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noldrin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebba wrote:
I haven't used thunar (much?) but damn near everything blows nautilus out of the water. Kind of frustrating that it has been such a pig for so long.


I've been a big fan of PCMan File Manager since it's fulled tabed, fast and hand. But Thunar is looking pretty good too the more I use it.

jebba
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

noldrin wrote:
Here is a screenshot of my blag-o-fied XFCE desktop.

http://noldrin.com/xfce-blag.png


That looks really nice. I know xfce is supposed to be leaner and such but what do you think about it's usability nowadays? How would it be for newbies versus gnome? And the speed? Got a mini review? :)

-Jeff

saddletramp
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, baby!! finally got it to show up!!

leaner, faster and very usable! i'm a slight newbie, although CLI ignorant, who prefers this over gnome or kde anyday!!

thanks for the tip folks.

noldrin
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebba wrote:
That looks really nice. I know xfce is supposed to be leaner and such but what do you think about it's usability nowadays? How would it be for newbies versus gnome? And the speed? Got a mini review? :)


Well I've been using Gnome before Nautilus was in it, and using it extensively since BLAG 10K, and I find it easier to find things in XFCE and do things. It generally is the same idea of Gnome, a menu with your apps, although it puts everything on one menu and you can call it up anywhere on the desktop like classic window managers, not just the start button.

The title bars are easier to use, although it has more buttons, they are useful, the menu button acts like it does on most interfaces, unlike gnome. (double click will exit the program) It's really easy to customize the title bar, it's visual. It's easy to customize most things in XFCE. And all the standard stuff comes in one settings panel. I suppose the stuff not integrated would be hard to find for a newbie, like screen saver.

The desktop makes use of multi button mice, being an ex-OS/2 user, I was pleased with that, but I think it's still usable for anybody coming from windows.

The panels are really easy to do things with and add and move stuff, much easier than I've had in Gnome. I want to experiment with what I can do with it, so how far I can push it. Their is a program to add gnome panel stuff to XFCE, but I haven't played with it yet, I'm trying not to bring too much over from GNOME. I need to test it over a network connection, GNOME will have issues of not being able to load applets over a network connection and ask if it can delete them on you.

Speed is great. Startup feels very snappy once you remove the mouse splash screen. You can open the application menu without causing the wait for the icons to appear like in Gnome. Thunar open nicely, but I haven't played with it for large directories of images yet. Shutdown is also very fast and it feels more clear what it's doing. That is the general feel, you feel like you know what it's doing. The XFCE terminal is faster than the GNOME terminal, and feel more like one.

I think the main loss from GNOME would be having a less universal use of tabs. It's very much worth more exploring.

iron_chef
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, what noldrin just said... :)

That pretty much sums it up. Xfce's come quite a ways since I first tried it in the version 3.x days. And version 4.4 with Thunar and desktop icons is a huge leap forward for newbie friendliness.

The only things I don't like about it are purely cosmetic and trivial to change, e.g. the default panel layout. I prefer a more Gnome-y layout (slimmer panels on the top and bottom that stretch across the full screen, task-list on the bottom).

One thing the developer in me really likes is the way it's configured. Everything is in the correct place, filesystem-wise, and everything follows the freedesktop.org "standards" correctly. All default system configuration is in /etc/xdg/. All per-user configuration gets stored in $HOME/.config/ in the same way. It's very sane. Not like the headache that the gconf system in Gnome is.

I like the little pulsating mouse splash screen too... I'm looking into a way to replace it with a pulsating BLAG black star... :)

noldrin
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iron_chef wrote:
Yeah, what noldrin just said... :)The only things I don't like about it are purely cosmetic and trivial to change, e.g. the default panel layout. I prefer a more Gnome-y layout (slimmer panels on the top and bottom that stretch across the full screen, task-list on the bottom).


This is what I got with a little bit of playing around:

http://noldrin.com/xfec-blag-gnomelike.png

I didn't build any menus under places and system, but I could using xml. I could also customize the Applications menu. One note is that the battery icon is a panel applet and not in the notifier applet, Making Application Shortcuts do seem a bit more pain in the butt though than in gnome.

iron_chef
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work! I like it.

