Projects in xfce repos, ehm...

Brian J. Tarricone bjt23 at
Fri Nov 21 00:25:27 CET 2008

Jannis Pohlmann wrote:

> I think the problem is: How do we define the Core? Does Core just mean
> it's managed in the main SVN, does it mean that it is shipped with the
> main Xfce tarball on major Xfce releases or even something different?
> Right now, Core could roughly described this way: a component that is
> considered essential for desktop use, is stable, and is not released 
> independently of the main Xfce releases.

That's an interesting point, and I've personally always had some amount 
of trouble defining "core" as well.

Maybe think about it in a different way: "what modules, if missing, 
would make your desktop significantly 'less xfce'?"  And I'd say really 
just a few:

xfce4-settings (debatable, but I'd say yes)
Thunar (?)

Then you add the support libraries and packages:

libexo (?)
xfce4-icon-theme (?)

Thunar is a bit of a point of contention.  As a standalone file manager, 
I'd be tempted to say that no, it need not be a core part of the 
desktop.  But xfdesktop depends on thunar-vfs for file icon support, so 
I'd say make it core.

So that's only really 14/15 modules (out of 37 total.  Of course, this 
is all debatable.

Should we keep the language bindings (perl, python, c++) in main or move 
to a new xfce-bindings repo?  I dunno.  Maybe just leave them, since 
they're kinda "foundational" even though we wouldn't release them as core.

I'd also leave some of the more "foundation/infrastructure" modules 
there, like installit, xfce-installers, and xfce4-debs.

So that really leaves the stuff that are applications:

xfce4-terminal (I need to move this to xfce-archive)
xfce4-themes (add-on package, I guess, not app)

I'd say none of these are core apps.

(Since I know people will complain: Terminal.  It's a nice light 
terminal, but it's not really xfce-branded.  You might consider it an 
"essential desktop app," but that's not really the point I'm trying to 
make here.  It's not *a part of the desktop*, and it's something you can 
easily replace with aterm, gnome-terminal, or whatever, and your desktop 
-- in my mind, at least -- isn't any "less xfce" for doing so.)

> Now, several of us have expressed an interest in having independent
> releases for minor releases at least, so that we can roll out
> updates to one component faster and don't have to do complex release
> management. If we did that and only pick up the latest release of each
> package for a new major Xfce release the definition of Core becomes: a
> component that is considered essential for desktop use, is stable, and
> is released every now and then so that we can pick it up for a major
> release.

My proposal (for the stable branch) would be to make all "x.y.z" 
releases as official all-component releases, and allow module 
maintainers to release "x.y.x.n" releases in between for important 
bugfixes or well, even non-important bugfixes.

For the development branch, I'd go even more liberal and let module 
maintainers package up devel releases whenever they want, with the only 
caveat that no one's allowed to use '90' or above for the revision 
component in the version, since we use those for alpha/beta/rc.

> So once the release process becomes easier the only thing that really
> matters is how essential an application is for desktop use. "Essential"
> again is defined by our understanding of the desktop environment. IMHO
> we should concentrate on what the user needs and to which degree we can
> fullfil that need using the components and resources we have.
> Personally I wouldn't mind to include more programs into the Core like
> for power management and notifications for example, because those
> make the desktop complete (IMHO Terminal, mousepad and orage are
> essential even though I don't use mousepad). 
> But I think what really matters is that more Core stuff does not make 
> releasing more complex. I feel that this should be one of the things 
> to focus on in the upcoming months. 
> Personal opinion: Consider more applications as part of the Core (but
> choose carefully) and don't make a big deal out of whether an
> application is Core or not.

I'd go the exact opposite way: trim down the core as much as possible, 
and push everything else out, with completely independent release cycles 
and everything for non-core stuff.

I don't really like the scope creep in saying "essential to a desktop 
environment" should be what core is.  We have < 10 people that work on 
Xfce actively.  "Xfce" should consist of as few packages as possible 
that make up the desktop *environment*, not the desktop as a whole. 
Distribution packagers can make the call to include whatever they want 
in their xfce meta-pacakge.

On the other hand, I *would* consider something like a power manager a 
core app, since it does define policy for how the desktop env behaves as 
a whole.  The notification daemon... maybe.  It's certainly more a 
"desktop app" than mousepad, for example.

 > I also think there's room for improvements concerning the goodies
 > releases. Important goodies should get more attention and should maybe
 > get their own niché somewhere between core and goodies. Hmmm.

That's kinda a separate issue.  I'd rather not create yet another 
release/hosting/whatever infrastructure.  Personally I don't think of 
"goodies" as a tightly-coupled entity in its own right, more just 
"random hosting for random apps that are somewhat related to xfce."  And 
I think that's fine.


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