Menu issues

Jannis Pohlmann jannis at
Fri Sep 11 00:44:51 CEST 2009

On Thu, 10 Sep 2009 15:04:36 -0700
Drew Leske <dleske at> wrote:

> So I guess this is a bit of a ramble, but my questions are:
> (1) Is being a lightweight desktop environment still a goal?

Yes, I'd say so. Perhaps not ultra-lightweight but in the
foreseeable future the thing we call Xfce will remain a small number of
components with a realistic set of dependencies and I don't think
there's any reason to be concerned about bloat in Xfce.

Actually, I'd go as far as to say that 4.6 didn't introduce any
additional bloat compared to 4.4 except maybe for GStreamer. 
In 4.8, the mixer is no longer a core component (which makes sense in
the light of pulseaudio being adopted by distributions). 4.8 will
have a new dependency on GIO (ThunarVFS will be dropped for that).
GVfs (which has a few GNOME dependencies) will be completely optional.
Besides that, our increasing use of D-Bus could be seen as a
"slow-downer" of Xfce but it also ensures loose coupling, flexibility
and a nice overall architecture.

I'm sure that there's a lot of room for speed and memory optimizations
without the need to sacrifice the maintainability of our codebase. But
people have to accept that we're just a small team consisting of half a
dozen core developers working on Xfce in their free time. For this
situation to improve there would have to be more participants in the
development and/or systematic funding. 

And hey, we're using git now, so please start cloning our repositories
and work on fixes and play with new ideas!

> (2) For those using custom menus, have you found a reasonable
> solution?

For 4.6 we have adopted the menu specification which
ensures compatibility with most desktop applications available today. 

I agree that custom menus are now more complicated to maintain.
Pleasing all participants on involves a certain level
of complexity and compromises.

There are menu editors out there (like Alacarte) which do a decent job
at making it easier to edit menus. The bad news is that 4.6 doesn't
support the bits in the specification dealing with menu editing. For
that you'll need to wait for 4.8 (scheduled for next April) or possible
development releases between 4.6 and 4.8. 

(I don't feel comfortable myself to tell you this because I am the one
responsible for the menu library and all that... I certainly made life
more complicated for a lot of people.)

> I have considered going back to 4.4.3, but this doesn't seem like the
> correct solution, and would cut me out of bug fixes and the like.
> Having said that, I never had any problems with 4.4.3.
> And for any developers listening, please understand I think XFCE is
> great and I do appreciate all the work that's gone into it.

Thanks, this kind of feedback is always welcome. (Not saying that I
don't like critical response though. ;))

  - Jannis
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