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Xfce 4.12 released (xfce.org)
274 points by AhtiK on Feb 28, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments

I'm very impressed and happy for the continued support for non-Linux systems. It's very heartening that when necessary, they are coding backends for other systems, instead of buying in to the Linux-only systemd lock-in.

I was also very surprised to see how decent the UI looks even under GTK+ 3. I was afraid they would get sucked into the horrible catastrophe that has befallen Gnome with things like client-side decorations.

Gedit, for instance, went from this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/Gedit226... ... to this: http://cdn.xfce.org/about/tour/4.12/xfwm4-csd.png ... the horror.

Has anyone given this a try yet? I would like to know if the common dialogs (eg file open, file save) use proper window decorations, or if they too now look like the Gnome 3 CSD garbage.

Also, it's still possible to use Clearlooks-Phenix, right? They're just saying they discontinued the Xfce-* themes, right? Adwaita is such a dull theme.

I think it's a little unfair to compare the gedit UI at different sizes. I hastily mocked up how they would look at the same size: http://i.imgur.com/hb6TLEr.jpg

Personally I love the minimal and uncluttered look. I don't need big buttons for copy and paste, and even on a 30" monitor I appreciate the extra space it allows for actual content.

That unstyled grey look, plus the missing File, etc. menus under fvwm, caused me to abandon gnome apps under fvwm. I couldn't get a theme that supported gnome apps nicely. Sorry gnome, I don't want a mac-style menu bar.

Your mockup is right on target, Allan Day blogged about it at http://blogs.gnome.org/aday/2014/08/27/gnome-design-saving-y...

> I love the minimal and uncluttered look.

Uncluttered, unintuitive, unhelpful - just like a vi buffer in input mode.

> unintuitive

Unintuitive for whom? It abandons the traditional structure, which some people are accustomed to, but I suspect that it would be measurably more effective for people who haven't developed patterns of familiarity with the traditional workflow.

> just like a vi buffer in input mode

I think the key difference is discoverability. In gedit I can immediately see how do 6 common actions, and that there's another layer of less common actions in the hamburger menu. I never had to google "how to exit gedit" for example.

Wow, that Gedit transition looks awful. I'm curious what the motivation was for these 'client-side decorations' you speak of.

1. What do you consider "awful" (or, OP, a "horror") in this transition? (This is a real question, not a rhetorical one.) CSD are one of the better recent GNOME UX trends, I think, for the reasons below which feel well executed to me.

2. Motivations are (to my understanding) to save vertical space, reduce window clutter, and put common actions at the forefront. Matthias Clasen talks about it in great detail at [1] [2] [3].

[1] https://blogs.gnome.org/mclasen/2014/01/13/client-side-decor...

[2] https://blogs.gnome.org/mclasen/2014/01/20/even-more-client-...

[3] https://blogs.gnome.org/mclasen/2014/03/21/dialogs-in-gtk-3-...

The problem is when you want to use some action which isn't one of the 2 or 3 that they've put at the forefront. Sure they've saved some vertical space but in doing so they've also made the UI a whole lot less efficient to use. There's also more clutter, not less, with all sorts of unrelated controls crammed into one tiny space.

> The problem is when you want to use some action which isn't one of the 2 or 3 that they've put at the forefront.

Agreed on that point. The Office team made a wonderful job at this, by also putting actions in the title bar (e.g. by default: save, undo, redo), but making it configurable. However, MS has orders of magnitude more dollars to develop/support/bugfix the added complexity, and given the hate of GNOME committers regarding anything configurable, I doubt that will ever happen in GNOME.

I'm not bothered by it because, like others here, I use keyboard shortcuts for 99% of my actions and never need to reach for buttons or the sandwich menu, but I understand why I'd be bothered too if it wasn't the case.

Why not simply use shortcut keys? These are more efficient than having to grab to the mouse, especially on an editor, on which most the the time both your hand are at the keyboard anyway.

Yes but here we're talking about a graphical user interface and the whole purpose of a GUI is to let you do things by interacting with graphical elements.

Then, I don't understand the criticism about efficiency for regular users, as this is – for text editors – also clearly out of scope for graphical user interfaces. (Of course, the story is different for the graphical domain such as Blender).

