What is Xfce?

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment built for simplicity and efficiency. Xfce takes up far less space than other desktop environments such as KDE, GNOME, Unity etc and is very responsive. Xfce philosophy is to get out of your way and let you complete your work efficiently and easily.

Xfce project has a high emphasis on stability meaning that core functionality does not change frequently causing you to re-learn your workflow.

Why not use other lightweight environments ?

You can! It is all about choice. There are a variety of reasons to use Xfce:

  1. Familiar windows and other User Interface widgets.
  2. Xfce is fairly powerful, despite being simple.
  3. Xfce evolves slowly with bug fixes taking priority over feature addition and bloat.
  4. Xfce is free, open-source and user-friendly

What is your point?

Since Xfce is a fairly simple environment to set up, many folks do this on their own. There are some who use pre-configured environments such as Xubuntu. While this is a very valid choice, it is recommended that you set up your environment yourself. There may be different aspects of your system you care about and it is useful to get those right trade-offs that help you work effectively on your computer. This is actually where Xfce excells at and there are only a few environments out there that help you get them exactly right.

Caveats of this document

First of all, this documentation is not in any way assosciated to the Xfce project. This is unofficial documentation. Hence, it may contain factual inaccuracies, outdated information and/or philosophical differences from Xfce and assosciated projects. Therefore, you should consult official documentation when in doubt.

Secondly, since there are a variety of configurations and environments to run Xfce on, this documentation will be based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installation of stock Xfce. Although the concepts explained here may be valid for other environments, it may also not be.