What's your story with Xfce?

I started using Xfce years ago because I had a very cheap and weak laptop, for which even Cinnamon was too heavy. LXDE worked a bit better, but at that time it was too ugly for me and I preferred a bit heavier Xfce (although I must admit that LXQt in Lubuntu 20.04 properly configured does not look so bad – my girlfriend uses it on a weak netbook). I used Xfce first on Xubuntu and then on Linux Mint.

Later, when I bought myself a laptop with a decent specification (i5-8250U, 8GB of RAM, SSD), I was so happy to finally be able to use heavier DEs, that were previously out of my reach. I've been testing different distributions with GNOME 3 for several months, but unfortunately, although I like some great solutions, this DE has too many weird bugs, that spoil the whole experience in random moments. Cinnamon works great, but I rejected it for some reasons. KDE, although really lightweight these days, is poorly designed – the typography is awful, the different elements do not fit together, as if they were created by teams of programmers who cannot communicate with each other. Besides, whatever you click, a ridiculous number of settings appear. I respect the work of team behind KDE, especially since it is a very popular choice among Linux users, but for me it is too messy.

So even though every distro and every DE will work on my current laptop, I went back to Xfce (Manjaro Xfce, to be specific). It turned out that I fell in love with how light, simple and stable the Xfce is, so much that I prefer them to more fancy DEs. Xfce is great if you just want to start the computer and get things done.

Of course, there are things I miss in Xfce. For example, hot corners from Cinnamon. Or a beautiful and useful music applet from Cinnamon, featuring a large album or podcast cover. I also miss the view that shows up in GNOME 3 when you press the super key, with thumbnails of all the windows opened in this workspace. But overall, I absolutely love Xfce. In GNOME, the first bugs that froze my windows occurred an hour or two after installing Ubuntu 20.04, forcing me to reboot. In years of using Xfce, it hasn't even happened to me once.

So, what's your story with Xfce? Have you tried that DE? Did you like it? And if so, please write if you configure it at all? You add some non-default applets or themes? What do you miss about it?


I like XFCE over all the other desktops besides KDE for the same reasons you pointed out, light, fast, etc. For me personally though, I like the glitz and glamour of the desktop compositors and I like having a dock bar, such as latte or docky, etc. Unfortunately, you can't have both with XFCE unless you make some compromises. I like shadows/blur under my taskbar, but that creates a line across the bottom of the screen unless you deactivate parts of the compositor. This has been an issue with XFCE, like forever, and it never gets addressed.

Also, if you do have shadows/blur enabled, on multi-monitor taskbars, I remember it being messy, shadows of one screen's bar carry over on top of the second screen. In the end, I am always trying to make XFCE into KDE. Now that KDE is just as fast and resource light thanks to Plasma as XFCE, there is really only one choice for me. If KDE didn't exist, XFCE would be my second choice.

Tried and went back to i3 and Gnome. I just like Gnome and i3 they are different then other DE’s. I do not tweak Gnome much and I prefer vanilla Gnome. i3 has to be tweaked, when done no reason to change it, it stays as it is.

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For me XFCE is fine, but I almost always end up adding Cinnamon DE. Not all desktops are compatible with each other, but this pairing hasn't caused me any trouble. Quite a few distros offer XFCE as the flagship, but offer Cinnamon in their repos. I still explore other distros, looking for the ever elusive uefi32 integrated support... Anyway, I'm comfortable using XFCE while exploring another new to me distro.

Started with KDE, it's amazing how good it has become, being really beautiful and fast was a given, but it's also not that memory intensive anymore. But I had to leave it because I was annoyed by every menu being plagued with a lot of settings - i like a bit more minimalist approach.

So I went to XFCE. And It was minimalist, worked well, but I didn't like the look of it, no matter how hard I tried, I missed the blazing elegance of the KDE qt design. I had to keep searching.

Went to Cinnamon, which is amazing, and I got nothing but good words for it, but I adored the qt style more than GTK. (side note: I never tried it, but Budgie apparently is supposed to be like Cinnamon with a more minimalist and stylish approach, and considering that I believe I would enjoy it more.)

When I saw that there was a qt-based fork from LXDE that was also planned to become the main project and replace LXDE itself, I immediately thought that was exactly what I was looking for - qt style and minimalism. And indeed, LXQT is exactly what I hoped it would be.

P.S: I was thinking of not posting on this topic since I actually don't prefer XFCE, but then I saw that most of the posts so far were from people who used XFCE, were ok with it, but prefer other DE's so I said fk it. xD
I mean, the topic is "What is your story with XFCE?" not "Why do you use XFCE?" so I guess it's still on point. ^^


XFCE is the good DE that just doesn't get enough respect! Why go with dependable when it so tempting to risk the glitzy one...

Xfce was my gateway into tinkering with Linux beyond the DE, because it was easy to find instructions online on how you could install i piece-by-piece, with the components of your choosing, on a bare bones Debian install. I'll always love it for that.

