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1 nightmorph 1.1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2     <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 swift 1.44 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xfce-config.xml,v 1.43 2012/06/12 09:47:06 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 swift 1.44 <version>12</version>
22     <date>2012-07-01</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 swift 1.44 The last part of this guide lists a few commands to run after upgrading to a
53     new Xfce release, so be sure to follow them if you are upgrading from an older version.
54 nightmorph 1.36 </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 swift 1.42 contain <c>exec startxfce4 --with-ck-launch</c>. Otherwise, some of your
138 nightmorph 1.27 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>Sessions &amp; startup</title>
161     <body>
162    
163     <p>
164     If you've installed (or plan to install) popular Gnome or KDE applications such
165     as <c>k3b</c>, <c>nautilus</c>, <c>kmail</c>, <c>evolution</c>, etc. then you
166     should make sure that Xfce launches the appropriate services for these at
167     startup. Navigate to Menu --> Settings --> Sessions &amp; Startup. On the
168     "Advanced" tab, select the appropriate checkbox. This might slightly increase
169     Xfce startup times, but it decreases load times for KDE and Gnome applications.
170     </p>
171    
172     <p>
173     Xfce has the ability to save your session settings and running programs from the
174     "General" tab in the Sessions &amp; Startup menu. They can be automatically
175     saved when you logout, or Xfce can ask you each time. This feature is
176     particularly useful for undoing configuration mistakes. Accidentally killed a
177     panel? Just select "No" when prompted to save your current session, and the next
178     time you start Xfce, your old desktop is restored. Want to automatically launch
179     your open webbrowser, terminal, and email client the next time you login? Just
180     save your session before logging out.
181     </p>
182    
183     <p>
184     You've now got a basic working environment installed and configured. But if
185     you're interested in doing more, then continue reading!
186     </p>
187    
188     </body>
189     </section>
190     </chapter>
191    
192     <chapter>
193     <title>Additional Applications</title>
194     <section>
195     <title>Panel plugins</title>
196     <body>
197    
198     <p>
199     In this chapter, we'll discuss some useful plugins and applications for everyday
200     use within Xfce.
201     </p>
202    
203     <p>
204     There are many plugins for the panel available in Portage; see for yourself with
205 nightmorph 1.32 <c>emerge --search xfce</c>. Though for the most part their names are
206     self-explanatory, a few deserve extra attention, as they are quite helpful. To
207     use them, simply <c>emerge</c> them. They'll be added to the list of available
208     items in the "Add New Items" menu shown when you right-click on the panel.
209 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
210    
211     <ul>
212     <li>
213 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-battery-plugin</c> is perfect for laptop users. It displays battery
214 nightmorph 1.1 percentage, time remaining, power source (AC or battery), fan status,
215     warnings, and can even be configured to execute commands at certain power
216     levels. This feature can be used to put the laptop into hibernate mode when
217     the battery is almost exhausted.
218     </li>
219     <li>
220 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-verve-plugin</c> is a small command line embedded into the panel.
221     It's quicker than opening up another terminal when you want to run a
222     command.
223 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
224     <li>
225 nightmorph 1.21 <c>xfce4-mount-plugin</c> gives you a handy method of mounting devices
226     listed in <path>/etc/fstab</path> just by clicking your mouse
227     </li>
228     <li>
229     <c>xfce4-sensors-plugin</c> lets you monitor your hardware sensors, such as
230     CPU temperature, fan RPM, hard drive temp, motherboard voltage, and more
231 nightmorph 1.1 </li>
232     </ul>
233    
234     </body>
235     </section>
236     <section>
237     <title>Useful programs</title>
238     <body>
239    
240     <p>
241 nightmorph 1.21 We should now <c>emerge</c> some useful applications and utilities:
242 nightmorph 1.34 <c>xfce4-mixer</c>, <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c>, <c>xfwm4-themes</c>, <c>orage</c>,
243     <c>leafpad</c>, <c>xfce4-power-manager</c>, <c>x11-terms/terminal</c>, and
244     <c>thunar</c>.
245 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
246    
247     <p>
248     <c>xfce4-mixer</c> is a volume control for your sound card. It can also be run
249 nightmorph 1.34 as a panel applet, giving you fast access to playback volume.
250     <c>xfce4-taskmanager</c> displays a list of all running programs, and the CPU
251     and memory consumption each one takes up. By right-clicking an item, you can
252     kill a misbehaving application, pause and restart it, or even alter its runtime
253     priority, which lets you fine-tune how much of a demand it puts on your system's
254     resources.