One thing I'll always miss with CSD is window snapping. Now it's shadow-snapping.

First; I have a nice, long titlebar strip with left-aligned titles like I like. I can click anywhere in there and move my windows around (I know about alt+click, but I don't want to use my keyboard to move a window, and that doesn't work on my other OSes anyway.)

Second; I like having a choice in how my window decorations work. I can run Clearlooks-Phenix, or Aguelemon, or Be, or Crux, or whatever else I like. Some of the themes have window borders on the sides (which I like), some don't. With CSD, my only option is a poor OS X imitation theme. No edges to the sides of windows (awful ... I can spare 4px so that my window doesn't blend into my desktop, and so I can grip for window resizes easier, thanks), no control over titlebar text placement (I don't want to scan to the middle of the title bar to read the title. The left is a consistent location.)

Some of these WMs have special features like middle-click the maximize button to maximize it horizontally, nicer snap-to-window and snap-to-edge functionality, etc.

Third; I want my title bars free of clutter. The title bar is for the title of the window, and for moving it, and at most you'd have the minimize/maximize/close buttons on a corner. I've been using windows the same way since Windows 3.1; so about 23 years now. You may scream Luddite, but I say that if it's not broken, don't fix it. With CSDs, now I have to dodge all of these ridiculous controls like "Open", "New Tab", "Save" and "Hamburger" when I want to move a window. And all of those further reduce the available space for a title. So I guess I can forget about showing the full filepath for my files open in gedit.

Fourth; and this is a big one; consistency (eg discoverability.) All of my Xfce windows look the same, act the same, work the same. I have a title bar, a menu with all of my features, and usually an optional toolbar with all of the major features. Now with these CSDs, every single window looks entirely different. To get to menu commands, I have the added step of clicking on the hamburger first, which has a miniscule hit window. And that's assuming everyone designing these awful CSDs uses the same hamburger icon and placement. Again, we go from something we've been using for 23 years to "the trend of the week design." Because newer must mean better, right?

CSDs are basically what you get on Windows with every OS driver installation GUI. I do not want that for my desktop at all.

There's a reason this has all mostly stayed consistent since GUIs became a thing. It's not because people were lazy, unimaginative, not aware of design guidelines, or anything like that: it's because it works. And it works really, really well. A lot of us are simply tired of relearning how to use our computers every time a "modern" designer gets a hair up his ass and decides that we need to radically change all the things! The ribbons, the Metros, the CSDs, etc. So in four years, while I stick with my tried and true approach, Gnome 4 will have undoubtedly moved on to an even newer idea for how to design windows, and you'll be explaining to others why Gnome 3's CSD approach was flawed compared to $newTrendyDesign. And while you're learning to get used to where all of your operations have moved to, I'll be over here getting work done instead.

> Motivations are (to my understanding) to save vertical space

Even when I was stuck on 1024x768 CRTs back in the '90s, I can't say I've ever thought to myself, "if only I had an extra 10px of vertical screen space, my user experience would be vastly improved." The idea of crushing everything into this hot mess to save the same on my 2560x1600 panel (let alone 4K/8K panels) is just asinine.

The only time I've ever had issues with the titlebar taking up space was during the 640x480 fallback VGA modes when installing my video card drivers.

Besides, isn't the trend lately (even in Gnome) to add ridiculous amounts of excessive padding to everything, for the sake of all twelve touch screen desktop users?

> reduce window clutter

That window looks a lot more cluttered to me. I do turn off the toolbar (and status bar for that matter) on gedit 2, and I can turn off the menu (with an addon), and use keyboard shortcuts for my actions. I have no control over this CSD, whose height is twice that of a plain titlebar anyway (to accommodate button heights.)

> and put common actions at the forefront

The toolbar does the same thing, and common actions goes from 3 to 13 common actions in this case (with room to spare on the latter.) Even better, the toolbar is completely optional.

For all but the three common actions, it is now harder to do things with the new gedit. And terrifyingly, one of those now-harder actions is "move the window."

Thanks for taking the time for a detailed answer. Not going to answer in turn in detail, because I have a comically exact opposite point of view for almost all of your points ^^.

