilla Firefox)</comment>
374 nightmorph 1.31 # <i>emerge firefox</i>
375 nightmorph 1.34 <comment>(Installing Midori)</comment>
376     # <i>emerge midori</i>
377 nightmorph 1.1 <comment>(Installing Opera)</comment>
378 nightmorph 1.30 # <i>echo "www-client/opera gtk -kde" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
379 nightmorph 1.1 # <i>emerge opera</i>
380     </pre>
381    
382     <p>
383     Now that we've explored some good suggestions for rounding out your desktop
384     applications, let's see what else we can do to enhance your Xfce experience.
385     </p>
386    
387     </body>
388     </section>
389     <section>
390     <title>Graphical login</title>
391     <body>
392    
393     <p>
394     Remember when we added <c>startxfce4</c> to our <path>~/.xinitrc</path>? All you
395     have to do to get into your desktop is type <c>startx</c> after logging in. This
396     is fine if you prefer a completely text-based boot and login, but let's use a
397     display manager that will automatically start Xfce after booting (so that you
398     can login graphically).
399     </p>
400    
401     <p>
402     First, let's make sure Xfce loads at boot:
403     </p>
404    
405     <pre caption="Adding xdm to the default runlevel">
406     # <i>rc-update add xdm default</i>
407     </pre>
408    
409     <p>
410     We aren't quite finished yet. We have to pick a display manager and set the
411     appropriate variable. Though there are a few choices available in Portage, for
412 nightmorph 1.16 this guide, we'll stick with <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de">SLiM</uri>, the
413     Simple Login Manager.
414 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
415    
416     <p>
417 nightmorph 1.16 <c>slim</c> is speedy and lightweight, with minimal dependencies. Perfect for
418     Xfce!
419 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
420    
421 nightmorph 1.16 <pre caption="Installing SLiM">
422     # <i>emerge -avt slim</i>
423 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
424    
425 nightmorph 1.19 <note>
426     The <c>branding</c> USE flag will pull in the <c>slim-themes</c> package, which
427     will give you an assortment of login themes, including a Gentoo Linux theme.
428     </note>
429    
430 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
431     Then edit the DISPLAYMANAGER variable in <path>/etc/conf.d/xdm</path>:
432     </p>
433    
434     <pre caption="Editing /etc/conf.d/xdm">
435 nightmorph 1.16 DISPLAYMANAGER="slim"
436 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
437    
438     <p>
439 nightmorph 1.16 SLiM can automatically start your Xfce session if you add
440 nightmorph 1.25 <c>XSESSION="Xfce4"</c> to <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path>:
441 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
442    
443 nightmorph 1.25 <pre caption="Setting XSESSION">
444     # <i>echo XSESSION=\"Xfce4\" > /etc/env.d/90xsession</i>
445     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
446     </pre>
447    
448 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
449     </section>
450     <section>
451     <title>Beautifying your desktop</title>
452     <body>
453    
454     <p>
455     A little customization of your desktop's appearance can go a long way. Xfce has
456     all the options you'd expect from a modern desktop environment, font
457     antialiasing settings, color schemes, dozens of window decorations, themes, and
458     more. If these aren't enough, it's easy to install third-party themes, icon
459     sets, mouse cursor themes, and wallpapers.
460     </p>
461    
462     <p>
463     A selection of nice Gentoo wallpapers in a variety of resolutions are hosted on
464 nightmorph 1.2 the <uri link="/main/en/graphics.xml">Gentoo website</uri>. If you're looking
465     for icon sets and complete Xfce themes, <uri
466 nightmorph 1.1 link="http://www.xfce-look.org/">Xfce-Look</uri> has a huge collection. The
467     important thing to remember about any third-party eyecandy you download is that
468     it will usually first need to be unpacked and then installed to the proper
469     directory. Icon sets go in <path>/usr/share/icons/</path>, and themes go to
470 nightmorph 1.2 <path>/usr/share/themes/</path>; use these directories when you want all users
471     to be able to access themes and icon sets. Individual users can install themes
472     and icon sets to <path>~/.themes/</path> and <path>~/.icons/</path>.