I also did some playing around over lunch, and have customized the xfce-session splash screen. I basically hacked the xfce4-session source and added another splash theme engine called BLAG. It was pretty non-trivial - it involved building a new shared library (/usr/lib/xfce4/splash/engines/libblag.so), but I'd be happy to let anyone who's interested know how I did it. There's pretty much no documentation on it that I could find (besides the source code).
I created a new RPM package for it too. I updated the xfce4-session.spec file to spit out another RPM called xfce4-session-blag-engine in addition to the other engines it builds.

The other thing I did was create a brand new RPM called blag-xfce-desktop that basically just requires all of the components of a healthy xfce desktop. All it does is install a README file in /usr/share/doc, but it won't install it unless all the other packages are present. In other words, an apt-get install or yum install will pull everything in with it.

Go here to fetch it all if you want to check any of it out:
http://www.thisiswherethefishlives.org/blag

Joe

john maclean
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is soooo cool!

_________________
BLAG 'em up!
pistonbrew
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

good stuff joe - i love xfce and am using it on all my boxes now. however, i do find i have more problems with it on my blag boxes (installed alongside gnome) than with, say, zenwalk installed with exclusively xfce.

i wonder how much hassle it would be to ship a 'lite' blag with xfce as default?

(just wondering out loud - i'm happy with blag as it is!)

noldrin
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found a bug and made my XFCE panels go poof, then I accidentally saved my session. Now I can't even call up the panel option window. So while I have fun hacking my way through the config files, I set up XFCE to act like the first window manager I used to use, MWM, used to. This of course can be done without accidentally destroying the panels.

http://noldrin.com/xfce-blag-mwmlike.png

The simplicity really brings me back, I often miss it. In case you never used such a window manager, the icons are minimized windows, you get the menu by right clicking on the desktop, you get the list of workspaces with the middle button on the desktop (or press both buttons at the same time) To close a window you double click the menu button on the title bar. Here is an example of how it looked:

http://www.opengroup.org/graphics/desktop/m-mwm.gif

I think it's cool that XFCE is easily functional as a more lightweight style window manager, but with modern conveniences, such as GUI setup tools, the pin to all workspaces button, and the doublelclick to roll up windows, alt-tab window list.

While I love the XFCE terminal, it seems a bit big to me. I might try shrinking the font. I think next in I'll do something like this with some light paneling on the bottom, sort of CDE-like.

saddletramp
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

might as well continue on with this thread.

just got xfce installed on another computer, but there are only 8 items in settings manager and one of the ones that is missing is screensaver. i believe there should be 12 items in there.

any ideas on how to get at least the screensaver added and what ever else might be missing?

thanks

pistonbrew
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

saddletramp wrote:
might as well continue on with this thread.

just got xfce installed on another computer, but there are only 8 items in settings manager and one of the ones that is missing is screensaver. i believe there should be 12 items in there.

any ideas on how to get at least the screensaver added and what ever else might be missing?

thanks


hmm - have you got these installed?

Code:
xfce-mcs-manager
xfce-mcs-plugins

noldrin
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pistonbrew wrote:

Code:
xfce-mcs-manager
xfce-mcs-plugins


you also need to install xscreensaver. There aren't suppose to be any specific number of items in settings, just for what you have installed and have plugins for. It's part of the nice modularity of the system. Here is an example with 17:

http://www.xfce.org/images/about/screenshots/4.2-1.jpg

The BLAG/Fedora version is missing the icon for User Interlace. When I switch to really little guys, I get X's instead of icons for Display, Keyboard and Mouse.

saddletramp
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

didn't have this one:
xfce-mcs-plugins

any other linux distro that i've used, screensaver was just there. even zenwalk, that uses xfce by default/only desktop. just figured it used what ever gnome or kde had installed.

edit:
now i have 12 items in there, but screensaver isn't one of them. out of time for today. will try some more tomoroow.

thanks

noldrin
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xscreensaver basically used to be used by all, but then someone made gnome-screensaver, and the gnome world has suffered with it every since. You need to seperately install xscreensaver, which is a altogether a better tool.

I got my panels back, just had to run xfce4-panel and then log out and back in, all set. For some reason all my icons are now in the settings panel/menu (I have 16) I have no idea where they came from. All I did was fix my panel and install the orage calendar.

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