Well, I guess that just means hail to choice in the Linux world; you're happy with a traditional/conservative xfce and I'm happy with a more minimalist/moving GNOME. Cheers.

Sure, and thanks for not taking offense. I know I was a bit polarizing there in my words. But the reason I'm becoming terrified and outspoken is because the design that was ubiquitous for the last two decades has, in the past 2-3 years, become so obscure that I now find myself running FreeBSD (a niche of Linux, which is itself a niche of Windows) with Xfce (a niche of Xorg WMs) ... and they're both my last-resort options to run a traditional desktop. Yes, it's choice, but ... man.

Everybody else has decided that everything must change drastically, and even worse ... said change is completely different everywhere. The days of installing the OSS packages (Firefox, Pidgin, Transmission, mplayer, etc) and using Windows, OS X or Linux almost the same are over. Native-looking cross-platform applications become more impossible with each passing day. The ones that remain do so by using the old paradigm anyway (Pidgin, Transmission, old Firefox, etc) or simply doing their own CSD rendering entirely (Chrome, Chromrefox, etc)

Even for those who like the changes to their specific environment, I'd caution you ... if they so freely changed things with no choice before, nothing is stopping them from doing it again in the near future. You should never be too supportive of radical, forced change; for one day it might not be the change you wanted.

> you're happy with a traditional/conservative xfce and I'm happy with a more minimalist/moving GNOME

Funnily enough, there are only two things I need from the traditional paradigm: Window buttons in the panel (so I can hide windows by clicking their buttons in the panel), and panels than can be set to be vertical. Everything else that is new in Gnome 3 I pretty much like, but these two things I cannot get in Gnome 3.

So I run the Xfce desktop, but with all Gnome 3 apps, like gnome terminal, gnome file browser, etc. The Xfce alternatives I have uninstalled.

XFCE is for people who like old GUI-design, so of course such users are going to get annoyed when modern GUI design starts to creep in.

How anyone could consider the first screenshot of gedit prettier than the second is beyond me, but that is probably why I'm on OSX and not XFCE.

How anyone could consider the second screenshot of gedit more functional than the first is beyond me, but that is probably why I'm on Xfce and not OS X.

The functionnalities are not lost, and using keyboard shortcut is more efficient/functionnal anyway, especially on basic functions like those on the menu of the first screenshot. I can understand that some users prefer icons, but describing the second screenshot as "horror" and "less functionnal" because it does not have pictures in the menu bar is simply wrong.

You're right, they're not lost. Instead, they're hidden and obfuscated behind multiple layers of menus instead of just being there.

I'm really interested in your use of the words 'modern' and 'old' in the above post.

The human perceptual system does not change much from millennium to millennium and that our understanding of how that system works becomes richer over decades.

Can you explain how one set of afordances can be considered more modern than another?

I'm not being snarky, I'd really like to understand your idea of modern/old in this context.

He probably means the word just in the sense that e.g. Wiktionary defines: Pertaining to a current or recent time and style; not ancient.[1]

[1]: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/modern#Adjective

EDIT: And by old, he probably means "old-style".

So XFCE 4.12 is a modern UI according to your definition, having just been released.

Now you are being snarky.

Well perhaps I'll confess to a little licence with this last reply. I really find use of the M word strange in relation to UIs. The whole idea of a GUI is, what, 40 years old?

I mean old in the time-line of GUI, not human history.

The modern design trend is minimal widgets and minimal chrome, where as older design trend are heavier on buttons and chrome.

Did Microsoft miss that memo with Ribbon? Not only do they pack way more than your average toolbar in there, they also resort to packing even more buttons into your titlebar.

But I'm sure you know that trendiness is cyclical. I just want off the treadmill.

Is this essentially a fashion choice then? Is there an underlying reason for minimal widgets and chrome?

Yes. It's a pervasive attitude as of late that "users are stupid; so kill all the options for choice" and "older = worse; newer = better"

Think of it like learning Dvorak. Sure, in theory, by some arbitrary histrionics, these new UIs are 3% more "effective". There's no real objective proof of it, but people just feel like it is. And hell, maybe it really is! So to gain that 3% advantage, they want you to throw out 20 years of muscle memory and familiarity. They want you to throw away all that you're used to and retrain yourself again and again. And sure, maybe after enough time, you might actually like it a little bit more. But all of the time you've wasted relearning everything will never make up for the tiny, marginal increase in efficiency you gained. Nor for all you had to give up to get there.

