A HOWTO document & Bug to report

Benedikt Meurer Benedikt.Meurer at unix-ag.uni-siegen.de
Mon Aug 18 20:11:17 CEST 2003

On Mon, 18, Aug 2003, Paleo wrote:

> I wrote a HOWTO document for installing XFce4 on SuSE 8.2. Furthermore, I
> have some bugs to report.
> Can you direct me to the proper people?

Very nice work, Robert. You should send such stuff to the xfce4-dev@
mailinglist in the future (I CC'd this reply). Maybe we can put this
on the website, or maybe but it on a separate website and link it from
the website? Francois, what do you think? Some sections could also be
used for an "About XFce" or "What is XFce" section on the homepage.

> Thank you,
> -Robert Follett

best regards,

The original text:

> #####################################################
> Installing XFce4 on SuSE 8.2
> sonicadmin at earthlink.net
> Looking for something lighter?
> In my home office, I have a very powerful workstation/server with a ton of 
> RAM. It never slows down, no matter what I throw at it! The rest of the boxes 
> on my network either have adequate hardware for their designated tasks or 
> have no GUI interface at all. Hence, I have never had to pay much attention 
> to the resources that my window managers of choice use.
> That all changed when I decided to dig out my old laptop and put it to good 
> use. It's an older Toshiba Ultra Thin that came pre-loaded with Windows 95. 
> Now, it's a very functional laptop, but it's no power house by any means. 
> That is to say that it will not easily run Windows versions newer than 
> Windows 98. Furthermore, the older versions of Windows are a little light on 
> features. So it's Linux to the rescue.
> While Linux provided the right mix of flexibility and feature richness, I 
> still needed to select a window manager. There is certainly no shortage of 
> available window managers for Linux, but given my hardware limitations I had 
> to be very careful with my resources. The lighter ones tend to be so 
> featureless or unintuitave that productivity is hindered. Some I found to be 
> so unattractive that it hurt to look at them. On the other hand, many of the 
> feature rich graphical interfaces are too demanding on the system resources 
> for older hardware. So, I began my search for a window manager that met the 
> following four criteria; light on resources, feature rich, intuitive and good 
> looking.
> Does such a window manager exist for Linux?
> XFce4 - A pleasant surprise
> If you have ever used the CDE graphical interface for UNIX, than XFce will be 
> like running into an old friend. Although just one of several CDE clones for 
> Linux, there is something that makes XFce stand out; It keeps getting better! 
> XFce version 3 was not the prettiest to look at, but it worked well. The 
> latest version, XFce4, has been completely rewritten, and it looks great!
> The XFce development team seems committed to making a powerful desktop 
> environment without unnecessarily weighing it down. The result is a very 
> light, yet full-featured desktop environment that is ideal for systems unable 
> to handle the heavy loads that most popular desktop environments place on 
> system resources. It will also likely appeal to people who like attractive, 
> uncluttered, configurable and extremely responsive desktop environments.
> The current beta version is quite stable and is more than capable of handling 
> the daily tasks of even the most demanding power users. With that in mind, I 
> would still caution anyone contemplating the use of a beta program, of any 
> kind, in a production environment.
> The following article documents the installation of XFce4 (rc2) from binary 
> (RPM) packages. Although this document is specific to SuSE 8.2, it is, 
> none-the-less, applicable to any KDE based distribution.
> Why this document?
> Upon installing XFce I found that I had no way to launch it outside of killing 
> X-windows and starting it from the command line. There are plenty of threads, 
> HOWTOs and documents written on adding additional window managers to KDM. 
> Oftentimes these sources are not written in English and require serious 
> translating, only to find out that they contradict to each other or are out 
> dated. In the end, you may end up without a working window manager.
> I have spent hours breaking my system following such documents and hours more 
> fixing it. After the initial install of the Xfce4 RPMs you should be able to 
> add it to the KDM drop-down window in under five minutes. Even though this 
> document is titled "Installing XFce4 on SuSE 8.2", it could serve as a 
> document for adding additional window managers to KDM as well.