473 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
474    
475     <p>
476 nightmorph 1.16 If you installed SLiM as your display manager, there are lots of themes in the
477     <c>slim-themes</c> package available in Portage. Also, be sure to check the SLiM
478     <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes01.php">themes page</uri> for more
479     themes. Creating your own SLiM theme is fairly easy; just read the <uri
480 nightmorph 1.19 link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes_howto.php">Themes HowTo</uri>. Gentoo also
481     ships a <c>slim-themes</c> package that you can <c>emerge</c>.
482 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
483    
484     <p>
485     Finally, Xfce has its own built-in compositor to manage window transparency.
486     This option can be found in Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager. For best
487     performance, you will need to be running a graphics card with drivers that
488 nightmorph 1.4 support hardware-accelerated rendering. Make sure you emerged <c>xfwm4</c> with
489     the <c>xcomposite</c> USE flag. Next, you will need to enable compositing in
490     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> by adding the following section:
491 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
492    
493     <pre caption="Enabling composite in xorg.conf">
494     Section "Extensions"
495     Option "Composite" "Enable"
496     EndSection
497     </pre>
498    
499     <p>
500     This is the bare minimum configuration required for Xfce and Xorg-X11. However,
501     setting up hardware-accelerated rendering depends on your individual graphics
502     card, and is beyond the scope of this guide. Please see the other guides in the
503     <uri link="/doc/en/index.xml?catid=desktop">Desktop Documentation
504     Resources</uri> list to learn about configuring hardware-accelerated rendering
505     for your graphics card.
506     </p>
507    
508 nightmorph 1.21 <p>
509     Once you've finished setting up a beautiful Xfce desktop, the next thing to do
510     is take a picture of it to share with other folks! Just install
511     <c>xfce4-screenshooter</c> and post your pictures somewhere for all to admire.
512     </p>
513    
514 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
515     </section>
516     </chapter>
517    
518     <chapter>
519     <title>Summary</title>
520     <section>
521     <body>
522    
523     <p>
524     Congratulations on making it this far! You've installed and configured a speedy
525     desktop environment with a solid suite of applications for your computing
526     needs.
527     </p>
528    
529     </body>
530     </section>
531     <section>
532 nightmorph 1.36 <title>Upgrading Xfce</title>
533     <body>
534    
535     <p>
536     If you're upgrading Xfce from an old version to 4.8 or newer, then you will need
537     to remove your old cached sessions. For each of your users, run the following
538     commands to remove your old incompatible cached sessions:
539     </p>
540    
541     <pre caption="Deleting old sessions from the cache">
542     $ <i>rm -r ~/.cache/sessions</i>
543     $ <i>rm -r ~/.config/xfce*</i>
544     $ <i>rm -r ~/.config/Thunar</i>
545     </pre>
546    
547     </body>
548     </section>
549     <section>
550 nightmorph 1.1 <title>Resources</title>
551     <body>
552    
553     <p>
554     Need additional help on configuring and using Xfce? Need more lightweight
555 nightmorph 1.4 application suggestions? Try checking out:
556 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
557    
558     <ul>
559     <li><uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org">The Gentoo forums</uri></li>
560     <li>#xfce on irc.freenode.net</li>
561 nightmorph 1.7 <li>
562     The installed help files and other documentation provided by Xfce:
563     <path>/usr/share/xfce4/doc/C/index.html</path>. Just point your browser at
564     it and start reading. There are even a lot of "hidden" configuration options
565     detailed in the help files.
566     </li>
567 nightmorph 1.4 <li><uri link="http://www.xfce.org">Xfce's home page</uri></li>
568 nightmorph 1.1 </ul>
569    
570     </body>
571     </section>
572     </chapter>
573     </guide>

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