Todo list for Xfce 4.4

Jasper Huijsmans jasper at
Thu Jun 23 14:38:51 CEST 2005

Yeah, well not really a TODO list, but some ideas about tasks for 4.4.

As a follow-up to my earlier posts about the goals of Xfce, the plans for the
panel and Eriks posts about 4.4, here are some things that could/should be
done, split up by subsystem or whatever you want to call it.

If you are interested in helping out with Xfce development, this may give you
a better idea of where to start.

Oh, and please respond with your ideas or comments.

1) Platform 
- libxfce4util
- libxfcegui4
- libxfce4mcs
- libexo (?)

* rename libxfcegui4 to libxfce4gui. Hey, we have SVN now ;-) I know it
  doesn't buy us anything, but I find the difference annoying.

* check if gtk 2.4 provides things we had to provide for 2.2

  - Can GtkIconTheme be used? Gtk 2.6 has (I believe) an icon cache that might
    speed up lookup and reduce memory usage.

* should xdg menu parsing be in one of the libs? xfdesktop and xfce4-appfinder
  use it, maybe other components will be interested as well.

  - I'd be interested in seeing alternative interfaces to acces the menu, like 
    the appfinder. For instance I think it would be awesome to have a panel
    plugin that shows a menubar with all toplevel categories; the simple menu
    layout of the system menu directly available on the panel. Perhaps with
    an option to show only certain categories. Hmm, I don't think I explained
    that very well...

    | Accessories Graphics Office Network Development |

* Are there relevant xdg standards that we don't support properly at the

2) Desktop

I split up this category further, because there are so many modules part of it
and there are some differences, I think. It's rather difficult to exactly 
define these categories and the bounderies are not very sharp, though.

2a) Basic, shared components
- xfce4-icon-theme
- gtk-xfce-engine-2
- xfce-utils (perhaps rename to xfce-common or xfce-essentials?)
- xfce-mcs-manager
- xfce-mcs-plugins

* Are there any addional XSETTINGS we should support? XCursors comes to mind.

* Is the mcs system still sufficient? The main limitation to me seems the fact
  that only the plugins can change the settings. The main advantage is the
  central location for configuration.

* The .desktop files for separate settings dialogs clutter the menu. I think
  we should only have a desktop file for the settings manager.

* I think the startup of Xfce is still rather confusing to most users. Maybe
  someone could rewrite the startup scripts? Or maybe everything should be
  done by xfce4-session?

* If we are interested in using xfce4-tips (are we?), I think it should be
  part of xfce-utils, or perhaps even xfce4-session? Anyway, the xfce4-toys
  package should go away.

2b) Main desktop components
- xfce4-session
- xfwm4
- xfdesktop
- xfce4-panel (which now includes taskbar and iconbox)

* I really think we need a graphical interface to the session manager. It
  should allow people to add/remove programs from the saved session and
  probably should have a special section for Xfce desktop components. Maybe
  this requires communication between xfce4-session and desktop components to
  find out if they are running or not. I think we could use a volunteer for
  this, since Benedikt will be busy with thunar, I presume.

* I wonder if, for people who don't want full-scale session management, it
  would be possible to disable this: just have xfce4-session start a list of
  programs and manage logging out. And I wonder if that would speed things up
  a bit.

* Olivier, do you have any specific plans for xfwm4 4.4?

* I wonder if it might be nice to create a window matching utility ala
  devilspie, either as part of xfwm or a separate daemon. To provide
  functionality that was available in xfce3 (and CDE, etc). Most importantly
  to change icons or create borderless terminals.

* Xfdesktop. Brian?

* For the panel, see my mail about panel plans for 4.4. In summary: new plugin
  interface, multiple panels, support out-of-process plugins.

2c) Desktop applications and utilities
- xfcalendar
- xfce4-mixer
- xfce4-mailwatch
- xfprint (Could be seen as part of the platform maybe, since it's used by 
- xfce4-appfinder (appfinder widget should be part of libxfce4gui if the panel
  is going to use that. I keep forgetting to review it, sorry Eduard).

* Any others?

* I'll remove mailcheck from the panel; mailwatch is much better.

* Juha and Mickael seem to have big plans with xfcalendar ;-)

2d) File managers
Hehe, I didn't want to burn my hands on this one, so I made a separate 
category ;-)
- xffm
- thunar

* Edscott seems to be well on his way towards xffm 4.4. Edscott, is there
  anything specific you'd like people to help you with? For those interested
  there are regular development releases that could use testing.

* Thunar development has now really started. People are still reluctant to
  contribute code, it seems, so benny is mostly on his own. There is a list of
  tasks available if you check the thunar-dev mailing list archive. Benny has
  some demands about how to approach the development though, and I have a
  feeling not many people have experience with that.

3) Extras
- goodies, including xfce4-eyes and xfce4-trigger-launcher
- xfwm4-themes

* Do we want to move the goodies to Xfce SVN? Maybe Auke has an opinion on 
  that as well, from the admin viewpoint?

* When there is a new plugin interface for the panel, all modules will have to
  be updated. I'm prepared to do much that work (shouldn't be too hard).
  Suggestions for the plugin interface are very welcome.

Hmm, did I miss anything? Maybe there are things in our development process
that could be improved, e.g release management, translations management,
website / other information sources.

* Like erik said, we get complaints about the number of components in Xfce. 
  Maybe we should try and combine some of them. Here are some suggestions:
  - xfce-libs: I don't think we have ever released one separately, so it may
    make sense to combine them into one package. They should still be separate

  - xfce-mcs-manager: perhaps include the plugins and have a special
    command-line option to disable them (to avoid conflicts). Or even a user
    interface to enable/disable any plugin?

  - xfce-file-managers: nah, not really ;)
* Documentation. We have some, but I'd like to see the user guide be a bit
  more extensive, answering more FAQ's. Have a list of things to configure
  after installation (Francois put something on the website, IIRC).
Remember, these are just some personal ideas, nothing has been decided. The 
person who writes the code has a strong influence on the decissions. And, none 
of this will happen if no-one does the work...

Wow, another long e-mail, no wonder I have no time left for coding... I do 
hope it leads to something or helps someone.


Speaking of long-windedness, it seems I'm turning into Brian... ~_^ <-- See?

More information about the Xfce4-dev mailing list