Home > Fedora, Xfce > The Three Faces of Fedora 11, Part 3: Xfce

The Three Faces of Fedora 11, Part 3: Xfce

June 18, 2009

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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  1. June 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Since I read this does it make me part of the family?
    I keep coming back to Mint6 XFCE for the same reasons.
    Fedora11 gnome was a little unstable on my IBM T41. Although I could tell that the video drivers were improved.
    Now I’m going to have to go back and download the XCFE version.
    Keep publishing, more than 3 of my family members read my missives and that alone was astonishing.

    • June 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks, Dick — with the numbers I have put up with this particular blog, I think my family is very extended at this point 🙂

  2. Colonel Panik
    June 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    What does the Mother of Jesus use?

  3. June 18, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Larry, this has been a nice series of entries on F11 — I’ve been waiting for your review, and I’m glad to see it.

    I’m a huge fan of Xfce, even though I’ve been using GNOME in Ubuntu 8.04 a whole lot more than I ever thought I would.

    I have a Debian Lenny box set up with Xfce, and I’m contemplating an extended test of it. It doesn’t have NetworkManager on it, and I think I can get my networking configured better in the text files than with the GNOME app.

    One of the things I miss from OpenBSD (where I used Xfce as my main desktop) was the networking. Some of it is familiarity, but when networking works in OpenBSD, it works better. One of the great things in OpenBSD is that you can plug and unplug NICs while the system is running, and the box will detect them and pretty much get them working. I’m having more trouble in Ubuntu, and I hope that doing a manual configuration (which I think requires me to rip out NetworkManager) will solve some of my problems …

  4. June 19, 2009 at 9:42 am


    You did well, my son. I wish you had spent more time covering how fast Xfce is, but I suppose that being your primary point a mere two or three times will have to suffice.

    Speed is important in Heaven, because nothing short of your lives are on the line. Your prayers come in via a RSS feed, which is parsed and sorted according to the severity of your sins or requests, with the final notes being dropped in one of several inboxes in Thunderbird. If I had to wait for a flashy component of Metacity or a window outline in KDE before getting to a message that family of four in the minivan might not receive the Heavenly intervention they need within the short time they have left!

    On top of that, due to colossal money mismanagement by God since the dawn of time (seriously, my dad has NO financial sense), most of Heaven’s infrastructure is spliced together from old parts. Several of the Angel dorms are still running Netware 3.11 over ARCNET, for instance. Perhaps if you could write a post requesting that people tithe we might be able to get a couple of new machines up here!

  5. Jercos
    June 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Blasphemy! Madness! SPARTA! I wasn’t mentioned 😦

    Also, ol’ Bessie runs a custom debootstrapped image loop-mounted and shared over NFS, then PXE booted (or she would if I got my filthy hands on her. I need those 10 MB disks for the computer history museum.)

  6. Philip Rhoades
    July 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I have been having frequent system lockups with F11 and XFCE after upgrading from F10 and Gnome . . is it likely it is XFCE?



    • July 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      Not that I’m aware of. You can probably find out the answer at #fedora on IRC (FreeNode) or peruse the forums.

  7. Bob McConnell
    October 5, 2009 at 4:45 am

    I installed the F11 live cd on two systems. But they both booted up into KDE. How do I switch to XFCE?

  1. June 20, 2009 at 3:40 am
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