255 nightmorph 1.21 </p>
256    
257     <p>
258 nightmorph 1.22 <c>xfwm4-themes</c> adds several window manager themes. You may want to add a
259     more full-coverage icon theme such as <c>tango-icon-theme</c> just to round out
260     your desktop.
261 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
262    
263     <p>
264 nightmorph 1.34 <c>orage</c> is a simple, handy calendar. <c>leafpad</c> is a barebones text
265 nightmorph 1.32 editor that starts up extremely quickly.
266     </p>
267    
268     <p>
269     <c>xfce4-power-manager</c> is an application to monitor and manage power usage.
270     This is especially important for laptops! The power manager allows you to adjust
271     screen brightness, choose maximum performance or battery-saving modes, and setup
272     hibernate, suspend, and shutdown actions when the lid is shut or buttons are
273     pressed. You can set <uri
274     link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-power-manager">xfce4-power-manager</uri>
275     to warn you when your battery reaches certain levels, or even turn off your
276     machine. The application comes with a couple of helpful panel plugins to display
277     battery/charging status, and a brightness control.
278     </p>
279    
280     <p>
281     <c>x11-terms/terminal</c> is an X11 terminal emulator, far more configurable and
282     useful than the barebones <c>xterm</c>. <c>terminal</c> supports Unicode text,
283     color schemes, pseudo-transparency and hardware-accelerated transparency via
284     Xfce's built-in compositor, all out-of-the-box. Just make sure that the default
285     action on the terminal launcher of your panel runs
286     <path>/usr/bin/Terminal</path> instead of <path>xterm</path>. Right-click the
287     launcher and choose "Properties" to change the command.
288 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
289    
290     <p>
291 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar</c> is Xfce's default graphical file manager. It's fast yet quite
292     powerful, can support several plugins for even more functionality; just install
293 nightmorph 1.4 them with <c>emerge</c>. Let's take a look:
294 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
295    
296 nightmorph 1.4 <ul>
297     <li>
298 nightmorph 1.21 <c>thunar-archive-plugin</c> lets you create and extract archive files using
299     the right-click menu. It provides a handy <uri
300 nightmorph 1.41 link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/thunar-plugins/thunar-archive-plugin">front-end</uri>
301     for graphical archiving applications such as <c>xarchiver</c> and
302     <c>file-roller</c>.
303 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
304     <li>
305 nightmorph 1.34 <c>tumbler</c> lets you preview certain types of files from within Thunar,
306     such as images and fonts.
307 nightmorph 1.4 </li>
308     <li>
309     <c>thunar-volman</c> automatically <uri
310 nightmorph 1.41 link="http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/thunar-plugins/thunar-volman">manages</uri>
311 nightmorph 1.4 removable media and drives.
312     </li>
313     </ul>
314 nightmorph 1.1
315     <p>
316 nightmorph 1.4 Next, let's see about adding some useful but lightweight desktop applications,
317     in keeping with Xfce's philosophy.
318 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
319    
320     <p>
321 nightmorph 1.34 Though <c>leafpad</c> is nice enough as a basic text editor, if you need a
322 nightmorph 1.17 full-featured word processor but don't want the bloat of OpenOffice, try
323 nightmorph 1.19 emerging <c>abiword</c>. <uri link="http://www.abisource.com">AbiWord</uri> is
324 nightmorph 1.17 lighter, faster, and is completely interoperable with industry-standard document
325 nightmorph 1.37 types.
326 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
327    
328     <p>
329     Need a nice email client/newsreader that isn't as demanding as
330 nightmorph 1.28 <c>thunderbird</c> or <c>evolution</c>? Try emerging <c>claws-mail</c>.
331 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
332    
333     <p>
334     For your internet chat needs, <c>irssi</c> is an excellent, tiny, incredibly
335     configurable IRC client that runs in your terminal. If you prefer a compact
336     all-in-one client that handles nearly all chat protocols, you may want to
337 nightmorph 1.10 <c>emerge pidgin</c>.
338 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
339    
340     <p>
341     If you need movie and music players, look no further than <c>mplayer</c> and
342 nightmorph 1.19 <uri link="/proj/en/desktop/sound/decibel.xml">decibel-audio-player</uri>. They
343     can play most every media format available quite nicely.