But this attitude of eternal improvement never ends. You jump on Dvorak because it's such an improvement, and you spend months, maybe years, getting up to your native speed again ... and along comes Colemak, but now it has competition with Workman. Which do you choose? Colemak or Workman? Gnome 3 or Unity? Gotta throw away that Qwerty and Dvorak mechanical keyboard; gotta throw away all those old GTK2 UIs; and start over.

The infinitesimal, unscientific usability enhancements are so subjective as to be irrelevant. Change certainly favors the young, and is hardest on the older generations; but true positive change has historically been accomplished incrementally through evolution (Windows 3.1 - XP, parts of 7). Yet nowadays, it's trying for revolution. Choice is no longer en vogue. And this attitude is ... pervasive. And that is absolutely terrifying.

> How anyone could consider the first screenshot of gedit prettier than the second is beyond me

And I feel exactly the same in reverse. And it's perfectly okay that we are polar opposites, so long as we each continue to have access to our choices. Gnome has thrown us under the bus entirely lately. Thankfully mousepad is a good replacement for gedit 2.x now. I just hope the Gnome devs don't force GTK+ 3 library users into their UI guidelines (like the aforementioned common dialog question.) So far, the Xfce 4.12 screenshots are a lot more promising than I had expected.

> but that is probably why I'm on OSX and not XFCE.

And I really hope you'll stay away from the Xfce dev team in that case :D

Choice is apparently a "usability nightmare" for the unwashed masses...

Not everyone who uses XFCE prefers "old GUI-design," some people (myself included) are forced to run it on weaker machines, or on alternative CPU architectures ill-suited for more popular WMs. For instance, I run XFCE/Xubuntu on my Samsung ARM Chromebook because it's the only WM that runs clean for me in Crouton.

Design wankery under the banner of "usability" most likely.

The whole Gnome/systemd/fedora sphere seems to have a severe case of OSX envy.

It looks awful with Xfce default theme. Gedit = Gnome Edit (I guess) - and it looks well and integrated really well when used in GNOME environment (gnome-shell).

So its not fair to judge it this way. Try to open some Xfce apps in GNOME and it will look like horror too (compared to gnome ones) :)

To be fair, although they made the keyboard shortcuts invisible, added another nesting level to the menubar, gave the title too little horizontal space while simultaneously wasting vertical space, and made the UI inconsistent with every other window on the system... they did manage to save as much as 7 pixels of space.

The desktop has a new wallpaper settings dialog

I would like to apologetically take blame for designing and implementing the old dialog 6+ years ago, and thank the team for finally replacing it with something that looks actually usable.

Congrats on 4.12! Hopefully it'll be in Debian jessie soon...

> Congrats on 4.12! Hopefully it'll be in Debian jessie soon...

Isn't it too late to be included in Jessie? As an XFCE + i3 user anxiously awaiting Jessie in stable, I'd be very happy to hear that it'll be included, but I thought all major packages had been frozen already.

A quick google shows an Xfce blog post from November stating that it won't make it in, as the Jessie freeze had already passed. I had no idea! But as a sibling says, hopefully it'll make it to backports.

I simply use Debian in unstable all the time and update every couple of weeks. I hate staying stuck for a year or more with old versions and unstable was very rarely unstable for me. There was once or twice in the 10 years or so that I've used Debian unstable that the upgrade broke.

The most annoying times of the year are when Debian is in a freeze preparing for release. I can't get the latest version of everything and I am just so lazy I can't be bothered to build an upstream package from scratch.

And while I don't find much use for Debian releases myself I know they are useful and important to others.

Presumably. There's always backports...

As the guy who implemented the new wallpaper design and took over maintenance of xfdesktop, you did just fine. Thanks for all your work on xfdesktop, it's been easy to extend it to do the new things.

Thanks! Glad xfdesktop is in good hands!

