xfce4 beta1 released

Olivier Fourdan fourdan at xfce.org
Sun Jun 8 14:07:35 CEST 2003

xfce4 'Beta 1' release announcement

1. What is it?
2. What is new?
3. Packages
4. Where do I get it?
5. Installation instructions
6. How do I use it?

What is it?
XFce 4 is a desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims
to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and
easy to use. It is based on the GTK+ toolkit version 2 and aims to
adhere to the standards defined on http://freedesktop.org.

XFce 4 consists of a number of components that together provide the full
functonality of the desktop environment. The modular design allows you
to pick and choose from the available packages to create the best
personal working environment.

XFce 4 is all free software. Each component is released under a BSD, GNU
LGPL or GNU GPL licence.

What is new?
Beta 1 is the first public development release of the next generation of
the XFce desktop environment. It is a complete rewrite from XFce 3. 

Highlights of the release include:
* Based on GTK2: improved general appearance, antialiased fonts.
* Modular design: pick and choose from the available packages.
* Development platform: XFce 4 provides a set of libraries that make it
  easy to create programs that fit in with the desktop environment,
  providing utility functions, widgets and dialogs and a global
  preferences framework.
* Standards compliant window manager with great themeing capabilities,
  and a lot of themes to go with it.
* Improved panel with horizontal and vertical mode, autohide and a
  plugin framework for third-party add-ons.
* Filemanager with integrated SMB network browser.
* Settings manager for global preferences of XFce components and user
  interface settings.
* A number of additional packages like a taskbar, an iconbox and a 
  printer dialog.

XFce 4 beta 1 consists of the following packages:


* libxfce4util
  Library with non-graphical helper functions.
* libxfcegui4
  Widget library required by xfce4 and xfwm4.
* libxfce4mcs
  Settings management library used by most XFce 4 modules. 


* xfce-mcs-manager
  Settings manager. Provides a control center for settings manager
  plugins that are provided by other modules. 

* xfce-mcs-plugins
  Settings manager plugins. The plugins provide settings dialogs for
  general items that are not part of a package, e.g. GTK settings, mouse
  settings and keyboard settings. 
* xfwm4
  The XFce 4 window mananger. Manages the placement of application
  windows on the screen, provides window decorations and manages
  workspaces or virtual desktops. 

* xfce4-panel
  The XFce 4 panel. Provides program lauchers, a workspace switcher, a
  clock, subpanels and more. 

* xfdesktop
  Desktop background manager. This program sets the background image and
  provides a root window menu. The module also provides two settings
  manager dialogs that allow you to change the background and change
  number of workspaces.

* xfce-utils
  Essential utilities and scripts. Provides a taskbar, an about dialog,
  a run dialog and several important scripts that are used by other
  packages including the panel. Also contains this user guide. 

* xffm
  File manager. Also allows you to browse samba network shares. 

* xfprint
  Print dialog. Provides a graphical frontend for printing. Includes
  xfprint4 and xfprint-manager.
* xfce4-iconbox
  An icon box that can be used as an alternative for the taskbar
  provided in the xfce-utils package. 
* gtk-xfce-engine-2
  Theme engine for GTK2. Not required for the desktop, but it's a nice
  theme engine so you might just as well give it a try. 


* xfwm4-themes
  Window decoration themes for xfwm4.
* xffm-icons
  Icon themes for the xffm file manager.
* xfce4-mixer
  Volume control for the panel. Includes a simple mixer dialog. 

* xfce4-toys
  Less serious utilities and additions for the panel. Currently contains
  a tips/fortunes dialog and an xeyes implementation for the panel.

Where do I get it?
Source tarballs and rpm packages are available from our SourceForge
http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=19869&release_id .

Installation instructions
RPM packages for redhat 8 and 9 are provided with the release. Debian
packages should be available soon for 'unstable'.

If you can't find binaries for your OS or distribution, or if you would
rather compile the packages yourself, read the instructions below.

Build order
* libxfce4util
* libxfce4mcs
* libxfcegui4
* desktop modules (see 'Packages')
* extras modules (see 'Packages')

Building a package should be a simple matter of unpacking the tarball
and, from the top source directory, typing:

  ./configure && make && make install

Building XFce 4 depends on pkg-config, GTK+ >= 2.0.6 (including dev
packages), libxml2 and, for xffm, on libdbh, which is available from

If you install into a different prefix from pkg-config, you have to set
the PKG_CONFIG_PATH variable to include the path to the *.pc files
installed by the XFce 4 libraries, which is ${prefix}/lib/pkgconfig. 

For example:

  export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig

All source tarballs contain so called spec files that allow you to build
your own RPM packages:

  rpmbuild -ta module.tar.gz 

How do I use it?
To start an XFce 4 session run 'startxfce4' from the console, instead of
startx. To cusomize the behaviour of startxfce4 you can copy the xinitrc
file from ${sysconfdir}/xfce4/xinitrc to ~/.xfce4/xinitrc and edit that

The xfce-utils package also provides a script for gdm, which will be
installed if gdm is found during the configure stage. Consult the gdm,
kdm or xdm documentation for pointers on how to add a custom session to
your graphical
login manager. It generally should work to create an ~/.xsession file
and put startxfce4 in there; then you should be able to choose the
default session from the login manager. The ~/.xsession file must be

For more information read the XFce 4 documentation, starting with the
user guide. To access the documentation you can run 'xfhelp4', choose
help from the desktop background mouse menu or the rightclick menu on
the panel move handles.

Thank you for your interest in XFce 4. Please report bugs to 'xfce4-dev
at moongroup.com' (you can subscribe at


The xfce4 developpment theam

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