344 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
345    
346     <p>
347     Finally, you'll need a webbrowser. Nearly all graphical webbrowsers require more
348 nightmorph 1.31 resources than most of your other desktop applications. Still, <c>firefox</c>
349 nightmorph 1.34 and <c>midori</c> are always good choices. Alternatively, you may find
350 nightmorph 1.31 <c>opera</c> to be quite fast. However, <c>opera</c> is not available on as many
351     processor architectures as <c>firefox</c>, and it has more dependencies unless
352     you override them with a few USE flags.
353 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
354    
355     <pre caption="Adding a webbrowser">
356     <comment>(Installing Mozilla Firefox)</comment>
357 nightmorph 1.31 # <i>emerge firefox</i>
358 nightmorph 1.34 <comment>(Installing Midori)</comment>
359     # <i>emerge midori</i>
360 nightmorph 1.1 <comment>(Installing Opera)</comment>
361 nightmorph 1.30 # <i>echo "www-client/opera gtk -kde" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
362 nightmorph 1.1 # <i>emerge opera</i>
363     </pre>
364    
365     <p>
366     Now that we've explored some good suggestions for rounding out your desktop
367     applications, let's see what else we can do to enhance your Xfce experience.
368     </p>
369    
370     </body>
371     </section>
372     <section>
373     <title>Graphical login</title>
374     <body>
375    
376     <p>
377     Remember when we added <c>startxfce4</c> to our <path>~/.xinitrc</path>? All you
378     have to do to get into your desktop is type <c>startx</c> after logging in. This
379     is fine if you prefer a completely text-based boot and login, but let's use a
380     display manager that will automatically start Xfce after booting (so that you
381     can login graphically).
382     </p>
383    
384     <p>
385     First, let's make sure Xfce loads at boot:
386     </p>
387    
388     <pre caption="Adding xdm to the default runlevel">
389     # <i>rc-update add xdm default</i>
390     </pre>
391    
392     <p>
393     We aren't quite finished yet. We have to pick a display manager and set the
394     appropriate variable. Though there are a few choices available in Portage, for
395 nightmorph 1.16 this guide, we'll stick with <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de">SLiM</uri>, the
396     Simple Login Manager.
397 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
398    
399     <p>
400 nightmorph 1.16 <c>slim</c> is speedy and lightweight, with minimal dependencies. Perfect for
401     Xfce!
402 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
403    
404 nightmorph 1.16 <pre caption="Installing SLiM">
405     # <i>emerge -avt slim</i>
406 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
407    
408 nightmorph 1.19 <note>
409     The <c>branding</c> USE flag will pull in the <c>slim-themes</c> package, which
410     will give you an assortment of login themes, including a Gentoo Linux theme.
411     </note>
412    
413 nightmorph 1.1 <p>
414     Then edit the DISPLAYMANAGER variable in <path>/etc/conf.d/xdm</path>:
415     </p>
416    
417     <pre caption="Editing /etc/conf.d/xdm">
418 nightmorph 1.16 DISPLAYMANAGER="slim"
419 nightmorph 1.1 </pre>
420    
421     <p>
422 nightmorph 1.16 SLiM can automatically start your Xfce session if you add
423 nightmorph 1.25 <c>XSESSION="Xfce4"</c> to <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path>:
424 nightmorph 1.4 </p>
425    
426 nightmorph 1.25 <pre caption="Setting XSESSION">
427     # <i>echo XSESSION=\"Xfce4\" > /etc/env.d/90xsession</i>
428     # <i>env-update &amp;&amp; source /etc/profile</i>
429     </pre>
430    
431 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
432     </section>
433     <section>
434     <title>Beautifying your desktop</title>
435     <body>
436    
437     <p>
438     A little customization of your desktop's appearance can go a long way. Xfce has
439     all the options you'd expect from a modern desktop environment, font
440     antialiasing settings, color schemes, dozens of window decorations, themes, and
441     more. If these aren't enough, it's easy to install third-party themes, icon
442     sets, mouse cursor themes, and wallpapers.
443     </p>
444    
445     <p>
446     A selection of nice Gentoo wallpapers in a variety of resolutions are hosted on
447 nightmorph 1.2 the <uri link="/main/en/graphics.xml">Gentoo website</uri>. If you're looking
448     for icon sets and complete Xfce themes, <uri
449 nightmorph 1.1 link="http://www.xfce-look.org/">Xfce-Look</uri> has a huge collection. The
450     important thing to remember about any third-party eyecandy you download is that
451     it will usually first need to be unpacked and then installed to the proper
452     directory. Icon sets go in <path>/usr/share/icons/</path>, and themes go to
453 nightmorph 1.2 <path>/usr/share/themes/</path>; use these directories when you want all users
454     to be able to access themes and icon sets. Individual users can install themes
455     and icon sets to <path>~/.themes/</path> and <path>~/.icons/</path>.
