Archive for June 18, 2009

The Three Faces of Fedora 11, Part 3: Xfce

June 18, 2009 10 comments

I have to confess that in writing this blog item about Xfce on Fedora 11, I’ve had divine inspiration. I mean, really divine inspiration, as in as high on the divinity food chain as you can get.

Jesus wants everyone to use Xfce. He said so here on my Facebook page two days ago:


So who am I to argue with the Son of God?

And you might think this is the last word on this — He would, of course — but bear in mind you’re dealing with Larry the Free Software Guy, who always tries to get in the last word.

So while Jesus and other diety are paying attention to Texas or Iran or something else, I’ll try to get this in: Fedora 11 using Xfce 4.6 — say it with me here — is probably designed for older machines and/or machines that may not have as much memory as newer ones. But I’ll go one further: F11 with Xfce absolutely flies on machines that are not so old, like this one, even after adding a whole plethora of software and running multiple programs at the same time (like, say, OpenOffice, Gimp, Firefox, Bluefish and Tux Paint all open in one desktop, all performing as if none of the others were open).

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog — those two or three of you outside my family — know that I’ve always been a big fan of Xfce. Herding old hardware like I do, it’s normally what works when 256MB is as high as you can go and you want ol’ Bessie to actually be able to do something. So imagine putting this lightweight desktop on something more substantial, hardware wise, and it’s like putting a 426 Hemi in a golf cart.

Of all the things native to Xfce that are of special note, two stand out: Ristretto, which is a lightening-quick image viewer, and Mousepad, which is like Leafpad but can actually print (I’d certainly like that afternoon back where I tried to print something from Leafpad, but that’s another story). It accompanies the usual array of solid, steady Xfce programs like the Thunar file manager and the ubiquitous calendar Orage.

Think of the Xfce desktop as I do: Like a racing car, it has only what is necessary to make it go, and in this case, go fast; no extras and no frills. If you want the bells and whistles and “optional features” like a luggage rack and the chrome trim, you may want to use another desktop. But Fedora 11 using Xfce certainly takes the checkered flag.

Tomorrow we’ll take a brief look at the “fourth face” of the Three Faces of Fedora 11 — LXDE — and have a wrap-up.

[Whew. Got that in before the Son of God had a chance to render me completely mute and speechle

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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