Status of Xfce 4.8

Jannis Pohlmann jannis at
Fri Apr 2 00:16:19 CEST 2010

Hey all,

according to the schedule on,
today Xfce 4.8pre1 was supposed to see the light of the world.
As you may have noticed, nothing happened (note that this is not a late
April fool's joke).

Back in 2009 I thought I would be able to donate enough time to Xfce to
make all of this happen without delays (as the release manager and the
one responsible for garcon/tumbler/thunar etc.). The last months have
proven that learning for my final university exams doesn't leave the
amount of hacking time I had hoped for. 

Anyway, let's not abandon the idea of releasing 4.8 entirely (even if
there will be a delay), shall we? ;) A fixed-date feature freeze may not
be realistic for us but the features we have already implemented are
worth being released to the public.

So, I'd like to gather a little bit of status information on the
various components. I know we have wiki pages for the original 4.8
ideas but they contain too many ideas and plans that we have to leave
for future development.

I think the following components are more or less ready to be released:

  - exo
  - gtk-xfce-engine (I guess?)
  - libxfce4ui
  - libxfce4util
  - xfce-utils
  - xfce4-panel
  - xfce4-settings
  - xfconf

This leaves us with the following components that still need a little
bit of work:

  - thunar
  - xfce4-appfinder
  - xfce4-session
  - xfdesktop
  - xfwm4


  - garcon
  - tumbler

Let's discuss these last ones in more detail.

thunar (and thunar-volman)

Thunar is mostly ready. The only thing I consider essential for 4.8
(thunar 1.2) is feeding thunar-volman with device information that can
be used with udev instead of HAL. The 'jannis/port-to-udev' branch
contains code that implements this. It calls thunar-volman with sysfs
paths. The one thing to mention here is that this breaks
the latest release of thunar-volman which expects HAL UDIs. 

So what can we do about this? Ideally, someone would rewrite
thunar-volman based on udev/GIO (udev for device type detection, GIO for
mounting and investigating device contents). I started to work on this
back in January but I never finished it. The code is pretty
straight-forward though. The only thing that causes pain is the fact
that a lot of previously synchronous call now needs to be performed

I've considered this a blocker until now but I have to realize that
I won't be able to finish this rewrite within the next few months. So,
if we don't want to delay 4.8 because of this, thunar-volman will
remain broken for a while and people won't be happy about this.


Depends on the fine-grained monitoring feature that is in the works for
garcon. Other than that, it's ready.


What's the status of the session manager? I remember we had plans to
port it to ConsoleKit and upower and whatnot. Did anyone start efforts
to get us there?


Daniel, what's the status of the 'danielm/port-to-gio' branch? Is it
ready to be used? 

Aside from the need to port xfdesktop to GIO, the only thing I can
think of that we need to do is to port it from libxfce4menu to garcon.
A quick and dirty implementation (to be used as a source of inspiration
at best) of this can be found in the 'jannis/port-to-garcon' branch.
Besides a lot of rather trivial search-and-replace kind of changes, we
need to wait for the menu monitoring feature to be added to garcon.


AFAIR, xfwm4 needed to be ported to libxfce4ui (from libxfcegui4).
Jérôme, what's the status of that?


Garcon is in good shape. So much for the good news. The bad news is
that it lacks a critical feature that we need in 4.8: menu monitoring.
Incomplete support is there in the 'jannis/global-monitoring' branch
(which has a slightly misleading name, it's a mixture of global
monitoring and fine-grained change signals stuff). 

This is something we need to finish, as it is a blocker and makes many
other components (the panel menu, xfdesktop and xfce4-appfinder) less
pleasant to use (most notably, newly installed apps are not picked up).


Tumbler has seen two releases so far and the only thing it is lacking
is support for ThunarVfs thumbnailer scripts. This can be added later
on though, as a tumbler plugin shipped with tumbler itself, a plugin
shipped with thunar or a standalone component. It's not great that it
is missing but it is... ok-ish. A few changes in tumbler are required
for this to work (plugins need to be able to enforce a thumbnailer
cache rebuild in tumblerd) and that's something I can probably handly
somewhere in-between learning and sleeping. But not before 4.8.

I guess that's it for now, please reply with your status reports and
ideas on how we can fill the missing gaps.

  - Jannis
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