456 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
457    
458     <p>
459 nightmorph 1.16 If you installed SLiM as your display manager, there are lots of themes in the
460     <c>slim-themes</c> package available in Portage. Also, be sure to check the SLiM
461     <uri link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes01.php">themes page</uri> for more
462     themes. Creating your own SLiM theme is fairly easy; just read the <uri
463 nightmorph 1.19 link="http://slim.berlios.de/themes_howto.php">Themes HowTo</uri>. Gentoo also
464     ships a <c>slim-themes</c> package that you can <c>emerge</c>.
465 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
466    
467     <p>
468     Finally, Xfce has its own built-in compositor to manage window transparency.
469     This option can be found in Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager. For best
470     performance, you will need to be running a graphics card with drivers that
471 nightmorph 1.4 support hardware-accelerated rendering. Make sure you emerged <c>xfwm4</c> with
472     the <c>xcomposite</c> USE flag. Next, you will need to enable compositing in
473     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> by adding the following section:
474 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
475    
476     <pre caption="Enabling composite in xorg.conf">
477     Section "Extensions"
478     Option "Composite" "Enable"
479     EndSection
480     </pre>
481    
482     <p>
483     This is the bare minimum configuration required for Xfce and Xorg-X11. However,
484     setting up hardware-accelerated rendering depends on your individual graphics
485     card, and is beyond the scope of this guide. Please see the other guides in the
486     <uri link="/doc/en/index.xml?catid=desktop">Desktop Documentation
487     Resources</uri> list to learn about configuring hardware-accelerated rendering
488     for your graphics card.
489     </p>
490    
491 nightmorph 1.21 <p>
492     Once you've finished setting up a beautiful Xfce desktop, the next thing to do
493     is take a picture of it to share with other folks! Just install
494     <c>xfce4-screenshooter</c> and post your pictures somewhere for all to admire.
495     </p>
496    
497 nightmorph 1.1 </body>
498     </section>
499     </chapter>
500    
501     <chapter>
502     <title>Summary</title>
503     <section>
504     <body>
505    
506     <p>
507     Congratulations on making it this far! You've installed and configured a speedy
508     desktop environment with a solid suite of applications for your computing
509     needs.
510     </p>
511    
512     </body>
513     </section>
514     <section>
515 nightmorph 1.36 <title>Upgrading Xfce</title>
516     <body>
517    
518     <p>
519 swift 1.44 If you're upgrading Xfce from earlier major versions (4.x), then you will
520 swift 1.40 need to remove your old cached sessions and profiles as they are incompatible
521 swift 1.44 with new releases. For each of your users, run the following commands to remove
522     your old incompatible cached sessions and profile:
523 nightmorph 1.36 </p>
524    
525     <pre caption="Deleting old sessions from the cache">
526     $ <i>rm -r ~/.cache/sessions</i>
527     $ <i>rm -r ~/.config/xfce*</i>
528     $ <i>rm -r ~/.config/Thunar</i>
529     </pre>
530    
531 swift 1.40 <p>
532     Users will be greeted with a new and shiny interface, but will lose many of
533     their individual settings. Sadly, no migration of configuration(s) exist that we
534     know of.
535     </p>
536    
537 nightmorph 1.36 </body>
538     </section>
539     <section>
540 nightmorph 1.1 <title>Resources</title>
541     <body>
542    
543     <p>
544     Need additional help on configuring and using Xfce? Need more lightweight
545 nightmorph 1.4 application suggestions? Try checking out:
546 nightmorph 1.1 </p>
547    
548     <ul>
549     <li><uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org">The Gentoo forums</uri></li>
550     <li>#xfce on irc.freenode.net</li>
551 nightmorph 1.7 <li>
552     The installed help files and other documentation provided by Xfce:
553     <path>/usr/share/xfce4/doc/C/index.html</path>. Just point your browser at
554     it and start reading. There are even a lot of "hidden" configuration options
555     detailed in the help files.
556     </li>
557 nightmorph 1.4 <li><uri link="http://www.xfce.org">Xfce's home page</uri></li>
558 nightmorph 1.1 </ul>
559    
560     </body>
561     </section>
562     </chapter>
563     </guide>

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