Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for Unix-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and easy to use.
Xfce is based on GTK+ version 2 (like Gnome 2). One of Xfce's priorities is adherence to standards, specifically those defined at freedesktop.org. This allows Xfce to seamlessly interoperate with programs written for other desktop environments, if those programs follow the specified standards.
Xfce consists of a number of components that together provide the full functionality of a desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick and choose from the available packages to create the best personal working environment.
Xfce in Debian
Debian Wheezy contains Xfce 18.104.22.168
Debian Jessie contains Xfce 4.10.1
Debian Stretch contains Xfce 4.12.2
Debian Testing contains Xfce 4.12.2
Debian Unstable contains Xfce 4.12.2
How to install Xfce
Install a fresh system with Xfce
If you install a new system, the installation guide explains a way to install Xfce directly:
At the Debian Installer boot prompt, press the tab key to edit the command line, then add
- Alternatively, go to "Advanced options" then "Alternate desktop environments", and choose Xfce there.
- When prompted to select the task to install, make sure you click "Desktop Environment"
For a complete rundown refer to the Debian Desktop Howto.
Install Xfce in an already installed system
Optional: If you want to uninstall GNOME and its dependencies first, do:
aptitude purge `dpkg --get-selections | grep gnome | cut -f 1` aptitude -f install aptitude purge `dpkg --get-selections | grep deinstall | cut -f 1` aptitude -f install
Be aware that this can leave you with a broken system. Use caution.
To install Xfce, do the following:
apt-get install xfce4
This will install a metapackage, which will install the core Xfce modules and scripts to get it to work.
There are many useful utilities that come with Xfce, to install these:
apt-get install xfce4-goodies
In some Debian 8 minimal version installations (for example Google Compute Engine VMs), the following issue may occur after installing Xfce:
- The icons for applications and files in file browser do not appear.
The above issue could indicate some Xfce dependencies are missing. One solution to this is to install "task-xfce-desktop" (task-xfce-desktop):
sudo apt-get install task-xfce-desktop
The above installs the needed dependencies and resolves the issue. Please note: task-xfce-desktop will also install the desktop environment, display manager and other programs (such as LibreOffice) if not yet present on the system.
With a display manager
For GDM, KDM and LightDM choose xfce4-session.
For slim boot session in /etc/slim.conf:
login_cmd exec ck-launch-session /bin/bash -login /etc/X11/Xsession %session
You also can install xdm to login in start Xfce.
From the console
If you don't use a login manager but start Xfce from console, you need to take care of few stuff in order to get a complete Xfce session with full permission (mount, suspend/shutdown/hibernate etc.) This is because Debian now uses ?PolicyKit/ConsoleKit to manage policies for things like device and power management.
- only use startx, without any argument
- don't use a .xinitrc, add in file ~/.xsession:
exec ck-launch-session startxfce4
This is because ?ConsoleKit ships an init script (/etc/X11/Xsession.d/90consolekit), but the /etc/X11/Xsession.d/ scripts are only executed if you don't use any .xinitrc. See startx (1) for more information.
Then you need to fine-tune your pam installation so ?ConsoleKit can be sure that your user is correctly authenticated. For that, you need to install libpam-ck-connector and put before pam_ck_connector.so in /etc/pam.d/common-session.
session optional pam_loginuid.so
Other packages that can be found with:
apt-cache search xfce4
To install all xfce4 packages do:
apt-get install `apt-cache search xfce | cut -d ' ' -f1`
http://www.xfce.org - The Xfce website
http://pkg-xfce.alioth.debian.org - The Debian Xfce packaging website