Zonbu, xfce-equiped green PC (with gentoo and xfce)

Gregoire Gentil gregoire at gentil.com
Sat Nov 17 21:40:47 CET 2007

Xfce community,

I'm Gregoire Gentil, the CEO of Zonbu. I would like to clarify a little
bit what we are doing:

- We are selling a $99 PC + a monthly service, essentially on the US
market though we accept orders from Europe.

- Our product is based on the C7 Via chip set with 512MB of Ram.

- We are a profit organization and our objective is to offer Linux to
the consumers with a business model very similar to RedHat. We sell
hardware without profit, don't charge for software, but we monthly
charge for update, maintenance and a specific in-the-cloud technology we
developed. For the customer, the story is: get a cheap hardware and give
us around 10 bucks a month and we take care of your PC. We promise you a
hassle-free experience: nothing to set up, nothing to configure,
automatic backup, secure environment, all the applications you need
right out of the box.

- We wanted to offer a beautiful, simple, rich, and LIGHTWEIGHT
experience to our customers. Only Xfce seemed to us the perfect match.
So Zonbu 1.0 uses Xfce 4.4.1 and a bunch of own-made patches. We offer
an experience very similar to what customers are used to:

- I want to be very clear: our patches have been available since the
very beginning. Our whole Gentoo overlay is available at:
ALL our patches are there. So what did we do with Xfce? Basically, we
created our own theme and we patched Xfce to simplify a little bit more
the interface. We removed a bunch of right clicks and menus that could
confuse a novice user. All the critical patches (fixing bugs) have been
sent upstream.

- Since the beginning, we have been respectful of the open-source
community. We have always sent our patches upstream when it was bugs or
interesting new features, we have sponsored a few other projects and we
have released all our patches on our website:

- I want to say it that xfce is a very cool open-source project. We are
very satisfied of our initial choice:
* xfwm is an amazing lightweight window manager. I have tested many, no
other WM beats the performance of the transparency of xfwm4. Thanks
* Thunar is also amazing. It beats one hundred times Nautilus by its
simplicity. The code is extremely clean. Thanks Benny.
* Xfce-session and xfce-panel are very good applications. They deliver
what they promise.

- Now, I have a couple of easy recommendations for xfce (from what we
have done):
* smbnetfs/fuse should be integrated/recommended for Neighborhood
access. How many times did I read on this mailing list, "why didn't
thunar offer Samba?" Just install smbnetfs/fuse and you are done. We
added a default icon for neighborhood access in Thunar/xfdesktop and
it's just perfect.

* gnome-mplayer is the perfect media player. Kevin DeKorte has done a
tremendous work in the same spirit as Xfce. This lightweight application
uses the amazing mplayer engine and offers a simple and easy to use
experience for all kinds of media.

- Now, I would like to share with you my "wishlist":
* Thunar should handle the desktop. Benny, pleeease! The duplication of
code between xfdesktop and Thunar doesn't make any sense at all and has
created so many problems. In our patches, we have ported lines and lines
of code from Thunar to xfdesktop but it's a total mess/nightmare.

* More eye-candy features would be welcome. If xfce wants to keep the
pace of MacOS and Vista, the innovation should never stop. Desktop
widgets, window organization, search integration are a few ideas...

Bottom-line, so as to summarize my email: thank to the whole xfce
community. We are very proud to integrate this project in our
distribution. And yes, we have released our patches all the time,


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