> Dependencies 
> XFce4 is dependent on the following packages. If you do not have them 
> currently installed on your system, install them via YaST from the SuSE CDs:
> pkgconfig
> gtk2 & gtk2-devel
> glib & glib2-devel
> libxml2 & libxml2-devel
> libdbh
> Optional dependencies :
> librsvg (2.2.x or greater)
> libstartup-notification (0.5or greater)
> Downloading
> Before we actually download the files, we should create a directory to place 
> them in. We will create a directory in your user's /home/ directory called 
> Xfce4_files:
> 	mkdir ~/Xfce4_files/
> The XFce Web site (http://www.xfce.org) offers a variety of methods for 
> installing XFce4. Please check the download section for source code (tar 
> balls) or binary (RPM) packages for your particular distribution. As the 
> binary method is rather straight forward, that is the method that we will 
> cover in this document.
> You can obtain XFce4 RPMs for SuSE 8.2 from:  
> http://students.oamk.fi/~olilju00/xfce4/
> If you are downloading XFce4 via FTP and are not familiar with transferring 
> files in that manner, you may prefer using a graphical utility, such as gFTP 
> or kBear (also available via YaST from the SuSE CDs). If you are comfortable 
> with the CLI (command line interface) then a great alternative would be the 
> ncftpget utility.
> 	cd ~/XFce4_files/ 
> 	ncftpget -R ftp://ftp.then-the-ftp-address-here
> Installing RPMs
> If you currently have Xfce3 installed on your system, remove it before 
> proceeding with the Xfce4 installation. Now we are ready to install our newly 
> acquired binariess. Use the following command to install your selected RPMs:
> 	rpm -Uvh rpm_file_name.rpm
> Alternatively, you can install the RPMs all at once without regard to the 
> required dependencies by typing:
> 	rpm -Uvh --nodeps rpm-file-name.rpm
> As the later install method is more risky, is not recommended unless you are 
> familiar with RPM installations. Should something go wrong and you are unable 
> to resolve the problem, you can uninstall the RPMs by using the -e (a.k.a. 
> erase) switch:
> 	rpm -e rpm-file-name.rpm (or to uninstall all RPMs at once, use: *.rpm).
> For additional RPM options see: man rpm
> Installation Order
> Install the RPM packages in the order listed below. You may choose to move 
> each package to the DONE/ directory as it is installed to help keep track of 
> your progress.
> libxfce4util-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> libxfce4util-devel-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm
> libxfcegui4-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> libxfcegui4-devel-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm
> libxfce4mcs-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> libxfce4mcs-devel-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm
> xfce-mcs-manager-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xfce-mcs-manager-devel-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xfce4-mixer-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm - Required by xfce4-panel. 
> xfce4-panel-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm - Required before installing the panel 
> plugin RPMs.
> The remaining packages can be installed in any order.
> dbh-1.0.14-3suse82.i386.rpm 
> gtk-xfce-engine-2.1.3-1suse82.i386.rpm
> xfce-mcs-plugins-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xfce-utils-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm
> xfce4-iconbox-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm
> xfce4-systray-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xfce4-themes-3.99.2-1suse82.noarch.rpm 
> xfce4-toys-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xfdesktop-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xffm-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xffm-icons-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xfwm4-3.99.2-1suse82.i386.rpm 
> xfwm4-themes-3.99.2-1suse82.noarch.rpm
> The startxfce4 script
> Once the XFce4 RPMs are installed, you will have a (binary) entry by the name 
> of startxfce4 located in the /usr/bin/ directory. This file should be copied 
> (not moved) to one of two places, depending on your needs:
> 1- Copy startxfce4 from /usr/bin/ (it's original location) to the 
> /usr/lib/xfce4/ directory:
> 	cp /usr/bin/startxfce4 /usr/lib/xfce4/
> 2- This option is for those who wish to customize the behavior of the 
> startxfce4 script. If you plan to modify the startxfce4 script, copy it from 
> /usr/bin/ (it's original location) to ~/.xfce/ in your home directory.
> 	cp /usr/bin/startxfce4 ~/.xfce
> Linking
> When you login into your system and select a window manager, the Linux system 