My new work (a government research lab) has some strict policy (no installing own OS) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 on the desktop workstations. And the RHEL 6.5 has Gnome 2. So I was thrown back in time to the long lost paradise (since 2011) that is Gnome 2. It brought back memories, and now that I again use it, I must say that Gnome 2 is not bad at all.

On my laptop I use Xubuntu (Xfce desktop), and I also must say that modern Xfce is better at the Gnome 2 thing, than Gnome 2.

I enjoyed Gnome 2 as well, back on Debian 5 and 6. Did you try MATE (http://mate-desktop.org/)? It's an active fork of Gnome 2.

I like my panels vertical, and looks like [1] MATE has inherited this bug from Gnome 2, that window buttons go crazy if the panel is vertical, and there are more than 8 windows open. Gnome 2 never fixed this bug, and apparently is still exists in MATE, too.

Anyway, I think Xfce is better.

[1] https://bugs.launchpad.net/linuxmint/+bug/1351825

> I also must say that modern Xfce is better at the Gnome 2 thing, than Gnome 2.

Gnome 2 is wonderful when configured, but yes, some interactions (like moving toolbar elements around) are pretty awkward by 2015 standards.

That being said, RHEL 6 with Gnome 2 is a great choice for older, less performant systems that you configure once and don't touch frequently. Or for replacing XP on Grandpa's old ThinkPad...

RHEL 6.5's Desktop is kind of like a hidden feature. Most deployments I would guess are probably server. But yeah US Govt love them some Redhat Desktop systems. Enable that multi-level SELinux mode and go to town.

and those USG contracts seems to be in part what is driving the multi-seat push...

I'm so sad to say this is looking worse for every release. And by looking, I mean looking. I'm starting to think this is going to be just as unbearingly ugly as the current iterations of GNOME and KDE in a few versions. It might be getting more functional, but I don't know.

Xfce was the option I was so happy to have. It used to be a no frills, minimalistic (but not conceptually minimalistic) interface that simply did the job. Now the interface is getting more complicated and innovative. More complicated designs requires better designers, and they don't seem to be around except for in the Elementary OS community.

I haven't looked into MATE yet, perhaps I'll do that.

Apparently I'm getting down voted. Not sure why. Anyway, I gave MATE a try and I'm really happy. The "TraditionalOk" theme and some really simple customization gave me exactly what I was looking for. Old school Xfce style: https://i.imgur.com/IN8UN1T.png

That date and time format on the top bar is probably the least likely way a Swede would write it down using a pen.

Other than that your theme looks good. Please share details.

I spent two minutes changing the colors, icons and font sizes of TraditionalOk (the all came with the OS). In that time I couldn't figure out how to edit that date/time format or placement. :)

It was just a fast test of Ubuntu MATE in a VM.

I like that theme a lot.

Agreed, the default skin looks ugly in their tour. I prefer the minimalism of the default Xfce 4.10 skin in Debian.

Have you tried fluxbox? Did XFCE offer something beyond fluxbox?

There's a visual tour here of the new version here:


A note on Xfce's portability:

"All but one of those screenshots were taken on machines running OpenBSD -current, a good proof that Xfce is still portable and friendly to all Unix systems."

It'd be interesting to know which of those screenshots is the one not taken on OpenBSD-CURRENT.

I guess it is the Parole media player one, due to lack of decoders on OpenBSD. The lack of decoders is purely my speculation, so it's likely wrong.

Glad to see that support work for a GTK3 version is coming along -- I'm looking forward to that.

I've always been a fan of XFCE -- it's lightweight, but not so lightweight that you have to make a ton of sacrifices. Plus, XFWM is the only window manager I know of that supports compositing, but doesn't have any animations or other fancy effects (on slower computers, this can be surprisingly beneficial).

> Plus, XFWM is the only window manager I know of that supports compositing

My one gripe with i3WM, an otherwise excellent tiling window manager, is the lack of compositing support (well, it works, kind of, but falls apart when, for example stacking terminal windows with transparency enabled, argghhh).

I used to love XFCE for being a light weight alternative to Gnome and KDE. The last time I used it on a linux system it had gotten quite a bit porkier.

Can anyone speak to if the new release has slimmed things down or is it still, at least to my reading, becoming bulkier still?

