Xfce 4.8 released

Xfce 4.8 released after nearly two years of development. Hopefully, there are no added features or functionality! (That’s a joke.)


(In fact, there is a loss of functionality for BSD users who implement the *nix desktop environment. But let’s not even talk about that problem because it opens a whole ‘nuther can of worms.)

Xfce is a Linux desktop enviornment like Gnome or KDE, but supposedly leaner and meaner, and thus more suitable where few bells and whistles are required, or older hardware is being used. If you are a Ubuntu user or otherwise familar with Linux, you’ve heard of Xubuntu. Xfce is the “X” in Xubuntu.

There are all kinds of improvements and changes, and you can find out more about it here.

There was an interesting article in Linux Journal comparing desktops in which memory use was compared between a pristine instantiation of Gnome and a pristine instantiation of Xfce (i.e., turn the computer on and don’t do anything yet). They were essentially the same. Despite what everyone seems to say, Xfce is not a stripped down desktop environment. A distribution like Xubuntu gets its leanness and its meanness not from the desktop being highly efficient, but from the applications that are default to the distro being selectively low-demand.

I’ve tried Xfce a few times but noticed that there was no palpable improvement in efficiency on an older machine compared to Gnome, but certain functionality was missing, so I’ve not gone back. I am toying with the idea of skipping the “desktop” thing entirely and going with a simple window manager and nothing more on my laptop. However, now that Xfce is out in a new version, I suppose I’ll give it a try.

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4 thoughts on “Xfce 4.8 released

  1. I found the same thing, running Xubuntu on an old laptop (226MB of RAM). Better solution for older hardware is Lubuntu which uses LXDE. It’s not an officially recognised distro yet (non-Canonical if you’ll pardon the pun) but they’re working on getting official endorsement.

    Having said that, the latest XFCE does look kinda nice; might have to run up a VM and try it out.

    Oh, did you ever decide on a non-Ubuntu distro to try? I’m still enjoying Sabayon.

  2. The review I mention in Linux Journal says the same thing about LXDE.

    Regarding non-linux Distro: I’m getting a new scanner. I intend to match the scanner with a distro to get maximum functionality. It happens that this scanner is heavily tested under Fedora, so I may go that way, but I’ll experiment a bit. It’s in the mail.

  3. Probably the lightest unofficial version of Ubuntu was Crunchbang (Openbox in lieu of Gnome), but recently they abandoned even Ubuntu. Now #! is Debian+Openbox, and the updates are rolling, not biannual.

    I am toying with the idea of skipping the “desktop” thing entirely and going with a simple window manager and nothing more on my laptop.
    You are not alone.

  4. I have been using Fedora for years. This is because it is better geared for a managed environment, as opposed to a single user environment. As you know, Fedora is the “bleeding edge” development bed for Red Hat. They issue a new release twice per year. That’s where they introduce all the newest bugs. Users report the bugs, but frequently the fixes for the bugs don’t get churned into the distribution pipeline until the next release. At which time of course, there is a new crop of bugs.

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