> will call for the needed binaries in /usr/X11R6/bin/. After you have copied 
> the startxfce4 script in one of the two above-mentioned manners, you will 
> need to create a link from that script's new location to the the 
> /usr/X11R6/bin/ directory.
> Remember that the specific link that you create will depend on where you chose 
> to copy the startxfce4 script to. Please note, even though the start script 
> is called "startxfce4", we will be naming the link "xfce4".
> If you chose the first option, use the following command:
> 	ln - s /usr/lib/xfce4/startxfce4 /usr/X11R6/bin/xfce4
> If you chose the second option, use the following command:
> 	ln - s ~/.xfce/startxfce4 /usr/X11R6/bin/xfce4
> Adding Xfce4 to the KDM menu
> SuSE 8.2 offers several window managers during installation. When you login to 
> the system, you can select any of the previously installed window managers 
> via a drop-down menu in KDM, the KDE display manager.
> Unfortunately, any additional windowing environments that you install, from 
> source or binaries, will not be automatically listed in the KDM drop-down 
> menu. Thus, they will not be accessible unless you kill the X-server and 
> manually start your additional window manager from the console window.
> Obviously, we want XFce4 to be displayed as an option in the KDM drop-down 
> menu. We can do this by editing the kdmrc file located in 
> /etc/opt/kde3/share/config/kdm/. Look for the "SessionTypes=" entry in the 
> kdmrc file:
> 	SessionTypes=kde,gnome,blackbox,afterstep,fvwm2,mwm,twm,failsafe,
> The kdmrc file lists the window managers available to the user via the KDM 
> drop-down menu. Simply add "xfce4" after the "SessionTypes=" entry.
> The order that they are listed is the order that they will be displayed in the 
> drop-down menu, so where you place it in this entry is a matter of choice. If 
> you place it at the end of the "SessionTypes=" entry, make sure that it is 
> followed by a comma.
> Notice that the entry we are placing in the kdmrc file is called "xfce4", 
> rather than "startxfce4". The reason for doing so is because the name that we 
> gave the link (not the name of the start file itself) is the name that will 
> show up in the KDM drop-down menu. A menu entry named "xfce4" is certainly 
> more aesthetically pleasing than "startxfce4". So, the new "SessionTypes=" 
> entry should look like the following (don't forget the comma):
> 	SessionTypes=kde,gnome,blackbox,afterstep,fvwm2,mwm,twm,failsafe,xfce4,
> Keep in mind that the "SessionTypes=" line lists  the window managers in the 
> same order that they will be listed in the drop-down menu. If you want XFce4 
> (or any other window manager) to be listed first, simply change the order of 
> the listings.
> Bugs, oddities and complaints
> Well, as nice as it is, there are some areas of concern. Here they are listed 
> in what I consider the order of importance.
> 1.It apppears create a second instance of Xfce4 if you are not running as the 
> root user. The really odd part is that when you log into a shell as root to 
> execute a script, your screen blanks out and a  xscrresaver session pops up. 
> You have to move the mouse to gain the window focus back. This makes me 
> wonder if it is indeed a dormant session of root running in the background. 
> If so, I would think that this is a serious security issue.
> You can get the screen saver to quit popping up by editing the "test $UID" 
> line in the /etc/xfce4/xinitrc file. Simply look for the following line and 
> place a hash (#) in front of it:
> 	# Launch xscreensaver  (if available), but only as non-root user
> 	test $UID -gt 0 && xscreensaver -no-splash &
> 2.Non-Gnome applications are much slower to load.
> 3.The Xfce run pop-up (xfrun4) does not allow passing perameters to scripts, 
> etc. This appears to be a very thin "Run.." perameter. I am sure that it will 
> get some attention in coming releases of Xfce.
> Special Thanks
> Thanks to Ilkka Ollakka for contributing those wonderful XFce4 RPMs for SuSE 
> 8.2.
> Thank to Steve Nye for his assistance in tracking down the "xscreensaver" 
> issue, as well as other valuable input.
> Author:
> Robert Follett, a Northwest bred Linux lover and a new transplant from 
> Portland, OR to Houston, TX. 
> email: sonic admin at earth link dot net

NetBSD Operating system:                       http://www.NetBSD.org/
pkgsrc "Work in progress":                  http://pkgsrc-wip.sf.net/
XFce desktop environment:                        http://www.xfce.org/
German Unix-AG Association:                   http://www.unix-ag.org/

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