I think you should try 4.12 release for your self. As Morpheus has said "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the XFCE is. You have to see it for yourself." Because I'm not sure what you mean about "bulkier". Its defiantly faster and more light weight then Gnome and KDE. I've tried using Gnome and KDE many times and still where coming back to XFCE. So spin up new VM and see if this new release will work any better for you.

XFCE is definitely still a lot lighter weight than gnome or KDE. I think its continuing to fit its niche well, something between the main DE's (gnome/kde/unity) and lighter stuff like lxde

Oooh. List mode alt-tab looks interesting. One of the features still keeping me on WindowMaker is the fact that I can pin windowlists, which makes tracking down a specific window (across multiple desktops) far easier.

And after WindowMaker, xfce remains my preferred full-desktop environment. I like that it's avoided the feature-bloat and power-user hostility of GNOME and KDE.

windowmaker on my dev workstations and xfce (or chromeos) on my laptops.

Same thread (sans www subdomain in link) here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9124996

> Much leaner than others, without being spartan.

If Xfce ever needs an advertising slogan ...

And here I just got around to upgrading to 4.10!

I've been running Crouton (XFCE/Xubuntu) on my Samsung Chromebook 13" for about a year now. XFCE is a godsend for Chromebooks... instantly transformed from a light browsing laptop into a serious work machine.

I'm very excited! Can't wait to see this in official Arch repos ^_^ I've been using XFCE as my main DE since 2011 Thank you everyone in linux community who made this release possible. This release has tons of bug fixes and features according to changelog here; http://xfce.org/download/changelogs/4.12

FYI at least for Manjaro, they've been running with the pre-release versions of XFCE for a long time.

Yes I know, I have tried Manjaro. But I prefer using Arch Linux + XFCE instead. I like installing only what I use.

As someone who has used xfce 4.10 before switching to i3, I am very impressed of the progress the Xfce team has made, especially UI improvements. They are consistently picking up the latest good designs and implementing them in their simple, no-bullshit manner. Great job!

I use this. It's great. Much leaner than others, without being spartan.

This was on my shortlist when I first moved to Arch before I landed on just plain i3. Am I missing anything by not trying it?

It is trivial to try out a different desktop environment on Linux. The process doesn't commit you, and you can back out to your previous environment at any time.

1. Install the environment(s) you want to try.

2. Log out of your present desktop session and select the new alternative at your display manager (log-in) prompt.

That's it.

Or, if you don't want to log out entirely, create a new test account, and use that (with a new session -- yes, you _can_ run multiple desktop sessions at a time) and try out different desktop environments / window managers.

Or, use Xephyr, a nesting X server, to run X within your present X session.

Or, use a virtual machine to test a different OS entirely (heavier weight than other options).

Lots of alternatives.

I don't think the OP has a problem figuring out how to try a new DE. The question was whether it's worth it. The nuanced answers of users with considerable experience is more valuable (IMHO) than just firing up Xfce for a session or two.

The effort to do so is so low that yes, if you're curious, it's worth it.

If you use lvm snapshots (which are very well documented in the arch wiki), you can try horrible system-destroying changes and just roll back if you don't like it or want to have another go. I had a lot of fun doing that when I first tried arch.

That presumes you're using LVM partitions in the first place. I've generally found those to be a level of fussery that's sufficiently 1) advanced and 2) rarely exercised that I prefer _not_ dealing with them. Easier to either rely on a package management system which doesn't betray you (among the reasons I tend to like Debian and its derivatives -- and no, I haven't played with Arch or its PM, though the OP clearly is), or set up a specific test account for such things.

Its trivial to install another desktop but I swapped (I think from Cinnamon to Gnome on Mint), and it messed up all my themes and fonts when I swapped back. Its not always as perfect as it sounds. (Saying that I think my fix was to move to XFCE, which has had far less problems overall.)

Point that.

Not entirely true. Installing xubuntu-desktop on Ubuntu, changes the greeter (the login screen) and it takes some googling and editing config files to get back the more modern looking Unity greeter. If one cares about such details.