Now, I've come to realize that windows not remembering size and position from the last time you closed them, is actually a dealbreaker for me, I just can't get used to ''smart''positioning or whatever they call it. It is just chaos!

So I had a period with KDE, which remembers size/position, but in the end it got too heavy, because I'm into minimalism and composing your own desktop. So then I had a look into Enlightenment , which is great! And now hopefully ending on Fluxbox for a while, before going on to purely tiling WMs. Both of these remember windows size and position.

But I'll always have a soft and sentimental spot for Xfce. It is simple, it doesn't take long before you know it quite well, rock solid, and you can make it look really good. It is the trusty diesel engine of mainstream DEs, it does a great job.


Hot corners - brightside.

Present all windows - skippy-xd (can be a bit buggy).

Also look at xfdashboard, which sort of combines bits of both.

If you are a person that wants to get the work done, then xfce, lxde, lxqt (not yet ready), or only a WM. I have to admit, I like the look of plasma but all my trials wirth it ended up in screwing my system(settings). And it was not my fault, it is the devellopment that screws all up. I hate this, I want to power on my system, do my updates and the system should be fine. The devs of kde and gnome are like little children. When they are ready with the "lego house" they kick it with their feet.

moved to #general-discussion:user-stories

My first install was from a magazine CD and it happened to be Ubuntu Studio, thus Xfce.

I didn't even graps what an environment was, even that it existed.
Later on (back in 2010) I had to make another install, got Ubuntu and discovered it was not behaving like Ubuntu studio. Took me about one week to realize was an environment was !

Then I choose Xubuntu for all my installs, even if I tested all other flavors : I test them as I test any UI, that is "can I get an intuitive understanding in less than 9 minutes ?" If not, I drop.
No other DE made the cut. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Now I only install Manjaro + Xfce & Debian (DFLinux) + Xfce to all the people I convert to Linux[1] (and to myself).
No *buntu anymore : snap is a definite no-no (I also tested Fedora -Xfce & Opensuse - Xfce, but wasn't convinced).

Why Xfce ? It's stable, it's intuitive, it's tweakable, it's fast on any type of computer.
All my "converted users"[1] grasp it instantly.

I also can give it any possible look (even If I like to stay with the simplest UX)

My standard install : adjustable hidden short panel on the upper third of the screen (just a small transparent line to be seen) and Plank on the left.
This allows for minimal cursor move to get to the proper program or function while using the full screen with the app I use.

Capture d’écran_2020-06-24_09-07-21

[1] Converted users are W$ users with any kind of trouble (slowness, ransomware, stuck update...) who ask me for help.
I take their computer, ask nothing & install Debian for the basic users or Manjaro for the more demanding ones.

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I started tinkering with Ubuntu 9.04, I believe. Using the Wubi installer, I started looking at other DEs available. I kept going back to Xubuntu. It looked like Windows, it was fast, settings were easy to grasp and change. I even started moving the task bar to the top of the screen in Windows after some time in Xubuntu.

I opted for the Xfce edition of Mint next, and I spent some time in Zorin. I even tried Spatry's Cup of Linux spin of Manjaro, but abandoned it shortly after getting it installed. I wasn't quite ready for Manjaro then.

Years later, and a lot of reading, I switched back to Manjaro. Xfce is the only edition I've gotten to run correctly on my laptop.

Gnome fits my workflow nicely, but right now, I need Zoom. For some reason, Zoom's video in Gnome doesn't properly. I didn't have time to iron it out, so I dropped it.

KDE has an odd error where scrolling gets glitchy after the computer runs for a bit. It gets really jumpy when I try to move up or down windows, especially web browsers. That's out.

I keep trying Mate, but I get errors with Brisk or the clock. Last time, I couldn't get the weather forecaster app to work properly in the clock/calendar. Mate feels half finished to me.

I spent a little time playing with Budgie in Solus and Manjaro. It's a fine DE, and I may look at it with an older laptop I recently got.

Cinnamon was too heavy for one of my older laptops.

Lxqt/Lxde is too light on features. I'm not familiar enough with the tiling WMs and while I work at home, I need a machine that's up and running, so my tweaking time is minimal.

I like Xfce. It works well, does what I need, and I have minimal issues with it. I get wandering eyes, and I'm curious about other options, but I keep finding myself going back to it because I can make it do what I want and it runs well on my hardware.

Must say that I use them all but my main computer is Xfce. It just feels right for me.

I installed manjaro both as one of my major OSs with dual boot and as a virtual machine OS in VMware player on Windows10. I use Xfce on the virtual machine, as it's light and fast enough. The manjaro dog wallpaper is well-looked, and the desktop is very stable. Its default settings are also good, for example, the theme designers have changed the set of awful ibus colors with a much friendly one, and the start menu is also well designed. The global menu can be opened normally on the virtual machine, and the screen resolution can be scaled without any problems. This DE works well on the virtual machine. It's very good.

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