A short outside history of Xfce

Joe Klemmer klemmerj at webtrek.com
Wed May 3 17:17:34 CEST 2006

	Some here have noticed my desire for Xfce to be as CDE-like as
possible.  Many (most?) are likely wondering why.  Here is a quick
history of Xfce so that you will see where I'm coming from.  This is not
a comprehensive history nor is it to be taken as gospel.  Olivier
Fourdan is the only real authority for the true history.  Ok, once upon
a time...

	Back in the mid-90's I was hacking away trying to prove that the
organization I was with didn't need $60K to put up a web server (see
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/1259).  My involvement with Linux
started in November of 1991 so I have some familiarity with it and what
it could do.  I grabbed the latest Slackware CD and proceeded to make my
Pentium desktop (yes, an original Pentium running at 133MHz; 128M RAM;
1G HD) into a combination workstation and server.  Back in this era the
dominant window manager was fvwm.  It was nice and fine but I wanted
something a little more CDE'ish.  See, the first UNIX boxes I worked on
were AIX and Solaris so I'd experienced CDE before.  And I liked the way
it organized things.  I was very familiar with OS/2 and the way it
handled menus/draws, also.

	After a little while I started looking for something that could come
close to resembling CDE for Linux.  At first I found ctwm (which isn't
the same ctwm that is on freshemat) but it was not quite usable.  Then I
ran across this little project called XFwm.  It was a panel that ran on
top of fvwm that gave it a little CDE'like functionality.  It was slick
and easy so I wrote to the author to tell him how much I liked it.  This
was the version 1.x days.  As time passed Olivier and I, as well as some
others, started working out how to make this little baby do more.  I'd
give ideas, test, configure while Olivier did all the heavy lifting.
XFce was, at the time, written using xforms which is how it got it's
name.  After a while Olivier decided to switch to gtk+ and to give Xfce
it's own window manager (along with some nice little utils).  Things
went along this way, users asking for features whit Olivier doing all
the coding and me being against everything, through v3.x of Xfce.  By
the time that v4.0 was being thought of a handful of other developers
had started working on the project and this is how Xfce remains today.

	As you can see here, the origins of Xfce are as a CDE'like panel.  The
world may have moved past this but it's still the single main reason for
some of us (ok, me) to use it.  Now you know where I'm coming from and
why I ask for and look for the things I do.

	Thank you all for coming.  I will be signing autographed copies of my
memoirs from 1400 to 1900 on Saturday in the main pavilion.

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