Fair point that. lightdm got itself installed on my Debian laptop a ways back, it's sufficiently non-annoying that I've left it be. The GNOME desktop manager bugs the crap out of me. I'm old-school enough to still somewhat like xdm, though I've used wdm (windowmaker / GNUStep) and kdm.

I interact with any of them so infrequently that it's really not a concern.

I switched from xfce to i3. I keep them both installed though. I have a hard time using i3 with programs that have a lot of floating windows like gimp. So if I know I'm going to be doing something like that I'll switch to xfce. I also had an easier time setting up i3 the way I wanted it to look with xfce stuff than I did with gnome stuff.

I use i3 but also use a lot of the xfce widgets/apps as they work nicely with i3.

Can't wait for the power manager fix for systemd

Gimp has had single window mode for years now. window -> single window mode

I enjoyed using xfce as a nice desktop environment around a tiling window manager (bspwm), I'm sure i3 would plug in similarly.

Screenshooter integration with Imgur? Is this the beginning of making Xfce a cloud-syncing desktop like Mac?

I haven't used Linux for a few years now (KDE was always my go-to GUI), but after reading this article[1], I've decided to go back.

What is the hot new Linux distro on the block? Elementary OS? Tails? Steam OS?

[1] https://medium.com/backchannel/why-i-m-saying-goodbye-to-app...

Remember http://distrowatch.com/ was the place to go look at recent distros.

I used to be a distro geek, test all kinds of various ones, various window manager, twiddle driver settings and all.

Now just use Ubuntu for the last 7 years and like it. It just lets me get the work done.

I'm mid-switch back to OpenBSD. If you have the luxury of picking supported hardware, it's actually a pretty awesome experience--just like I remember from a decade ago, but with incremental improvements and up-to-date packages that are a snap to install.

I just use Ubuntu LTS with Unity.

In the early days (Slackware 2.0 onwards) I used to test every distro and windows manager, eventually I got tired of it.

Nowadays I tend to use Windows on my main laptop and Ubuntu does everything I need on VMs and my travel laptop, without spending time messing with configurations.

Of the ones I've tried recently, I liked manjaro a lot. It's based on Arch, so you get cutting-edge software, access to the AUR (really great) and good default configuration (with vanilla arch you have to set up everything yourself). It has the standard DE's, I used xfce. You might want to check out Korora, it also looks pretty cool.

DE-wise, KDE's Plasma5 and LXQt both look pretty cool, though not many distros have them yet.

+1 on Manjaro. I used Ubuntu but got sick of their changing the UI EVERY couple years. Switched to Manjaro 6 months ago & it's soo much better. No crazy shit like Ubuntu's forked kernel (they had to backport Intel's BDW gfx driver recently). Just plain upstream packages nicely configured to install. As a dev it's wonderful.

I use Linux Mint on my main computer, but have used Xubuntu with good results. It's particularly good for older hardware.

You might want to use Kubuntu if you're a KDE fan.

SteamOS is only made for Gaming though. You can go back to desktop mode but nothing's really added versus Stock Debian there.

I'd recommend Mint, they use Cinnamon as their Windows Manager and it's pretty cool.

I need something that just works for the parents. (Since Unity, Ubuntu has been on a constant slow slide downwards usability-wise.) I tried Mint on a recommendation, but their idea of an upgrade was a re-install (really!), so that was a no-go. Any other ideas?

Manjaro with XFCE.

Mint is good. Cinnamon is pretty, but occasionally has problems that I don't see since I swapped to XFCE (it randomly started hogging the CPU, I never worked out why).

Manjaro needed a few more tweaks to get things working at first, but I have had less problems afterwards.

Agree with Mint. Its Cinnamon experience is excellent and, if it turns out you're not a fan, it's just Ubuntu: you can switch to any of the other desktops without reinstalling.

Or you could just use Ubuntu, and install the Cinnamon desktop.

Yeah, but I find the Mint experience often more polished vs Ubuntu. In Ubuntu (at least in previous versions) there was always a bug somewhere that annoyed me, in Mint it's almost flawless.

You can't go wrong with Ubuntu, or just plain old Debian.

Manjaro looks pretty cool.

+1 on that, it's awesome. Switched 6 months ago from Ubuntu & could never switch back.

we like to party!

Definitely. Love it.

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